Those close to me know that baking isn't my specialty. Don’t get me wrong, I love cooking, but dessert is often an afterthought for me. In all seriousness, I would much rather have seconds than a dessert. There is however a couple of little people in my house that especially enjoy baking. They actually enjoy “helping” bake almost as much as eating baked treats.
|Side note: this is what happens to your dough when you turn your back on a 3-year-old baker!|
Baking often requires a special attention detail, exact measuring and quality products. Hodgson Mill recently sent me a variety pack of their wonderful organic flours and even a gingerbread mix. The challenge was to showcase their premium quality grain products with a holiday baking recipe. Challenge accepted.
I knew right away I needed to incorporate my grandmother’s simple amazing recipe for pie crust in whatever I did. But I couldn't wow anyone with just a typical pie right?! In thinking about the craziness of the holidays I wanted to come up with something that would be suitable for festive gatherings, but could be prepared beforehand.
I love making anything mini and of course stuffing things to create a mouth surprise, and this recipe delivered on all fronts. Flaky pie crust stuffed with tart brown sugar apple pie filling and topped with lemon zest infused whip cream made the ultimate holiday gathering treat. With busy days full of family, friends and events on the horizon for all of us, the best part for me is this recipe can be frozen for days prior to serving.
3 red delicious apples, peeled, cored, small diced
1 tablespoon butter
1 lemon, zested and juiced
4 tablespoons dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons white sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 tablespoon Hodgson Mill organic unbleached all purpose white flour
1 cup Hodgson Mill organic unbleached all purpose white flour
Additional Hodgson Mill organic unbleached all purpose white flour for rolling
1/2 cup butter flavored shortening
1/4 cup cold water
1 cup whipping cream
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Additional cinnamon for sprinkle topping
In a large skillet over medium heat, sauté apple chunks with butter, lemon juice (save zest for whip cream), brown sugar, white sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg for about 10 minutes or until apples are soft. Add 1 tablespoon of flour and mix well. Remove from heat and set aside.
Preheat oven to 425°F. In a medium bowl, cut flour into shortening using a hand pastry blender until well mixed. Using a fork, stir in very cold water until it forms a dough ball. Lightly flour the dough ball. Roll out thin on a liberally floured surface.
Using a 2 ½ inch cookie cutter, cut 24 dough circles. Using a 24 count mini muffin tin pan; lightly press individual dough circles into each mini muffin hole. Bake for 15 minutes or until crust is lightly brown.
To whip the cream, add the whipping cream, powdered sugar, vanilla and lemon zest to a chilled bowl. Using a large whisk, start whipping the cream in a circular direction and whip as quickly as possible until you have a light, fluffy substance with peaks. Or, I guess you could use a mixer instead…but I prefer by hand!
While in mini muffin tin, top each crust with a spoonful of apple filling. Top each mini apple pie with whip cream using a piping bag if you have one or a storage bag with a small corner cut out like I did! Lightly sprinkle with cinnamon.
Freeze for at least 1 hour before serving in the muffin tin. If making ahead, cover tin with plastic wrap before freezing and lightly thaw on the counter for 15 minutes before serving.
Hodgson Mill wants to help everyone celebrate better food with better ingredients this holiday season. Check out this link to a $1 off coupon – good for any 5LB bag of flour or cornmeal.
Make sure to also visit the “25 Days of GRAIN Holiday” Sweepstakes where you can enter to win a product prize pack of your very own this season.