When the 4th of July rolled around, I decided to bake mini apple pies rather than my usual offering (Mrs. Smith's frozen pie). So off to the store I went for Pillsbury refrigerated pie crust and apples. People always say to use tart varieties like Granny Smith in pie filling, but I like a mix of sweet, tart, firm and soft apple in my pies. Just call be a pie rebel.
Below is the Apple Pie filling recipe I used. It is from Michael Lomonaco with a few minor adjustments by me (added brown sugar and nutmeg, eliminated cloves and raisins).
2-1/2 pounds firm apples
1/2 cup sugar plus more for sprinkling
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
Pie Dough (make your own, or buy the roll-out kind like me)
1 egg beaten with 2 Tablespoons water to make an egg wash
Peel, core, and slice the apples into 1/4-inch wedges.
Melt 3 tablespoons of the butter in a large, heavy-bottomed saute pan over medium heat. Add the apple wedges and saute for 3-4 minutes. Add the 1/2 cup white sugar and 1/4 cup brown sugar to the apples and stir until combined. Add the cinnamon and nutmeg and stir.
In a small cup combine the lemon juice and cornstarch. Add the mixture to the sauteing apples. Stir to combine and remove pan from the heat. Let cool completely.
Roll out your pie crust to 1/8" thick and using a 5-1/2" bowl, cut out a circle.
Don't , I repeat DON'T, use a 4-1/2" cookie cutter for this! It may look big enough, but it doesn't give you enough extra dough to crimp the top and bottom crusts together. Just look at what happened to my first batch:
I used the 4-1/2" round cookie cutter and the bottom piece of raw dough fit perfectly into the cupcake pan, BUT I didn't have nearly enough dough to form a good crimp. I was hesitant, but I told myself it would be okay and forged boldly ahead. Little did I know what horrors awaited me. Sometime during baking process the seal failed and apple filling bubbled out. The sticky stuff oozed onto the pan and down in between the bottom crust and the side of the cupcake well. What a mess. What a royal mess. The pies stuck to the pan like glue and in some cases had to be chiseled free. So learn from my mistake and give yourself a lot of crimping room.
Now back to the directions....
Place the (extra large) circle of dough into the cupcake well.
And carefully smooth and stretch the sides to fit flat.
Overfill with that delicious pre-cooked apple filling.
Put a smaller round of dough on top of the filling (I did use the 4-1/2" cookie cutter for the tops), and squash the edge of the top crust into the bottom. Trim off the excess, leaving about 3/8 - 1/2" of dough all the way around.
Crimp the top and bottom pie crust together and curl on top of the pie. Don't leave the crimped edge on the flat part of the cupcake pan or the crust will burn. Add pie dough decorations (I used little cut-out leaves) and cut three little slits for steam venting. Brush the top with egg wash (oops, I put the egg wash on a little too thick), and sprinkle with sugar (I used coarse decorating sugar).
Pop the minis into an preheated, 375 degree F oven and bake for 20 minutes (or until the crust is golden brown).