Mini Apple Cranberry Pie

My week before Thanksgiving was entirely spent in amassing groceries. I visited every kind of specialty store to stock up my pantry and refrigerator so that I would have everything needed to feed my kids and their friends coming back from college.  Both my kids love being at college and are thoroughly enjoying their life away from home; but they both confess that the only reason they miss home is that they missed good home-cooked food. Of course, the mom in me then wants to over-compensate when they do come home for a few days. So over that week, I was in the constant cycle of cooking, eating and cleaning but in spite of that I was not able to use up all the raw material that I had purchased before their arrival.  Now the Thanksgiving break is over and all the kids have returned to their respective colleges, I am now left with an assortment of ingredients that I didn’t manage to use – which just means that I get to experiment with them.
Today’s experiment was a Mini Apple Cranberry Pie.  Usually I don’t like pies because for some reason I don’t like the flavor of cinnamon in sweet tasting dishes. Yes, I know that is very weird but I just can’t seem to get past this hang-up of mine. I am quite open to all kinds of foods and flavors and I eat any and everything but cinnamon and sweet stuff just don’t work for me.  What is even weirder is that I love cinnamon in savory dishes – this must have something to do with the fact that I am Indian.  In India we use cinnamon almost always in curries, pilaf and spice rubs but we do not use it in desserts.  And now even though I have lived in the US for over 25+ years, I just can’t seem to get past this one hang-up! The result is that I don’t like things like pies, cinnamon buns, French toast, coffee cakes or rice pudding. Anyway, I made my own apple pie substitute where I flavored the apple with lemon zest and dried lemon verbena – it gave the pies a very fresh “citrusy” flavor!


1.    One sheet of puff pastry
2.    1 crisp fresh apple
3.    ½ cup of cranberries
4.    The zest of ½ a lemon
5.    The juice of ½ lemon
6.    3 tablespoons of sugar
7.    1 teaspoon of dried lemon verbena


1.    Heat the oven at 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

2.    Peel the apple and slice it in small pieces and place in a dish.
3.    Using a sharp knife, slice the cranberries in small pieces (reserve 9-10 cranberries for garnishing) and place the sliced cranberries with the sliced apple pieces.

4.    Zest the ½ lemon and mix the zest with the sliced fruit.

5.    Add the juice of ½ lemon, 2.5 tablespoons of sugar and the dried lemon verbena to the fruit and mix. Set the fruit aside for the flavors to get blended.

6.    Open out the cold sheet of puff pastry and spread it on a large cutting board.
7.    Using a sharp knife, cut the sheet into 9 equal squares.
8.    Spray the inside surface of a small muffin pan with oil.

9.    Using a cookie cutter or the lid of a small can, cut nine circles of the puff pastry.

10.     Place the puff pastry dough circles in the muffin pan and shape them according to the shape them along the contours of the muffin pan.

11.    Roll the remaining leftovers of the dough into a ball and using a rolling pin flatten the dough out.

12.    Cut small thin strips of the dough and make a small crisscross mesh for dough strips to cover the 9 muffin cups.

13.    Fill each cup with the apple-cranberry mixture and then push the dough mesh on top of each muffin cup.

14.    Add a fresh cranberry on top of each of the nine muffin cups and sprinkle a little bit of sugar on each of these cups.
15.    Place the muffin pan in the heated oven (on the middle rack) and cook the mini pies for approximately 30 minutes.  The heat level in each oven varies a little so keep an eye on them and when the top of the pies looks done, take the muffin pan out.
16.    Carefully take the pies out of the muffin pan and let them cool on a cooling rack. Serve them while they are still hot as a light dessert or a snack with a cup of tea or coffee.

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  1. Permalink Submitted by Autism Information on Wed, 28/11/2012 - 14:47

    Just love little pies. And aren’t you smart, never thought of using puff pastry in a muffin tin. Thanks. Will be trying these today. Was going to make a few pies for the freezer, will maybe make a bunch of little ones.

    • Permalink Submitted by Shabnam on Wed, 28/11/2012 - 15:12

      Thanks 🙂 I appreciate the feedback!!! BtW if you like cinnamon in your pies, do replace the lemon zest and lemon verbena with powdered cinnamon – the pies will surely taste like traditional apple pies. I just don’t like cinnamon and that is why I added slightly different flavors. do let me know how yours turn out!

  2. Permalink Submitted by Christine Anderson on Thu, 05/12/2013 - 17:37

    Wow, this is very interesting, thing is that where I live cranberies are not found, but suppose they would turn out just as good with blueberries, for example… Plan giving it a try!

    • Permalink Submitted by Shabnam on Thu, 05/12/2013 - 18:33

      Hi Christine – you can make it with any kind of berries (even frozen or dried ones ones) – blue, raspberries or strawberries! Let me know how they turn out 🙂

  3. Permalink Submitted by Surbhi on Sat, 19/04/2014 - 13:23

    Oooo Shabnam This sounds awesome. I am a HUGE apple pie fan with cinnamon and all. Love love the cinnamon and apple flavor! ( inspiete of having grown up a few doors down from you and basically eating similar home cooked food half my life). My Mom made apple pies for us all winter long, so its a comfort food for me.

    Love the idea of making it into small pies with puff pastry dough, This also means I can try a number of different flavors without generating a ton of pies.

  4. Permalink Submitted by Del's cooking twist on Wed, 23/04/2014 - 12:39

    Hi Shabnam! Thank you for sharing your beautiful mini apple cranberry pies to my Fruit pie party. Here’s the link to the party with all the recipes. Enjoy! -Del

    • Permalink Submitted by Shabnam on Wed, 23/04/2014 - 12:45

      Thanks for much for the link Del! I will definitely hit your web site today 🙂

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