In the Kitchen

Warm Winter Desserts: Mini Apple Pies

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Comfort food and cold winter months go together like apple pie and ice cream. This is my favorite time of year for baking one of my favorite foods: pies. I love how creative you can get with a pie, and I love experimenting with new ingredients. But some pies are pretty perfect just the way they are, and apple pies are one of those basic pies that doesn’t need sprucing up. Any new twists to this one always leave me wishing for the familiar taste of the real thing. And because I love any food that comes in a miniature version, I make mini versions of this classic. The pie plates came from the Crate & Barrel Outlet (it looks like they are no longer available from there, but this is the size I used) and are the perfect size for a pie for two (or one if you’re feeling especially hungry).

Mini Apple Pies

Makes 2 mini pies

Preheat oven to 375.

Pastry:

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup shortening

1/3 cup butter

8 to 10 tablespoons cold water

Stir together flour and salt. Cut in shortening and butter until pieces are pea-size. Sprinkle water over flour mixture, 1 tablespoon at a time, and toss with a fork. Repeat until the four mixture is moistened. Split dough into 4 balls (2 crust bottoms, 2 tops). On a lightly floured surface, flatten dough ball and roll it out into a circle. Ease 2 rolled out dough balls into  into 2 mini pie plates. Add filling to crust. Roll remaining dough balls out separately, cut slits in the top and place on top of filling, trimming and crimping the edges.

Apple Pie Filling:

6 cups sliced, peeled apples (I prefer granny smith)

1 tablespoon lemon juice

3/4 cup sugar

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Salt

Milk

Sugar

Butter

Peel and slice apples (I prefer thick slices, but slice as desired.) Place sliced apples in a bowl of salted water (helps prevent browning while you slice and peel the rest of the apples). After the apples are sliced, drain the water and sprinkle lemon juice over the apples. In a separate bowl, stir together 3/4 cup sugar, flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Add apple slices and gently toss until the apples are coated. Fill the prepared pastry shells with the apple mixture. Add a 1/2 tablespoon of butter to the top of the apple mixture and then cover with the prepared pastry shell top. Brush the top of the crust lightly with milk and then lighting sprinkle sugar. Cover edges of pie with aluminum foil. Bake at 375 for 40 minutes. Remove foil. Bake 10 minutes more (or 20 minutes if you like soft apples…I prefer mine to be a little crispy).

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