Perhaps the snow or the below zero temperatures have gotten to me. (I did wear my thermal long sleeve shirt all last week to work.) But hiding under a blanket all weekend has started to sound pretty good to me.
So, to bring a little more warmth into our lives I decided we needed 2 items – “lovely” apple pies & brandy. Baking + Love + Brandy = Warmth!
I got the idea for the Brandy-Apple Pie Bites from Sommer at A Spicy Perspective (find her recipe here). The thought of a baked pie with Brandy in it was exactly what I was hoping for to beat the cold. Plus, with Valentine’s Day approaching, I have had a few ideas up my sleeve for what would be the perfect treat and these quickly made the list.
Speaking of Valentine’s Day. A tip on how to make your Valentine’s Day awkward…
My husband was at band rehearsal this afternoon when I started to bake my mini pies. I was having a great afternoon listening to Pandora and rocking away like a bake star. So, when he came home I ran up to him and quickly told him I was making “love pies”. I grinned nice and big and thought he would be excited and surprised for the treat.
His face screwed up.
He looked from me to the oven.
Then he burst out “you’re making what?”
Me: “I’m making…oh…er…brandy-apple pie bites.”
Apparently, that term “love pies” sounds a little absurd…and disgusting. And is definitely a term I will never use again. But, I laughed so hard at the thought of how gross “love pies” sounded that I had hiccups for about an hour.
Terms aside. These “lovely” Brandy-Apple Pie Bites are a perfect treat for Valentine’s Day or simply keeping warm on a few bitterly cold nights.
Corn Meal Pie Crust
- 1 3/4 cups flour
- 3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
- 1/3 cup powdered sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup chilled, unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup chilled vegetable shortening
- 3 – 5 tablespoons ice water
- 3 large Granny Smith apples, peeled and diced
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons flour
- 2 tablespoons Brandy
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- Pinch of salt
- In a large food processor add in flour, cornmeal, sugar & salt. Pulse a few times until mixed. Cut the chilled butter and shortening into small cubes and add into the food processor. Pulse a few times with dry ingredients.
- Add 3 tbsp. of the ice water into the food processor and pulse until dough begins to form. Add in additional tbsp. of ice water as necessary.
- Lay down sheet of plastic wrap and transfer 3/4 of the balled dough into the wrap. Cover and chill in fridge. Do the same with the other 1/4 of dough (separated for later use). Chill both in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Peel & dice apples and place into a large bowl. Separately, mix dry ingredients for the filling in a small bowl.
- In a small sauce pan, melt butter on medium heat. Add Brandy and stir in dry ingredients. Continue to stir until the mixture begins to simmer. Then pour over diced apples and toss until apples are evenly coated.
- On a bare counter space, lay down a coating of flour. Remove 3/4 ball of chilled dough from plastic wrap and roll out with a rolling pin until about 1/8″ thick. Using a 3 1/2″ – 4″ rimmed glass, cut out circle shapes for the base of the pies. Insert circle cut out into muffin pan (should yield approx. 14 pie bites if you re-roll leftover dough bits).
- Add equal amounts of apple filling to fill each crust.
- Using the reserved 1/4 pie crust, use a 2″-3″ decorative cookie cutter to cut out the “tops” of the pies. Place each cut out on top of the individual pies. Then, using a pastry brush, coat each top with the leftover syrup from the pie filling.
- Place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Then reduce the heat to 350 degrees and bake for another 15 minutes. (If you notice the tops are already browning at the end of the first 15 minutes, place a sheet of foil to cover).
- Cool completely before removing from muffin tin and serving.