Archive for: pie
Pie servers are triangular spatulas that are supposed to make it easy to lift a slice of pie easily from a pie plate by offering more support than simply trying to balance a heavy slice of pie on the blade of a thin knife. Most pie servers are made of metal and are fairly stiff, but when it comes to pie servers, stiffness is not necessarily a good thing. A very stiff server can be difficult to wedge underneath a slice of pie and can easily crack a delicate crust, making your beautiful pie look less than presentable when you are plating it. This Oxo Flexible Nylon Pie Server is a great example of a server that is sturdy and flexible. A flexible pie server that has a some give to it will slide down the side of your pie plate and bend to fit smoothly underneath that slice without cracking the crust, and the OXO version is strong enough to lift any slice easily
The sides of this particular server are serrated and can help you cut through a bit of crust if necessary, but you’re far better off going with a knife for cutting and then using this server as just a server (which is true of most pie servers). If you do need to cut through something with this server, serrations are better for cutting through a stubborn graham cracker crust than a real pastry crust.
As a fan of coconut, I like it in most types of desserts and baked goods. This includes cakes, cookies, muffins and pies. Coconut cream pie is probably the most common type of coconut pie you’ll find. It is made with a pudding-like filling that is packed with shredded coconut and poured into a prebaked pie shell, very similar to a chocolate cream pie. Coconut Custard Pie is a little different than a cream pie and just might be a better way to enjoy coconut.
Coconut Custard Pie has an eggy custard base that is not pre-cooked, but baked right in the pie shell. Rather than having a pudding-like texture, it has a more delicate texture to it, like that of a creme brulee or other baked custard. Of course, this particular pie is also packed with coconut, so some of that delicate texture usually associated with baked custards is lost with the generous amount of shredded coconut that is also in the filling because that adds a lot of texture to the pie.
I use sweetened shredded coconut, but you can also use unsweetened without making any changes to the recipe. Some coconut pie recipes call for using only toasted coconut. You can use only toasted coconut in this recipe if you prefer that toasty flavor. I prefer to use untoasted coconut because I like the contrast it creates as the pie bakes: the top becomes crispy and toasted, while the coconut inside the filling remains slightly chewier. Either way, you end up with a pie that has terrific coconut flavor, a creamy and eggy base and a buttery, flaky pie crust.
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.
When you bake a pie to bring to a family dinner or a potluck, how to you carry it with you? I’ve done everything from covering the top of the pie with plastic wrap or aluminum foil to sticking the pie plate into a cake carrier. My favorite way to transport a pie is to leave it uncovered and hold it myself, or have someone hold it for me, so I know that the pie is safe while it travels. Another option comes in the form of a new pan from Nordic Ware, a Covered Pie Pan. The pie plate itself is a heavy duty aluminum that gives you a very sturdy base for your pies and ensures even browning. The neat thing about the plate is the plastic lid that comes with it, because it snaps into place on top of the pie in much the same way that a lid snaps onto a cake carrier. When in place, the lid makes the pie easy to transport. Perhaps even more importantly, it also helps keep the pie fresh when you’re just enjoying it at home.
The pie plate isn’t quite as decorative as some of the stoneware plates out there, which look beautiful when you set them on the table to serve, but the lid will seal the deal with many pie bakers on this pan for it’s overall convenience.
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.