Duo of Applesauce Pie

Last weekend’s baking project was this pair of pies; one fruit-filled with an oat crumb topping, one custard and simply dusted with your favorite pie spices, both rich in apple flavor. The secret? Applesauce, which you can get in jars or simply make yourself. Our apples were of the Gala variety, which is a lovely kind for baking. A little tart, but sweeter than other apple varieties and it comes out a wonderful texture after a quick trip to the oven. The recipes yield 5 mini-pies for each kind, so there’s a little more work. But just think – after all that extra rolling, shaping and trimming, you can have one of each.

For the crust:
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour (plus more for dusting)
1/2 cup/one stick unsalted butter, cold and cubed
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
3-5 tbsp ice cold water
1 tbsp lemon juice or vinegar

For the filling:
1 cup applesauce
4 apples, peeled and cored
1/2 cup sugar
2 tbsp calamansi juice
1 tbsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

For oat crumb topping:
6 tbsp / 3/4 stick unsalted butter, melted & slightly cooled
3/4 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup quick-cooking oats
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt

Make your bottom crust. Combine butter (cubed for easier handling) and mix in 2/3rds of the flour, salt, sugar and water. Work until no dry flour remains and the dough is clumpy. Add vinegar or lemon juice. Sprinkle the remaining flour and work until all the flour is incorporated. Roll into ball. Transfer to a large bowl. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours. Roll out. Cut the crust into smaller circles using a 6 inch pastry cutter. Press each circle into 5 well-greased and floured mini-pie pans. If you don’t have a round pastry cutter, divide your dough into smaller pieces and roll out each individual piece to press into 5 well-greased mini-pie pans. Trim and crimp edges.

Make your fruit filling. Preheat oven to 400ºF/204ºC. Combine apple slices, apple sauce, sugar, salt, citrus, vanilla and cornstarch in a roasting pan. Roast the for 20-25 minutes or until mixture bubbles and thickens. Cool for 30 minutes to 1 hour before filling your crust.

Make your oat topping. Combine flour, oats, sugar, brown sugar and salt in medium bowl. Add melted butter and rub in with fingertips until mixture comes together in small clumps. Topping can be made a day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.

Assemble your tiny pies. Preheat oven to 176C/350ºF Lightly brush crusts with cream. Fill crust with fruit filling. Top with oat topping. Bake for 30-35 minutes until golden brown. Allow to cool before serving.

For the crust:
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour (plus more for dusting)
1/2 cup/one stick unsalted butter, cold and cubed
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
3-5 tbsp ice cold water
1 tbsp lemon juice or vinegar

For the custard:
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup applesauce
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
2 tbsp flour
2 tbsp calamansi juice
1 tbsp cinnamon
1/2 tbsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Make your crust. Combine butter (cubed for easier handling) and mix in 2/3rds of the flour, salt, sugar and water. Work until no dry flour remains and the dough is clumpy. Add vinegar or lemon juice. Sprinkle the remaining flour and work until all the flour is incorporated. Roll into ball. Transfer to a large bowl. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours. Roll out. Cut the crust into smaller circles using a 6 inch pastry cutter. Press each circle into 5 well-greased and floured mini-pie pans. If you don’t have a round pastry cutter, divide your dough into smaller pieces and roll out each individual piece to press into 5 well-greased mini-pie pans. Trim and crimp edges. Preheat your oven to 400ºF/204ºC. Lightly brush crust with cream. Pre-bake crust for 10 minutes or until lightly golden. Set aside to cool before using.

Make your custard. Combine all ingredients. Blend until thoroughly combined.

Assemble your pie. Preheat your oven 350ºF/176ºC. Pour custard mixture into your pre-baked shells. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until pie is set (but center will have a slight wibble). Cool on wire rack or refrigerate (but don’t freeze-this may cause filling to separate from the crust).

Have one of each pie. They’re mini-sized, after all. Both pies are excellent with a scoop of salted caramel ice cream.

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