June marks my boyo's birthday, and there's nothing he likes more than apple pie. He's a pie kinda guy. -snerks- Ok, so, apple pie was the way to go, but I didn't want to make one big one, as we'd then have it sitting around the house to tempt us later (we're trying to cut back on the quantity of sweets around here). Since slices of pie are not at all portable, I decided to send his work pie miniatures.
A note for those of you admiring the lattice: I am a dork. For each of the 50+ pies I made that day, I hand wove the individual lattices. Had I been smart I would have made only one or two large lattices, then cut them up into the sized sections that I needed. Hey, weave and learn, yes?
This post also marks a momentous occasion: the retirement of my camera. It was old and tired, as evidenced by the 5 seconds it would need to take a picture (hold still... hold still... keep holding still... oops, I twitched, shot taken!). The decision to get a new one was brought about by another momentous occasion: me and the boyo's very first vacation together! We've gone on family visits before, but as enjoyable as they are there's always a certain level of stress involved. Plus, this past year we were moving at the same time, so things were at a new level of crazy.
Now that we're settled in and life is relatively calm, we are taking a cruise to Alaska! I'm excited to see the glaciers and (hopefully) wildlife, but you guys know me. I'll be taking pictures of the food. But, under the guise of admiring wildlife, we decided to purchase a new camera. The Canon PowerShot A590 IS slices, dices, makes chili and fries! ... well, ok, not those four. But so far it takes astoundingly beautiful and easy shots. I'm reading up on the manual so I won't have to plead with the eagles to hold still while I figure out which setting to use, but once I've got it sorted, look out Alaska!
So, I'll be gone for the next week. But when I return, expect a deluge of pictures and lots and lots of new oh-my-god-I-gotta-makes.
Mini Apple Pies
Dough (adapted from Simply Recipes):
* 1 1/2 c all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
* 16 Tbsp (2 stick) unsalted butter, very-cold, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
* 1 tsp salt
* 1 tsp sugar (increase to 3 tsp if for a sweet recipe)
* 4 to 8 Tbsp ice water, very cold
Start by cutting the sticks of butter into 1/2-inch cubes and placing in the freezer for at least 15 minutes (preferably longer) so that they become thoroughly chilled.
In a food processor, combine flour, salt, and sugar, pulse to mix. Add butter and pulse 6 to 8 times, until mixture resembles coarse meal, with pea size pieces of butter. Add water 1 Tablespoon at a time, pulsing until mixture just begins to clump together. If you pinch some of the crumbly dough and it holds together, it's ready, if not, add a little more water and pulse again.
Remove dough from machine and place on a clean surface. Carefully shape into two discs. Do not over-knead the dough! You should still be able to see little bits of butter in the dough. These bits of butter are what will allow the result crust to be flaky. Sprinkle the discs with a little flour on all sides. Wrap the discs in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour.
* 8-9 med granny smith apples
* 1 tsp lemon juice
* 3/4 c sugar
* 1/3 c flour
* 1 tsp nutmeg
* 1 tsp cinnamon
* 1/2 tsp mace
* dash of salt
* 3-4 tbsp butter
Peel, core and dice the apples to 1/2" cubes. Sprinkle with the lemon juice and toss. In a separate bowl, combine the sugar, flour, and spices. Sprinkle over the apples and gently stir to evenly coat.
* 1 egg, beaten
* turbinado sugar (optional)
Preheat oven to 350F.
Remove both crust disk from the refrigerator. Let sit at room temperature for 5-10 minutes. Sprinkle some flour on top of one of the disks. Roll out with a rolling pin on a lightly floured surface to a 12 inch circle; about 1/8 of an inch thick. As you roll out the dough, use a metal spatula to check if the dough is sticking to the surface below. Add a few sprinkles of flour if necessary to keep the dough from sticking.
Cut out circles ~2x the size of your pan (I used a muffin tin; you don't need to grease it). Gently pat the rounds into the bottoms of the muffin tin, leaving the overhang (you may to need to do alternating cups first, then fill the other cups after the first round is finished, for room). Keep any scraps in the refrigerator.
Fill the crusts with the apples, until the top of the mound is ~1/2" over the crust. Dot with the butter. Brush the crust overhang with the beaten egg.
For lattice, roll out the second disk and cut into 1/3" strips. Weave the strips into one large lattice then cut off sections for each mini pie (you want the weave to be tight otherwise a lot of the moisture from the pie will escape). Carefully transfer the lattices to the muffin pan and pinch with the bottom crust to seal. Trim the excess, brush the remaining egg on top, and sprinkle with turbinado sugar.
Bake for 30-40 minutes, rotating in the middle. You want the crusts to be flaky-golden, not pale, otherwise the bottom crust won't be cooked all the way. Check a couple times during baking and add time as you feel is necessary.