These mini Apple Pies with Donut Crumb are a mixture of two apple classics and a coffee break staple. Apple pie meets apple crisp meets cinnamon donut. The mini pie cups are filled with sweet apple pie filling and topped with a crumbled mixture of donut and butter, then baked to a sweet treat perfection.
Sat on the beach watching the ocean; way in the horizon the midnight blue water swells up and down creating an ombre effect with the turquoise shoreline. The storm from last night has left the ocean swirling but the bright autumn sun has burnt away any lasting effects of the thunderous weather.
Sat on a picnic rug with your best friend, putting your worlds to right over mugs of hot tea and homemade mini apple pies. The comforting taste of cinnamon, the buttery crust and the rich apple filling, and the surprising crunch of the donut crumb, just right for a morning sat at the beach. Slowly you catch up, realising that life has been too hectic recently and you have forgotten to take time out to just be there. Life isn't going her way, there are hurdles she really wasn't expecting and emotional decisions ahead.
She smiles the quirky smile you remember from school, you smile, crack a joke back and the silent beach is suddenly filled with the low harmony of old friends laughing. A joke that can only be shared after 20 years of friendship. You slip your hand over hers and remind her you are always there, that she is beautiful, wonderful and strong, she starts to question it. You are having none of it and the words are silenced as you push an apple pie into her mouth.
Sometimes a party isn't a crowded room, it is just two friends sat on a beach being there for each other in the crazy path of life.
Is it easy to make my own apple pie filling?
It sure is! And if you are the only one home, once the pan has cooled you can use a slice of bread and mop up all the bits of sauce that get left in the pan. (FACT!)
To make apple pie filling you will need apple, sugar and cornstarch. I like to add cinnamon to mine. It tastes like the comfort of home, but ginger is a great alternative. The choice of sugar makes a difference to the taste and colour, but if all you have in the cupboard is regular white sugar, then your pie filling will still be delicious. For the sweet caramelly taste that I love I use a mixture of light brown sugar and regular white sugar.
Do I need to peel the apples for my pie filling?
Okay, so this really is personal preference. Peeled apples break down a little more. Do you want the apples to melt into the sauce or do you want the very distinctive cubes of apple in your pie?
If you are making your own pie filling for the first time, I would say peel them. It will end up far similar to the cans of pie filling you buy in store.
I use a machine to core, peel and slice my apples (my kids call it the apple slinky machine) but if you are doing it by hand, peel the apple first, cut it in half and then into quarters and cut the core away from each quarter. After this you can slice or chunk your apple quarters ready for the pie.
If you aren't ready to make the pie, be sure to dress the apple slices with lemon juice, this will stop them going brown whilst you prep everything else. The recipe needs the lemon juice anyway so it works well at this stage. Alternatively you can submerge the apple slices in cold water. Just pat them dry before you continue with the sauce or you will find your filling a little wet.
You want the sauce to be thick, it should coat the apples and very gently flow when you pull a spoon through it.
Are you a crust lover? Do you savour the crust? Or for you is a pie all about the filling?
I am a mixture, with a meat pie I like to eat some crust together with the filling but save the lid as a lone treat. But when it comes to sweet pies, I am all about the filling.
How do I make the mini pie crust?
The best way to make mini pies is to use a large pre-rolled pie crust (shortcrust for UK and AUS readers) and use a cookie cutter to cut out individual pies. If I am clever I can get 6 mini pie crusts out of a sheet. Meaning that is 12 mini pies out of one box 😀
I use a 2 ½" (8cm) cookie cutter and that makes the perfect little mini pie size.
What is blind baking and do I need to blind bake these?
Blind baking is the process of covering your pie with parchment paper and filling it with something heavy like baking beans (I use dried chickpeas). You then bake this in the oven for 10 minutes, this stops the pastry from puffing up, meaning you can then remove the baking beans and the paper and just crisp up the cases.
When I am making a tart based around an egg filling (Like my smoked fish and corn tartlets) then I do tend to blind bake as the filling overflows easily and can make a mess, so you want the pies to be even when you fill them.
But for these mini apple pies I just bake them without the paper and baking beans, it saves time and also a few puffs here and there really won't matter. If you get any cups that puff up completely then just use a teaspoon to flatten the pastry. The first layer may crack, but the pie will still be perfect by the end.
Mini Apple Pies with Donut Crumb, homely, comforting and a delicious treat.
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Mini Apple Pies with Donut Crumb Topping
Apple Pie Filling
- 5 Granny Smith apples
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- ¾ cup boiling water
- ¼ cup light brown sugar
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 1 tablespoon water
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
For the Mini Pie Cases
- 2 sheets of pre-rolled pie crust /shortcrust pastry - defrosted if necessary
For the donut crumb
- 2 cinnamon donuts
- ¼ cup melted butter
- Pre-heat oven to 180ºC/355ºF.
To make the Apple Pie filling
- Peel, core and chop the apples into small pieces. Immediately toss the apples with the lemon juice and set aside.
- Pour the water into a medium saucepan then add the brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon and cornstarch slurry.
- Bring back to a boil and cook for 2 minutes stirring constantly.
- Add the apples and simmer for 10-15 minutes until the apples are tender but still holding their shape.
- Set the mixture aside to cool.
To make the bite bases
- Lightly flour a board and unroll your first sheet of pie crust.
- Use a 2 ½" (8cm) cookie cutter to cut out 6 disks. Repeat with the second sheet.
- Gently push the disks into a 12 hole muffin tin. The disks won't reach the top so don't worry.
- Use a fork to prick 3 sets of holes in the base of the cups.
- Bake for 10 minutes until lightly golden.
- Set aside until you need them.
To make the donut crumb.
- Lightly crumble the donuts up into a bowl. You want some to be a crumb and some to be small chunks.
- Pour over the melted butter and stir to combine.
To finish your Mini Apple Pies with Donut Crumb
- Spoon a heaped tablespoon of filling into each case and then top with a tablespoon of the crumbed donut.
- Press the donut crumb lightly down onto the apple and then bake for 10 minutes until golden and crisp.
Serve warm or room temp.
These will keep for 36 hours in an airtight container.
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