Apple Celebration, Bite Sized Apple Pies
My baby is in Kindergarten. Same teacher, each of the older kids had. Life is good! Today is we had the Apple Celebration. They’ve been studying apples, Johnny Appleseed and other apple related topics and this Celebration brings them all together. The kids get to taste different apples and apples prepared in different ways during their celebration … dried apple chips, apple pie, apple crisp, sliced apples, apple muffins, applesauce. It’s a lot of fun.
This week I’ve been playing with apple pie recipes trying to figure out the best way to make apple pie for 22. The thought of an apple pie getting cut up into 22 slices made me cringe. What I really wanted were little kid sized mini apple pies. How cute would that be? Enough for a taste, but not too much waste ; a little crust, a little baked apples. YUM!
I used a basic Crisco pie crust recipe and rolled it as thin as I could. Then I went in search of a good size circle that would fit inside my muffin in. Surely I could make pies in my muffin tin? My mini cereal bowls from IKEA – ~4″ in diameter – worked perfectly. I sprayed my pan really well, and pressed the pie dough into each muffin well. Lightly crimping the edges, pulling them up above the edge of the pan. I then filled the pie crust cups with diced apples – any favorite apple pie filling recipe will work. One word of caution, resist the urge to pour in all those delicious juices left in the bottom of the apple bowl into the crust cups. There isn’t much room in these cups and if the syrup bubbles over and falls down between the crust and the pan … well let’s just say it makes getting them out of the pan a bear!
Rather than a full top crust – crust is not my favorite part of pie – I topped each with a thin star of pie dough. Brushed them with milk and sprinkled it with large sugar crystals. So beautiful!
They turned out so well and would be perfect for Thanksgiving and holiday entertaining. You also have to work fast with these puppies! As soon as they come out of the oven, run a knife around the edges and start gently and carefully lifting them out of the pan. Let them cool on a wire rack, not in the pan. Otherwise the sugar and apple juices that bubbled over or seeped through a weak spot in the crust will cement that little pie in the pan with an iron grip.
By the way, the apple celebration was lots of fun. The kids had a great time, and some even ate the little apple pies! It was WAY too much work for Kindergartners, and LOTS went straight in the trash <kill me now!>. They were still too big. I had planned to take a knife with me to cut them in half, but forgot, so each kid got a whole little pie – way too much food for a taste, especially if they aren’t willing to try it. Anyway it was a good idea in theory, but in practice, it still needs some tweaking.
You really can adapt any apple pie recipe to this method of baking. The cups took about 20 minutes to bake, but play around with the baking time since every recipe and oven is so different.