I know, I know. So much apple pie right now. (Okay, like three pie recipes, including this one. Whatever. On my blog, that’s a lot.) I promise you, there’s a reason.
See, when I bake pies, I ususally have some pie crust leftover from trimming the edges of the pie, and there’s often some filling leftover as well. So what do I do with the leftovers? I make mini pies, of course! Before the days of me having a mini pie maker, I baked them in muffin tins. I occasionally do that now, too. I’m missing my pie crust cutter that goes with the pie maker, so I went back to my good old standby of baking them in muffin tins.
Which honestly, is more convenient for a blog, since not everyone has mini pie makers. I just happen to bake a lot of pies, so my parents bought me one for christmas. Anyhow, these are great to make for get togethers, or when you made a pie but have leftover crust and/or filling. You can forgo making a full pie and just make these tarts, but you will be putting in a lot of effort if you do.
Let’s break down the process:
First you’ll roll out the dough. You’ll want to make it a bit thicker than your average pie crust, because once you cut the crusts you’ll be rolling them out further.
Next you cut out circles in the dough. I do this one at a time; you could do them all at once or one at a time- it’s your choice. I used a biscuit cutter that was just under three inches; it was 2 3/4 to be exact. Use a cookie cutter; round glass; whatever is best for you.
Next, you’ll take that circle, and roll it out bigger so it can fill up the muffin tin.
Place it in the muffin tin…
And fill with filling!
Yield varies depending on how much filling and crust you have leftover. With the leftovers from my Colonial Apple Pie (baked in a 9-inch pie tin), I made 6 mini pie tarts; 2 of them had tops.
Bake at 400 for 5-10 minutes, or until crusts are golden brown.
A few weeks ago, I shared with you all my perfect pie crust recipe. Only the crust- I never shared with you a filling to go with that pie! I figured I should share an amazing filling to go with the perfect crust.
This apple pie filling is from the same source as the crust- the book I bought when I was eight years old in Colonial Williamsburg. It’s just as amazing as the crust and has my friends and family asking me constantly for apple pie. If a pie is needed at a family gathering, I get asked to make it. Some people bake cookies. I bake pies.
Anyway, about the apples. I use a mixture of sweet and tart apples; usually granny smith and pink lady. They get sprinkled with lemon juice, which does two things- it brings out the apple flavor, and keeps them from browning while you’re working on everything else. I slice them, and then dice them into smaller pieces. I don’t peel them- ain’t nobody got time for dat! Also my mother SWEARS that it makes the pie seem more homemade.
After the lemon juice bath, you mix together sugar and some spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, sage, etc.) to taste and toss them into the apples; throw them in the pie crust, and bake at 400 for one hour. As far as the spices go, I just sprinkle them in to taste, but I’ve included suggestions for measurements if you would prefer to use those.
You will have people coming back asking for more when you make this!
Here’s how to do it:
For the crust
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, thawed
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/2 cup very cold water; dived in half (two 1/4 cup)
For the apple filling
- 5-7 medium sized apples
- 3/4-1 cup sugar
- cinnamon to taste (around 1/2 teaspoon)
- nutmeg to taste (around 1/4 teaspoon)
- ground cloves to taste (around 1/4 teaspoon)
- 1/8 teaspoon mace
- 1-2 tablespoons butter
for the pie crust:
- Combine the flour and salt. Add the butter and cut the mixture with a knife or pastry blender until it is mealy.
- Add the egg and 1/4 cup of water. Gradually add the remaining water to make a soft pastry.
- chill well, at least 45 minutes and up to 3 days. (I usually chill around 2 hours)
- On a floured surface roll out two round crusts around 1/8 inch thick.
For the filling:
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees or 375 on convection.
- Core, slice, and dice the apples. Place them in a large bowl and sprinkle with lemon juice.
- In a separate bowl, mix 3/4 cups of the sugar and spice and gradually mix into the apples. Add the rest of the sugar if needed.
- Add filling to a pastry-lined pie plate and dot with butter.
- Add the top crust; pitch edges together and slash vents into the top. Bake for 50-60- minutes or until crust is golden brown or apples or done.
That title doesn’t lie. I have been using this same recipe since I was eight years old- that’s over half my life! (Twelve years, to be exact.) You will never need another pie crust recipe after this.
Of course, I’ve changed bits and pieces of it here and there over the years, but essentially, it remains the same. It’s not my own recipe- if I was developing recipes at eight years old I can assure you I would not be a music major and in fact, be at pastry school. (Or already working full time at Disney, whatever.)
A bit of background: Every year as a child my family would take a fall trip to Colonial Williamsburg. Colonial Williamsburg is best in the fall because everyone else is trying to take last-minute beach trips and then there are the weird, slightly nerdy families like mine that go to a living history museum. I highly recommend it.
On one of those such trips, I purchased a book told from the perspective of a (real) eight year old girl at the time of the American Revolution. This book included a pie recipe, and as eight year old me often did, I dreamed of this recipe until I could go home and make it.
And now I am sharing it with all of you.
This pie crust has it all- flaky layers, golden brown edges, and goes perfectly with apple pie, a la mode.
Or just apple pie in general. Or just plain crust; pre-baked. I mean what. I don’t eat unbaked pie crusts, what are you talking about?
It stars your basic cast of pie crust characters: Flour, salt, an egg, and some sort of fat. Butter is my fat of choice. It makes the crust flakier, fluffier, and melt-in-your-mouthier. Simply mix your flour and salt, and cut in your fat. I start with a pastry cutter (or two knives here in Florida) and then I mix with my hands. Once that’s all crumbly and mixed, I drop in water until it’s all together and mixed well. I chill the dough to congeal the fat and make the dough easier to use, then I roll it and fill it and bake it.
Make this recipe, and ditch the frozen crusts.
3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
1 egg lightly beaten
1/2 cup very cold water
Combine flour and salt. Add the shortening and cut the mixture with a knife or a pastry blender until it is mealy. Add the beaten egg and 1/4 of the water. Gradually add the remaining water, if necessary, to make a soft pastry. Chill well. On a floured surface, roll out two round crusts about 1/8 inch thick.