…or Miniature Cherry Pies: A How-to Guide
Small confession…I love tiny things. Perhaps it is my petite stature, but anything that can be made miniature/teensy/wee/bite-sized excites me. In a world full of big gulps and super-sizing, it’s nice to scale things down.
When the hubs and I were discussing Thanksgiving plans, we decided against a big dinner (see our Thanksgiving post on the Kate & Nic blog). We still wanted to incorporate some of our favorite treats into the weekend festivities. I wanted something pumpkin or pecan. Nic’s eyes rolled back into his head and he started drooling once he mentioned cherry pie. Being no stranger to pie baking, I decided to fulfill his holiday wish. Knowing we would be picnicking, a full-blown ooey-gooey pie was out of the question. Thankfully, I came across a recipe for a pint-sized, portable version of Nic’s fav.
The recipe sounded delish and relatively simple. Simple until it’s 9pm on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving and you’ve just now found time to buy ingredients and your climbing over angsty shoppers fighting over the last can french fried onions just to find a 7lb box of cornstarch of which you only need a spoonful. Times of crises call for creativity. Instead of following the recipe word for word, I modified. Butchering this poor woman’s effort and thereby making the most lazy mini cherry pies known to man. I mean, who has time to pit cherries anyhow (more on this shortly)? And God made Pillsbury pie crusts for a reason.
So, here’s what you need:
- 1 can cherry pie filling
- 1 box pie crust (preferably the roll-out kind, not in the tin)
- various spices already in your kitchen
- 2 biscuit/cookie cutters (one smaller than the other)
- miniature muffin pan
- cooking spray
- box of red wine (optional)
Use every last bit of dough!
First, get your box of pie dough ready and flour the surface you’ll be working on. Unfold your pie dough and mend any cracks. I found that using 2.5″ and 2″ biscuit cutters and a box of 2 pie crusts will yield exactly 24 pies. Dip the bottom of your cutters into flour and get to cutting!
Next, insert the larger dough disks into the greased muffin tin. Don’t worry if there’s a little overlap. Just make sure it comes up to the rim of each mold. Bit of warning, while this process is easy, it’s pretty tedious. The box of wine comes in handy at this point in prep.
Two down, 22 and a glass of wine to go.
If you are civilized, pour the pie filling into a bowl. If you are like me, add some spices directly into the can to ghudge (it’s a word. look it up….haha, made you look.) up the contents. You may require the assistance of a manly spice-getter-downer to reach those rarely used jars in the back of that much too high cabinet. I believe we added about a teaspoon and a half of sugar, a couple teaspoons of cinnamon, and a dash of allspice.
Add spice and stir...gently.
Even he needed the little stool.
Pour heaping teaspoons of the filling into each pie. Good rule of thumb is to make sure the filling comes to the top of each cup. It’s ok if some of the cherries poke up above the cup rim.
Looks so artsy from this angle.
Take each pie top and using your thumb and forefinger, press the dough to make the disk slightly larger and thinner. Then place the tops on the cups, making sure there’s a little overlap. Using a fork or whatever floats your boat, crimp the bottom crust to the top. With a sharp knife, pierce each pie three-ish times to vent the steam.
Sealed for your protection.
Place the pies in a 425 degree oven for 12-15 minutes or until the crust is golden brown. WARNING! Cherry goodness may ooze from the pies, thereby detaching the tops and making a mess of the muffin tin. Do Not Worry! Once cooled, the filling acts as a glue, sealing the top back in place. As for the gooey mess, it is pretty much all sugar and easily washes off with hot water.
You are not a failure. It
Remove the pan from oven and place it on a cooling rack. Once the pies are not boiling lava hot, you can transfer each individual pie directly to the cooling rack. You may want to dive right into each pie, but remember, the innards are still BOILING LAVA HOT. Patience is a virtue.
Bite-size is not synonymous with healthy.
I’m telling you now, these little guys are addicting. That is the one flaw with bite-sized treats…the mind says “Small! Since it’s tiny, I can eat 20!” Oh mind. You are so silly. While tiny and portable and downright adorable, these puppies still pack a punch. For all you health conscious folks out there, I did the math (this based on ingredients, not scientific lab tests. I’m not that nerdy.)…
Serving: 1 pie
Saturated Fat: 2g
As with anything, enjoy in moderation! (Yeah, I went there. I know it’s the holidays. I know it’s hard. You’ll thank me later.)
One more word of warning…
For berry pies, I usually make the filling from fresh or frozen berries. This was the first time I’d ever used canned pie filling. It was also the first time I discovered that canned pie filling MAY CONTAIN PITS. In a freak accident, Nic and I bit into pies at the same time and at the same time hit pits. So disheartening. Thankfully, the pies are small, so we carefully bit into the remaining goodies (no other pits found). Nic, filled with rage, vowed revenge upon Lucky Leaf. With UPC code in hand, he planned to write a letter. A week later, the anger subsided, but I figured we should at least get a coupon out of the ordeal. Hence this email sent to Lucky Leaf customer service:
“Are there supposed to be pits in the premium cherry pie filling? I recently used a can to make mini cherry pies and my husband and I each bit into cherries with the pit still in them. We then had to warn people to gingerly eat the pies as there may be pits.”
To which I received this response:
“Knouse Foods appreciates the time you took to report the experience you had with our LUCKY LEAF Premium Cherry Pie Filling. Your comments are certainly appreciated and your concerns are important to us.
Pitting machinery is very efficient, but not yet perfect. Even the best of growing conditions and commercial processing techniques cannot guarantee a product totally free of defects or pits. Pitting machinery is very efficient, but not yet perfect. We have a warning statement on the label, to make the consumer aware that there may be the possibility of pits. Even the best of growing conditions and commercial processing techniques cannot guarantee a product totally free of defects or pits. While this is true, we haven’t given up trying and have spent many dollars and hours trying to make pit detection l00% successful.
We hope you will accept our apology for any inconvenience you have experienced. As a goodwill gesture, we are sending coupons to use toward any of our LUCKY LEAF products. We hope this will restore your confidence in our brand and that you will continue to look for our label when you shop.”
Two coupons arrived on Monday.
Hope you enjoyed this little foray into the land of baking in miniature!
***Coming Up: Pumpkin Bread for Dummies AND I steal a good friend’s idea for prepping for the big 3-0***