Confession time: I love apples, especially crisp, sweet, crunchy Pacific Northwest apples. But, I didn’t grow up with homemade apple pie as comfort food. Actually, I didn’t grow up with homemade apple pie at all.
My mom, dad, and great-grandmother (who lived with us my entire childhood) cooked four ginormous meals a day with whatever food we could afford, but my childhood comfort food consisted of spam, eggs, and rice, shrimp chips, and jello molds of various colors, fruit fillings, and flavors. Thank you, conflicting Filipino-American upbringing during the slightly terrifying convenience food surge of the late 1970s/early 1980s.
So, apple pie. My husband and son are both fans. For me, there’s something weird about a big huge round mound of baked apples and carbs. I think it’s the disproportionate ratio of pie filling to pie crust that I can’t seem to get on board with.
That’s why I love making minis. I’ve made mini apple pies-in-a-jar before and apple hand pies, and those are more my kind of dessert. I love the crust-to-filling ratio that you get with smaller pies. More crust, more sugar, less mushy fruit.
These adorable mini apple pies can easily be adapted to your particular tastes. Put more or less apples, more or less spice, more or less sugar, depending on how you like it.
A word first on mini pies vs. tartlets. I debated whether I should call these mini apple pies or apple tartlets. They are technically neither: I used shallow, 5″ diameter creme brulee ramekins to bake these; they have short sides which puts them in the tartlets category, but they have a full crust on top (the lattice), which puts them in the pie category.
Therefore, I’m calling them mini apple pies. Boom. Done. You may simply call them delicious.
How to Make Mini Apple Pies
To start, peel, deseed, and chop 3 green apples into small cubes.
Side note: I really don’t like extra kitchen tools. I believe a chef’s knife is all you need for most kitchen jobs. That said, I use an apple slicer when I make apple pies. It just goes faster.
Using the best kitchen tools that you have –your hands– mix apple pieces together with cinnamon, nutmeg, all spice, and both sugars in a large bowl.
Unroll one of the prepared pie dough rounds and, using either a large pastry cutter or, as I did below, use the actual tartlet pan, to cut out round dough shapes for each pie.
Gently place the dough rounds into the individual pans and press against the bottom and up the sides of each pan.
Place a generous heap of filling in each tartlet pan on top of the dough.
To make the lattice top, roll out the second pre-made dough round and use a a knife or a ravioli wheel, as I did here (totally falls under the “extra kitchen tool” category, which I don’t normally like…but if you’ve got one, use it. These are great!), to cut thin, even strips.
Lay the dough strips on top of one of the pies, then turn the pan 90 degrees and place another layer of dough strips across the top to create the lattice pattern, as shown below.
Repeat the lattice patterns on all four mini pies. Brush the tops with some melted butter, and then sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.
Place mini apple pies on a baking sheet. Bake in a 375 degree oven for about 30 minutes. Mine were done at around 25 minutes, but my oven bakes faster than most, so check yours between 25-35 minutes. I usually rotate the pan halfway through.
Once the tops are golden brown, remove from the oven. Let cool for at least 10 minutes before diving in and devouring.
Serve these with a scoop of ice cream or dollop of coconut cream or whipped cream.
- One package of two rounds of pre-made pie crust thawed at room temperature
- 3 green apples peeled, seeded, cut into very small pieces
- 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground all spice
- 3 tablespoons butter melted
- Cinnamon Sugar mixture: 3 tablespoons granulated sugar mixed well with 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Grease the bottom and sides of four mini pie or tartlet pans.
- In a large bowl, combine cut apple pieces, brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and all spice until spices are evenly dispersed among the apples. Set aside.
- Unroll one of the pre-made pie crust dough rounds.
- Using a large round pastry cutter or the edges of one of the mini pie pans, cut out large circles of dough.
- Gently place each circle in the bottom of a mini pie pan and press up the sides.
- Scoop generous helpings of the spiced apple filling into each tartlet pan and spread evenly.
- Unroll the second pre-made pie crust dough. Using a pastry cutter or knife, cut strips that are slightly less than 1/2" wide and just slightly longer than the circumference of each apple pie round.
- Lay strips over the pie filling in a lattice pattern. Brush the top of one mini pie with melted butter, then immediately sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture over it; repeat on remaining mini pies.
- Place prepared mini pies onto a shallow rimmed baking sheet.
- Bake at 375 degrees for 25-35 minutes, until the tops of the lattice pie crusts are golden brown.
- Allow to cool for at least 10 minutes out of the oven before digging in.
- Makes 4 mini apple pies.
Did you grow up in a house where homemade apple pie was standard comfort food? What’s your favorite fall dessert?
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