Have you ever had this problem - you wanted to make an apple pie (or your daughter was asking really nice for you to make one). You wanted to test out different apples in the pie but didn't want to mix them up. While pretty much everyone doesn't have this problem, a food blogger does. I wanted to do my own personal testing of how some apples held up in baking. I didn't want to bake several huge pies to test these apples out. So instead I thought small - mini pies made in ramekins. A nice single serving which no additional dishes needed to serve them up.
The apples I used this time around in my test were Gala, Blondee, Cox's Orange Pippin and Ribston Pippin. The last two I got in a shipment from Frieda's Produce. Both of these are heirloom varieties. Other varieties you can use include: Honeycrisp, Jonathan, Granny Smith, Rhode Island Greening (my favorite for pies), Northern Spy, Empire, and Ida Red.
All of the apples I used this time around held their shape well. The Cox's Orange Pippin baked up the softest but not too soft, my wife liked that texture. Galas are just too sweet in my opinion for baking. Yes they held their shape but the pies baked with those lacked acidic to round out the flavor. Blondee is a relatively new yellow apple are related to Galas but have a better flavor with a floral quality. These had a little more acidic which made them a better choice. The Ribston Pippen was the most acidic one I baked with on this occasion. It worked just fine. Not as well as my favorite baking apple - Rhode Island Greening which actually taste better when baked.
You can pick whatever pie crust recipe you like. I personally am a fan of Alton Brown's Pie Crust. It uses both butter and lard for a nice one-two punch of flavor, tenderness, and flakiness. I found that baking these small pies made for a more delicious flaky crust!
I used 5 inch creme brulee ramkeins that I got from Cost Plus World Market I could get 3 mini pies out of 1 pie dough recipe, with having to re-roll the dough out once. You can also buy a set that comes with a torch from Amazon.
- Follow your pie dough recipe
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- Roll out your pie dough. Place your 2 ramekins on top of the dough. Trace around each one leaving about 1 inch of space between your trace and the ramekin.
- Flip the ramekins and dough over at the same time. Form the dough to fit the ramekin. Dock the dough with a fork.
- Re-roll the dough once to fit an additional ramekin.
- Bake the empty pies in the oven for 5-7 mintues until slighty brown. Remove from oven and reduce heat to 375.
Preparing the apples
- Peel and core 3 apples. Place them in a bowl and add the brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg. Mix to combine.
- Evenly distribute the apples into the ramekins.
To make the topping
- Combine the flour and brown sugar. Add the butter. Rub with your finger tips to work in the butter. It should look like cornmeal when your done. Evenly distribute the topping over the apples.
- Bake in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until they are browned and the apples are cooked. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before eating. You can remove the pies from the ramekins if you want to serve, they should pop right out.