mini apple pies (or: how to defy a 10-year-old girl)

24 Jun

notwithstanding the moral high ground i can take for visiting them,  there is something simply wonderful about the farmer’s market. tables piled high with vegetables, greens flowing out of baskets, men in dirty pants hawking their wares: i love it.  that is until i spot the turnips. turnips ruin everything. turnips bring up my latent 5th grade ptsd and remind me of the bitter taste of mean girl rejection. a taste that coincidentally happens to coincide with their actual taste…

for the majority of my adolescence, i was a total pushover. my mother still reminds me with shame of how one little girl conned me into coloring my entire deck with markers or how another girl convinced me to shout details about male anatomy (erm, specifically that my father was a male with said anatomy) in the center of my neighbor’s yard while standing on top of a fire hydrant like friggin’ Moses on his mountain top. honest-to-god, i would do pretty much anything you told me to do.

somehow i managed to develop a backbone once the 5th grade rolled around, which is lucky because if i hadn’t, my turnip issues would be more than an awkward eyes squinched “i remember you” type of encounter at the farmer’s market.  my bff had just replaced me with a new bff, as is the way with 10-year-old girls, and the three of us found ourselves one day attempting to color and sticker bookmarks together with limited success.  once it became clear that this game had lost its entertainment value, the two girls decided it was time to create a new club to which i had to prove my loyalty through a series of gross trials. the one that haunts me to this day involved a turnip.  essentially the girls dug the turnip up out of the garden and held its dirty root-y body up to me for my immediate consumption.  this doesn’t seem that horrific, but to a germaphobic kid who would only eat chicken fingers and mashed potatoes? this was a nightmare. you might have been able to convince me to shout things i barely comprehended in public places, but i drew the line at eating dirty vegetables.  they offered to soak it in coke to help it slide down. yeh, like that would make it better… around that point i panicked and sped off to the girl’s house where i made a furious call demanding my mother pick me up immediately. after a very awkward 30 minutes of waiting for her to stuff my little brother into a car so she could collect me, the girls declared that i could join the club on a probationary basis.  taking the high road, i …um… alright, fine,  i shrieked that i hated their stupid, stinkin’ club! nobody makes me eat turnips!

this incredibly lengthy story is all to say: somehow i manage to survive the near-turnip encounters and return to the farmer’s market each week to find other less acid-reflux inducing foods.  a recent trip left me with several bulging bags and pockets of apples with which to bake a pie.  i wanted to jazz up my go-to apple pie recipe by experimenting with crust flavors, but ended up getting bored of it half-way through the project… so instead i just made them adorably small in a muffin tin.  this recipe is simple and classic and very tasty.

what you’ll need:

pie dough

1.5 cups flour
1/8 tsp salt (for this we use our imagination to visualize)
8 tbsp unsalted butter
3-4 tbsp ice water

for the method, click here. two changes: disregard the bit about sugar, and instead of rolling the dough out immediately, you will need to refrigerate it for a minimum of 30 minutes. this gives the dough time to relax, which will make it easier to roll out. we do this because of gluten strands and crap like that.* it also helps if you pat the ball you have formed into a disc before ceran-wrapping and refrigerating.

now for the innards:

adapted from betty crocker’s scrumptious apple pie recipe

1/3 to 1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp salt
5 cups finely diced tart apples (about 5 mediums) i like to use half granny smith and half red.
2 tbsp butter

1. in a large bowl, mix the sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.  stir in the apples until everything is well mixed.

2. preheat your oven to 425F, and extract your pie dough from the fridge.

3. spritz some muffin tins with pam. this may not actually be necessary, but there’s a time and a place for eating trapped baked goods directly from the tin with a spoon… and this wasn’t one of those times. so i erred on the side of caution.

4. roll out your dough until it is about a 12 inch round, probably about an 1/8th of an inch thick. cut out rounds to use as your pie bottoms. i used a glass cup for this as you can see.  this will be enough dough for 6 mini pies, so 6 tops and 6 bottoms.

5. place bottoms in pan and fill with apple mixture. add a little bit of butter on top (though i am pretty sure i forgot this step). then top with another dough round and smoosh** the two pieces of dough together.  cut an air hole in the top to let steam escape while baking.

you may notice at the end of this that you have more than enough apple mixture leftover to make another entire pie… yup.  this is because i was too lazy to cut it down to the appropriate size/try to figure out what 1/8th of a teaspoon reduced by 3 would be.  i realize in retrospect that i could have just winged it, but i was feeling very intense about exact measurements when i was making this.  just go buy some pilsbury pie dough and make another pie… pretend you made the whole thing from scratch and call it a day.  or… eat the mixture with a spoon and tell yourself you are being healthy by getting your fruit serving for the day.

6. place in the oven. bake until it’s done.  the recipe says 40-50, but that is for a 9-inch pie… so it will be less than that.  just keep an eye on it.  if it’s black, it’s done….***

if you're a slob like me, they'll look somethin' like this when done.

* i admit that i wrote that so you would think i am smart.
** technical baking term
*** actual advice received in culinary school.

2 Responses to “mini apple pies (or: how to defy a 10-year-old girl)”

  1. Mom June 24, 2011 at 4:17 pm #

    Oh, the memories. We will have to try these at Thanksgiving (as long as you clean the muffin tins). What a great idea!!

  2. Kor February 6, 2013 at 7:16 pm #

    Those two girls were weirdos. Good thing the ended up at MHS instead of with us at RHS!

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