Speaking of apples… We had two bags from apple picking day, plus a half a bag of apples I'd bought the week before and still hadn't finished up. So something had to be done because the fruit flies (already populating our house because of enticing aromas of sourdough starter and ripening tomatoes) were just waiting for the apples to bruise.
I kept intending to make a pie, but the days filled up and I kept putting it off. And then Alex was invited to sleep over his friend Jack's house (Alex's first sleepover – he's been looking forward to this since the summer when the subject first came up) and we were all invited to dinner as well. I asked if I could bring something and was asked to bring dessert. Aha. Time to make pie.
Well, I already had dough made (use whatever pie crust recipe you like – I used Dorie Greenspan's "Good for Almost Everything Pie Dough"), so all I had to do was peel and chop apples. And that's where things changed course – I started peeling the apples from the previous week's apple picking trip, and though they were crisp and tasty and all, they were – a lot of them – in various stages of inner decay. Little bits of brown, or big mushy bits of brown. Each apple was different. Which made slicing them uniformly impossible. So I just cut them into small chunks, about a half inch rough dice, and tossed them in lemon juice. It took a while. Sometimes I'd peel a perfectly nice looking apple, and the flesh just beneath the skin would look great too, and then I'd clice the apple in half and the whole inside was brown and icky. It was quite the adventure.
And, since I knew my yield wasn't going to be enough for a full-sized pie, I decided to make a bunch of mini pies in muffin tins. I rolled out the dough and used round cookie cutters to cut out a dozen 4" circles and a dozen 3" circles. I used the 4" ones to line the muffin tins, and then put the tin and the plate of smaller dough circles in the fridge to stay cold. And I preheated the oven to 400 degrees F.
Right about then, Julia decided to help.
She's learned the routine – she has to get an elastic thing for her hair so I can put it in a ponytail, and she has to wash her hands – with soap, Julia – and she has to be clothed, because odds are I'll take pictures. So she showed up presentable.
She saw the extra pie dough and wanted to "make bread," so I gave her a few tools and let her play.
Once I'd peeled and cut up enough safe-to-eat parts of apple, I mixed them all together with lemon juice, a tiny bit of sugar, and a liberal amount of cinnamon. Then I filled the muffin tins….
And then I put the 3" dough circles on top and pressed the edges together as best I could to seal them.
I cut little slits in the tops and brushed them all with an egg wash…
Then I put the muffin tin (on a baking sheet, in case there was any bubbling over) into the oven
and baked them for around half an hour. (Sorry – I didn't write it down – basically you want to bake them until the tops are golden brown and there's steam coming out of the little slits.)
They smelled really, really good, by the way.
I let them sit briefly (naturally I was doing all this right before we had to leave the house) and then I
dug them out of the muffin tin gently slid a knife around each mini pie between the crust and the muffin tin and popped them out. Or tried to. They came out easily enough – no sticking – but in some cases the crust was on the thin side and when I tried to pop them out with the knife, I ended up poking through the crust. Also – and this is something I need to remember for next time - the bottom crusts should have been bigger. As they were, some didn't completely adhere to the top crusts, and so when I was working on loosening them and popping them out, the top crusts would just come right off. Not the worst thing in the world, but certainly a flaw I need to fix next time around.
Most of them came out fine, however.
And they were definitaly cute.
Tasted good, too.
Because, of course, solely for the photographic purposes of this blog, I had to sample one.
You know…just so I could take this picture.
I hope you appreciate my sacrifice.