Apple Cranberry Mini Pies
On Friday U of M announced the Mark Schlissel would become the 14th university president this July when Mary Sue Coleman retires. Schlissel, like Coleman, has a background in biomedical sciences and currently serves as the provost at Brown University. He also, as this totally-not-photoshopped-photo shows, is a big fan of Bakers & Best. Welcome to Michigan Dr. Schlissel!
And now for something completely different! The beginning of my junior year I went through a major pie phase. Whatever it was, it got covered in a pie crust. I made at least one a week my first semester of junior year and having five roommates happy to help eat them only made it easier. This pie making binge was followed by several pieless years. Well today that ends! I had a few extra pounds of apples I needed to use and cranberries leftover from another recipe, so these mini pies were the perfect way to use those up and make pie after a two and a half year hiatus.
I was amazed at how easy these were to put together. There was definitely some room for improvement in my scoring technique but otherwise I had no issues. I liked that the filling had no added liquid; it kept it from spilling out of the crusts and making them soggy.
I had strange eating habits as a child. Cranberries are one of the things that I never ate when I was younger (including on Thanksgiving) because I just assumed I didn’t like them. Cherries, red grapes, and raspberries also fall into that category. The only reasonable explanation is that I wisely developed an aversion to the color red from a young age.
I’ve started using our extensive collection of cookie cutters more often including the hearts and stars (but not the horseshoes, clovers, blue moons, pots of gold, rainbows, and red balloons). It didn’t seem practical to use the Michigan (UP and LP) ones, but not to worry those will make another appearance soon. In the meantime, enjoy another file photo from a presentation recently given by Dr. Schlissel on social media tycoons.
- 2½ C AP flour
- 2 tsp sugar
- 1 C (2 sticks) butter
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ C cold water
- 2 C cranberries
- 2 apples, cored and diced
- ½ C sugar
- Zest of one orange
- 1 egg
- 1 Tbsp water
- Coarse sugar
- Cut butter into small cubes and pulse in a food processor with the flour, salt, and sugar. Mix until the flour is broken into very small pieces coated in flour. If you'd like to do this by hand mix in a large bowl with a fork for 3-4 minutes.
- Place butter/flour mixture in a large bowl and add ¼ cup of the water. Mix by hand and add additional water as needed so that the dough just comes together. Knead briefly to work the dough into a smooth ball, then cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- While the dough is cooling head cranberries in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir occasionally and after about 10 minutes the berries will start to make a popping noise (almost like popcorn). When this happens add in the sugar and orange zest. Turn the heat down to medium low and cook for 15-20 minutes, until the berries soften and become like a thick jam.
- Once the berries are cooked remove from the heat and add in the apples. Stir well to combine. Preheat the oven to 425 F and take out the chilled dough.
- On a lightly floured work surface roll out the dough to a thin consistency, about 1/16th of an inch (think about as thick as a car key). Cut into desired shapes and reroll/cut dough as needed until it has all been used up.
- Place half of the dough pieces on a parchment lined baking sheet and spoon 1 tablespoon of filling into the center of each. Brush the perimeter of each piece with egg wash (egg + water). Score the other remaining pieces of dough and place on top of the bottom pieces with filling. Lightly press the dough together to create a seal. Brush the top of each pie with remaining egg wash and sprinkle with sugar.
- Bake for 15-17 minutes, until pies are golden brown. Enjoy!