There is something about pie which just makes us feel warm and fuzzy inside. The almost meditative act of rolling out the crust, the smell of the pie in the oven, and the sight of the filling bubbling out through the vents on the top crust are enough to make us swoon. Apple pies are a particular favourite because they are appreciated by so many; who doesn’t love a classic apple pie? (If you answered “I don’t” to this question, please send us a private message so that we can talk about it). Although we love baking pies, and have a pretty fail-proof pie crust recipe and technique, sometimes we don’t have the time to get involved in pastry making. So when time is limited but we can’t shake the need for a dessert with a warm apple filling, we get creative…and that’s how this recipe came to be.
Phyllo dough (sometimes referred to as filo dough) has a bad reputation as being a finicky ingredient which is difficult to work with. Many recipes warn against the fact that it dries out quickly, tears easily and should therefore be handled with extreme caution. We say, hogwash! Sure, phyllo can dry up when exposed to air for a long time…but it has to be a pretty long time, longer than it will take for you to fold your little apple pies, even for the first time. To help avoid the horror of dried phyllo however you can always cover, with a clean cloth, the phyllo you are not yet working with. Phyllo also has a tendency to tear relatively easily, so be careful, particularly if you have long fingernails, since you will be manipulating the phyllo dough quite a bit here.
Using store bought phyllo to encase all sorts of wonderfulness is nothing new. We use phyllo for spanakopitakia, we use it to wrap up cheese fillings, meat and other savoury and sweet concoctions. Once you get used to working with store-bought phyllo you will find yourself coming up with all sorts of ways to use it.
You can find phyllo dough in pretty much any Middle Eastern or Mediterranean grocer, or any well stocked supermarket. It is often available both frozen and fresh. We prefer the fresh variety because we find the frozen phyllo sometimes gets a bit soggy after it has thawed. If the frozen phyllo is all you can find however, go for it!
We once read that Golden Delicious apples were the ideal apples to use when making pie and other baked apple goods. Don’t ask us for the reference…because we have no idea where we first came across this bit of kitchen wisdom. In fact, we don’t even know if the source is reliable; all we know is that Golden Delicious apples make for great desserts. At the same time, we have used other kinds of apples too, to make all sorts of desserts, and those have been just as wonderful. Our tip: use whatever apple you like or have.
We have tried really hard to describe, through words and pictures, how to fold your mini apple pies using store bought phyllo so that you end up with perfect little triangles. Hopefully our instructions, or your innate instinct and talent, are enough to have you create milopitakia that you are proud of. But really, appearance is not everything and delicious things come in all sorts of misshapen packages. If your apple pies are more parallelograms than triangles…who cares!? The important thing to note when shaping your milopitakia is to ensure that the apple filling is fully enclosed by the phyllo dough so that it does not fall out.
Aside from the shape, the other point to keep in mind when folding your mini apple pies is that you must not fold them too tightly. If you do, then as things heat up during the cooking process, your filling will explode (at least partially) out of the phyllo enclosure. Don’t worry, this won’t be dramatic, but it will make clean up a bit messier. More importantly, you may end up with a less apple pie filling in your triangle. Sad.
Pre-formed and un-baked mini apple pies are perfect for freezing. Place them on a baking tray and when they are frozen, store them in a freezer bag. When you are ready to treat yourself, simply bake them from frozen on a parchment lined baking sheet. You will need to increase the baking time by about 5 minutes; keep an eye on the mini pies and remove them from the oven when they are golden brown and your kitchen smells like a dream.
Mia Kouppa: Mini apple pies with phyllo
- 6 apples (Golden Delicious)
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon water
- 1 pound store-bought filo
- 1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/4 – 1/2 cup icing sugar
- Peel and core the apples. Chop them into small dice
- In a medium sized pot combine the apples, sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon, flour and water. Turn the heat to medium and cook the apples, stirring frequently for 15 minutes. The apples will release some juices and will soften.
- Add the walnuts to the apples and allow to cool.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Farenheit
- When the apples have cooled, melt your butter. Then, cut 3 inch strips of filo dough. Once you are ready to start making the triangles, take a double layer of phyllo and lay it in front of you. Brush with some melted butter (you don’t want to soak it through, and it does not need to be brushed with butter all over). A good tip is to soak your pastry brush in the melted butter one time and use that to brush on the strips.
- Place approximately 1 teaspoon of filling at the bottom of the phyllo strip. You are now ready to start making your triangles. Pay attention!
- Take the bottom, left hand corner of your phyllo strip and fold it over the filling, bringing it to the right hand edge, just above where your filling ends. Then, take what is now the bottom right hand corner, and fold it over so that it reaches the left hand edge. Now move again to the left hand corner, and bring that to the right hand edge. Keep repeating. You will see that after a few movements, your triangle will start to take shape. Refer to the pictures above to help visualize what we are trying to describe. Repeat process to make more triangles.
- Place your triangles on a parchment lined baking sheet. Brush with a little more butter. Bake in the middle rack of your oven for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool on the baking sheet.
- When your filo triangles are completely cooled, dust them with sifted icing sugar. Enjoy.