pi (pie) day appoaches: mini apple pies

mini apple pies

The weather was magical yesterday. It was almost 50 degrees. A lot of the residual snow/ice melted. Seriously, it was glorious.

And now winter storm “Vulcan” is a-coming. Mr. Vulcan is bringing 6-10 inches of snow in his suitcase. Obviously, he’s over packed. It’s just an overnight stay, after all.

Clearly, Mr. Vulcan is quite rude. So rude, in fact, that even the cat feels the need to throw some (sleepy) shade toward Mr. Vulcan.

elton the cat

But enough weather talk…let’s talk about better things. Like pie.

Let’s talk about pie!

Friday is Pie/Pi/π Day! But not “national pie day,” because that’s in January. Someone should tell the American Pie Council (yes, that is actually a thing) that it makes WAY more sense to have pie day on March 14. Instead, March 14 is actually “national potato chip day.” I mean, really? Who plans these food holidays?

mini apple pies

In case you’re confused on why March 14 should be Pi/Pie Day: π (Pi) = 3.14 (well, really, 3.1415926 plus a million other numbers I don’t remember, but for our purposes, we’ll stick to 3.14).

3.14 = 3/14. 3/14 = March 14th. Therefore, March 14 = Pi (or PIE!) Day.

It is a scientific fact that on Pi Day, you should eat pie. Any kind of pie is acceptable, but you just have to have pie. I’ve shared a few pie recipes with you so far (see also: Banana Cream Pie, Peach-Pear Pie, Cherry-Cream Cheese Hand Pies, Yogurt Pie, Salted Honey Pie), but you can never have too many pie recipes, so here’s another. And it’s crazy simple, which means you really don’t have much of an excuse to avoid Pi/Pie Day participation. Many places sell pie slices for cheap(er) on March 14th, just in case you don’t feel like baking. If you’re in Chicago, First Slice has good pie and usually has a pretty good deal going on that day too.

In case you were wondering, apple desserts go hand in hand with a cup of black coffee. Promise. Go eat some pie!

mini apple pie

Mini Apple Pies

crust recipe adapted from America’s Test Kitchen
filling recipe straight from my brain

for the crust:
1/3 cup ice water, plus extra as needed
3 TB sour cream
12 1/2 oz (2 1/2 cups) all purpose flour
2 TB sugar
1 tsp salt
16 TB (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cubed, frozen for 15 minutes

for the filling:
2-3 medium sized apples (I used a combo of Granny Smith and Golden Delicious)
2 TB all-purpose flour
2 TB lemon juice
1/4 cup sugar
1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
3/4 tsp cinnamon
a pinch of ground ginger

for assembly:
1 egg, beaten with 1 TB of water
a small bowl of water
turbinado sugar (optional)

Directions:

  1. Make your pie dough: Mix 1/3 cup of ice water and sour cream in a small bowl until combined. Set aside.
  2. In your food processor, combine flour, sugar, and salt. Pulse a few times.
  3. Scatter butter pieces over the top of the flour mixture, and pulse the mixture until the butter is the size of large peas (about 10 pulses).
  4. Pour half the sour cream/water mixture over the flour mixture, and pulse until incorporated. Repeat with remaining sour cream/water mixture.
  5. Pinch dough with your fingers — if it feels dry and doesn’t stick together, add a teaspoon or two of water, pulse again, and test again.
  6. Divide dough into two discs, wrap each in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  7. In the meantime, make your filling: Peel and dice apples, and place in a large bowl.
  8. In a small bowl, combine flour, sugar, and spices.
  9. Toss apples with lemon juice and flour/spice mixture until evenly coated. Let sit for at least 10 minutes before using.
  10. Assemble your pies:  Preheat your oven to 375F.
  11. Place one dough disc on a well-floured surface. Roll out dough to about 1/8″ thickness, making sure to periodically lift up your dough and add a bit of flour underneath so it doesn’t stick.
  12. Use a round cutter to cut circles out of dough. Mine was a 4″ cutter, but use what you prefer. If at any point your dough gets too soft to work with, stick it in the fridge for a few minutes and it will firm up.
  13. Place dough circles on a parchment-lined cookie sheet.
  14. Place a spoonful of apples on your dough circle…it will need to be slightly off-center so you can fold one side of the dough circle over. The amount of apples you use will vary depending on the size of your dough circles and how finely you’ve chopped your apples.
  15. Dip your finger in water, and trace along the outer edge of the dough circle. Then, fold one half of the dough circle over your filling. Crimp edges with a fork and/or your fingers to seal. I use my fingers first, and then go over with a fork to make them look prettier.
  16. Using a sharp knife, cut a small slit or two on the top of each pie.
  17. Brush each mini pie with egg wash, and sprinkle with turbinado sugar.
  18. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown.
  19. Let cool before eating…hot apple filling is basically lava.

mini apple pies

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