Sunday, October 16, 2011

Spiced Apples and Mini Apple Pies

Apples, apples everywhere.  You may be thinking, as I am, that a lot of my posting has been about apples.  I started thinking that today as I prepared a quick dessert for dinner.  All I can say is that, in the fall, I become a bit apple obsessed.  It will pass.  Just bear with me and make lots of canned goods and desserts with apples in the meantime.  I think apples just exude fall, and biting into one of these easy mini apple pies will make you feel as if you are walking on a winding trail with gold and orange leaves dancing all around you.  Trust me!

I really can't claim too much credit for these little pies or the apples that make them so tasty.  The apples are a concoction originally posted at Mrs Wheelbarrow's Kitchen.  The apples are shredded and mixed with spices before being ladled into jars and processed in a boiling water bath.  When you use these apples in mini pies or turnovers, they soften and meld together while still retaining some of their texture.  They are super easy and wonderful to have on hand for making quick desserts. 

The inspriration for tonight's mini pies came partly from some hand pies on the same site as the apples and partly from some beautiful cookies recently posted on Smitten Kitchen.  I was actually originally going to make the cookies, but decided since I had the spiced apples in the pantry, I would use those instead and make larger versions with my favorite pie crust.  I will tell you that I ran out of parchment paper.  Ironically, it was just after a visit to the grocery store when I ran out.  Does that always happen to you?  It does to me!  Due to a lack of parchment, the apple pies browned a little more than they should have around the edges.  They are delicious none the less.  My husband and I each had one before dinner (you know you should always try things before to make sure they are good).  We then had another after dinner with a small scoop of vanilla ice cream and a slight drizzle of warm caramel sauce. 

Since the spiced apple recipe is not mine, I will let you get it from Mrs Wheelbarrow herself.  As for assembling the mini pies with the pie crust, the recipe and directions follow.  You will need about 1/2 a jar of spiced apples to make 10 mini pies.  I used a butter crust that I had made previously and frozen.  

Mini Apple Pies with Spiced Apples
makes approximately 10 mini pies (more if you reroll your crust, but I don't)

1/2 pint jar of spiced apples
1 recipe for All Butter Pie Crust (recipe follows)
1 egg yolk
1 tsp water (plus more for edge of dough)
1 tbsp sugar mixed with 1/4 tsp cinnamon

All Butter Pie Crust (makes 2 pie crusts):
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting counter
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
2 sticks cold butter, cut into small pieces
approximately 4 tbsp ice cold water

To make the pie crust, combine flour, salt and sugar in the bowl of a food processor and pulse several times to blend.  You can also mix the dough by hand.  Add the butter to the processor and pulse several times until it resembles coarse crumbs.  Alternately, cut in the butter using a pastry blender.  Add the ice water 1 tablespoon at a time until the dough comes together and forms a ball. Divide the dough into two equal pieces, flatten into disks, and wrap in plastic wrap.  Chill the dough for about an hour.  

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll it into a circle approximately 1/4 inch thick.  Using a 3 inch biscuit cutter, cut as many rounds out of each disk of dough as you can.  My dough made 10 rounds from each circle of dough (20 circles total) without having to reroll the dough.

Once the rounds are cut, spoon a scant tablespoon of spiced apples into the center of half of the circles of dough that you cut.  Moisten the edges of the bottom dough circles with water.  Top each dough circle with one of the remaining circles that you cut.  Press the bottom and top circles of dough together to seal.  Crimp the edges with a fork.  Cut three small slits in the top of each mini pie.  

In a small bowl, combine the egg yolk and 1 teaspoon of water.  Brush the egg wash on the top of each mini pie. Sprinkle each pie with some of the cinnamon sugar mixture. Place the pies on a parchment lined baking sheet (I ran out of parchment so lightly sprayed a sheet pan instead).  Bake approximately 30 minutes.  Baking times will vary depending if you are using the all-butter crust or other pie crusts.  Remember, the apples are essentially cooked and ready.  You are just looking for the browning of the crust as an indication that they done.


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