These mini hand-held pies were possibly one of most complimented foods that I made for Thanksgiving. I used the same pie crust recipe as I did with the empanadas a couple weeks ago, but created a caramel cream apple filling instead of the empanada filling to make them like little pies, and then just sprinkled cinnamon on top. These were pretty simple to make, and super convenient given their rather small portion size, and fantastic ability to be reheated. Another bonus was that I could make them days ahead of time, freeze them, and then thaw during the day and bake them right at the end of dinner without a lot of actual time needed in the kitchen on Thanksgiving Day – a big plus when various people are cooking to feed 20!
One could really put in any filling that you want into these pies, but I just love using fresh apples in the Fall, and I don’t think that I could ever get tired of maple and caramel flavor with apples!
For the filling:
2 tbs. butter
4 medium sized apples, diced
nutmeg and cinnamon to taste
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup heavy cream
For the crust:
your favorite pie dough, or:
1 c. tapioca flour
1 c. soy flour
1 c. brown rice flour
3 tbs. xanthan gum
12 oz. cream cheese, sliced
12 oz. butter, sliced
1. In a medium saucepan, melt butter and add in diced apples, nutmeg and cinnamon to taste. Let simmer until apples are softened and liquid is reduced (about 30-40 min.).
2. In a separate saucepan, add sugar and let come to a boil, until a nice color is developed. Add in maple syrup, and let boil a couple more minutes. Remove from heat, and whisk in heavy cream. Add to apple mixture, and cook for a few minutes go give apples a chance to soak up the caramel. Then remove from heat and let chill in the fridge.
3. Make the pie dough in three batches – Combine tapioca flour, soy flour, brown rice flour, xanthan gum, cream cheese and butter in a food processor and pulse until it all comes together into a ball of dough. Wrap each ball of dough with plastic wrap and let chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
4. Take the dough out of the fridge (one at a time), and lay on a sheet of plastic wrap. Cover with plastic wrap. Now place the floured rolling pin on top and roll the dough.
5. Preheat oven to 400F. Cut the dough into 3 1/2 – 4? circles using a biscuit cutter, the rim of a drinking glass, whatever you happen to have. Place circles of dough on sheets parchment paper, and place a spoonful of filling in the middle of each. Then fold in half, pinch shut, and crimp the end with a fork. You should now have a bunch of fill little crimped half-circle pies, ready to be baked.
6. If you are making these ahead of time, this is where you freeze them at this stage. Otherwise, brush with egg/water and sprinkle cinnamon on top. Bake about 18 minutes, or until they become golden in color. Serve and enjoy!