Sometime in the past few months, I got a coupon in the mail from Williams-Sonoma, so I perused their online offerings in the baking section and stumbled upon a brilliant invention. And I splurged! On a MINI PIE MAKER!! Think George Forman for pies. I know I paid less than what is being advertised now on the website, but since I discovered this machine, I have seen similar cheaper versions from other manufacturers (Sunbeam and Babycakes) at places like Kohl's and Target.
We were going to do the first test run on Thanksgiving, but we were so stuffed, adding mini apple pies to our stomachs was just an unfathomable and uncomfortable idea! So, a few days later, my friend and I decided to give it a whirl. Coincidentally, we had stumbled upon some yummy frozen peaches and sweet cherries at Wegman's earlier in the day, so we went from making just apple pies to multiple fruit pies!!
Step 1: Prepare the Filling
With the shorter cooking times (approx. 8-10 minutes), we had to saute the fruit first to get it soft enough for the pie filling. Slicing up the (1) Granny Smith apple into small strips and the (approx 1/2 cup) peaches into half slices, we tossed both of those fruits in a mixture of 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, pinches of nutmeg and ground cloves, and a splash of vanilla extract. Caramelizing one fruit type at a time in a saute pan, we cooked the fruit until a knife could enter and exit easily. For the cherries, we just sauteed them in the leftover sugar liquid from the peaches, to add a little bit of sweetness, until they were no longer frozen, then added a splash of almond extract to the bowl of cherries.
Step 2: Prepare the dough
Using one box of Pillsbury Pie Crusts, at room temperature, we simply unrolled the dough and made the bottom and top pieces using the cutting forms provided with the machine, getting enough for two pies from one roll of dough. We rolled out the leftover dough to make a top and bottom for a 5th pie, and a bottom for a tart we decided to make out of banana slices and Nutella. Though there probably was just enough remaining leftover dough to roll out again and make the top for a 6th complete pie, if we desired.
Step 3: Bake in the Machine
Once we had preheated the mini pie machine, we took one crust bottom, placed it over the pie mold, then used the tool that came with the machine to press the dough into the mold. One tip we learned the hard way, once the dough makes contact with the heated plates on the machine, it gets "sticky" quick and makes it difficult to get the dough press to release the dough. Therefore, the quicker you finish your press, the better. Repeat bottom crust press for all four molds, as fast as possible because it's already cooking!
Fill each pie bottom with filling of choice. We had individual fruit pies then made a medley of all three fruits for the fourth pie. Add the top dough crust piece to the mini pies, aligning with the bottom, and close and lock the lid. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until the pie is golden brown and the top looks cooked. Use a small angled, heat-resistant spatula to lift the finished pies out of the machine, and cool on a rack.
It's that simple!! Our first batch turned out a little darker than I prefer because we kept them in for the full 10 minutes. So I suggest opening the lid at or before the 8 minute mark, then continue to watch carefully. Get your mini pie maker today and enjoy!
|Peach and Apple Mini Pies|
|Mixed Fruit (Peach, Apple, and Sweet Cherry) Mini Pie|