A Lazy Person Attempts to use the ThinkGeek Personal Pie Factory to Make Tiny Pies
cooking is hard
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?”
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.
Read the instructions. Or skim them. I guess.
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.
Remove puff pastry and the pie crust from the freezer.
Realize each should have been refrigerated and not frozen. Go do something else for an hour while they thaw.
Stupid frozen stuff.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
(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.
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.
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!