Mini Apple Pies

apple pie
Photograph by Deborah Geering

From Icing Cake Design & Sweets Boutique in Avondale Estates come these little streusel-topped pies perfect for any upcoming holiday parties. For easy serving (no prying out of pans), use disposable bake molds (2 3/8-inch), which are sold at Cake Art and online.

Ingredients for streusel
Makes 12 pies

1 cup rolled oats (not instant)
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into small cubes

In a mixing bowl, combine oats, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and butter. Quickly rub the ingredients between your fingertips to incorporate the butter into the dry mixture, until it is the size of grits but still crumbly. Do not overmix. (Alternatively, use a food processor to quickly pulse the butter into the dry ingredients.)

Ingredients for the filling

5 tart apples, such as Granny Smith, peeled, cored and thinly sliced (you should have 6 cups)
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 1/2 cup water or apple juice

In a large saucepan, combine apples and lemon juice. In a small bowl, combine sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon and nutmeg. Add sugar mixture to the apples, and stir to combine.

In a separate pot, or in a microwave-safe container in the microwave, warm water or apple juice until it is steaming hot. Stir liquid into the apple mixture, and place over medium heat. Cook, stirring often, until apples are soft and the juice is thick. Remove from heat and set aside.

Ingredients for the crust
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups all-purpose flour

To make the crust and mini pies: Heat the oven to 350 degrees. In a mixing bowl, combine the melted butter, sugar, vanilla and salt; mix well. Gently stir in the flour. Divide the dough roughly into quarters, and then divide each quarter into thirds. Press the dough to the bottom and up the sides of each cup.

Bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes. Spoon filling into each cup until it mounds in the middle. Sprinkle the top with the streusel. Return to oven and bake until topping is golden brown, 20-30 minutes. Allow to cool completely.

If desired, drizzle each mini pie with dulce de leche (to make, pour 1, 14-ounce can of sweetened condensed milk into the top of a double boiler. Place over simmering water. Cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened and caramel-colored, about 45 minutes. Remove from heat and stir vigorously until smooth.)