Perfect Mini Pie Crust & Perfect Mini Pie Recipes!
Perfect Pie - Every Time!
Perfect Mini Pies!
Learn to make perfect pie!
Serving a fantastic dessert is the end of every perfect (or not so perfect) meal. Dessert is super important! It's the hosts last chance to satisfy their company. Whether it be a restaurant manager or a housewife, dessert is the last dish to delight your guest. If the entire meal sucked - you can totally reclaim your dignity with a great pie! Your patron will leave the table, licking their lips with a full stomach even if the entrée insulted all the senses.
For the beginning cook, making pies and pastry can seem daunting. While making your own crust is a terrific skill to have, it isn't a necessary one these days. I can buy pre-made pie crusts in the store for about a dollar a piece. I can't make a better pie shell myself and for a dollar - I don't think I could beat the price when you include my time. I prefer to just buy refrigerated pie crust.
One challenge for real cooks everywhere is that recipes in books and on the Internet have usually been made in a test kitchen. Those kitchens have the advantage of having the most expensive equipment known to man. Commercial ovens and cookware can and will change the end result of the dish. The cook book photograph may be impossible to achieve with a general kitchen stove.
A trained cook can learn to work around these challenges while a new cook may fumble learning those basic skills. For holidays or birthdays I will spend hours making special dishes. For everyday practicality I want to be able to make a dinner and dessert in less than an hour. I want the dessert to look and taste like I spent all day preparing it though.
I was shopping recently and bought a Mini Pie Maker. Normally, I wouldn't buy something like that but it was on clearance for $14.99. I decided if it could make pie better than me, I'd love to have that!
Bella Mini Pie Maker
I am in love with the Bella Mini Pie Maker! The pie turns out of the pan, flawless, every time. It doesn't matter what filling I use the pies are delectable.
The Bella Mini pie maker includes very few recipes. I experimented with some of theirs and made a few of my own. The pie maker includes the cookie cutters needed to make the exact size and shape to fit the molds. The instructions suggest that if you use refrigerated dough from the grocery store, you should roll it out to a 1/8 inch thickness. The end result will yeild enough shells for 8 pies. I do agree that you could stretch it to make 8 pies but I don't think it's best.
I unrolled the dough and immediately cut four large rounds out and one small round. I took the remainder of the dough, rolled it out, and was able to cut out two more small rounds. Then roll the left over smaller bit of dough for your final and fourth small round piece for the top of the pie.
The thicker bottom pie crust works best to hold heavy fruit fillings without stretching it. The ration of pie crust to filling is excellent as well. The pie crust did not break, weep or tear one single pie.
I cooked each pie for exactly 12 minutes. The pie crusts were all browned and the taste was beyond compare. I used regular canned pie filling for each fruit pie. I garnished them with fresh or dehydrated fruits, zests and nuts.
Making a perfect mini pie is a snap!Click thumbnail to view full-size
Perfect Size for Filling Bella Mini Pie Maker
Mini Pies for Lunch or Dinner!
Pies aren't just for dessert!
I love making one dish meals like quiche and pot pie. There are many advantages to making portions in smaller serving sizes. My kids can take one of these mini pies to school for lunch or dessert or pop one in the microwave for a quick breakfast.
I made a portion of the quiche mini pies in phyllo dough and the other half in regular pie crust. I tried them using a Phyllo dough bottom crust sans top crust and they were equally scrumptious. The mini quiche pies would be fantastic for a lunch item if you are entertaining guests.
One of the recipes that was included in the Bella Mini Pie instruction booklet was for a tuna cheese bake. I slightly changed the recipe and used canned tuna in water, mayo, scallion onions and capers. I topped them with cheddar and mozzerella cheese. I also used phyllo dough and my husband thought they were quite tasty. For the most part, I followed the directions and recipes in the booklet.
I made a chicken pot pie filling and quickly made mini pot pies. It took me a total of about 30 minutes total cook time to make eight mini pies. It would have taken at least an hour to bake a whole pie in the oven.
Each time I used phyllo dough - it cooked much quicker. The pies took about 8 minutes and the tuna bake and quiches took about 10 minutes.
1 Pie Crust + 1 Can of Pie Filling = Perfect Pie
You Can Leave Your Hat On....
Leave your top off!
Tips for Perfect Pies
- Glass pie plates and duller metal pans are best for baking pies. Those materials will absorb and retain heat evenly which makes them ideal for perfect pie crust.
- Shiny metal pans will cause a soggy bottom!
- Ceramic and clay are also great heat conductors and make appropriate dishes for pie baking.
- If the recipe calls for a lattice top it may be because the filling requires venting. Make sure to use a lattice top if it is specified.
- Fruit Pies should be bubbly in the center when they done. If the filling isn't cooked properly the filling will be too thin. Look for bubbly liquid around the slits in the center and edges.
- Make sure proper cooling time is allowed. Cool fruit pies for a minimum of two hours to prevent the pie from falling apart.
- Fruit pies can sit at room temperature for about 24 hours safely. They require refrigeration or freezing after this point.
- To freeze fruit pies, let them cool at room temperature completely. Place pie in a Ziploc bag, label, date and seal for safe storage for up to 4 months.
- To serve frozen pie, thaw at room temperature. Preheat at 325 until warm if desired.
Betty Jar - Fruit Betty Dessert
- 8 cups of left over pies, desserts, cakes or sweet rolls (finely cut)
- 2 cups of brown sugar
- 1 lemon, juice and grated or zested peel
- 1/4 cup of butter
- 1/4 cup of hot water or left over pie syrup
Process the pies and crusts into a crumb mixture. Add the brown sugar and lemons. Pour mixture into a baking dish. Melt butter in the hot water or syrup and pour over all. Cover the dish and place in a larger baking dish that contains water. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 1 1/2 hours to 2 hours.
Serve with whipped cream topping or a lemon sauce.
The Betty Jar
Decades ago, tea houses and diners would make use of any scrap of unsold food. Left over slices of pie and cake would be put it "the Betty jar." The Betty Jar was a large, closed container in the refrigerator. Every few days, they would take all the random pieces of pies and cakes and toss this decoction together and make a crumb mixture.
The mixture, while not pretty, tastes marvelous! It's a sweet bread pudding that was originally topped with a zesty lemon sauce or glaze.
Parties, bar-b-ques or events that render large amounts of left over pies are a great beginning to a delicious Fruit Betty pudding dessert.