How is it November already? Last I checked it was June and I was making mini cakes for two sweet little boys. Now it’s November and I’m making mini pies for Thanksgiving. Maybe I should change the title of this blog to Mini Baking with Rachel!
Yet, here we are, still at home and trying to make sense of a family holiday that requires social distancing. Hence the mini pies.
Are you spending Thanksgiving by yourself or know someone that is? Bake mini pies and take one to a loved one. Little acts of kindness go a long way during these trying times. By making four mini pies, you will have plenty for everyone!
If you are wondering what apples to use for pie, have no fear! I wrote a guide for Simply Recipes to help you decide. I prefer Honeycrisp or Pink Lady, but feel free to use whatever apples you have on hand. Ideally, you are looking for apples that hold their shape when baked and have a balanced flavor.
The apple pies can be wrapped and frozen unbaked or baked. Your choice! If unbaked, add 7 minutes to the baking time. If baked, thaw in the refrigerator overnight and warm in the oven at 350℉ for 10 minutes, until crisp and warmed all the way through.
Store baked pies at room temperature for up to two days or in the refrigerator for 4 days. Serve warm apple pie with a scoop of ice cream for a classic combination.
Yield: 4 mini 5 inch double crust apple pies
Active time: 30 minutes
Chilling time: 2 hours & 20 minutes
Bake time: 25-30 minutes
Double All-Butter Pie Crust:
- 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 ½ teaspoons Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt (1 ¾ if using Morton)
- 1 cup butter (2 sticks butter), cold and cubed
- 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
- ½ cup cold water
- 4 tart medium apples, such as Honeycrisp or Pink Lady
- 1/3 cup sugar
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 tablespoon heavy cream
- 1 egg yolk
- Sparkling sugar or raw sugar
Add flour, sugar and salt to the bowl of a food processor fitted with a dough blade. Add cubed butter and pulse 5-8 times, until butter is the size of small peas. Drizzle in water and cider vinegar and pulse for a few seconds until the mixture starts to clump around the sides of the bowl. Dump onto a floured counter and knead for a few times to shape into a ball. The ball should be firm with butter visible. Divide dough into two equal pieces. Shape into balls and saran wrap. Press slightly to form disks and put in the refrigerator. It is usable after two hours. If frozen, pull and put in the refrigerator the night before making pie.
Peel, core, and slice apples. Cut the slices in half for shorter pieces. Put all the apples in a large bowl. Gently mix in sugar, flour, lemon juice, salt, cinnamon and cloves.
Take 1 pie dough disk out of the fridge and cut into 4 equal pieces. Sprinkle the counter with flour. Roll out one piece of dough into a 7 inch circle. Flour the dough and rolling pin as needed to keep the dough from sticking. Place the dough into one of the pie pans and press gently to form the dough to the bottom of the pan and allowing the excess to drape over the edge. Repeat with remaining 3 pieces of dough.
Heap equal amounts of filling into each pie, creating a slight dome shape.
Take the remaining disk out of the refrigerator. Flour the counter again and divide into 4 equal pieces. Roll one piece at a time into a 7 inch circle. Choose your own adventure for the top crust! It’s important to work quickly so that the dough stays cold. Feel free to keep the other pieces of dough in the refrigerator if you need more time to allow your creative, perfectionist self shine.
- To make the lattice top crust, cut the circle into equal strips about ¼ inch thick. Place the center strip horizontally in the middle of the pie. Space the next strips to the left and right of the middle strip ½ an inch apart. Continue adding horizontal strips until you reach the end of the crust (usually 5 strips total). Weave the remaining strips laterally, alternating to create a basket weave.
- Alternately, use a small cookie cutter or donut hole cutter to cut circles out of the rolled out top crust. Shingle the circles around the top of the pie.
- For a third option, place the rolled out dough on top of the apple filling and cut steam slits in the top.
Once the top crust is on the pie, use scissors to trim the excess dough to 1 inch overhang. Roll the excess up onto itself so that the dough is at the edge of the pan. Flute or crimp edges to secure the top crust to the bottom crust.
Refrigerate pies for 20 minutes, or until the dough is cold. Heat the oven to 375℉. In a small bowl, use a fork to mix the egg yolk and cream. Use a pastry brush to brush on to the top crust. Sprinkle with sparkling sugar or raw sugar, if desired.
Place pies on a baking sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes . Check at 15 minutes and rotate pan for even browning. The pies are done when the crust is deeply golden brown and the filling is slightly bubbling.
Serve warm or at room temperature for best flavor.