Chew This! Mini Baked Apple Pies

Mini Baked Apple Pies

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
Blaise Doubman

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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Apple Pie Bars

It seems that every once in awhile there is a “food trend” that really sweeps the food world and just so happens, this time, it is one I am interested in – apple pie bars! I developed a recipe awhile back for pecan pie bars and they were a hit, so I figured, why not dabble in the apple pie bar world? I love my apple pies with streusel on the top, so naturally my apple pie bars have a lot of streusel! These are best made the night before serving because they need to be chilled in the refrigerator for several hours. Use whatever apple variety you wish but, for these, I did Macintosh. They are flavorful, firm and crisp.

Apple Pie Bars

For the crust…
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup white granulated sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup white all-purpose flour

For the apple pie filling…
2 large apples, peeled, cored and sliced thin
2 tablespoons white all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons white granulated sugar
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt

For the topping…
1/2 cup quick cooking oats
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup white all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Start by preheating your oven to 300 degrees F. Line a 9×9-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray.

Make the crust. In a large bowl combine the melted unsalted butter, white granulated sugar, pure vanilla extract and salt. Combine well. Add in the white all-purpose flour and stir until a dough forms. Press the dough evenly into the prepared baking pan and bake in preheated oven for 18 minutes.

Remove and allow to cool slightly.

Make the filling by combining the prepared apples, white all-purpose flour, white granulated sugar, light brown sugar, ground cinnamon and salt. Sit aside for a few minutes while you prepare the topping.

To make the topping, combine the quick oats, light brown sugar, ground cinnamon and white all-purpose flour. Cut the cold butter into cubes and add to the mixture. Using clean hands, combine together until the mixture resembles rocky sand.

Place the apple pie mixture evenly into the prepared crust. Try to place the apples into a single layer. This will take a little time but can easily be accomplished.

Next, top evenly with the topping mixture. Drizzle over the melted butter.

Place in preheated oven for 35 minutes. Remove and allow to cool at room temperature. Once cool, cover with aluminum foil and refrigerate for at least 6 hours. When ready to serve, lift bars out of the pan using the aluminum foil and cut.

Enjoy!

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Chew This! Cinnamon Roll Apple Pie

Happy “Chew This!” Sunday! As many of you know, I write a food column for “The Courier-Times” on the first and third Sundays of each month called “Chew This!” I absolutely love it and love sharing my family recipes, stories and memories. If you are in the Henry County, Indiana area – pick up a copy of the newspaper today and let me know what you think! If you are not, but would still like to take a look, sign up for an online subscription at http://thecouriertimes.com Need help with the online signing up!? Write to me and I will be happy to help! blaisethebaker@gmail.com

My newest column is all about “Cinnamon Roll Apple Pie” and it is FABULOUS! It was a joy and nothing short of pure pleasure to develop this recipe! I must have made this countless times and my recipe testers were always happy to try a sample. This pie uses cinnamon rolls straight from the refrigerated section and even utilizes the frosting that comes with each! No need to make a pie crust, the cinnamon rolls are the bottom AND top crust! Fabulous, right!? The cinnamon and maple filled apple mixture pairs perfectly with the cinnamon rolls and warm vanilla frosting. I am highly recommending you serve this at your Thanksgiving table! People will beg for the recipe and countless memories will be made! This is so simple, why not serve two?

Also my “Ask and Answer” feature contains my recipe for “Drop Biscuits”! These are so simple and so easy AND can be quickly transformed into dumplings for chicken and dumplings, beef and dumplings, turkey and dumplings, in NO TIME flat!

Pick up a copy of “The Courier-Times” TODAY and let me know what you think!


Cinnamon Roll Apple Pie

The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Sunday, November 5th 2017 edition. By: Blaise Doubman 

A New Twist on a Classic Pie
Blaise Doubman

It is so hard to believe that Thanksgiving will be here in just a couple of short weeks! 2017 has really flown by for me, how about for you? I love this time of year when there is a cold snap in the air, people start preparing for the Holidays and the long winter months ahead. There is something really comforting and soothing to me about the types of food that is prepared around this time of year too, such as warm bowls of soup, fresh baked breads, roasted vegetables, casserole dishes, homemade pies and cinnamon coffee. The time of year may be cold outside but I also find it warm inside with family and friends, sharing memories, good times and good foods. I love looking back over my childhood Holidays and remembering who brought what to the dinner table and who shared what recipe with me from their kitchens.

One of my favorite late Fall seasonal desserts would have to be apple pie. I have made apple pie in all different forms, sizes, flavors and textures. I have made hand held mini apple pies, apple slab pies, deep dish apple pies, with cornflakes sprinkled along the bottom to prevent a soggy pie and apple pies on a stick! My latest favorite version though would have to be my “Cinnamon Roll Apple Pie”! There is nothing to making the crust to this because the bottom and top crust is refrigerated cinnamon rolls! How easy is that? The filling is packed with flavor and the icing on the cake? Or pie in this case, is the icing or the frosting that comes with the cinnamon rolls! You use the already made frosting to frost the pie! It really is as good as it sounds! Bring this to your Thanksgiving table and people will be begging for more!

Cinnamon Roll Apple Pie

I have made this pie using Granny Smith apples as well as McIntosh. I find that the type of apple used in this pie is up to the person who will be eating it. Most all apple pie recipes call for Granny Smith apples but I have found during my experimentation that several diverse types of apples can be used in baking perfectly fine and the results are delicious. I do find that the McIntosh apples bring out more sweetness to the pie, while Granny Smith brings out a certain tartness that pairs nicely with the ground cinnamon. Experiment and even use a combination of apples!

6 Granny Smith apples, cored, peeled and sliced thin
2 refrigerated cans regular size cinnamon rolls
¼ cup white granulated sugar
¼ cup light brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoons corn starch
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F. Spray your pie dish with non-stick cooking spray. This recipe was developed using a 9-inch pie dish but will work with an 8-inch. This recipe will also work using a deep-dish pie dish, just adjust the cinnamon roll slices accordingly.

In a large bowl combine the prepared apples with the white granulated sugar, light brown sugar, corn starch, maple syrup, ground cinnamon and salt. Stir to combine.

Open both cans of refrigerated cinnamon rolls and cut each roll in half.

On a lightly floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin, roll out each cinnamon roll half until slightly thicker than a sheet of paper. Place a layer of the flattened cinnamon roll halves along the inside of the prepared pie dish, flattening them together to create a bottom crust.

Pour in the apple mixture and spread evenly.

Place the remainder of the flattened cinnamon roll halves along the top, crimping and closing off any holes that may appear, to create a top crust.

Cover with aluminum foil and place in preheated oven for 40 minutes.

Carefully remove the aluminum foil and baking another 7 minutes.

Remove the pie from the oven and while still warm, frost the top with the frosting containers that come with each refrigerated cinnamon roll tube. Spread evenly.

Serve warm and alongside vanilla bean ice cream.

Ask and Answer: Janet Ward, a member of my Blaise the Baker Facebook community, wanted to know where she could find my recipe for “Drop Biscuits”. I am sharing that recipe here for her and for all of you. Start by preheating your oven to 400 degrees F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. In a bowl combine 1 ½ cups white all-purpose flour with 2 teaspoons baking powder, pinch of salt and 1 stick (4 oz) cubed unsalted butter until the mixture resembles coarse pebbles. Add in ¾ cup whole milk and stir gently until combined. Drop the dough in ¼ cup measurements all along the prepared baking sheets. Bake, one sheet at a time, in preheated oven for 18 minutes or until golden brown. This recipe can also be used in making “Drop Dumplings” – just drop the dough by tablespoon size amounts into boiling chicken stock and cook until dumplings are floating and still tender in the middle.

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Chew This! Comedy of Errors Apple Pie

So excited to share today’s “CHEW THIS” column feature for “The Courier-Times”…

Comedy of Errors Apple Pie Chew This Blaise Doubman

Comedy of Errors Apple Pie

The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Sunday, January 18th 2015 edition. By: Blaise Doubman 

Recipe testing leads to best apple pie ever!
Blaise Doubman

I was testing yet another recipe with my Grandma Barbra for my upcoming cookbook a few days ago and what started out as a disaster – let to the best apple pie ever! I had been experimenting for quite some time with an apple pie recipe that I created about three months ago. I let it sit on the backburner for quite awhile before finally I decided I was going to work on it until I got it right. Well, this recipe has taken quite the journey, but I’m thrilled to be finally sharing it with you in its finished glory. The finished title “Comedy of Errors Apple Pie” comes directly from its creation – let me explain…

My Grandma Barbra and I had quite the experience with testing this recipe. For starters, we didn’t use a deep dish pie plate – we used one that was regular size. Note – please use a deep dish pie plate when making this recipe. About 15 minutes into the cooking time, we noticed smoke coming from the oven door. We rushed over and opened the door. The pie had leaked all over the oven floor, out the bottom hinge in the door, and all over the floor. Talk about a mess… Clean up followed, followed by some tears and then finally came laughter. (It was only after the bucket with water and floor cleaner was spilled that laughter soon followed. We figured then we might as well laugh about the situation.) We tried again, adjustments were made, and I remember telling my Grandma “What if this is the best apple pie we have ever had?” and we laughed. Guess what? It was…

Comedy of Errors Apple Pie

As I mentioned before, this really needs to be made in a deep dish apple pie dish to avoid overflow in the oven. The lemon really brightens the flavors of the apples and the extra amount of sugar combined with the tartness of the Granny Smith apple make for a delectable combination. The “secret ingredient” to this recipe is the cornflakes that are sprinkled in the bottom of the crust before adding the filling. It helps absorb some of the juice – making sure the bottom crust doesn’t get soggy. Be sure to use real maple syrup and not pancake syrup – it will make a difference. This pie is delicious eaten alone, but feel free to serve alongside some vanilla ice cream. Keep leftovers at room temperature for up to three days.

For the apple filling…

5 Granny Smith apples, cored and sliced thin
1 ½ cups white granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt
Juice from 1 lemon
2 tablespoons corn starch
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup

For the pie crust…

2 cups white all-purpose flour
¾ cup shortening
1/3 cup ice water
1 teaspoon salt

½ cup cornflakes
4 tablespoons butter

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F.

In a medium sized pot over low heat, simmer the apples, white granulated sugar, cinnamon, salt, lemon juice, corn starch and maple syrup for 15 minutes stirring occasionally.

In the meantime, make the pastry by combining the all-purpose flour, shortening and salt in a large bowl. Use a pastry cutter or a fork to combine until the mixture is the size of small peas. Next, add the ice water in and continue combining until dough becomes a soft ball – being careful not to over mix the dough.

Divide the dough into two equal balls and roll out each ball until its circumference is about an inch bigger (all the way around) than your pie plate.

Place one rolled out pasty into your pie dish. (The easiest way of doing this is to gently “wrap” your dough around your rolling pin – and then “unroll” it into your dish).

Sprinkle the cornflakes evenly into the crust before pouring in the apple mixture.

Dot the top of the apple mixture with the butter.

Next, take the other rolled out pastry and push the end of a spoon all over the top crust to help “vent” the pie. Place the pastry on top of the pie, and press lightly around the sides to help seal the top and bottom pastries together.

Finish by crimping the edges.

Take one egg and beat it with about 1 tablespoon of water to create an “egg wash”. Brush this, lightly, on top of the pie, (don’t use the whole amount of egg wash) and then sprinkle about a tablespoon of white granulated sugar evenly all over the top.

Place in preheated oven for one hour. Allow to cool before serving.

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