Mini Apple Crisp Pies


Sometimes in life we are forced to make hard decisions… like should I make one large apple pie or individual mini apple pies?  Should I add a scoop (or 2) of ice cream to said pie/mini pies? (Should I operate on this patient or just observe him/her?)  Luckily, I have some amazing friends who help me make these tough decisions (regarding the pie, not operating) and even volunteer to taste test!  So recently when faced with this overwhelming dilemna, individual mini pies won out!

What’s great about mini pies is that they substantially increase the crust to filling ratio.  I don’t know about you, but my favorite part of pie is usually the crust (and depending on the type of pie, the crumble topping, or whipped cream, or chocolate, or…you get the point: pie is just kinda awesome).

These mini pies take things a step futher by adding a crisp topping and finally drizzling with icing.  For those who cannot decide between eating apple pie and apple crisp, this is your answer.  I definitely plan to keep this recipe in my arsenal for future fruit pies (there are endless possibilities with just minor changes to the recipe).  Enjoy!

Mini Apple Crisp Pies

(males about 18, recipe adapted from Girl versus Dough)

For the crust:
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 sticks chilled unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
½ cup ice-cold water

For the crisp topping:
¾ cup old-fashioned rolled oats
6 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch salt
4 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into small cubes

For the apple filling:
¼ cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
Pinch nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1½ teaspoons lemon juice
1½ lbs sweet-tart apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced

For the maple icing:
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup

To make the pie dough: Combine flours, sugar and salt in a food processor . Add butter cubes and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Pour ice-cold water into mixture in bowl; pulse until a rough dough forms.

Turn dough out onto a countertop and knead a few times until dough comes together; divide in half and shape each half into a ball. Flatten each ball into a 1-inch thick disc. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and chill in fridge 1 hour.

Meanwhile, make the crisp topping: In a large bowl, combine oats, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and salt. Cut in butter with fingers and mix until well combined. Alternatively, you can do this in a food processor by pulsing all the ingredients until combined.  Chill mixture until pie dough is fully chilled and ready to bake.

To make the apple filling: In a large bowl, combine sugars, flour, nutmeg and lemon juice. Add apple slices and toss until well combined.

Heat oven to 375 degrees F.

When pie dough is fully chilled, sprinkle a countertop generously with flour, then roll out each pie dough disc to a rough ⅛-inch thickness. Use a 4-inch round biscuit or cookie cutter to cut out dough rounds; re-roll scraps one time to cut out more rounds (you should end up with about 18 rounds).

Press each round into the bottom and sides of an ungreased muffin cup.

Divide apple filling among muffin cups (the filling will be a bit mounded, but it’ll bake down). Sprinkle tops evenly with oatmeal cookie topping.

Bake 40 minutes until topping is golden brown and pie crust is baked through.

Cool mini pies in muffin cups 30 minutes, then use a butter knife or spatula to carefully transfer pies to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Combine maple syrup and powdered sugar in a small pot over medium/low heat and stir until sugar combined and disolved.  Drizzle icing immediately over fully cooled pies.

Apple Walnut Muffins

So I may have complained about the unseasonably warm weather last weekend a little too soon…in my defense my building had already turned on the heat in 80 degree weather!  Regardless, this week turned cold and rainy bringing with it a craving for warm and comforting fall flavors…and perhaps a touch of early seasonal depression.

Luckily, I still had a lot of apples left from a recent apple picking trip to Russell Orchards that were begging to be baked into a delicious new treat.

Back in college I created (and perfected) my first ever recipe, Apple Cinnamon Chip Bread (or muffins).   Since my local Whole (Paycheck) Foods doesn’t sell Hershey’s cinnamon chips, I decided to modify it a bit by using walnuts for a contrasting texture element and topping with a maple glaze and more walnuts.  Warning: your kitchen will smell like an apple pie and you’ll immediately want to eat all the muffins when they come out of the oven!

The apples, walnuts and cinnamon are almost reminiscent of chariest (a traditional apple, walnut and wine mixture served at Passover to remind us of our ancestors) minus the sickeningly sweet Manischevitz wine.  The maple glaze takes it a step further by adding an extra touch of New England fall flavor before being topped with more toasted walnuts.

You may be asking, do I need to toast my walnuts?  Yes, the answer is yes.  ALWAYS toast your nuts (sorry just had to say that).  Toasting any nut brings out it’s flavor and gives it more texture which is ideal for baking.  Click here for several methods that can be used.  Just be careful not to let them burn!  (No one likes burnt nuts…too far?)

(Here is a brief guide to help choose the best apples for baking.)

Apple Walnut Muffins

(makes 12 muffins)

4 Tbs butter, melted
3/8 cup white sugar
3/8 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup peeled and chopped apple
1/2 cup pureed apple or unsweetened apple sauce
1 cup old fashioned oats
3/4 cup flour
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup toasted walnuts plus another 1/2 cup toasted walnuts for the glaze

Maple Glaze
1/4 cup real maple syrup
1 cup powdered sugar
1 Tbs butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 12 muffin tins with paper liners and spray with non-stick spray.

In a large mixing bowl, combine butter, white sugar and brown sugar. Mix until mixture is smooth. Beat in egg. Stir in chopped apples and pureed apples (or apple sauce) until well mixed.

In a separate bowl, combine oats, flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Gradually incorporate into the apple mixture. Stir in 1/2 cup walnuts.

Divide batter evenly into the 12 muffin cups. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown on top and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out cleanly. Let cool.

Make the maple glaze by heating all ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat and whisking until the powdered sugar is dissolved.  Drizzle immediately over muffin tops and top with toasted nuts.  The glaze hardens quickly so make sure to top with walnuts immediately or else the glaze will harden and the walnuts will not stick.  Enjoy!