Apple pie has always topped our list of any-day desserts, candidates for summer entertaining, and go-to ideas for festive holidays like the Fourth of July because let’s face it: Who doesn’t love apple pie?
This fun-size version of the all-American classic is very hands-on, and fun and easy to bake because you use canned apples. You save time and create less mess, making staging and cleanup easier for all.
Also, you don’t need special equipment. Use your extra tin or silicone ice-cube trays—or assign double duty to the ones you have in the freezer. (I always keep extras on hand for freezing coffee ice cubes, for storing herbs, and making fruit-juice ice pops in the summer.)
You’ll love these pies with dulce de leche sauce on the side, while kids usually prefer theirs with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Or serve the pies with a caramel or a butterscotch sauce for dipping. They’re amazing!
What You’ll Need
- 1 package (14.1 ounces) refrigerated piecrusts at room temperature (2 crusts)
- ½ of a 21-ounce can apple pie filling
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 egg
- Sugar for topping
What to Do
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Have your helper line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Let your junior chef unwrap the piecrusts. Show him how to arrange one piecrust in an ice-cube tray. With your help, he can gently press down on the center of each ice-cube cup to form a well. If there are any little tears, patch them with some of the piecrust hanging over the edge of the ice-cube tray.Teachable Moment: The International Beginnings of the All-American Apple Pie
- People have been looking to dress up their baked goods almost as long as they’ve been making them! Almost 8,000 years ago, the Ancient Egyptians started adding treats to their dough.
- Today you’ve made pie with apple filling, but the first Ancient Egyptian pies used lots of nuts and honey in addition to fruit.
- Pies spread throughout Europe—along with the Roman Empire. In the 14th century, the English finally gave this baked product the name we know it by today.
- Apple pies are popular now, but the apples native to the United States were too sour for pie. The first pies made in America by European settlers were probably made with berries instead
- Next, open the can of apple pie filling. Let your child spoon half of it into a large bowl. If he has good knife skills, let him cut the larger pieces into smaller chunks. Otherwise, do this step yourself.
- Have him measure and stir in the cinnamon. Demonstrate how to spoon filling into each little well—after that, let him do the rest. You will definitely have some pie filling left over; refrigerate and use as an ice-cream or pancake topping later on!
- Invite your helper to crack the egg into a small cup and beat with a fork. Show him how to dip a pastry brush into the egg and then brush it onto the edges of the pastry. Next, have him top the mini pies in the ice-cube tray—using the second crust.
- Show your helper how to gently roll a rolling pin over the dough on the ice-cube tray, sealing in the filling. You can then use a knife to trim the excess crust from around the edges.Teachable Moment: Everyday Science and the Perfect Apple Pie
- There’s a reason you poke holes in the top of a pie before you put it in the oven—and not just because it’s fun or looks cool! Steam builds up inside of the pie while the filling bakes, and can make the crust mushy if you don’t give it a way out.
- Tarter apples tend to keep their shape better when they’re cooked. Using a mixture of tangier types of apple can keep your apples from turning into applesauce.
- Perfect your pie by keeping your dough cold and using chilled butter. Colder dough is easier to roll and bakes much nicer and fluffier.
- Once your pie’s out of the oven, make sure you give it plenty of time to cool. It could take a while, but not waiting for the dough and filling to set can crack your crust or give you a big plate of gooey fruit.
- Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake for 20 minutes, or until the piecrust is golden.
- Remove from the oven. Cool before serving with ice cream or butterscotch or caramel sauce.