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Mini Apple Pies with Cheddar
“Here's a healthy—and adorable—twist on deep-dish apple pie. This mini apple pie recipe will give you just a bit of something sweet and the melted wedge of Cheddar on top is a nod to the New England tradition of serving cheese with apple pie.”
⅔ cup pecans
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1¾ cups white whole-wheat flour (see Tip) or all-purpose flour
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon water
4 large crisp, sweet apples, such as Honeycrisp or Gala, unpeeled, diced
⅓ cup packed light brown sugar
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon white whole-wheat flour or all-purpose flour
½ cup old-fashioned rolled oats
2 tablespoons white whole-wheat flouror all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons canola oil
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt
12 small wedges Cheddar cheese (about 3 ounces)
1Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat 12 ( ½-cup) muffin cups with cooking spray.
2To prepare crust: Combine pecans, granulated sugar and salt in a food processor; pulse until the nuts are finely ground. Add 1¾ cups flour; pulse to combine. With the motor running, add butter a few pieces at a time until well incorporated. Then add egg and water and process until starting to clump together. Using about ¼ cup each, press the dough into the bottom and all the way up the sides of each muffin cup to form a crust. Prick the bottom with a fork.
3Bake until the crusts are set and the edges are just beginning to brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack.
4Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees .
5To prepare filling: Combine apples, ⅓ cup brown sugar, lemon juice, 1 teaspoon cinnamon and nutmeg in a large saucepan. Place over medium-high heat and cook, stirring frequently, until the sugar melts, about 1 minute. Reduce the heat to medium, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, just until the apples start to soften, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in 1 tablespoon flour. Divide the filling among the crusts (about 2 tablespoons each).
6To prepare topping: Combine oats, 2 tablespoons each flour, brown sugar and oil, ¼ teaspoon cinnamon and pinch of salt in a medium bowl. Press the topping onto each mini pie (about 1 tablespoon each).
7Bake until the topping is beginning to brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and nestle a cheese wedge in the center of each pie. Return to the oven and bake until the cheese is melted, about 5 minutes more. Let cool at least 15 minutes before serving. Run a sharp knife around the edge of each mini pie to loosen it, then gently pry from the muffin tin with a butter knife. Serve warm.
Make Ahead Tip: Prepare crust (Step 2) and topping (Step 6), cover and refrigerate separately for up to 3 days.
Equipment: Muffin tin with 12 ( ½-cup) cups
Tip: Bake with white whole-wheat flour, made from a special variety of white wheat, and whole-wheat pastry flour, milled from soft wheat and containing less gluten. Both provide the nutritional benefits of whole grains. Find them in large supermarkets, natural-foods stores and online at bobsredmill.com and kingarthurflour.com. Store in the freezer.