If you’re craving the cozy, comforting flavors of fall and want to embark on a baking adventure that’s both delicious and approachable, you’re in for a treat! In this delightful blog, we’ll take you on a journey through the world of homemade mini apple pies with a twist – a sourdough crust that adds an extra layer of flavor and flakiness to your favorite dessert. Whether you’re a seasoned baker or a beginner looking to impress, this easy recipe will have you savoring the warm, cinnamon-infused aromas of autumn in no time. So, roll up your sleeves, preheat your oven, and let’s create these irresistible mini apple pies that are perfect for sharing or indulging in all by yourself.
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Choosing the Right Apples
Before we dive into preparing the sourdough pie crust, let’s take a moment to talk about the key ingredient that will make or break your mini apple pies – the apples. Choosing the best apples is crucial for achieving that perfect balance of sweetness and tartness, resulting in a pie filling that will make your taste buds sing.
When it comes to selecting apples for your mini apple pies, it’s important to consider their texture and flavor. You want apples that will hold their shape during baking, so they don’t turn into mush inside your pie. Look for firm and crisp apples that have a balance of sweetness and tartness. These qualities will ensure a delicious filling that complements the flaky sourdough crust.
Some apple varieties that work well for baking include Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, Jonathan, Rome Beauty and gala apples. Granny Smith apples are known for their tartness, which adds a nice contrast to the sweetness of the pie. Honeycrisp apples have a balanced flavor and a satisfying crunch, making them a popular choice for baking. Jonathan apples are slightly tart and hold their shape well when cooked, while Rome Beauty apples have a mild sweetness that pairs well with the sourdough crust.
Preparing the Sourdough Pie Crust Dough
To start, gather all the necessary ingredients for the sourdough pie crust. You will need 2 cups of all-purpose flour, ½ teaspoon of salt, 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar, 2 sticks of chilled unsalted butter (cut into small cubes), and 1 cup of sourdough starter. Having everything measured and ready to go will make the process much smoother. If you prefer not to make the pie crust, store-bought pie crust works just as well!
Mixing Dry Ingredients
In a large mixing bowl or food processor, whisk together the flour, salt, and sugar. This will ensure that these dry ingredients are evenly distributed throughout the dough. Adding a touch of sweetness with sugar will balance out the tangy sourdough flavor, taking your mini apple pies to the next level of deliciousness.
Now, it’s time to incorporate the chilled butter into the dry mixture. Using a pastry cutter or your fingers, gently work the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs. This step is crucial for achieving a flaky and tender crust. The cold butter creates little pockets of steam during baking, resulting in a light and airy texture that will make you swoon. If you have a food processor, I suggest using it as it makes this process SO MUCH EASIER.
Incorporating Sourdough Starter
Once the butter is well incorporated, it’s time to add the sourdough starter. This will bring in a subtle tanginess and enhance the overall depth of flavor. Mix the sourdough starter into the dough, ensuring it is evenly distributed. The starter will not only add flavor but also contribute to the tenderness of the crust.
Fermenting the Dough
Once the dough starts to hold together, cover your bowl and allow it to ferment at room temperature for 8-12 hours. After fermentation, place the dough in the refrigerator until it has chilled. This could take up to 2 hours. Once the dough is completely chilled, it is ready to make mini pies!
Creating the Apple Pie Filling
To whip up the delectable filling for your mini apple pies, start off by gently melting 4 tablespoons of butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Next, grab 4-5 apples and peel and core them. Now, introduce 1/3 cup of sugar into the melted butter. You can roll with classic white sugar or go the extra mile for a caramel kick with some brown sugar! Don’t forget to sprinkle in 1 teaspoon of cinnamon for that irresistible aroma, and give it all a good mix. Now, place the apple slices into the buttery mixture and let them cook for 5-10 minutes. The goal is to have tender apples that retain their shape, but not mushy. While those apples work their magic, grab a small cup and blend 1 tablespoon of arrowroot or cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of water. Once your apples have simmered down, pour this mixture into your pie filling, stirring to reach that perfect thickness.
Assembling and Baking the Mini Apple Pies
To begin, preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C) and gather all the necessary equipment: the chilled sourdough pie crust, the apple filling, a rolling pin, a round cookie cutter or glass, a mini muffin tin, and a pastry brush.
Take the chilled pie dough out of the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature for a few minutes to make it more pliable. Place your dough on a lightly floured surface and use a floured rolling pin to roll out the dough to about 1/8 inch thick. Flour a couple of muffin tins and using a round cookie cutter or glass with a diameter slightly larger than the muffin tin cups, cut out circles from the rolled dough. This pie crust recipe created enough dough for me to make 12 mini apple pies.
Carefully press each dough circle into the greased cups of the mini muffin tin, gently shaping them to fit snugly. Ensure that the dough covers the bottom and sides of each cup, leaving a small overhang for the pie crust edges. Spoon the prepared apple mixture into each dough-lined cup, filling them almost to the top. Be sure not to overfill as the filling may leak out during baking.
Topping for the Mini Apple Pies
Once all the cups are filled, you can neatly fold over the excess dough to form the pie crust edges, giving each mini pie a charming rustic look. You also have the option of creating a fun design with excess dough. I prefer to top mine with a sugar crumble. I pop 6 tablespoons of butter, 2/3 cup of sugar and 2/3 cup of flour in the food processor and blend until the mixture is crumbly. Then cover the entire top of each pie with this mixture for a sweet crunchy texture.
Baking the Mini Pies
Before popping the little pies into the oven, lightly brush the exposed edges of the pie with egg wash to give them a beautiful golden-brown finish during baking. This step adds a lovely touch of shine and enhances the overall aesthetic appeal.
Place the muffin tin on the middle rack of the preheated oven. Bake for approximately 20 to 25 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the apple filling is bubbling.
Once baked to perfection, remove the mini apple pies from the oven and allow them to cool in the muffin tin for a few minutes. This will help them set and make it easier to remove them without any mishaps. Gently transfer the pies to a wire rack to cool completely before serving.
Serving the Mini Apple Pies
One of the best parts about making mini apple pies is enjoying them fresh out of the oven. The warm, flaky crust and gooey apple filling create a tantalizing aroma that will have your guests eagerly awaiting their first bite. To elevate your mini apple pies, consider serving them with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. These additions bring a cool, creamy aspect to the warm spices and enhance the overall experience with a rich and indulgent touch.
When it comes to serving your mini apple pies, presentation is key. Arrange them on a platter or individual dessert plates, and perhaps dust them with a sprinkle of cinnamon or powdered sugar for an extra touch of elegance. You might even consider drizzling some warm caramel sauce over the top, creating a luscious caramel apple dessert that will be hard to resist.
Storing Leftover Pies
If you find yourself with leftover mini apple pies, fear not! These treats can be easily stored to enjoy later. Allow them to cool completely before transferring them to an airtight container or wrapping them tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate the pies to maintain their freshness and extend their shelf life. Simply reheat them in the oven at a low temperature for a few minutes until they are warmed through. This will restore their flaky crust and reinvigorate the flavors.
Mini Apple Pies
- 1 Food Processor Optional
- 1 Saucepan
- 1 muffin tin
For the Pie Crust
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 2 sticks of butter
- 1 cup sourdough starter
For the Apple Pie Filling
- 4 medium apples
- 4 tbsp butter
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tbsp arrowroot or cornstarch
- 2 tbsp water
For the Sugar Crumble
- 6 tbsp butter
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 2/3 cup flour
Making the Pie Dough
- In a large mixing bowl or food processor, mix together the dry ingredients.
- Cut the butter into chunks and add to your food processor and blend until you have coarse crumbs. Or use a pastry to accomplish this without a food processor.
- Place your mixture in a large bowl and mix in your sourdough starter. I use my hands for this and make sure it is well incorporated.
- Once the dough starts to hold together, coveryour bowl and allow it to ferment at room temperature for 8-12 hours.
- After fermentation, place the dough in therefrigerator until it has chilled. This could take up to 2 hours.
For the Pie Filling
- Peel, core and thinly slice 4-5 medium apples.
- Slowly melt the butter in a medium saucepan.
- Add sugar and cinnamon to butter.
- Once the butter is melted add apple slices.
- Cook the apples until they are soft but not mushy.
- While the apples are cooking, mix your cornstarch and water in a separate cup.
- Once apples have finished cooking, add cornstarch mixture to the pie filling and stir until thickened.
Sugar Crumble Topping
- Blend butter, sugar and flour in a food processor until crumble consistency is reached.
Assembling and Baking the Pies
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Take the chilled pie dough out of the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature for a few minutes to make it more pliable.
- Place your dough on a lightly floured surfaceand use a floured rolling pin to roll out the dough to about 1/8 inchthick.
- Flour a couple of muffin tins and using a round cookie cutter or glass with a diameter slightly larger than the muffin tin cups, cut out circles from the rolled dough.
- Carefully press each dough circle into the greased cups of the mini muffin tin, gently shaping them to fit snugly.
- Spoon the prepared apple mixture into each dough-lined cup, filling them almost to the top. Be sure not to overfill as the filling may leak out during baking.
- Once all the cups are filled, you can neatly fold over the excess dough to form the pie crust OR cover each pie with the sugar crumble.
- Lightly brush the exposed edges of the pie with egg wash.
- Bake for approximately 20 to 25 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the apple filling is bubbling.
- Allow them to cool a few minutes before serving.