1 pound baking apples (about 3 medium)
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 tablespoons white sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon cornstarch
PREHEAT the oven to 425° and place oven rack in lowest position.
COMBINE the butter, sugar and salt in a medium bowl. Grate frozen butter into flour, tossing butter and flour together occasionally to prevent butter from clumping. Transfer bowl to refrigerator.
PEEL and core apples. Slice apples in half vertically, then cut thin (1/8 inch) slices horizontally. (You should have half-moon shapes). Toss apples with lemon juice, sugars, spices and cornstarch in a medium bowl. Set aside while you finish the crust.
RETRIEVE flour from fridge. Sprinkle 3 tablespoons of icewater over surface of flour and using rubber scraper, bring flour in from the sides and bottom of bowl and press down on the center in a folding motion. Add more water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until dough mostly comes together.
TURN out onto cutting board or counter and, using your hands to press dough together, form into a disk about 6 inches in diameter. No dry crumbles should remain - add icewater if necessary. Wrap in plastic wrap and place in refrigerator while you finish the apples.
The apples should have released some juice. Toss apples and juice, and place in microwave.
COOK on high for 3 minutes. Stir apples and continue to cook until juices have thickened and apples have softened to the point where they are flexible enough to roll around your finger (caution - apples will be HOT), 1 to 2 more minutes. (You can also cook them in a saucepan on the stove.) Place apples into the fridge.
REMOVE crust from fridge and divide into 6 pieces. Roll each piece into a circle about 6 inches in diameter. Using a large plastic lid or can (I used the lid from a container of sour cream), cut a circle about 5 1/2 inches in diameter.
PLACE circle over muffin tin hole, and pleat once or twice to fit dough in tin. You should have an overhang of dough around the edges. Press this overhang down onto the edges of the muffin tin. Combine the dough scraps, re-roll, and cut into decorative leaves, if desired.
Once you have formed all 6 crusts, place a couple of teaspoons of apples into the bottom of each one. Then take the remaining apple slices and arrange around sides of crust, overlapping edges, and continue until crust is filled.
PLACE one or two leaves on each pie (don't let them hang over the outside edge of the pan or they'll burn) and sprinkle with regular or turbinado sugar if desired.
BAKE pies until crust is golden, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on wire rack. Remove from tin and serve.