Mini apple pie made in jars is just the right amount to satisfy your sweet tooth! Filled with decadent homemade caramel and tender spiced apples.
I’ve found a smart solution for apple pie making that’s super delicious and easy! First I pre-cook the cinnamon and sugar spiced apples in a saute pan until just tender. This removes a lot of the moisture from the apple before baking, so whatever you add to the glass jars will not shrink much or reduce in volume.
Once cooled, I toss them in a decadent homemade salted caramel sauce, drool. I then roll out pie dough and cover the tops of the 4-ounce Kerr jars, creating a cute little crust on top. Since the filling is already cooked, all you have to wait for is the crust to turn golden brown and voila, you have mini salted caramel apple pie jars baked in under an hour! No sharing, just indulging like a little kid at Disneyland.
These little fellas are AAAA-mazing! It is like fitting a whole apple into each tiny jar, just the right amount to satisfy your apple pie craving. The salted caramel adds an excellent rich flavor to the tender apples and warm spices.
The delicate golden crust on top is so light and flaky, with each scoop in the jar you get a spoonful of apples with buttery dough. Since I made multiple servings, I refrigerated the leftover jars, and they were still delicious the next day warmed for a few minutes in the oven. And guess what, no soggy crust since the pastry was baked just on top.
What’s the advantage of cooking the apples before baking the pie?
Apples are high in moisture, so as they cook they release water from the flesh. Cooking the apples until just tender allows that moisture to be released in the cooking pan so that the flavor of your filling isn’t diluted. You use more apples in this method, (almost double) however you don’t lose the volume of your pie, it stays beautifully packed and layered. As you slice the pie, you don’t have a huge void space in the top of the crust from where the apples shrunk down. You also get a chance to taste the cooked filling before the pie is baked so you know if the flavor is the way you want it.
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Mini Apple Pie in a Jar
- 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 ½ teaspoons sugar
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, cut into 12-inch cubes and frozen for 10 minutes, 1 stick
- 1 ½ tablespoons sour cream
- ⅙ cup ice water, or more if needed
- ¼ cup granulated sugar, plus 1 teaspoon for dusting top of pie
- ⅛ cup light brown sugar, packed
- ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon lemon juice
- ¼ teaspoon lemon zest, grated
- ⅛ teaspoon cinnamon, ground, plus ¼ teaspoon
- 1 ¼ pounds granny smith apples, about 3 medium, peeled and cut into ¼-inch thick slices
- 1 ¼ pounds honey crisp apples, or Fuji, about 3 medium, peeled and cut into ¼-inch thick slices
- 1 egg white, beaten lightly
- 1 teaspoon turbinado sugar
Salted Caramel Sauce
- ¼ cup sugar
- ⅛ cup water
- ⅓ cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together flour, salt, and sugar until combined. Add cubes of butter to the flour mixture using your fingers, break the butter into the size of large peas.
- In a small bowl, mix the sour cream and ⅓ cup ice water until combined. Add half of the sour cream mixture to the flour mixture; mix with a fork until it just begins to become hydrated.
- Add the remaining sour cream mixture and mix until the dough just comes together. Pinch dough with fingers; if the dough is floury, dry, and does not hold together, add 1 to 2 tablespoons ice water and mix until dough forms large clumps and no dry flour remains.
- Turn dough out onto a work surface and shape into a ball. Flatten the dough ball into a 4-inch disk and wrap in plastic and refrigerate until firm but not hard, 1 to 2 hours, before rolling. The mixture can be made up to 24 hours in advance.
- Let thoroughly chilled dough stand at room temperature for 15 minutes before rolling.
- Roll out between 2 large sheets of parchment paper or plastic wrap to 12-inch circle, about ¼ inch thick. (If dough becomes soft and/or sticky, return to refrigerator until firm.) Use flour as needed to prevent sticking.
- Using a 4-inch round cookie cutter, cut 4 circles out of the dough for the pie tops and transfer to a parchment paper-lined sheet pan. Cut out a small circle or desired shape in the center of the dough to allow for steam venting. Refrigerate until dough is firm, about 30 minutes.
- Mix ¼ cup granulated sugar, brown sugar, salt, zest, and cinnamon in a large bowl; add apples and toss to combine.
- Transfer apples to a large pot and cook, covered, over medium heat, frequently stirring, until apples are tender when poked with fork but still hold their shape, about 15 to 20 minutes. Apples and juices should gently simmer during cooking.
- Transfer apples and juices to a baking sheet and cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes.
- Set a large colander over an empty bowl; transfer cooled apples to the colander. Shake to drain as much juice as possible and discard juice. Transfer apples to a large mixing bowl and sprinkle with lemon juice. Set aside.
Salted Caramel Sauce
- Heat sugar and water in a saucepan over medium-low heat until the sugar is dissolved. If needed, use a wet pastry brush to wash down any sugar crystals on the side of the pan.
- Increase the heat and bring to a boil, without stirring, about 5 to 6 minutes, until the syrup is a dark amber color.
- Remove the sugar from the heat and carefully whisk in the heavy cream. The mixture will bubble. Stir in the unsalted butter, and salt. Set aside, keeping the sauce at room temperature.
- Set the oven rack to the middle of the oven. Preheat to 425°F. Combine cooked apples with caramel sauce and ¼ teaspoon of cinnamon. Fill each jar until about ¾ full, making sure the apples are packed.
- Remove the pie crust cut-outs from the refrigerator. Press the pie dough tightly around the edges of the jar to create a good seal. You can also just line the inside of the jar with the pie crust if planning on putting the lids on the jar after baking.
- Brush the surface of the dough with beaten egg white and sprinkle evenly with granulated sugar and turbinado sugar. Transfer pie jars to a sheet pan lined with parchment paper, and place it on the center rack of the oven.
- Bake until crust is dark golden brown, about 20-25 minutes, rotating the sheet pan after 10 minutes of baking. Allow pie jars to cool at least 1 ½ hours before serving.
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