These gluten free mini apple pies are just like McDonald’s or Hostess fruit pies, but baked and not fried, with a warm chunky apple filling.
Growing up, we didn’t have a McDonald’s nearby, which now seems completely strange. Like anything else you experience as a child, it was totally normal to me at the time. But somehow I still adored McDonald’s apple pies.
The thin cookie-like crust and the thick, chunky apple filling were heavenly. And in my memory, they were actually warm in my hand when I ate them. Hostess apple fruit pies were a close second in the competition for my affection.
I wonder if McDonald’s still makes those apple pies. All I know about McDonald’s these days is that they basically have the very best coffee in the world. And it’s so cheap!
A different sort of crust.
This is not your typical apple pie, and it’s not made with your regular gluten free pie crust. The point of this crust is for it to be more cookie-like than flaky like you would use for a regular pie.
You can, of course, use a pastry-style pie crust, but then it would just be a miniature version of apple pie. I adore that sort of apple pie, but this is just a bit different. After all, McDonald’s makes it different, so we make it different.
The filling is made up of diced apples, not sliced like apple pie filling, and it’s cooked ahead of time on the stovetop. This way, you don’t have to bake the pies too much just to soften the apples. And the apples keep their shape and texture.
Watch this short how-to video (1 min 30 seconds)
Just click play ▶️ to see how easy these mini apple pies are to make! The video doesn’t show you how to cook the apple filling on the stovetop, but that’s just a dump-it-in-the-pan sort of situation.
And in the video, I use a super basic but very handy pie-creating contraption. It is absolutely not necessary, of course, but if you’re interested you can find it here (that’s an affiliate link but you don’t pay anything extra and I earn a few cents). The 6-inch cake cutter I use comes in super handy, too, and you can find that here (same deal with that link).
Ingredients and Substitutions
As always, I haven’t tested this recipe with any of these substitutions. They’re just my educated guesses for how to satisfy other dietary restrictions and preferences!
Dairy-Free: Try replacing the butter with Earth Balance Buttery Sticks gram for gram. Leave out the salt in the crust, then, as Earth Balance is super salty. The milk in the crust can be replaced with any sort of unsweetened nondairy milk. My favorite is always almond milk, as it’s relatively neutral in flavor and has some fat.
Egg-Free: Since it’s only 1 egg in the crust, I’d recommend trying a “chia egg” (1 tablespoon ground chia seeds with 1 tablespoon lukewarm water, mixed and allowed to gel). The egg wash can be replaced with a high-fat milk.
Corn-Free: It should be pretty easy to replace the cornstarch with another simple starch, like arrowroot or potato starch. Be sure to use a corn-free confectioners’ sugar for the glaze, or just skip the glaze entirely.
Prep time:Cook time:Yield:10 miniature pies
Filling 3 firm apples (Granny Smith works great), peeled, cored and diced
1 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)
1/4 cup (36 g) cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup (150 g) granulated sugar
8 tablespoons (112 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 egg (50 g, weighed out of shell), at room temperature, beaten
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 to 6 tablespoons (2 to 3 fluid ounces) milk, at room temperature
Egg wash (1 egg + 1 tablespoon milk, beaten)
Glaze 1 cup (115 g) confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon meringue powder
3 to 5 teaspoons warm water
Preheat your oven to 375°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper and set it aside.
Prepare the filling. In a medium, heavy-bottom saucepan, place all of the filling ingredients and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the apples are soft and the mixture has thickened (about 6 minutes). Remove from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
Prepare the crust. In a large bowl, place the flour, cornstarch, salt and sugar, and whisk to combine well. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the butter, egg, vanilla and 4 tablespoons (2 fluid ounces) of the milk, and mix to combine. If the mixture seems dry, add more milk by the half-teaspoonful as necessary to bring the dough together. Knead until smooth. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and sprinkle very lightly with more flour. Roll out into a rectangle about 1/4-inch thick. Cut out rounds 6 inches in diameter with a cake cutter or the underside of the lid of a pot. Gather and reroll scraps to get about 10 rounds.
With wet fingers, moisten the border of one round of dough, and place about 1/3 cup of filling toward the center. Fold the crust in half, enclosing the filling, and pinch the edges closed securely. Trim any excess crust from around the edges and slash the top of the pie with a sharp knife in 2 or 3 short strokes. Place on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining rounds of crust and filling, placing the pies about 2 inches apart on the baking sheet. Brush each one lightly with the egg wash.
Place the pies in the center of the preheated oven and bake until set on top and very lightly golden brown (about 12 minutes). The edges will brown more, but the tops won’t ever become dark. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.
Once the pies are cool, prepare the glaze. In a small bowl, place the confectioners’ sugar, meringue powder, and 3 teaspoons of the water and mix to combine well. It should form a thick paste. Add more water by the half-teaspoonful to thin the glaze until it falls off the spoon in a thin ribbon. Place the cooled pies on a wire rack and pour the glaze over them and spread it into an even layer. Allow the glaze to set before serving.