Sunday, October 9, 2011
Yes, the title of this recipe needed the exclamation point at the end, because this is such a cute and fun recipe. These mini pies are the perfect little treat for the upcoming holiday season.
These actually started as a recipe malfunction. I was attempting to make pie pops for a friend's baby shower, but I could not get them to stay on their sticks. No matter what I tried, nothing worked. In frustration, I pulled out all the sticks and it clicked in my mind that I didn't need them. The concept behind the mini pie (or baby pie as the case might be) was cute enough on its own. Also, once I ditched the popsicle idea, I solved the potential problem of ladies' dresses getting ruined by blueberry filling. As it turns out, pie is easier and cleaner to eat when not held vertically on a stick. Go figure.
As I've mentioned before, I hate pie crust. Every year at Thanksgiving, we have one dessert at the table for "the people who don't like pie," which is code for Abby. I'm very lucky to have a family that appreciates my quirks. The reason I've never liked pie crust is that all the ones I've ever eaten tasted like chalk. From my perspective, to make a pie was to take a perfectly good filling and ruin it.
Well, I think I'm going to have to eat my words on pie, and I have Kelsey Nixon to thank for it. Her show, Kelsey's Essentials, is what inspired me to make mini pies. I always taste whatever I make before serving it to someone else, and when I tested these before the baby shower, I had a revelation. I like pie. If it's made with a butter crust, like these mini pies are. I asked around and discovered that all the pies I'd been eating were made with vegetable shortening. The butter in the crust makes all the difference. Instead of tasting dull and pasty, the butter crust tastes sweet and complements the filling perfectly. Thank you, butter, for being amazing.
One of the best things about these mini pies is how creative you can be with them. I used fruit fillings for mine, but you could fill them with Nutella, a cinnamon mixture, pumpkin, a nut mixture, or even something savory. No matter what filling you chose, these will be a huge hit whenever you serve them.
1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 c (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cubed and chilled
4-6 tbsp ice water
1 egg, beaten
filling of your choice
1. In a large bowl, combine flour and salt. Add in the butter and quickly work it into the flour using a pasty blender. Blend until you've achieved pea sized crumbles. Add 4 tbsp ice water and, using a fork, bring together dough. If needed, add some more water. Shape dough into a small disk and wrap in saran wrap. Refrigerate for at least half an hour.
2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
3. On a floured surface, roll out pie dough until it's about 1/8" thick. Using a 2 1/2 inch (or similar sized) round cookie cutter, cut all the rounds you can from the dough. Gather dough and roll out again and cut rounds. Repeat this until you've cut all the rounds you can, trying to get an even number.
4. Place half of the rounds on the prepared baking sheet. These don't spread, so don't worry about placing them too close together. Spoon a small amount of filling into the center of each round. Cover filling with one of the remaining pie dough circles. Using a fork, crimp together the edges of the mini pies.
5. With a pastry brush, coat the tops of each pie with the beaten egg. Sprinkle on the turbinado sugar. With a paring knife, cut three small vents on the top of each pie. Bake until golden, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Makes about 12-16 mini pies depending on the size of your cutter.
Tips if using a canned fruit filling: Use a pair of kitchen scissors to cut up large chunks of fruit into smaller bits that will more easily fit in your mini pie. For a juicy filling, like blueberry or cherry, strain the filling using a fine mesh strainer. Run a rubber spatula along the outside of the strainer to draw the gooey part of the filling away from the fruit. Too much liquid in the filling will cause the mini pie to burst at the seam and leak all over the place. A little bit of leaking at the sides is not bad as long as most of the pie stays together.
This recipe is shared with Melt in Your Mouth Monday, Craft-O-Maniac, On the Menu Monday, Recipe Sharing Monday, Made by You Monday, Tuesday Talent Show, This Chick Cooks, Full Plate Thursday, Foodie Friday, Sweets for a Saturday