I envy those living in apple growing country. To be able to walk among the rows of trees in an orchard, their boughs laden with ripe fruit, sounds utterly perfect and magical. I have to make do with what I find at the grocery store since locally our climate isn’t the greatest for apples. And this time of year, the selection is full of heirlooms and lesser known varieties with fanciful names and sometimes unusual appearances. Step aside gala, I want ginger golds, pink pearls, and northern spies.
If you’ve never had the pleasure of meeting a pink pearl apple, I would highly recommend finding one immediately. Their skin is a rather unassuming shade of pale yellow with a pinkish tint. That skin gives way to a mottled rosy flesh that is utterly beautiful. It’s so striking in color that it becomes hard to believe it’s real. And even better than the color is the taste. It’s the perfect balance of sweet and tart with floral undertones. If it’s not obvious already, I’ve fallen a little in love with this apple variety.
I decided to use my small hoard of these beauties this past weekend to make an apple pie situation. What you see in the recipe below is the result of what happened organically in the kitchen as I set my hands to work. No preconceptions and no real plans other than something akin to a pie. So here you have it, mini rose apple pies.
Mini Rose Apple Pies
notes: If you don’t feel like doing the extra work of making individual pies, you can make a larger rustic pie. Roll out the dough to a 10 to 12 inch diameter round, then add the apple mixture to the center leaving an inch and a half border free. Fold the border of dough up onto the fruit a section at a time until there is none remaining. Bake as instructed below adding an additional 5 to 10 minutes to the baking time if needed.
120g all purpose gluten free baking flour mix or standard all purpose flour
1 tbsp sugar
pinch of sea salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground cardamom (optional)
80g cold vegan butter cut into cubes (this one is my favorite)
40g ice water
3 small tart apples, peeled and thinly sliced (I used pink pearl apples but pink lady or honeycrisp would be lovely)
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp finely crushed dried rose petals (optional)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp lemon juice
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Combine the sliced apples, sugar, crushed rose petals, vanilla, and lemon juice in a bowl. Toss everything together with your hands, then set this mixture aside while you make the crust.
Grease six wells of a standard cupcake tin. If you want to make it even easier to remove the pies, place a strip of parchment paper in each well leaving at least an inch of overhang on either side.
For the crust, mix together the flour, sugar, salt, and cardamom in a bowl. Using a pastry blender or a fork, cut the cold butter into the flour mixture until the butter bits become at least as small as a pea and the mixture starts to look sandy. Add the ice water then use a wooden spoon or spatula (not your warm hands!) to incorporate the water into the flour and butter mix until a rough dough starts to come together. At this point, dump the dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap and knead it a few times to form it into a cohesive ball. Divide it into six equal portions. Gently flatten out each portion with your hands before putting it into a well of the cupcake tin. Use your fingers to press the dough evenly into the well to form your mini pie shell. Repeat with the remaining dough. After you’ve formed all of the pie shells, place the tin in the freezer to chill for at least 10 minutes.
After ten minutes, remove the tin from the freezer. Toss the apple mixture together a few times, then divide it among each of the six pie shells. If you want, you can arrange the slices in a rose like a did but be forewarned that it will take a bit longer. Bake the mini pies for 25 to 30 minutes or until the crust is firm and beginning to turn golden brown around the edges. Cool the pies for at least 15 minutes before removing them from the tin and enjoying. Makes 6 mini pies.