Mini Apple Pie

Though small in size, this little pie is full of flavor from the tart and sweet apples to the buttery crust.

If you’ve read my post on making pie crust, you’ll know how pies always been my biggest challenge.

After much trial and error (and I mean a lot of error), I think I finally have an easy recipe for delicious apple pie.

Here are some tips on making a great apple pie:

  • Pre-cook the filling. Not only does this save time, but it also prevents a soggy crust.

  • Blind Baking: In my pie crust post, I talk about the benefits of blind or partial baking the crust before filling it. This sets up the crust and helps it keep its shape. It also prevents a soggy bottom. Don’t worry, the crust will not get overcooked or burnt when doing this because it will be filled when going back into the oven.

  • Go easy on the sugar. Some apple pies are so sweet you can’t taste any apple flavor. I prefer the apples to shine, so I limit the amount of added sugar unless the apples are very tart. If your family prefers sweeter desserts or if you use all Granny Smith apples, increase the amount of sweetener.

  • Add lemon juice. Lemon juice prevents the apples from browning, adds a bright flavor, and brings out the natural sweetness of the apples.

This recipe makes a small pie so you will need a 6 inch pie pan. If you want to make a larger pie, use a standard 9 inch pie pan and double or triple the filling ingredients (you can always freeze the extra if there is too much).

The steps below may look labor intensive, but trust me they’re not! Especially since both the pie dough and the filling can be made in advance.

Prep the Pie Crust

If making the dough from scratch, follow my pie crust recipe instructions. I have instructions for both 6-inch and 9-inch pies.

If using store-bought dough make sure it’s kept chilled in the fridge until you’re ready to use it.

Divide chilled pie dough into two portions, one slightly larger than the other. The larger portion (about 2/3 of the dough) will be used for the bottom crust and the smaller portion (about 1/3) will be used for the top crust. Put the smaller portion back in the fridge.

Form the larger portion into a round disk. Lay it between 2 pieces of plastic wrap or wax paper, and roll out the crust making sure it’s 1-2 inches larger than the rim of the pie pan.

Picking it up with one of the plastic wraps, flip it over into the pan. Rather than stretching the dough to fit inside the pan, place the center of the dough in the pan and let the rest fall into place naturally.

Then gently press the dough into the corners of the pan. By pushing it down into the pan rather than stretching it out, the pie crust is less likely to shrink when baking.

Fix the edges to make them look neat as possible. You can also fold over the edges to create a rim. Cover with plastic wrap.

Next, reuse the 2 plastic wraps to roll out the top crust the same way ¾ to 1 inch larger than the rim of the pie pan.

Lay it over the bottom crust and cover with another piece of plastic wrap. Keep chilled until ready to bake.

The top crust will take the shape of the pan, and when it’s inverted later it can be used as a pie cap when placed over the apples.

Make the Apple Filling

For this mini pie, I only use 2 apples: Granny Smith for tartness, and honey crisp for sweetness.

Both apples are great for baking because they hold their shape without getting mushy.

Slice the apples into 1/4 inch thick wedges and mix in 2-4 tablespoons each of brown and white sugars and 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice. Let them sit for 10 minutes allowing them to release juice.

Then transfer the apples to a pan and cook them over medium heat for 10-15 minutes until they soften. Keep the juice from the apples in the bowl and add 1 tablespoon cornstarch to it, creating a slurry.

Add the cornstarch slurry to the pan and cook for another 2-3 minutes.

Finally, take off heat and add 1 teaspoon butter, dash vanilla, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and a dash of nutmeg.

Transfer the apple mixture to a glass container, cover, and keep chilled in the fridge for 1-3 days. I like to use a rubber spatula to scrape out every last bit of sauce.

Bake the Pie

When it’s time to bake, preheat your oven to 425°F for 10-15 minutes. Take out the bottom crust from the fridge, leaving the top crust inside so it stays chilled.

Place a piece parchment paper over the bottom crust and fill with pie weights or dry beans. Place in the lower-middle rack of the oven and bake for 20 minutes.

Take out the pan and prick the crust a few times with a fork so it doesn’t bubble up. Bake an additional 7-10 minutes until golden.

Let the crust cool for about 10 minutes, and then pack apple filling inside.

Cover with the top crust and tuck it underneath the rim of the already cooked bottom crust.

Crimp the edges with a fork or use your fingers and thumb to seal the two crusts tougher. Make slits and brush with egg.

Bake 40-50 minutes until bubbling inside and outside is golden brown.

Allow the pie to sit at room temperature before slicing so the filling has time to “set.” It can sit on the counter for several hours.

Then enjoy with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or dollop of whipped cream!

What My Kids Say:
10 year-old: “I like it because it’s sweet and I like pie.”
8 year-old: “The apples were delicious.”

Here are some other apple recipes to try

Nutty Apple Oat Bars
These chewy and soft bars are filled with apples, nuts, peanut butter, and oats making them the perfect breakfast or after-school snack!
Check out this recipe
Joby's Test Kitchen apple oat bars on cutting board
Oat Flour Crepes with Walnut and Date Filling, and Sautéed Apples
Fluffy oat crepes filled with walnuts and dates, and then topped with sautéed apples.
Check out this recipe
Joby's Test Kitchen oat flour crepes on a plate with apples, walnuts and dates filling, and sour cream.


Mini apple pie on cutting board.

Mini Apple Pie

Joby’s Test Kitchen
This small pie is full of big flavor with mildly sweet and tart apples and a buttery crust.
Prep Time 55 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 35 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 4

Ingredients
  

  • 1 premade or store-bought pie crust (if using my pie crust recipe, make the 6-inch double crust version)

Apple Filling:

  • 1 (8oz) Granny Smith apple
  • 1 (8oz) honey crisp apple
  • 2-4 tbsps (24-48g) brown sugar
  • 2-4 tbsps (24-48g) white sugar
  • 1 tbsp (8g) cornstarch
  • tsps lemon juice
  • 1 tsp butter, optional
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • tsp salt
  • 1 dash nutmeg, optional
  • 1 whole egg, beaten (for brushing on top of crust)

Instructions
 

Roll the Dough (can be done the night before):

  • Divide chilled pie dough into two portions, one slightly larger than the other. The larger portion (about 2/3 of the dough) will be used for the bottom crust and the smaller portion (about 1/3) will be used for the top crust. Put the smaller portion back in the fridge.
  • Form the larger portion into a round disk. Lay it between 2 pieces of plastic wrap or wax paper, and roll out the crust making sure it’s 1-2 inches larger than the rim of the pie pan. Picking it up with one of the plastic wraps, flip it over into the pan. Rather than stretching the dough to fit the pan, gently push into the corners until it fits snugly. Fix the edges by fold the dough over and tucking it in, creating a rim.
  • Next, reuse the 2 plastic wraps to roll out the top crust the same way ¾ to 1 inch larger than the rim of the pie pan.
  • Finally, take one of those plastic wraps and cover the bottom crust completely. Lay the top crust over that, and cover with the second piece of plastic wrap, making sure both crusts are nicely covered. Keep chilled in fridge until ready to use. The top crust will take the shape of the pie pan and become a "pie cap" when it's inverted.

Make the Filling (can be made 1-3 days in advance):

  • Slice each apple into quarters. Then slice each quarter into 4’s again. You should have a total of 32 (1/4 in) slices. If the slices are too long, you can cut them in half. Add to a bowl along with the lemon juice and sugars. Stir well and let sit for about 10 minutes.
  • In a small pan melt the butter (if using) over medium heat, and add only the apple slices, leaving extra liquid behind in the bowl.
  • Cook the apples for about 10-15 minutes (lower heat if needed) until the apples soften. Next, add the cornstarch to the liquid in the bowl. Stir well and add this to the apples, cooking and stirring for 2-3 minutes until the liquid thickens. If it appears too thick, add a few teaspoons of water. Take off heat and add in cinnamon, salt, nutmeg and let it cool. Transfer to a container and use a rubber spatula to scrape out all the sticky syrup. Chill in fridge until ready to bake.

Assemble and Bake:

  • Preheat oven to 425℉ for 10-15 minutes. Take out the chilled bottom crust. Keep the top crust in the fridge. Line the bottom crust with parchment paper and fill with pie weights or dry beans. Bake on the lower-middle rack for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and take out the parchment and weights. For an extra crunchy crust, prick the bottom with a fork and bake again for 7-10 minutes until slightly golden. Set aside for 10 minutes to cool.
  • Take out the apple filing from the fridge and place in the cooled crust making sure there aren’t too many gaps and there’s a mound of apples in the middle. I use my fingers to do this, rather than a spoon. Now take out the top crust from the fridge and place over the apples. Try to tuck the dough under the rim of the baked crust. If you can’t tuck it under, make sure it’s at least covering the rim of the pie pan. Crimp the dough with a fork to seal it. Make 5 slits across the top and lightly brush with beaten egg.
  • Bake on the lower middle rack again for 20 minutes. Then move to the middle rack and lower the heat to 375℉. Continue to bake for 20-30 minutes until the filling starts to bubble and the top is golden. If the edges are starting to burn, cover with some foil.
  • Let pie cool on a rack for several hours before slicing so the filling is able to firm up. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.

Notes

Sweetness: I like the apple flavor to really shine through, so I use the lower amounts of sugar listed, 2 tbsps of each. Use the higher amounts of sugar (or more!) if your family prefers sweeter desserts or if the apples are too tart. Or serve with vanilla ice cream on the side!
Multitasking: To save time, make the filling and the dough simultaneously. For example, while waiting for the flour mixture to chill, cut the apples. And while waiting for the apples to macerate, finish making the dough.
Store-Bought Crust: If using a store-bought crust or refrigerated pie dough, you will need to trim the excess when making a mini pie. Save the scraps to make decorations for the top of the pie. Or make mini cinnamon roll bites: Cut dough into strips, spread with butter, cinnamon, and sugar, then roll and bake!
How to Make a Tart/Galette or Free-Form Pie: Roll out the whole dough into an 8-10 inch circle. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and top with the apple filling, leaving 2 inches of space around the edge. Fold over the edges onto the apples and brush the dough with an egg wash. Place in fridge to chill while preheating the oven to 350°F. Bake on center rack for an hour or until crust is golden brown.
Keyword apple pie, apples, pie, Thanksgiving