Saturday, January 15, 2011

Mini Pie Perfection

I am a neat freak. I just can not tolerate anything messy. When I make standard pies it drives me crazy when the juice leaks all over the plate after the first cut. So, the last few years I've been making individual single serving pies.


Yesterday I made some with fresh blackberries.


And some with tart cherries.


When I am out thrifting, I always look for small bowls like these. They are the perfect size for the small pies. You don't want to use anything too shallow because you need a good ratio of filling to crust.


I always make a classic pate' brisee crust. I like a sweeter crust and a tarter filling rather than the other way around.


For the blackberry filling I put the fresh berries in a bowl.


Then sprinkle them with just about 1/4 cup of sugar.


And about 3 tablespoons of flour.


I add the zest of one half lemon.


I also squeezed about a tablespoon of lemon juice into the bowl. Stir this around and set it aside. Stir it a couple times while it is sitting being careful not to smash the berries.


I make the cherry filling by dumping 2 cans of pitted tart cherries into a heavy pot. I add 3 tablespoons of cornstarch mixed with some cherry juice. I also add 2 teaspoons of almond extract. Bring this to a slight boil and stir until the liquid becomes clear and the filling just begins to thicken. Set this aside to cool completely.


I spray each cup with cooking spray so the pies will be easy to remove after they are baked. Then I mold a disk of dough into each cup.


When the cups are prepared I fill them to just below the rims with filling.


I gently lay another disk of dough on the top and crimp them around the edge. I place them on a parchment covered cookie sheet and brush the tops with cream and sprinkle course sugar on them. Just before baking I put a small slit with a knife on top of each of them to let the steam escape.


The blackberries get packed in rather tight because they will settle a lot as they cook. They get topped with a small piece of butter.


They are baked at 400 degrees for 20 minutes on the cookie sheet. Then the heat is lowered to 350 degrees and they bake for about 25 more minutes until golden. The juices should look thick and bubbly.


I let them sit to cool on the cookie sheets.


Some of them will bubble over the edge but I think that makes them look even better.


Yummers!


I think they are good enough to serve at an elegant dinner party.

One of these with a scoop of vanilla ice cream would be perfect.


After they cool completely, if you just give them the tiniest little nudge sideways, they will lift right out of the cup so you can serve them as above.

Stop back tomorrow for a killer recipe. I made something new today and I am so excited because it is one of the best things I've ever tasted!