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A Lazy Person Attempts to use the ThinkGeek Personal Pie Factory to Make Tiny Pies

Updated on January 15, 2012

cooking is hard

Remove everything from the box.  Yep, looks like the picture.
Remove everything from the box. Yep, looks like the picture.
4 slots = 4 pies ... good, good.
4 slots = 4 pies ... good, good.
Bla bla soapy water - sounds like effort.  Moist paper towel does the same thing.
Bla bla soapy water - sounds like effort. Moist paper towel does the same thing.
Puff pastry and premade pie crust.
Puff pastry and premade pie crust.
Ugh.  "If frozen, thaw at room temperature for at least an hour.  Do NOT microwave."  Awesome.
Ugh. "If frozen, thaw at room temperature for at least an hour. Do NOT microwave." Awesome.
Doug magically opens a can!
Doug magically opens a can!
Make sure you have plently of help.  Cats know ALL about cooking.
Make sure you have plently of help. Cats know ALL about cooking.
Pam - tasty, sizzly Pam. Whoops. Plug the unit in LAST!  NOT first.  My bad.
Pam - tasty, sizzly Pam. Whoops. Plug the unit in LAST! NOT first. My bad.
Unroll the pie crust.   It cracks. Smoosh the cracked bits.  Hope it sort of sticks back together.
Unroll the pie crust. It cracks. Smoosh the cracked bits. Hope it sort of sticks back together.
Trace doughy circles using a glass - or in this case, super classy goblet.
Trace doughy circles using a glass - or in this case, super classy goblet.
4 pie bottoms.  Lookin' good.
4 pie bottoms. Lookin' good.
Didn't I unplug you?  Why are you still so HOT???
Didn't I unplug you? Why are you still so HOT???
Plug back in. Wait.
Plug back in. Wait.
Cooking.  Cooking.  Good.  Middles still sort of gooey looking.
Cooking. Cooking. Good. Middles still sort of gooey looking.
Ahhh perfect!... ish.
Ahhh perfect!... ish.
Screw it.  If they won't come out, make 'em come out!
Screw it. If they won't come out, make 'em come out!
Someone always has to go last.
Someone always has to go last.
Put everything back together after dumping out. See?  No problem!
Put everything back together after dumping out. See? No problem!
That one looks nice.  Let's measure it for future attempts at making "tops."  Slightly less than 3 inches.
That one looks nice. Let's measure it for future attempts at making "tops." Slightly less than 3 inches.
Doug approves.
Doug approves.
You already took my picture - quit it.
You already took my picture - quit it.

The first thing you need to know about me is: I don't cook.

Call it laziness, if you must - I chose to think of it as budgeting my time by allowing other places to provide my nourishment. I am helping the economy by patronizing the fast food joints in my town.

I love my husband. He loves sweets. Cookies, pie, cereal, and Poptarts are legitimate dinner time foods to him. He’s also the bane of my existence because he eats like this and never gains a pound.

Months ago I saw the Personal Pie Factory advertised on the ThinkGeek* website. I showed it to my husband and he smiled, but replied “mmm looks like cooking.” I ordered it for him for Christmas anyway: if there’s anyone in the universe who needs his own pie maker, it’s him.

(*ThinkGeek is this fantastic source for all things - you guessed it - GEEKY: plush microbes, a Dune-inspired apron (“the Spice must FLOW”!), an entire line inspired by the pure love of bacon, you name it and if it’s geeky, nerdy or generally silly, they probably have it.)

Christmas Day came and went. The presents are unwrapped and while the pie maker got a big laugh out of him, it still just sat on the counter still in its box.

While grocery shopping, I finally give voice to what I’d been thinking this whole time, “You’re never going to touch that thing are you?”

Nope.

This makes me mad. Which, for some reason, spurns me to action. I add three cans of pie filling, a roll of pre-made pie crust and a box of puff pastry to our cart. I’d show him! If I could make tiny pies, anyone could!!!

And so I did.

It wasn’t exactly a rousing success, but I will try it again and I’m sure I will get better. And compared to the time I attempted to make stew and ended up in frustrated tears stabbing a can I couldn’t get open with a giant butcher knife, I did ok.

Step One

Read the instructions. Or skim them. I guess.

Whatever.

Step Two

Remove everything from the box.

Something in the instructions said to wash the unit with soapy water - which sounds like effort. Wipe it down with a damp paper towel. Good enough.

Step Three

Remove puff pastry and the pie crust from the freezer.

Read instructions.

Realize each should have been refrigerated and not frozen. Go do something else for an hour while they thaw.

Stupid frozen stuff.

Step Four

Unroll pie crust. The instructions say pie crust is good for the bottom, but maybe not necessarily for the top. Hence the purchase of pie crust AND puff pastry.

The stupid pie crust cracks from being frozen even though it’s thawed now. Smoosh the dough on the crack lines. Try to squish it back together at the seam. The stupid dough doesn’t help you if it’s in pieces.

Instructions say to use a glass or cookie cutter to make four round bottoms for the pie. It doesn’t give dimensions. This means the bottoms I make are twice as big as they need to be. At this point, I don’t care because the instructions say closing the lid will cut off excess dough.

Step Five

Get confused. Remember that old sandwich maker you used to have? Didn’t you have to preheat that? Spray the whole thing down with Pam.

Read the instructions again.

Realize you don’t plug it in ‘til you’re ready to MAKE the actual PIES.

Get confused again because your toaster is plugged in to the same outlet. Accidentally unplug the toaster. Wonder why the unit remains so freaking HOT even after it should have cooled down.

Step 6

Press the four round pie bottoms made with the too-big glass in to the four pie spaces on the unit. (why is it still so hot? )

The bottoms begin cooking immediately.

Oh crap.

Quickly spoon the pie filling (the pie filling liberated from its can by Doug since I don’t know how to use a manual can opener - hence the previously mentioned attempt at cooking involving a can and a butcher knife) in to each already cooking pie bottoms.

Close the lid once to cut off the excess dough… which doesn’t help since it’s already cooking. Try to scrape off the excess with a pointy knife.

Step Seven

Realize the clock is ticking. Cut out four more dough circles, this time out of the puff pastry. Lay the circles on top of each proto-pie - look at the instructions later to figure out what went wrong. Realize it says the pie tops should be roughly the same size as the actual bottoms to facilitate a proper fit.

Close the unit’s top thinking it will cut the excess dough off again. Be wrong. Once again, attempt to scrap off the excess while it cooks. Fail at this. The tops become one giant top which sort of accidentally creates a joined four-pack of pies.

Step Eight

Close the top and let it cook for awhile. Figure on “fixing it later.”

Puff pastry PUFFS while you cook it - BRILLIANT!!! This goes a long way towards showing the progress of the tiny pies. They start looking tasty golden brown and good - misshapen, but good. They smell kind of good too - like a tasty, fluffy biscuit.

Step Nine

Ok, looks good. Now, how to get them out?

Using a spatula, as the instructions state, the tops pulls off, but the bottoms don’t come out. Apparently, making the tops and bottoms roughly the same size would have made them sort of seal together properly in the baking.

Step Ten

Give up and turn the entire unit over. Dump out the baby pies. Right the bottoms, refill the pies with spilled ingredients, place the giant tops back on top of them.

Step Eleven

(Optional: use handy string measure also acquired from ThinkGeek) Measure the inside diameter of the top of the most attractive pie. Future endeavors should measure a hair less than 3.”)

Place on plate. Provide glass of milk. Make sugar-loving spouse eat them anyway.

Not bad!!!

Wait a couple of hours, wonder what that clicking sound is - it sounds exactly like the click of something hot cooling down - realize what you did & unplug the unit before you burn your house down.

Aftermath

I rolled the remaining puff pastry back in to a ball, did the same with the pie crust. I placed the balls in to a plastic bag, covered the leftover pie filling with plastic wrap, went to Walmart and bought a rolling pin.

The only thing I need now is something round and less than 3” across.

Next time will be better!!!

Overall - the pie maker is a fun and inexpensive appliance. The instructions come with extra recipes you can try. If you actually DO cook, the possibilities of what you can make with this thing are pretty endless!

Comments

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    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 5 years ago from sunny Florida

      Too funny....it reminds me of easy bake oven days...it had to be fun using this gadget...Geeks rock~~~well, some do ....

      I am sure I will have to talk someone in my family into giving me one so I can provide a live, at home, 'Food Network' show of my own demonstrating your steps...

    • truthfornow profile image

      truthfornow 5 years ago from New Orleans, LA

      This was really funny. Great job. I have seen the mini cupcake maker in the department store, but have never seen the pie maker. Sounds like so much fun. My cooking efforts usually set the smoke detector off. I am going to check out ThinkGeek because of you and see what I can get into.

    • Larry Fields profile image

      Larry Fields 5 years ago from Northern California

      What a great idea! Voted up and interesting.

      For the last picture, I think that you should have substituted a photo of your husband eating tacos in bed. :)

    • greatstuff profile image

      Mazlan 5 years ago from Malaysia

      Congratulation on Hub of the day. When I was in the US last December, I saw something similar at Macy's and told my wife that we should get one. She disapproved as the last time she bought the waffle stuff for me, it was used only twice..so she said, don't waste your money on another! I am a gadget guy, so there goes another gadget for me.

    • DzyMsLizzy profile image

      Liz Elias 5 years ago from Oakley, CA

      Hysterical! Congrats on Hub of the Day!

      Great illustrations.

      Still laughing...(oh--WITH you, not AT you... ) ;-)

      Voted up and umm....funny...

    • SMD2012 profile image

      Sally Hayes 5 years ago

      LoL! So funny. You are hereby Voted Up, Funny, Awesome and followed! Cheers - S

    • Liz Green Berry profile image
      Author

      Liz Green Berry 5 years ago from TX

      *so happy!* Hooray for comments!

    • ziyena profile image

      ziyena 5 years ago from ... Somewhere Out There ...

      LOL! All I have to say ... :)

      Great hub!

    • GusTheRedneck profile image

      Gustave Kilthau 5 years ago from USA

      Howdy Liz - This may apply in your kitchen as to the use of your fantastic-automatic pie (mess) maker thingie...

      We used to say this a lot when I was in the military - "Keep a cool tool in the motor pool."

      Gus :-)))

    • CZCZCZ profile image

      CZCZCZ 5 years ago from Oregon

      great pictures making small pies. Enjoyed reading your hub and looking at the pics.

    • moonlake profile image

      moonlake 5 years ago from America

      I don't have an electric can opener either and I cook. I like the can openers that cut with a smooth lid. Can't think what their called. Anyway your hub was great. We all buy these little cadgets and there is always a problem with them. We bought the Xpress Redi Set Go for ourselves for Christmas. Maybe used it twice does not work like it does on tv. Love your cats...congratulations on Hub Of The Day.

    • rob_allen profile image

      rob_allen 5 years ago from MNL, PH

      Very interesting. Most hubs about cooking usually end up perfectly looking food served with a beautiful presentation. You took a risk, became very honest and show to the world your attempt to cook something. Well, kudos, this is a very interesting and HIGHlarious hub that I have ever read! I guess some people forget that writing hub is not just about the money. Writing hub is done for fun and I can feel that you really had a great time documenting your kitchen misadventure! :))) However, i think your pie looks good. :)Voted up!

    • profile image

      Chasuk 5 years ago

      @JayeWisdom: I've been cooking for nearly 43 years, but I've never owned an electric can opener. :-)

    • golfcart34 profile image

      Amanda Tallman 5 years ago from Vermont

      I think your hub made it sound like it is much easier to just make a full size pie in the oven rather than use this machine. With that being said, however, I do love Think Geek. They have the best stuff on that site! I really want a sonic screwdriver, or perhaps the brownie bar factory, which sounds much more my speed. Thank you for making my day with this article!

    • JayeWisdom profile image

      Jaye Denman 5 years ago from Deep South, USA

      Funny! You are obviously not a cook, Liz, if you don't even own an electric can opener! But you look young enough to have plenty of time to learn.

      By the way, this gadget looks as though it's much more work to use than simply lining a pie pan with one circle of refrigerated pie crust, adding the filling and putting the top crust on and sealing it... not to mention, after the pie's eaten, the entire pie pan can go into the dishpan or dishwasher for cleaning.

      You may not want to learn to cook, but if you do, there are numerous cookbooks that teach the basics for people who don't know the first thing about cooking. Either you or Doug should learn to cook healthy food before you ruin your health eating junk food. Just the opinion of an old lady!

      Besides, most new cooks discover they actually enjoy the process, not to mention enjoying the food...

      Enjoyed your hub and the photos, though the sight of all those cats shedding hair in your kitchen quite put me off the thought of eating lunch! (Maybe that's why you don't cook.)

      Jaye

      P.S. The comment preceding mine is obviously spam, but since the writer is not a member, there's no link to flag it as such. This type of junk ad appearing in the guise of a legitimate comment really irks me! I hope it makes you mad enough to complain to HP admin about it and get it removed.

    • brsmom68 profile image

      Diane Ziomek 5 years ago from Alberta, Canada

      Very entertaining Hub...congratulations! I would love to try one of these; I like pie but hate making it, especially from scratch. I can never get the crust right. Just a thought, but what if you bought the tart shells? They are 3" across and are the right shape.

      Once again, congratulations! Voted up!

    • jaybird22 profile image

      jaybird22 5 years ago from New York

      I can totally relate to you, especially the way you wrote this hub. I cannot cook either and mostly because I don't have the time. When I get home from work, I am starving and the last thing I feel like doing is taking the time to prepare my dinner. Like you, I enjoy eating good food but the extra hour (or more depending on what recipe/food being prepared) it takes to prepare it only makes me more hungry and tired. If you're convinced of using this smartplanet to success, maybe I too could use it. Thanks for the hub!

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 5 years ago from the short journey

      Cute hub, cute pies. Your grown-up easy bake oven is cute, too. Oh, and cute hubby--thank his mom. ;)

      Doug smiles, the world is right--ahhh young love when everything they do is magic!

      Love that great granny square afghan.

      Congrats on your Hub of the Day--fun stuff!

    • Brainy Bunny profile image

      Brainy Bunny 5 years ago from Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania

      My mother-in-law got me something similar once -- an individual brownie maker. Only, as far as I am concerned, the best part of brownies is the gooey middle of the pan, not the hard edges! The whole thing was useless, and I returned it as fast as I could. I'm not against these gadgets completely, though; I have an awesome quesadilla maker that my whole family loves!

    • Escobana profile image

      Escobana 5 years ago from Valencia

      Hilarious Hub! Enjoyed it sooooo much as being that same person more or less. I don't cook. Great way to open your Hub! You found yourself a new fan here:-)

      Voted up, shared and away!

    • starstream profile image

      Dreamer at heart 5 years ago from Northern California

      This is too funny. I really loved it and you made a perfect hub! Thanks, I needed some humor today. Wonderful idea!

    • profile image

      Chasuk 5 years ago

      This was funny, and charmingly written -- though I've never known anyone (above the age of about 12) who didn't know how to use a manual can opener.

      Voted up for the hilarious combination of indifference and perseverance.

    • jenniferg78 profile image

      jenniferg78 5 years ago from Philadelphia, PA

      bakingobread- lol, good point- forget the bread machine ;)

    • melbel profile image

      Melanie Shebel 5 years ago from New Buffalo, Michigan

      I am always lurking around at all the goodies on ThinkGeek and NEVER saw this! I so want it! I had a campfire pie maker as a kid which is this iron thing on a stick that you put pie stuff in and hold it over a fire.

      Thanks for sharing, I love your sense of humor. :)

    • wonderingwoolley profile image

      wonderingwoolley 5 years ago from Madison, WI

      This a really cute article, and I learned so much. You were funny, engaging and super informative about something I never knew existed. My hubby would want one of these so I could keep mini pies in the fridge for him all the time. kudos!

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 5 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      Really, this was quite funny. Somehow I'm craving tiny pies now.

    • Sweetsusieg profile image

      Sweetsusieg 5 years ago from Michigan

      Ok, so I have friends that claim they 'don't cook or bake'... Maybe I need to stop over and watch them 'not cooking or baking' once in a while. I could get a good laugh!!

    • leahlefler profile image

      Leah Lefler 5 years ago from Western New York

      I suddenly have an irrepressible need to purchase a mini pie maker. I saw a mini cheeseburger maker at a store the other day and almost bought it - it was only $8, which I'm sure is approximately 80% off. That's like getting a whole lotta cheeseburger for FREE! Loved the hub, and now I need to go bake something!

    • Marla Neogra profile image

      Marla J Neogra 5 years ago from Parkersburg, West Virginia

      I love your style of writing! Although I can fully empathize with you, I love to cook. I am very happy you wrote this and included all the photos. I would probably put them into thumbnail form though. That way it encourages slide views and you still have some room at bottom to promote that wonderful pie maker via Amazon!

    • oldrick profile image

      Richard Ingate 5 years ago from UK

      I also have never heard of this gadget but now I have to have one !

    • profile image

      SJmorningsun25 5 years ago

      Love this! You are both hilarious and inspiring. I hope the next time around goes better--though Doug looks pretty happy already! Kudos to you for giving it the ol' college try!

    • BakingBread-101 profile image

      BakingBread-101 5 years ago from Nevada

      I just can't resist responding to Jenniferg78,I really don't think these qualify as "pies"! But I definitely wouldn't consider making them in a bread machine -- the pie filling would gook up the bread machine and how would you get the crust around the filling? (YES, I'm joking!)

    • jenniferg78 profile image

      jenniferg78 5 years ago from Philadelphia, PA

      Lol, this is hub is great! Very funny. Love the picture of all the cats "helping" you. Seems like a lot of work for a pie...you should try a bread machine ;)

    • PrairieRain profile image

      PrairieRain 5 years ago from Midwestern U.S.

      HaHaHa! Love it! Exactly how my cooking experiments work!

    • BakingBread-101 profile image

      BakingBread-101 5 years ago from Nevada

      Pampered Chef also has a round press thingy for sandwiches, etc. You can make hand pies with it and then put them on a cookie sheet to bake -- I recommend using parchment paper underneath them so if they leak onto the paper,it's still an easy cleanup!

      It was so funny, I had to reread it, especially after the night of work I had tonight. Thanks again!

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 5 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Loved the photos, loved the captions, can imagine the two of you doing this! Loved the cooperative husband too! Hehehe

      Congratulations on your Hubnuggets nomination. To all who would like to read and vote, join the Hubnuggets team and their adventures right here: https://hubpages.com/community/HubNugget-Mystery-T...

    • DougBerry profile image

      DougBerry 5 years ago from Abilene, TX

      Hey, congratulations on your HubNugget nomination, my wife. You can vote and view the other nominees in the Food and Cooking Topic here:

      https://hubpages.com/food

    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 5 years ago from San Francisco

      This description is SO SIMILAR to nearly every baking/cooking endeavor on which I embark. This Hub is hilarious because it's SO RIGHT ON!!!

      I've frequently eyed those pie makers... hehee, I've always wondered how using one might go down. This was such a blast to read!

      And oh my god, your photos are fantastic. And the captions. THE CAPTIONS!!

      You. Rock.

    • Liz Green Berry profile image
      Author

      Liz Green Berry 5 years ago from TX

      Thank you, BakingBread. Even when I'm butchering something or having an awful time of things, I still think of it in terms of how can I spin it to make people laugh - that's why I took pictures while I was doing it... I figured it would turn out silly - with me things usually do.

      I didn't realize the pie maker wasn't exclusive to ThinkGeek 'til just now... Amazon has it so I have added the link. Thanks for the suggestion!

    • BakingBread-101 profile image

      BakingBread-101 5 years ago from Nevada

      This is hysterical because I can actually picture your every move. You've written a very entertaining hub! You probably should have put a link in there for the rest of us to buy the contraption. I love baking, but I totally dislike making pie crusts. When I bake a small pie, it's 9". Otherwise, I always make 12" pies -- I simply cannot imagine a "pie" that is less than 3". I do have two presses that are supposed to make pies like the ones you mention, but they are larger and heart shaped and star shaped. Also, these presses don't cook the pies--they just form them. They were a royal pain in the behind to use, so they tend to sit on the shelf.

      Anyway, your hub made me laugh. Thank you.

    • profile image

      Dan Green 5 years ago

      Liz...what a FUNNY story. I LOVED it. Where in the world did you ever get that sense of humor of yours?

    • Liz Green Berry profile image
      Author

      Liz Green Berry 5 years ago from TX

      Doug - I knew there was a reason I loved you so much! You're brilliant.

      Arlene - I do I do!! I should have tried the - what were they this last year .. eggnog pancakes? around Christmas time.

      I overheard someone at my job today saying "meh, breakfast foods. I'm just not in to it - there's not much you can do: eggs, bacon, whatever." Ha! What about omlettes and crepes and french toast and all that? Talk about a limited imagination!

    • profile image

      Arlene V. Poma 5 years ago

      Don't you just LOVE those 1,000+ calories (minimum) pancake and waffle breakfasts at IHOP? I learned not to mix the syrups together. BLEAH! I will go if someone's buying, though.

    • DougBerry profile image

      DougBerry 5 years ago from Abilene, TX

      Hey Liz, we have some frozen waffles. If you put the pie filling on them you can pretend you're at IHOP.

    • Liz Green Berry profile image
      Author

      Liz Green Berry 5 years ago from TX

      While I was at Dillard's the other day, I saw something very similar for making TINY DONUTS. The mind reels at the posibilities!

      Thank you for the read and the comment - and so quick too! Now I'm craving waffles...

      :-)

    • profile image

      Arlene V. Poma 5 years ago

      I have never seen one of these, but I found your Hub very entertaining. I loved the writing and the photographs. You done good for someone who claims not to cook. No worries. I received a waffle iron as a wedding gift and had to throw it away because the batter I made welded the waffle iron together. Anywhooooo, voted up and everything else. Too cute!