Thank you to all of those who pick up a copy of “The Courier-Times” on the first and third Sunday’s of each month to check out my newest “CHEW THIS!” column features and recipes. Really means a lot to me. I appreciate your support and dedication. My newest column, last Sunday, was a recipe for “Mini Baked Apple Pies”! When I tested these, my taste testers went crazy!
Highly recommend you try these…
The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Sunday, March 4th 2018 edition. By: Blaise Doubman
A Mini Twist on Apple Pie
Spring is just around the corner and with a new season, new recipes always enter my mind. Spring, to me, means not only warmer weather and flowers blooming, but also fresh fruits and garden planting season, lemonade and brisk evenings. I have been on a “pie quest” for several months now, trying to learn more about pies, their history, different crusts, fillings, new and delightful taste combinations, not to mention delightful recipe tests – and I have still a way to go, but continuous learning is the way of life. Take your basic apple pie for example. There are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of different ways that people make their apple pies! Some people add raisins to their filling, while others add a little blueberry or a twist of lemon. Some people pile their apples high and add maple syrup over the top before placing on the crust, while others cook down the apples until almost a thick glaze forms around the bottom and dots butter over the top before placing on the crust. And, let us take the crust for example! Do you make your crust with lard? Butter? Shortening? A combination? Do you add cheese? Mayonnaise? I am fascinated by this and why people use and add what they do.
When developing the recipe, I am sharing here today with all of you, I wanted something basic and simple, but something that was new yet familiar. You can, by all means, make your own pie crust for this recipe, but I wanted to make it easy. As Food Network star Nancy Fuller always says, “Scratch made is best, unless you are stressed”. And that is so true! Do not be intimidated in the kitchen by making your own pie crust and do not be ashamed of buying refrigerated pie crust! A shortcut is a shortcut and there is nothing wrong with wanting to save time! I wanted this recipe to make mini pies that were baked in the oven and not fried. You can fry them if you wish. I also wanted to create a glaze for them, but these are also delicious eaten plain. They are also delicious crumbled up on vanilla ice cream but that is another story. I love recipes that are familiar, foolproof, delicious and flavorful and I hope you will enjoy these mini baked apple pies.
Mini Baked Apple Pies
These hand pies can be made with homemade dough rather than refrigerated dough, can be made with your favorite fruit filling and can be deep fried if desired. That is the beauty of this recipe, it is very versatile! The finished pies should be kept covered at room temperature and will last up to 3 days.
2 boxes refrigerated pie crust, at room temperature
1 can (21 oz) apple pie filling
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 cups confectioner’s sugar
¼ cup whole milk, plus 2 tablespoons
1 large egg white, lightly beaten
Start by preheating your oven to 425 degrees F.
Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a large bowl blend and mash the apple pie filling with a fork. Add in the ground cinnamon and pure vanilla extract, stirring to incorporate.
Unroll the pie crusts onto a lightly floured work surface. Using a cookie cutter, biscuit cutter or bottom of a narrow glass, cut out 6 circles from each pie crust. You should end up with 24 total circles and will have to work carefully in batches.
Place a heaping teaspoon of the apple mixture in the middle of each of the cut-out circles. Fold the circles over, crimping the sides tightly with a fork. Using the fork, poke the tops of each pie once to allow them to bake and steam evenly.
Brush the tops of each prepared pie with the large egg white. Place the pies onto the prepared baking sheets and bake, one sheet at a time, in preheated oven for 15 minutes. Once baked, remove from the oven and allow to cool only slightly before glazing.
In a large bowl whisk together, the confectioner’s sugar and whole milk to make the glaze. Drop the slightly warm pies into the large bowl of glaze and coat evenly. The easiest way to do this, is by using two forks and working carefully. Place the glazed pies onto the parchment lined baking sheets and allow to cool completely and allow the glaze to set up before serving and enjoying.
Ask and Answer: I posted a picture of some homemade croutons awhile back on my social media and several people wanted the recipe, so I thought I would share it here with everyone. The secret to good homemade croutons is in the kind of bread you use, and it may not be what you think! The secret? Hamburger buns! Take a pack of hamburger buns, cut into desired size and place on large baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper and choice of seasoning mix, if any. Toss together with clean hands. Bake in 425-degree oven until crisp, stirring every 5 minutes. Desired baking time, and crispness, is up to you. I bake mine about 20-25 minutes, stirring and flipping the croutons often. Serve in air-tight container for 3 days.
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