Blueberry mini-pies

In our ongoing quest to use all the blueberries, we made mini-pies yesterday. I doubled the two-crust recipe for “Flaky Cream Cheese Pie Crust” from Berenbaum’s “Pie and Pastry Bible” (recipe is online here) and discovered that it was a bit too much for my food processor. I took it out and mixed it by hand with a pastry cutter, and then didn’t divide the results before chilling.

A day later, I took the dough out and divided it with a dough card into half. That half went back in the fridge, and I cut the remaining half into approximately 24 pieces. Each of those was rolled out into a circle to fill a muffin cup:

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I had a lot of 3-year-old help, so I didn’t worry much about over-working (some certainly are) or oversized circles/uneven pieces. The over-large ones got matched with smaller tops, some that were small or uneven got patched, and generally we just made sure that the muffin cup itself was totally covered in dough, so they wouldn’t leak.

I made a variation on the filling from “Four Star Desserts”:

  • 0.5c flour
  • 0.5c sugar
  • 1 tsp lemon peel
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • Nutmeg
  • 5 cups small Maine blueberries

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This made about twice as much as I needed for the 12 muffin cups I had rolled (so apparently the crust to filling ratio is twice as high for muffin cup pies as for 9″ pies, since this was the amount intended for one 9″).

I sprinkled granulated sugar (about a teaspoon total) on top of the filled but not yet closed pies, because it caramelized into a nice crust between the lattices on my first blueberry pie. It didn’t seem to make a difference here, even on the ones I made a mini-lattice for. Not enough exposed surface to caramelize, perhaps? Or possibly it is because the oven elements didn’t turn on much during baking, so they weren’t exposed to direct heat. I don’t remember for sure, but I think the big pie went in at 400F and I had to heat to 425F once it was already in…

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I closed the pies in a variety of ways, because the original circles were uneven and For Science! Some got latticed, some have traditional two-crust tops (though I forgot to vent any of them) and some have the bottom crust folded over and pinched closed like a turnover:

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One piece of advice for small pies in Berenbaum’s book is to freeze them first and bake from frozen. I intend to try that with the other half of the dough and filling, but wanted these right away. She recommends baking on the oven bottom or a stone so that the crust crisps better, so I set the oven to 425F and waited about 5 minutes past the preheated beep to let the stone get fully hot. These baked 10 minutes at 425F and 30 at 400F, and came out nearly perfect. (Frozen ones apparently need an hour)

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As you can see, the ones without vents made their own. Very few leaked much, and all of them popped right out of the muffin pan to make cute stand-alone pies:

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