A few weeks ago, I had an invitation to attend a Inauguration Gown shopping party held by Rent the Runway and Living Social. I was not attending any of the inauguration balls but the prospect of a party with mimosas and pretty dresses to look at just seemed a little more exciting and sparkly than my standard Friday night of yoga pants, my couch, and my Kindle.
What made the party even better though were these mini pies from Pie Sisters in Georgetown.
Yep, apparently we have an entire bakery in DC devoted to pies. The way this city can sustain so many dessert-specific shops will forever boggle my mind. But the mini pies were delicious. And then I started thinking that I could totally make these myself. (Not to worry Pie Sisters, not going to be competing with you; I very much like my career to exist in the mathematical Pi world.)
I brainstormed for about a week and then prepped a batch of Martha Stewart's pate brisee (Martha's fancy pants speak for "pie crust"), which is my go-to pie crust recipe. And giving it a try. The end result was actually pretty impressive in my humble opinion (and that of the handyman that was at my place doing some work after I baked these. I sent some home with him and he called me to rave about how good they were. I keep my repairmen well fed. And they keep their charges low.)
They would be cute little Valentine's Day treats, right? And they were really not all that difficult to make.
First I made the pie crust dough and separated it into two disk shapes and refrigerated for at least two hours. I used frozen berries because fresh berries right now cost more than a pair of shoes. I bought two bags of frozen mixed berries. I placed the berries in a strainer in a large bowl to thaw and to get rid of as much extra liquid in the berries as I could.
About thirty minutes before you remove the pie crust from the refrigerator, prepare the filling. In a large sauce pan, combine 2/3 cup of sugar, 1/4 cup of cornstarch, 1 teaspoon of salt. Add in the drained and thawed berries, 1 cup of water, and 1/4 cup of lemon juice. Bring to a boil and then let simmer until thickened (about 10 minutes). Remove from heat and let cool.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a cupcake pan with cooking spray and then wipe away excess with a paper towel. Now you can either roll out twelve little circle of dough, place them in each of the of the cupcake tins, and pinch the sides like a regular pie crust. I tried this on my first batch and it works. But then I found an easier way. I used the largest flower cookie cutter I had; it is 4.5 inches wide and is the largest cutter in the Wilton concentric flower set. Roll out the dough and cut 12 flower shapes.
Place each flower, preferably the most floured-side down in each of the cupcake tins.
Reserve any extra dough to make little dough garnishes like the heart shaped ones I made.
Spoon the pie filling into the crusts. I used a fork just to eliminate a lot of extra liquid. I filled each crust to about 1/4 inch from the top. In a small bowl, whip one large egg. Use a pastry brush to coat any visible pie dough and to fully cover any of the dough garnishes. Place the coated dough garnish pieces on top of the pie filing. Place pan in oven and bake for 20 minutes. Let cool and enjoy!
Note: I had extra pie filling. It makes a great ice cream topping.
So now that I know how to make these, my Friday nights will now include yoga pants, my couch, my Kindle, and mini pies. The Rock Star Life, I live it.