It’s been a while since I’ve posted, and these aren’t even the only miniature pies I’ve made – last week, while visiting some great friends in Portland, Oregon, I made cherry mini pies as part of a thank you dinner for my hosts. And, less than a week later, blueberry mini pies for a dinner with my friend Christopher.
So, why mini pies? Well, I’m sure you are aware of my love of individual desserts – that should be obvious (this is a cupcake-themed blog, after all). Well, pies are a great way to celebrate fruits that are in season. I was at the store and saw some inexpensive blueberries and thought that they would be yummy. The great Berkeley Bowl identifies the geographic origin of fruits and vegetables, and like other stores, produce that is plentiful and in season is a lot cheaper that produce that comes from far away. Thinking about this lead me to look up some facts about blueberries online, and did you know that the state of Maine produces the most blueberries of any state in the U.S., and possibly of any region in the world? Blueberries can be grown in almost every state in the US.
Anyway, pies are also really easy to make. I know some people are intimidated by the whole process of making and rolling dough, and if you really don’t want to attempt the dough it is possible to buy pre-made, refrigerated dough, but I don’t think it should be that scary. It did take me a long time to really get used to it, because a lot of dough recipes warn against kneading too much, and so I was scared to even knead it enough to keep together. Once I got over that, everything has been smooth sailing. The filling is equally as easy – fruit (cut up if it’s bigger like apples), some sugar (not too much!), some flour, the juice from half a lemon, and maybe cinnamon if you want it. It’s really OK to guess at the amounts here, though there are tons of cookbooks out there if you want to know precise measurements, and of course, plenty of websites.
And, you don’t even need a pie plate! These were made in the galette style, which can also be done with a whole pie (not mini ones). You roll out a flat circle of dough, pile the topping in the middle, and fold in the edges. That’s how you make a galette. So you don’t have to worry about it being the right size or lifting it into the pan, or anything like that. I do recommend baking them on a piece of parchment paper on a baking sheet – it just makes the clean up SO much easier. Because you know, those fruit pies like to leak all over the place no matter how solid the crust is. To finish it, you just put it in the oven at 350 and if they are small pies, start checking them after 15 minutes. When they are lightly browned and the fruit is bubbling, they’re done.
Finally, fruit pies are an excellent choice when you need a dessert for your vegan friends. The entire ingredient list for the pies above is: flour, salt, water, vegetable shortening, fruit, sugar, lemon juice. Really – that’s it.
There’s a close-up of the pies here, along with more photos of my favorite baked goods.