Apples and Blackberries are a match made in heaven. I am crazy about apple-blackberry smoothies, so the addition of blackberries to these mini apple pies was not a difficult decision at all.
Making mini apple pies is always a labour of love, as it takes quite some time to do well. But they look adorable, are simple to serve and make everybody happy.
For the best results, use different kinds of apples. When combining eating apples and cooking apples, you get the benefit of a mixed filling, with both a flavourful mushy applesauce as well as some chunks to provide texture.
I used frozen blackberries for the filling, as fresh blackberries were much too expensive. When using frozen blackberries, leave them to defrost and push out a bit of the liquid before adding them to the apples.
For the pastry:
- 500gr flour
- 1 tbs sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 340gr butter, cold
- 2 medium eggs
For the filling:
- 1 tbs semolina
- 1 tbs lemon juice
- 3 apples, different kinds (I used Jonagold, Golden Delicious, Fuji, Granny Smith and Elstar)
- 5 tbs sugar
- 250gr blackberries
- 1 egg
You need 12 square baking rings with a 7x7cm base, or other miniature baking forms.
First, make the pastry:
Combine the flour, sugar and salt. Add the cold butter in chunks. Combine the butter with the flour to form fine crumbs. The preferred method is by using a pastry cutter, which cuts the butter and mixes it with the flour without adding much heat to the mixture. You can also rub it between your hands, but be careful to not mix it too long and/or allow the dough to get too warm, as this will give a tough pastry as a result.
Add the eggs and quickly combine the dough together. If it is too dry, you can add a tablespoon of water, but you want the dough to just stick together (it will be flaky). It will come together more while resting.
Leave the dough to rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
After resting, roll out 3/4th of the dough to a thickness of 3-4mm. Cut out the dough for your pies, which I do by placing the square ring on the dough and cutting out a cross shape around, with each side being as large as the side of the baking tin. You won’t get all of them out of the initial roll, don’t knead too much when re-shaping to roll again though, as this makes the dough tough. Fit the dough into the pastry ring, pushing the dough together in the corners to seal the pastry, and pushing the dough all the way to the bottom so the base will have be flat. Pick up the rings to check the base. Set them on a baking tray, prick the bases and sprinkle 1/4th teaspoon semolina on the bottom of each pie.
Place the lined forms back in the refrigerator to rest while you make the filling.
Peel, core and chop the apples. Place them in a bowl with the lemon juice to stop them browning (stir every time you finish an apple to spread the lemon juice over the newly cut apple).
Roll out the remaining pastry and cut square shapes a bit bigger than your tins are. You can make air holes using a toothpick, but if you want to cut out a nice shape like I did, do this now.
Stir the egg in a bowl and have a brush at the ready.
After rolling the remaining pastry, add the sugar and blackberries to the apples. The reason you want to do this now is because the sugar will start pulling moisture from the apple and you want the pies in the oven and the pastry starting to crisp up before it becomes a watery mess. Stir well and pack each pie tightly with the filling. Make a little heap on each pie, as the filling will shrink a lot during baking.
Brush the top of the pastry with egg wash, then stick on the top. Press the dough together using a fork or the crimping technique. Brush the tops with more egg wash.
Bake the pies for 12 minutes on 220°C.
Serve warm or cold, with whipped cream or ice cream, or with fresh berries.