Spiked Apple and Toffee Mini Pies

Posted on: Thursday, October 22, 2015

Walking over the Longfellow bridge with the rush of crisp fall air over the Charles, I stopped at the Farmers Market @ Kendall Square to find inspiration for an upcoming fall-themed dessert party. When I think of fall flavors, I think of crisp local apples, buttery caramel, notes of cinnamon, and robust spirits like bourbon and rum. I purchased a dozen assorted apples from Lanni Orchards and continued my way down Main Street. While noshing on a crispy Gala, I was thinking of how to blend the fruit with the bottle of Ryan & Wood’s Folly Cove Rum sitting in my kitchen bar. Folly Cove Rum is a blend of rums, aged in charred oak Jack Daniel’s barrels. After sampling the copper colored rum in the Gloucester distillery a few years ago, I was hooked and instantly inspired to shake up the spirit into my cooking whenever possible.
I love flavor and texture contrasts so with the rich, robust apple and rum combination in mind, I decided to add a caramel-like layer, some crunch, and a cool, creamy topping to my recipe. My inspiration came from Banoffee pie, an irresistibly rich and creamy British dessert with layers of a cookie-like pie crust, gooey, sticky toffee, sliced bananas and a mountain of whipped cream. Instead of a banana layer, I sauteed sliced apples, cinnamon and brown sugar with the Folly Cove Rum. For the toffee-inspired layer, I kept it simple by boiling a can of sweetened condensed milk atop the stove for a few hours to transform the liquid into thick, caramelized dulce de leche toffee. (If you don’t have the time or patience to boil the can, by all means, purchase a jar of dulce de leche.) Since any entertaining dish is better bite-sized, I assembled the layers as mini pies in muffin tins. Each poppable tartlet was a burst of flavors and an aesthetically pleasing, fall treat.
Rum Infused Apple, Toffee and Whipped Cream Mini Pies

Toffee Layer
1 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk, label removed

Crust (British-born, chef April Bloomfield’s recipe)
1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
1/2 c confectioner’s sugar
8 oz unsalted butter, chilled, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1/4 t salt
3 egg yolks, lightly beaten

Folly Cove Rum and Apple Layer
2 T unsalted butter
1 Gala apple, cored, thinly sliced
1 Granny Smith apple, cored, thinly sliced
2 T brown sugar
1/2 t cinnamon, plus more for garnish
1/4 t salt
2 T Follow Cove Rum (by all means, use more, if you would like!)

Whipped Cream
1 c heavy cream
1 t vanilla

1 24-cup or 2 12-cup muffin tins

Toffee Layer
The night before, place the unopened can of sweetened condensed milk into a saucepan, and cover with water. Boil for 3 ½ hours, checking the water level occasionally to ensure the can remain submerged. Add more water, if need be. Remove the can with tongs and let cool for 30 minutes. Carefully open the can with a can opener and pour the thick, caramelized liquid into a container. Cover with a lid and refrigerate overnight.

In a large bowl, add the flour, butter, salt, and sugar. Rub the butter with your fingers into the flour until it resembles fine bread crumbs. This takes about 7-10 minutes. Add the egg yolks, and knead with your hands in the bowl until the egg is incorporated and the dough is smooth. Form the dough into a compact ball and flatten into a thick disc. Wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. 

After the dough has chilled preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Spray the muffin tins with nonstick spray. Grate the dough on a large-tooth box grater set over a flat surface. Take about 1/4 -cup portions of the grated dough and press it evenly around the base, then the sides of each muffin tin. The dough should be a little less than 1/4 inch thick on the base and sides. Prick the bottoms with a fork, and freeze for 15 minutes. Remove from freezer and bake for 12-15 minutes until the crusts are golden on the bottom and slightly bronzed on the sides. Remove from oven, let cool for 5 minutes, and then remove the shells with a tiny spatula or knife onto a cooling rack.

Folly Cove Rum and Apple Layer
Meanwhile, add butter to a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Once the butter is melted, add the apples and sautee for 1 minute. Add the brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt and sautee, stirring occasionally for 3-4 more minutes until the apples are slightly caramelized and tender. Stir in the Folly Cove Rum and swirl the apples around until it is absorbed, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and let cool.

Whipped Cream
While the apple filling is cooling, with an electric mixer, whisk together the cream and vanilla until soft peaks form. I didn’t add sugar since the other layers are so sweet, but feel free to add a spoonful or two.

Pie Assembly
When the pie crusts and apple filling are cool, spoon about 1 t of the Toffee Layer into the bottom of each tartlet, spreading evenly across the surface. Top with about 1 Tablespoon of the Folly Cove Rum and Apple Layer, spreading evenly. Spoon heaping spoonfuls of the whipped cream on top of each tartlet. Sprinkle a light dusting of cinnamon on top of each and let chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Makes 22-24 tartlets


  1. the elves approve! Yum - meets the 4 main food groups in an elf's diet - candy, candy corn, candy cane and syrup (well not the candy cane, but good substituted -- the rum!) Thanks for sharing.


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