These little apple pies are all-American apple season perfection. For the easiest assembly, prepare the rounds of dough ahead of time, freeze them between sheets of wax paper, and thaw until just pliable enough to shape without cracking.
For the crust
- 3 C all-purpose flour (stirred, scooped, and leveled)
- 1/4 C granulated sugar
- 1 t fine sea salt
- 2 sticks (1 C) butter, frozen at least 30 min. in wrapper
- 1/2 C ice water (prepare a large glass with cubes then measure water without ice just before using)
For the filling
- 3 Fuji (or other sweet) apples, peeled and diced 1/4″
- 1/4 t ground cinnamon
- 1/4 t fresh grated nutmeg
- 1/3 C butterscotch chips
- 1/3 C chopped toasted pecans
- 2 t all purpose flour
- 1 T bourbon (or 1/4 t vanilla extract + 1 T applesauce or apple jelly)
- A few tablespoons water
- Extra granulated sugar, for sprinkling
- If your food processor is large, make the dough in one batch. Otherwise, make half at a time.
- Quickly pulse flour, sugar, and salt a few times in a food processor to combine. Cut each unwrapped stick of butter into quarters lengthwise and crosswise (16 pieces per stick). Distribute butter cubes evenly over flour mixture in processor. Pulse in 1 second intervals until most of the butter is between small flakes and pea sized. Drizzle ice water over the flour and butter mixture about 2 tablespoons at a time. After each addition, pulse a few times. After adding all the water, process in 10 second intervals, 4 or 5 times, until the mixture holds together in big chunks. Pinch the dough to make sure it holds together without crumbling. If so, it’s ready–don’t mix it any longer than necessary.
- Turn the dough onto a clean, dry countertop. With clean hands, working quickly but carefully, press the dough into a ball. Grab a small chunk of dough from the ball, about 1 to 2 tablespoons, and smear it across the counter with the heel of your hand. Pick it up and set it aside. Continue this process with all the dough, piling the smeared dough together. Split the pile in half and form each into a rough ball by pressing it together with your hands. Place one ball between two large sheets of wax paper, and roll it about 3/16″ thick. Roll the other ball, then stack them, still in wax paper, on a baking sheet and freeze about 30 minutes. Grease a standard size, preferably non-stick, muffin tin.
- Remove the top sheet of wax paper from each dough sheet and cut into pairs of 3 1/2″ and 3″rounds (the larger rounds will form the bottom crust). Stack the small rounds between sheets of wax paper and refrigerate. When pliable enough that they don’t tear, line the muffin tins with the larger rounds, pressing them gently into the corners. The bottom crust won’t come all the way up the side of each muffin well. Refrigerate the muffin tin while you prepare remaining dough rounds. Gather the dough scraps into a ball, refrigerate briefly, then re-roll between sheets of wax paper. Freeze 30 minutes, then cut into more pairs of rounds (you can see why it pays to make the rounds in advance!). Repeat until dough is used up, your muffin wells are lined with the bottom crust, and your top crust rounds are chilling in the refrigerator.
Make filling and pies
- Finally, the fun part!
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Set out top crust rounds so they become pliable. In a bowl, combine the apples, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, chips, nuts, flour, and bourbon. Let stand for 15 minutes (or freeze until ready to use). Distribute filling evenly amongst bottom crusts, pressing it down and piling it as high as it will go, without covering the top edge of the bottom crust. Use your pinky to dab water all over the visible edge of the bottom crust, then cover with top crust round and press edges together firmly. The water will help seal the crust during baking. Carefully (without bumping the top crust) pop the pan into the freezer or fridge for a few minutes.
- Brush top crusts lightly with water, sprinkle generously with sugar, then use a clean razor blade or sharp paring knife to cut three slits in each top crust, making sure to pierce all the way through. Place muffin tin on a baking sheet and set the timer for 45 minutes. Rotate the pan front to back halfway through baking. The pies may ooze out the top and even the sides during baking. The pies are done when the crust is a very deep golden brown, indicating that it’s had time to bake all the way through.
- Cool the muffin tin on a wire rack for 5 to 10 minutes, then run a paring knife around the edge of each pie and pop it out to cool on the wire rack. Serve warm or room temperature. I found these to be just as tasty into the third day. To re-warm, wrap pies individually in foil and place in a 225 degree oven for about 20 minutes.
Adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s apple pielettes, in Baking Chez Moi.
To get closer to 12 pies, roll the dough a bit thinner, about 1/8″. It will be more sensitive to tearing, so if you’re new to dough, err on the thick side.
To avoid the air bubble between the apples and top crust after baking, you could substitute your favorite pre-cooked apple pie filling (with bourbon and butterscotch added, of course).
- Cook Time: 45 mins
- Category: Dessert
- Cuisine: American