In a rapidly changing world, there are certain constants we can depend on. Mathematically speaking, we have Euler’s number, Archimedes’ principle, and the Pythagorean theorem, of course, but for someone as nonacademic as myself, there’s little comfort to be found in such jumbles of numbers, no matter how concrete in concept.
Pie, on the other hand, immediately soothes the mental strain of of the scholarly and simple-minded alike. Also reliable is the knowledge that Pi Day will always fall on March 14th (3.14 of course), celebrating the golden ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter. Pie itself, however, should really be honored everyday.
This time, I propose we all cozy up to an everyday sort of pie. Mini pies, actually, easy to prepare, perfect quick snacks or last-minute desserts, they can even be prepared in advance, frozen, and thawed on demand. Warm out of the oven or reheated after a quick blast in the toaster oven, tender chunks of apple mingle with a soft, almost gooey peanut butter filling, infused with the warmth of cinnamon and lavished with a sweet crumb topping.
The combination is nothing earth-shaking, nor should it be. It’s a universally satisfying combination that’s stood the test of time, and will reliably treat you to a taste of nostalgic comfort in every mini morsel.
Peanut Butter-Apple Filling:
- 1/2 Cup Creamy Peanut Butter
- 1/4 Cup Dark Brown Sugar, Firmly Packed
- 1/4 Cup Plain Vegan Yogurt
- 2 Tablespoons All-Purpose Flour
- 1/2 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
- 1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- 3 Medium Granny Smith Apples, Peeled, Cored, and Chopped (About 3 Cups)
- 3 Tablespoons Dark Brown Sugar, Firmly Packed
- 3 Tablespoons All-Purpose Flour
- 2 Tablespoons Vegan Butter, Melted
- Confectioner's Sugar (Optional)
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and lightly grease 2 dozen mini muffin tins.
Roll out your prepared pie dough to about 1/8th of an inch in thickness and use a round cookie cutter, about 2 1/2 inches in diameter, to cut out the crust pieces. In a pinch, the top of a drinking glass could work as well. Gather scraps, re-roll, and cut again as needed.
Ease the pieces into the greased pans, pressing them to fill the bottoms and up the sides as evenly as possible. There will likely be some overlap, but try to smooth out the edges to keep things neat and consistent.
Place the unbaked crusts in the fridge to chill while you turn your attention to the filling.
In a large bowl, mix together the peanut butter, brown sugar, yogurt, flour, cinnamon, and vanilla until smooth. Toss in the chopped apples and stir to incorporate, covering the fruit thoroughly with the peanut butter mixture. Set aside.
For the crumb topping, simply combine all the ingredients in a medium bowl and use a fork to combine. Continue stirring until the mixture is coarse, chunky, but cohesive.
To assemble, fill the chilled pie shells with the peanut butter and apple mixture and top each with about a teaspoon of the crumb topping.
Bake for 15 - 20 minutes, until the crusts and crumb are golden brown. Let cool for at least 15 minutes before removing from the pans and serving.
If desired, sprinkle confectioners sugar over the top very lightly just before enjoying.
To save these for a rainy day, let them cool completely before storing them in an airtight container, seperated by layers of parchment or waxed paper. Stash in the freezer for up to 4 months, or in the fridge for up to a week.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 72 Total Fat: 4g Saturated Fat: 1g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 2g Cholesterol: 3mg Sodium: 36mg Carbohydrates: 9g Fiber: 1g Sugar: 6g Protein: 2g