Use standard mini muffin tins to make delicious and easy Apple Raspberry Pies that are perfect for entertaining!
Last month, I was invited to give a cooking demonstration in the Culinary Kitchen at Bloomingdale’s, at the Shops at Riverside in Hackensack, New Jersey. I had such a fun afternoon meeting fellow food enthusiasts, chatting about cooking, and preparing a little taste of fall for shoppers to sample. In choosing a recipe for the event, my hosts and I wanted a dish that would highlight fresh ingredients (the driving focus behind Striped Spatula) as well as fit a “pink” theme for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. With autumn being the perfect season for warm and comforting desserts, I decided to adapt my favorite apple pie into Miniature Apple-Raspberry Pies with Dutch crumb topping. With warm cinnamon notes, sweet apples, and a rounded pop of tartness from the berries, these portable pies are a wonderful option for easy holiday entertaining. They’re also a great way to utilize your apple haul after a trip to the orchard!
The feeling of walking into Bloomingdale’s that rainy Saturday afternoon and seeing this promotional sign, adorned with my name and logo, was indescribable. As I stood next to the sign (taking numerous selfies, I have to admit), a shopper approached me and asked, “Is this you? Are you The Striped Spatula? I heard about this and will be back to see your demo later!” To know that people were looking forward to coming to an event to watch me cook filled me with an overwhelming sense of gratitude. Of course, the experience wasn’t without its fair share of nerves. This was the first time that one of my original recipes would be served to the general public, and I hoped that shoppers would enjoy the pies as my family and friends have. As the aroma drew passersby to the kitchen, one gentleman declared them “the best pies” he’d ever eaten. Another shopper enjoyed them so much, she ended up taking five pies to share with her husband and children. Sample plates taken to an event in the neighboring cosmetics department returned with nary a crumb. Much to my joy, the pies were a hit!
When I’m planning a holiday entertaining menu, especially for a crowd, convenience is key. As a hostess, I want to serve beautiful dishes to my guests, but I also want to be able to enjoy their company. As much as I love large pies, I find that they can be a little cumbersome to serve on a dessert table. These two to three bite pies fit the bill for both convenience and versatility during this busy season, and are a cinch to make in a mini muffin tin. Just roll out your favorite pie dough (such as my all-butter recipe), cut rounds with a biscuit cutter to fit the dough into the wells, par-cook the fruit filling on the stove, fill, and bake. As I’ve mentioned in the past, I often prefer par-cooking my fruit fillings for full-sized pies, but it’s really an essential step here given the shortened baking time needed for mini pies.
Miniature Apple Raspberry Pies are easy to adapt with different filling varieties. Cranberries would be a beautiful, seasonally-inspired substitution for the raspberries. A traditional all-apple filling would also be delicious. I’ve even done miniature pumpkin, coconut custard, and chocolate-bourbon-pecan pies as well. As clichéd as it might sound, the only limit here is your imagination. Offering multiple flavor variations to guests is also a lovely touch to a holiday gathering. Honestly, when it comes to pies, my tastebuds want a slice of all of the different flavors this time of year, when my stomach (i.e. the voice of reason) would prefer just a small taste. Mini pies to the rescue!
Many thanks to Jessica Rupnik and Nicole Carvalho for hosting me at Bloomingdale’s and to Suzanne Lowery, chef, culinary educator, and author of the “Soup to Nuts” blog on New Jersey Monthly, with whom it was a delight to cook with for the afternoon. My heartfelt gratitude to my friends and their families, who took time out of their busy Saturdays to attend my demo. Seeing your smiling faces was the icing on the cake (or, more appropriately, the buttery crumb topping on the pies) to a wonderful day.