I have some awesome friends that threw me a baby shower the other day. I don't think that it is normal for the person who is on the receiving end of a party to take part in bringing food for the event, but I was not about to pass up an opportunity to make some baked goods. Since this was a baby shower, I thought I might make something "mini". I thought about cake pops, cause those are all the craze right now, but decided against it. Then I thought of mini pies. Perfect. I had been itching to bake a fruit pie for a while now anyway.
Summer is the time for peaches and cherries. Peaches are one of my absolute favorite. Cherry pie was always my favorite growing up eating my great grandma's pies on thanksgiving, but she always used canned pie filling. I don't believe that I have ever had cherry pie made with actual cherries. I was missing out big time. Cherries are dang expensive. And hard work. And a natural laxative. Ha.
Apparently there is a little tool that you are suppose to use to get the pit out from the middle of a cherry. I don't buy special tools just for something that I will use once or twice a year. I just decided to slice the cherries in half and remove the pits that way. If I was making a whole pie, I might would have to get a little more creative on how to remove the pit and still leave the cherry whole, since whole cherries seem to bode better for large pies, but since I was making mini pies, I figured cherry halves would suffice. My workspace looked like cherry murder. The above picture does not do justice. There was red/purple juice everywhere, including all over my hands and under my fingernails. There was cherry blood, pits, stems and squishy-not-good-for-pie (but good for throwing into your mouth!) cherries all over my table.
Do you know that they even have mini pie pans? Yeah, I don't have one of those. I used muffin pans. I made some pie dough, cut out a large circle and fit it into the muffin trays.
I mixed up both my pie fillings, the cherries with sugar, cornstarch, and some almond extract and the peaches with sugar, cornstarch and a dash of cinnamon.
This part took a while and was fairly tedious, but I think it came out pretty cool. I made little lattice tops for the cherry pies, and used a little cookie/pastry cutter to make star-shaped topping for the peach pies.
All done baking!
Normally pie crust is best when it is very light and flaky. Well this crust was awesomely flaky, but did not do so well when trying to hold together such a little pie. There were a few that did not make it to the party because they crumbled while getting them out of the pan. They did however, make it into my belly right away, so no complaints here. : )
This recipe can be used for all kinds of pie. I just used my no fail shortening pie crust, and simple pie filling ingredients.
No fail pie crust recipe:
3 cups flour
1 1/2 cup crisco shortening
1 egg, beaten
5 Tbsp cold water
1 Tbsp vinegar
1 tsp salt
Put all the flour into a large bowl. With a pastry cutter/blender (or 2 knives), work the shortening into the flour until it all looks like course crumbles, (little pea sized crumbles). Pour the egg, cold water, vinegar and salt into the flour/shortening mixture and stir together just until combined.
Separate the dough into thirds, form 3 evenly sized balls of dough and put each into a plastic baggie. Roll the dough (while in the plastic baggie) out to about 1/2 inch thick. Put the bags in the freezer for at least 1/2 hour.
Remove from the freezer and let thaw for a few minutes (if you have had them in there for much longer than 1/2 hour, then it will take about 15 mins to thaw to workable consistency). Roll out the dough onto a floured surface and cut as desired.
*I used a wide-mouth jar to cut out the rounds for the base of the mini pies, and then just used a butter knife to make little strips for the lattice.
Peach Pie filling:
*I really did not measure these exactly, I just threw in things until the consistency and taste was right.
3 small peaches, sliced and diced
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp cornstarch
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 dash cinnamon
Mix ingredients together. Add to pie!
Cherry Pie filling:
*Nor did I measure out these exactly.
1/2 lb cherries, pitted and halved (or left whole if you can get the pit out!)
1/4 (maybe a little less?) cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp almond extract
1 Tbsp cornstarch
Again, mix ingredients together and add to pie crust.