How to Make Mini Apple Pies and Mini Cranberry Streusel Pies

Includes dessert presentation ideas and tips

Though my How to Make Flaky Apple Pie Crust video tutorial is one of our most viewed on YouTube, I often prefer making mini pies. They take the same amount of work, the bake time is less and presentation is more elegant. This video teaches you how to make mini apple pies and mini cranberry streusel pies for festive individual serving dessert during family gatherings. These simple desserts can be made the night before and make guests feel extra special at the Thanksgiving get together or holiday dinner table.


Video Transcript

Rather than make a whole pie or tart and serve a slice is utilizing things like these individual ramekins, cook hot, like these stainless steel, whatever you want to use, or whatever you have, and I’ll get started showing you a few tips, I’m going to start with a classic apple pie. We’ll start by using these cut cuts here. And I won’t go too much into the recipes or baking techniques. But I’ll show you, just like I said, some of those tips.

You can use any filling that you already like to use. I like to use a cooked filling, which is nice because you can make it the day before. And a lot of these things, you’ll see they’re pretty easy, you can make them in advance so that, you know, making these individual things are just as easy as making a whole pie or whole tart, it’s not much more work. When I make a cooked filling, what I like to do is make your entire filling: the sugar, the spices, you like to use everything except for your corn starch. And then you add a little bit of butter to the pan. You cook it until your apples are tender. And then at the very end, add your cornstarch to thicken it up. And here I have the Pie Tops, it’s just whatever pie dough you want to use, you can roll it out and cut it even the day before. And it’s really easy to use the same principles you use with a large pie, you need to cut slits in it so that the steam can vent out of there.

It’s really basic, I like to stretch it a little so that you can kind of see those slits in there. And then, of course, egg wash, like you would have to give a nice, shiny, top impression. And then I always like to sugar it a little bit. This pie top would just fall right there on the filling. Just like that, you do that with all of them. As I said, you make one, you make 10 It’s just as easy. And at this point, you throw it in the oven. You bake it at a normal temperature you would with any pie, so about 325 or convection 350 for a regular oven. And the nice thing is it takes about 20 minutes rather than a whole pie would take you like an hour. And you can do those the day before or the day up early in the day and have them ready. Once they’re ready, I’ll show you what they’re going to look like. They’ll look like this, they’ll be really pretty. You serve them on a plate here, every time you go to put something on a plate, you want something under it so it doesn’t slide around. And then we’re gonna just do a classic caramel sauce. And the nice thing about using caramel with apples, is you’re contrasting the sweet with something bitter. And then we’ll add ice cream here. Also, when you’re using ice cream on a plate, you never want to put it directly on the plate, because it’ll slide around and ruin your presentation. You could put anything like that streusel, I’m using this chip.

These chips are really easy to make, you couldn’t use any vegetable or fruit, you slice it really thin. Put it in some warm simple syrup, and then you dry it out in a convection oven on the lowest setting, it takes like 20 minutes. And then when I scoop ice cream, you don’t use hot water, just cold heat will melt it. And before you bring it out of the scoop, just warm it a little with your hand. And then it’ll pop out really clean. And that’s it. Something like that, serve something special for your guests.

Next, I’ll show you how to dress up a crisp, we’ll just go ahead and use the same filling that we did. This time of year, a lot of people are into using fall ingredients. I’m going to use some cranberries. And when I use cranberries, I don’t like to use whole ones because they’re so bitter, you don’t want a whole bite of that. But we’ll just kind of chop them up. And the nice thing about it is it gives you a really good contrast of having something that starts with something sweet. And that’s always something you’re looking for with a dessert is making those contrasting flavors. And then what’s nice about a streusel is it’s very simple, you don’t have to worry about making the perfect pie dough and wondering if it’s going to turn out straight. I just use the basic one to one to one recipe. That’s a pound of flour, a pound of cold butter, and a pound of sugar. And you can switch up. I use half brown sugar, half white, I throw in a handful of oats, you can do anything you want to change it up. And it’s just that simple. The same thing you would bake this at normal temperature. It takes about 15 to 20 minutes to bake. You’re saving a lot of time there. What I’ll do here when I play this one thing you should know when you’re plating a dessert is never put something on the plate that doesn’t belong there.

A lot of people like to put chocolate sauce or fan out on strawberries, but it has nothing to do with what’s in the desert. What I did is make a simple cranberry sauce here, just cranberries cooked with some sugar and a little bit of water. And I let that reduce a little and then strain it. You can use it to make a nice presentation on your plate, and then it gives your guests an idea of what’s inside the dessert. Because I made the streusel I baked off a little extra. And that shows you you can do that to lay your ice cream down on it’s really anything you want to use that’s crispy, even nuts would be fine. That’s a good way to finish it off. And then there you go. You have your apple cranberry dessert and it’s really simple.

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About the Author

A native Sonoma County resident, Cristina grew up with a large family in Healdsburg. She developed a love for baking as a young girl and graduated from the Culinary Institute of America's baking and pastry arts program. Cristina works part-time in the Jordan Winery kitchen, making desserts and prepping for culinary events. She’s become known for her recipe tutorial videos, which have a few million views on YouTube. During breaks from baking in Healdsburg, she and her husband spent several years volunteering on non-profit construction projects in the U.S. and Africa.