I'm not big on pies. Although I love pecan pie.
I'm not a fan of pie crust. But some aren't all bad.
Cooked apple isn't my thing. But I love a good Apple Betty.
So why did I make these Apple Pecan Mini Pies with Brie Cheese, you ask? Haven't you ever craved something that's not your favorite thing? Just to see if you can make it in a way that suits you? Well, that's kinda what I did. I saw the Honey Crisp apples (my favorite apples) at the store and had a weird craving to bake something with them.
I've had some filo dough in my freezer that I've been dying to use. When I bought it, I thought I had bought the filo cups. HA! Well...that's not the case. I had the sheets.
Let me tell you a little something about the sheets. Frozen sheets to be specific. IF you are able to find fresh filo dough....do yourself a favor and use it. If you can make your own filo dough...I'm totally envious. The frozen ones have a tendency to rip, tear, fall apart. And basically make things a little more.....challenging. I did survive...but next time, I'm going to the local Armenian market where I've been told has fabulous fresh filo dough.
So...bottom line? I replaced pie crust with filo dough. I made mini apple pies with brie cheese and pecans.
I loved it!
These little mini pies are perfect. They aren't too sweet. They aren't messy. The pecans were roasted prior to baking and add a great smokey flavor along with the nuttiness. The apple texture, with it's sweet tartness is the perfect offset to the brie cheese. And the filo crust? FABULOUS!!
Apple Pecan Mini Pies with Brie Cheese
4 apples, peeled, cored and diced (I used Honey Crisp apples) - about 3 cups
1 TB butter
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 TB cornstarch
2 TB fruit preserves (I used my Vanilla Fig and Pear Jam)
1 1/2 cups toasted pecans, chopped
16 toasted pecan halves to garnish
8 oz brie cheese, cut into 16 - 1/2 oz chunks.
Filo Dough (the amount of sheets will depend on the size of your sheets. You will need enough sheets to make 16 sets of 4 - 4x4 sheets)
melted butter for filo sheets
Preheat oven to 325' F
In a medium sauce pan, combine diced apple, 1 TB butter, sugar, cinnamon, cornstarch and preserves. Simmer over low heat for 5 mins.
Add the chopped pecans to the apple mixture and continue simmering for another 5 minutes. Not too long. You want the apples to still be crisp. Set aside
Prepare your filo dough as follows:
Take one sheet and brush the edges with melted butter (this keeps it in place), then continue to brush the whole sheet with butter. Place another sheet on top and brush it in the same manner.
Cut the two prepared sheets into 4x4" squares. Take two square sets and lay them on top of each other at an angel to form a star.
The sheets that are set aside, waiting for their turn to be used in greatness need to be covered with a damp towel. They dry out really fast.
Also....if you end up with a really rebellious sheet....
Don't stress too much. Forgive the little pita (sailor talk for "pain in the a$$"), it is frozen dough after all...and work with it. Gently. Sometimes rustic is beautiful. Be patient. Keep the goal in focus. The greatness is in the end result, made sweeter by the struggles.
Now, take your filo star and place it over a muffin tin. Gently press down on the center to form a cup. Repeat
You should now have 16 prepared muffin tins. Place a chunk of brie cheese inside each muffin tin.
Divide the apple mixture evenly between each cup (this should measure out to about 1/3 cup each, depending on the size of your apples)
Top each cup with a pecan half
Bake for about 40 minutes or until the edges of your filo are golden brown. Let sit in the pan for a couple of minutes then gently remove with a butter knife and place on a cooling wrack.
Enjoy as soon as they're cool enough to eat or place in the fridge overnight and enjoy them even more the next day. These little condensed apple pies are just as good, if not better served cold as they are hot out of the oven.