After listening to one of my favorite weekly podcasts, The Splendid Table, I was reminded by Lynne Rossetto Kasper that the type of apple you choose is paramount for achieving the desired flavor. Simple advice, but often forgotten as we dart into the market to pick up “apples”. With the recommendation of blending at least two types of apples: one tart and one sweet, I set out to test this theory (see chart at the bottom of the post to determine which apples to pick up at the market).
Choosing to combine two Golden Delicious (tart & firm) with two Honeycrisp (sweet & firm), I also included two Gala apples (sweet & tender). Typically, tender apples are not what you want for apple pies but because I slice my apples über thin (and Galas are my favorite), my approach was just like one chooses a wine. Choose what you like, like what you drink. In this case, “cook with what you like, like what you taste“.
The result was flavorful, decadent and fulfilling as it melted in your mouth due to the finely shaved slices. The lattice was my first attempt, and while it may not appear perfect, I was delighted that it was quite easy to do (instructions are included below within the recipe should you want to attempt it as well) and had fun playing with the dough, so to speak.
Needless to say, when fall arrives, I cannot imagine not tasting a slice of homemade apple pie. Pair with a hot cup of coffee or tea and savor the season.
Mini Apple Pies
yield: four mini pies (or one traditional pie)
- 1 cup unsalted butter
- 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup very cold water
(The main secret to flakey pie crust is temperature. Chill! Chill! Chill! Feel free to chill all the dry ingredients as well as the butter.)
1.Place the flour, butter (cut into small cubes or pieces), sugar and salt into a food processor. Pulse until mixture is combined.
2. Trickle in the (ice) water until is combined, but not too compacted. Collect it into 2 equal sized balls and pat each one into a disk. Wrap the disks in plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes or until ready to roll.
- 6-7 apples, peeled, cored, and sliced finely (I used a box grater and used the “slice” side)
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar (depends on the sweetness of your apples, if not tart ones are included, use less)
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- pinch nutmeg
- pinch salt
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour, cornstarch or quick-cooking tapioca
- zest of one orange
- 2 tablespoons of fresh orange juice
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- OPTIONAL – 1/3 cup dried cranberries
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1. Preheat the oven to 425 F. Roll out and fit the bottom crust into four tartlet (removable bottom) pans, roll out the top crust flat and slide it onto a baking sheet. Chill both bottom and top pie crusts while you prepare the filling.
2. Mix the apples, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, orange zest and flour in a large mixing bowl until the apple slices are well coated. Taste and adjust sugar and spices, if necessary. Add orange and lemon juice.
3. Mound the filling into the prepared pie crust and dot with 2 tablespoons butter. Put on the top crust and seal the edges well together. Crimp the edges. Make slits in the top crust to vent. Put the pie on the baking sheet to protect the oven floor from drips.
- For an optional Lattice top:
- roll out the dough for the top as you normally would. Then slice into 1/2″ (or smaller) strips). Lay four strips across horizontally; pull back halfway two strips (every other). Place a strip going vertically over the two that remain fully across the pie. Return the strips that were pull back. Continue to alternate, until you have four strips each way. See a demonstration here.
4. Bake the mini pies for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350 and continue baking until the crust is deeply golden brown and the juices are bubbling, about 40 minutes more.
Serve warm with French vanilla ice cream or cold for a fabulous breakfast or snack.
~graphic found along with the corresponding article on Splendid Table~