Pie-Ception: Apple Pie Cups

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I’ll admit, I was slightly daunted by the concept of this recipe – an apple pie, baked inside an apple? These apple pie cups sound complicated, but they’re actually simpler than a real pie, since you don’t have to deal with the crust, and it tastes just as good. Presentation-wise, these weren’t so photogenic, but if I made another batch I could probably make them prettier. Anyway, no one really notices because it’s an apple pie, baked inside an apple pie! You don’t see that every day.

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Apple Pie Cups

(adapted from Just Putzing Around the Kitchen)

Ingredients (yields 4 pie cups) :

Pie cup and filling

4 gala apples

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons cinnamon (use less if you’re not a cinnamon lover)

1/4 teaspoon cornstarch

Crumb topping

4 tablespoons flour

2 tablespoons butter, chilled and cut into pieces

3 tablespoons light brown sugar

1 dash cinnamon

4 teaspoons cream

Directions:

First, prepare your apples. I used fuji apples, but any apple that has a strong flavor, like a gala or a granny smith, makes good pie filling. Slice off about three quarters of an inch off the top of the apple. I didn’t cut quite enough off the top of my apples, and I ended up having to trim them down later.

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Using a melon scooper, remove the insides of the apple, leaving about a quarter-inch layer around the outside. If you don’t have a melon scooper, you can also use a small knife or a spoon, though you have to be careful. Keep the inside of the fruit (except the core and the seeds) in a separate bowl.

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Remove the pieces of fruit from the apple and chop them up into smaller pieces. Add the sugar, lemon juice and cinnamon, and mix until coated evenly.

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Transfer the filling into a medium saucepan and cook on medium heat for five to seven minutes, stirring continuously, until the juice is bubbling and the apples are lightly browned. Add a quarter teaspoon of cornstarch dissolved in water for a thicker consistency.

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After the filling is done cooking, leave it on the counter to cool. Meanwhile, start on the crumble topping. Mix the cream, flour, cinnamon and brown sugar in a separate bowl.

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If you don’t have cream, you can substitute it with a mixture of 1 tbsp. melted butter, 3 tbsp. warmed milk, and ¼ tbsp. flour. Add the butter slowly to the milk while whisking continuously to prevent the butter from re-solidfying. Mix the cream substitute, and take out four teaspoons to use in the crumble topping.

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Cut the butter into the crumble mixture. This means taking chilled butter, cutting it into wedges and then using a fork to break the butter into the flour mixture, creating pea-sized pieces. The butter should be incorporated throughout, but not completely blended (my butter was slightly thawed, so it got a little mushy).

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Fill each apple cup with one fourth of the apple pie filling. My apple cups were too tall, and the filling didn’t completely fill it, so I just pared off the top of the apple cups with a knife to get the right height..

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Press one fourth of the crumble topping onto each apple pie cup.

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Place the pie cups on a tray and bake them for 25 minutes at 375 degrees. For some reason, baking the apples made them turn from red to the color of a golden delicious, which was strange, but other than that, I’m quite proud of how these turned out. Just drizzle with a little caramel topping, if you want, and enjoy your delectable apple-ception.

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~ Hafsa

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