Archive for: mini pies
Mini pies have been on a long, upward trend over the past year or so. While they haven’t quite overtaken cupcakes in terms of popularity, there are pie-only stores popping up in cities selling sweet and savory pies to people who want something other than a cupcake as a treat. As a result of the increased popularity of pies, we have started to see more great pie baking gadgets, such as my Breville Mini Pie Maker and mini pie pans.
The most unusual thing that I’ve seen so far is this Pie Bowl Pan, made by Chicago Metallic. The pan doesn’t look like your typical pie pan because it has a distinct dome on the base. You lay your dough in it as you would for a standard pie, but after baking you have a mini pie with a deep cavity in what should be the bottom of the pie. With this pan, you’re meant to flip that pie over and serve it bottom-side up. The concavity of the pie turns it into a bowl that you can fill up to take your mini pie over the top. For instance, you can fill the bowl of an peach pie with whipped cream and hot caramel sauce. If you baked a savory meat pie, you could fill the bowl with mashed potatoes and gravy. The pan has attractively fluted edges that give the upside down pie a finished look, and it is nonstick so you’ll be able to pop your pies out easily.
The pan might seem unnecessary if you don’t want to garnish your pies with toppings and sides, but cupcakes got more complex as they became more popular, and it wouldn’t be that much of a stretch to see the same thing start to happen with pies in the future, so this pan might just be the way to help you prepare for that and put your pies at the front of the trend.
I’m probably not the only person guilty of trying to eat a slice of regular pie by picking it up after slicing it and holding it like a slice of pizza rather than getting a plate. If you have tried this a time or two, you also know that it isn’t the neatest way to eat a piece of pie even if it does leave you with fewer dishes to wash. A better option is to simply make hand pies if you want to avoid doing the dishes. Hand pies are small pies that are supposed to be picked up easily and eaten right out of your hand – no plates necessary. The pies are small and perfect for a single serving. They can also be packed up easily as a snack.
These Apple Butter Hand Pies are perfect for apple pie lovers. They have a sweet apple filling and a great filling-to-crust ratio. They also take a lot less time to put together than a full sized apple pie, so you get to satisfy a pie craving a whole lot faster with a batch of these. My filling is made with finely chopped apple, apple butter, brown sugar and spices. Large pieces of apple don’t fit easily inside of a hand pie, and they can simply take too long to cook, so I find that dicing the apple in small pieces gives me a good texture but allows the apples to cook completely in the oven. I add apple butter to my filling because it has an intense apple flavor and gives the filling a great consistency. A little sugar and a little spice round things out. Apple butter is an amazing fruit preserve that you can find at many grocery stores, and you can also make it yourself with some fresh apples.
The trick to a good hand pie is to put the right amount of filling inside. A filling that is too runny will ooze out, and overloading the pie will cause the same problem. You need to place your filling in the center of the pie and leave enough room to seal the crust up before baking. A good rule of thumb is to leave about a 1/4 inch, or a little more, around the filling so you have room to make a good seal. To seal the pies, simply dab the bottom crust with a little bit of water before folding over the top crust. Press the edges firmly with a fork to keep them tightly together.
The number of pies that you get will depend on how big you make your pies. Making 4-inch rounds out dough and folding them in half to form my pies, I will get about 8 pies out of one piece of pie dough. If I roll the dough into a large square and cut 4 x 2.5-in rectangular pieces (rectangles are sandwiched, not folded over), I can get the same number of rectangular pies. You don’t want to try to re-roll the dough if you can avoid it, so try to get the most pies out of one rolling.
You can’t go wrong with apple pie for any occasion and this is especially true when it comes to miniature pies. Mini pies give you the option of having a whole pie (that you can actually eat in one sitting!) all to yourself, and a stockpile of other little pies that you can either share or pop into the freezer for later.
These Individual Cranberry Apple Pies are apple pies with a sweet-tart cranberry twist to them. The apple pie filling is basically the same one that I use when making regular mini apple pies, but when I put the filling into the pies, I also add a generous scoop of whole berry cranberry sauce. I find that the cranberry sauce not only has a wonderfully bright flavor that works well with the lightly spiced apples, but that the consistency of the sauce is a lot like pie filling to begin with and so it incorporates into the pies very well. I tend not to use apples that are too tart when making this combination (skipping granny smiths in favor of something milder) because I don’t want the filling for my pies to be too tart and I want there to be a clear difference between the apple and the cranberries.
I always use homemade cranberry sauce when making this recipe, but there are good store bought brands out there that will also work perfectly well in this recipe (and save some time over making your own sauce). Just be sure to choose a whole-berry sauce and not a cranberry jelly, which will not really incorporate well into the pie filling. Choosing a cranberry sauce that has other elements in it – such as orange zest, cinnamon or other spices – will just make the pie that much more interesting.
These pies can be baked in miniature pie pans, individual muffin pans or prepared in a countertop pie maker, such as my mini pie maker from Breville (which I used to make the pies pictured here). They can be served hot or at room temperature. Leftover pies can be cooled, frozen and reheated in the oven or in a pie maker to crisp them up for later snacking. However you serve your pies, don’t forget to top them off with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream, which is the perfect finish to this pie filling.
Impossible Pecan Pie Cupcakes are the perfect dessert for anyone who loves pecan pie, whether you’re looking for an easier version of your favorite dessert or simply want to try a new twist on it. This recipe is based on the same idea as my Impossible Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes. Impossible pie is a “back of the box” recipe for baking mixes, like bisquick. These “pies” are primarily pie filling, to which a small amount of the baking mix is added. As the “pie” bakes, a soft, crust-like outer layer around the filling – delivering a pie that you don’t need a traditional pastry crust for. In my Pumpkin Pie Cupcake recipe, I incorporated enough flour and leavening into a pumpkin-rich batter. Here, I use the same technique to transform a pecan pie batter into a batch of easy-to-make and easy-to-serve Impossible Pecan Pie Cupcakes.
The filling for these cupcakes is based on the filling for my Maple Pecan Pie, a pecan pie recipe which uses maple syrup instead of corn syrup to provide the syrupy sweet liquid for the filling. I added just enough flour to hold the batter together, along with baking powder and baking soda to help the cupcakes rise in the oven. The filling is very liquidy, almost like a crepe batter. Pecans are placed into each prepared muffin cup and batter is poured on top of them before baking.
As the cupcakes bake, the pecans rise to the top of the cupcake, just as they do in a traditional pecan pie. The base of the cupcake is an extremely moist cake that captures the flavors of maple syrup, brown sugar and vanilla. The pecan layer is crunchy, and if you use lightly salted pecans, it’ll have a sweet-salty finish to it. It is all the flavors of pecan pie in a completely new, single-serving package. It’s a great twist on a classic fall favorite.
I recommend baking these with muffin wrappers and not simply greasing your muffin cups because the cake is so moist it might be difficult to get them out. I typically serve these plain, or warmed up with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. The recipe makes 16 cupcakes, so it is enough to serve a crowd, but these keep well (they’re best stored in the refrigerator after the first day) and make a great snack even if you’re not going to entertain with them.
The only thing better than a slice of freshly baked apple pie is having a whole pie all to yourself. That said, it can be a little daunting (and probably a little unfair to everyone else who wants a slice of pie!) to tuck into an entire 9-inch apple pie with no one to share it with. The solution is to bake a half dozen Mini Apple Pies so that you can have your own apple pie and still share with friends and family.
These mini apple pies have a buttery pastry crust enclosing a filling made with apples, brown sugar, cinnamon and a touch of vanilla. Unlike full sized pies, where the filling bakes while the pie is in the oven, this filling needs to be prepared on the stove top because there isn’t enough time for the apples to completely soften in the oven with the mini pies’ short baking time. The advantage to making the filling in advance is that it can be made several days in advance and stored in the fridge, so you will have less prep work to do when you’re ready to bake those pies.
I used my Breville Mini Pie Maker to bake the pies pictured here, but this recipe can easily be prepared in a more conventional mini pie pan or baked inside of a nonstick muffin pan. The pies will all have slightly different shapes and baking times that will differ by a couple of minutes, but they will all turn out to be just as delicious. Depending on the size of the pan you use, you might be able to squeeze the crust for one additional mini pie out of the all butter pie crust dough recipe, too. The instructions that accompany the full recipe below give details for baking the pies in the oven, as opposed to a counter top pie-making appliance. I recommend opting for a plain top crust, but if you’re feeling adventurous, you can also assemble mini lattice pie crusts for your pies.
I like to dig into these pies while they are still warm and the center just oozes all over the plate. There is a great ratio of flaky crust to apple filling, too. You could theoretically hold one of these pies in your hand and eat it on the go, but I like to take a more traditional route and serve them with some vanilla ice cream on the side. Leftover pies can be stored at room temperature and they can be reheated by popping them into a preheated oven (375F) for a few minutes to crisp up the crust before enjoying the next day.