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September 30, 2011
Last week we were invited to a friend's home for dinner and, as I always do ('cause Mom brought me up right), I asked, "Is there anything I can do or bring?"
"Yup," said my friend, "dessert." Skip a beat and a half ... "For 22!"
Sure thing. Dessert for 22 coming right up.
Not exactly. I work small. Very small. I'd been cooking for years before I made anything larger than what I could cup in both hands. No roasts. No big birds. No racks or loins or other big body parts. Not even any tall cakes. I did tiny, small and occasionally something in the medium range. And I didn't do dessert for 22 back then. No way.
Thinking '22' made me think Bundt cakes. I love Bundts and they're perfect for parties and certainly easy: mix the batter, bake in a beautifully twirled and swirled pan and then, like magic, they come out decorated - the shape of the pan provides all the frill you need.
But at the last minute, I went for pies, small one-to-a-person you-can-eat-them-out-of-hand-if-you-want pies and came up with a way to make them that was both easy and fun. And there was a bonus: I made something good and learned something nifty in the process: A muffin tin makes a great pie tin.
I used two nonstick muffin tins, each with muffin molds that were 3 inches in diameter. For the dough, I used my Good For Almost Everything Pie Dough (from Baking From My Home to Yours and Baking With Dorie, my new iPad App) and, working in two batches, made enough for four crusts. (If you just want to make a dozen pielets, make a recipe for a double-crusted pie.) I rolled the dough out as soon as it came out of the food processor. I rolled it thick -- it was between 1/8- and 1/4-inch thick -- and I rolled it between pieces of parchment. Then I put it in the freezer; you can chill it in the fridge, if you prefer. Either way, you want to give the dough time to relax and to firm.
With the dough nice and cold, I used a cutter that was just about 3 inches in diameter to make the rounds for the bottom crusts. I cut them out, waited for them to soften enough to be pressed into the molds without breaking, and then stowed the muffin tins in the freezer while I worked on cutting out the top rounds, using the next-smallest cutter, which was about 2 3/4 inches. When the tops were cut, I just slid them into the fridge.
You'll have lots of dough scraps. Gather them all together, flatten them into a disk and re-roll them. I used mine to make this plum and pear galette.
You can fill the pielets with just about any favorite pie filling. Each little pie will hold about 2 tablespoons of filing (I portioned mine out with a small Oxo Cookie Scoop), which will bake and bubble and cook down in the oven ... just as it's supposed to.
For my filling, I mixed together:
2 medium apples, peeled, cored and cut into small cubes
1/4 cup applesauce (I'd just made some, but you could use storebought)
1/4 cup apple jelly (you could use other jam or marmalade)
1/4 cup plump raisins
1/4 cup plump dried cherries, halved
5 moist dried apricots, cut into small pieces
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Once the filling was scooped into the crusts, I moistened the rim of each crust with water and topped it with a circle of dough, pressing against the sides of the pielets to 'glue' the top and bottom crusts together. To finish, I brushed the top crusts with a little water, sprinkled them with sugar and cut out three little air vents.
I put the muffin tins on baking sheets -- it just makes it so much easier to move the tins around and to rotate them in the oven, if necessary -- and baked them in a 400 degree F oven to about 45 minutes. It's easy to tell when they're done: the top crusts will be deeply golden brown and there'll be syrupy juicesbubbling up through the vents. In fact, some of the juice may bubble over and dribble down the sides of the pielets. I love when this happens becasue you get a kind of caramel coating. Run a knife carefully around the sides of the pielets to loosen them and then turn the muffin tin over onto a rack. Turn the pielets right side up and let them cool until they are only just warm or until they come to room temperature.
And yes, they're very, very good served warm with ice cream.
, Baking From My Home to Yours
, Baking with Dorie
Baking with Dorie
In the Kitchen
Pies & Tarts
| October 3, 2011 2:16 PM
I've made little pie-ettes for groups before, but I bet your pastry recipe is the best one for it. Will def upgrade mine to this. Also, for the apple pies I used a tiny mold and cut out a piece of cheddar cheese for the top. When I reheat the pies, the cheese barely melts and makes a nice tasty looking garnish. Just thought I'd pass it along~
| October 3, 2011 4:54 PM
I cannot wait to try this recipe. As we head into fall here with a constant flow of friends and family for the holidays, this will be a welcome choice. I love the use of dried fruit! Is a 3 inch muffin tin normal. I think mine are smaller. Will try to source this in the states.
Thanks for you blog! I just fell upon it and loving the Paris and on the Road pages. Must get the 'Around the french table!" it looks fabulous.
replied to comment from Cathy/ShowFoodChef
| October 3, 2011 7:51 PM
I think that the flavors of apple and cheddar are a perfect fall combination. Thanks for sharing!
replied to comment from Heather
| October 3, 2011 7:57 PM
Yes, a 3 inch muffin tin is standard in the United States. I bet you would have good results if you make them with a smaller muffin tin and adjust both the size of the pie crust and baking time down by a a minute or two. Please let me know how you enjoy the pielets and thanks for your sweet comment.
| October 4, 2011 4:36 AM
Dorie-Small pies are becoming all the rage. I've seen them at our local farmers markets in Seattle and have had fun doing them in muffin tins, like you have, and also tiny canning jars. And, there is nothing like pie to bring a smile to everyone's face around all our tables!
replied to comment from Kate McDermott
| October 4, 2011 5:51 AM
Kate, if anyone knows about what's new and what's traditional in pieland it's you. I love the idea of pies in canning jars.
| October 4, 2011 3:29 PM
I made something similar with a dark cherry filling, also using large muffin tins! It's an easy way to portion out pie and it looks cute next to a big scoop of homemade vanilla ice cream.
| October 5, 2011 1:07 AM
Hi Dorie! I cant wait to try these. I have tried making a pie in a muffin tin before and they just didnt turn out right for some reason.
I tried making your cran - apple crisp from Baking from my home to yours, and all i can say is, Thank you a hundred times for that recipe :-).
replied to comment from Heather
| October 5, 2011 8:12 AM
Heather- That dark cherry version sound wonderful to me. I will have to get back in the kitchen asap and taste more for research purposes. Thanks for your comment.
replied to comment from Radhika
| October 5, 2011 8:25 AM
Radhika- I am so glad you enjoyed my cran-apple crisp recipe. That is one of my favorite flavor combinations for fall. Please let me know how your pielets turn out with the new recipe. Thanks for your comment!
| October 6, 2011 12:52 AM
YUM YUM YUM! What a great idea for something cozy in the cooler months. I feel like I should have a party just so I can try it. :-)
| October 6, 2011 5:33 AM
Dorie, your recipes always turn out to be fabulous - no matter how much i play around with it (or mess it up)! I havent tried the pielets as yet but i did try the World Peace Cookies today and they're just pure gold. Thank you!
replied to comment from Radhika
| October 6, 2011 6:01 AM
I try not to say that I have a favorite recipe, but I adore the World Peace Cookies -- glad you like them, too.
replied to comment from Karin
| October 6, 2011 6:02 AM
I could turn your comment around and say that if you made these pielets, you'd feel like it was a party :)
| October 6, 2011 10:37 AM
Tis the season....I'm making 80 5" apple pies for a bride's party, (this week) using your pie crust and pie recipe :") I can't believe you have these here today. I did reduce the juices before baking to give a bit of a caramel flavor. Love your idea in the muffin pans. I'll keep that in my idea list. Great idea.
Did you have any casualties removing them from the muffin pan? Any suggestions or tweaks?
| October 6, 2011 10:41 AM
true comfort food (-:
replied to comment from Dror
| October 6, 2011 1:30 PM
Dror- I agree 100%.
replied to comment from AmyRuth
| October 6, 2011 6:26 PM
AmyRuth- I didn't have any problems turning them out. I used nonstick muffin tins, but there's enough butter in the dough that sticking isn't a problem. You could wait a minute or two before you flip them out of the pan so the pielets can firm up a bit and also run a butter knife between the edge of the pie and the pan before you flip them out. Good luck with the bride's party this weekend!
áƒ¦â™¥ â™¥ â™¥nessaâ™¥ â™¥ â™¥áƒ¦
| October 7, 2011 7:12 PM
dÃ©licieuse recette :) bonjour de paris :)
replied to comment from áƒ¦â™¥ â™¥ â™¥nessaâ™¥ â™¥ â™¥áƒ¦
| October 8, 2011 7:32 AM
| October 8, 2011 9:40 AM
I tend to cook and bake on a smaller scale also, but was thrown into the French Desserts for 200-mode when my daughter requested exactly that for her high school graduation party this past spring. Of course, Paris Sweets, Pierre HermÃ©, and Baking With Julia kept me company in my kitchen during the baking process ;P
Run Fast Travel Slow
| October 9, 2011 2:24 PM
How cute! And I love the name "pielets."
replied to comment from Eileen
| October 9, 2011 2:41 PM
It sounds like a wonderful party to me. Thank you for your sweet comments...continued success in the kitchen- on a large and small scale. Happy Belated Graduation to your daughter!
replied to comment from Run Fast Travel Slow
| October 9, 2011 2:42 PM
Merci. I liked the name too.
| October 10, 2011 5:31 AM
Yummy! Apple is one of my favourites.
replied to comment from tobias kocht!
| October 10, 2011 7:49 PM
Mine too. I hope you enjoy it.
| October 10, 2011 9:45 PM
We did mini pielets last summer in a baking camp I did for 8 to 14 year olds...they loved them!
Culinary School: The Cookbook
| October 11, 2011 1:38 AM
Oh, I love this! I just made an apple pie from the recipe I got from a pastry chef at school (it's in my book), but I love this version, too. Too cute.
replied to comment from Susan Scott
| October 11, 2011 9:46 AM
Susan- Baking camp sounds wonderful. I am so glad your campers enjoyed pielets!
replied to comment from Culinary School: The Cookbook
| October 11, 2011 9:51 AM
Merci. I think that cute is the perfect word to describe this recipe. Happy Baking!
| October 14, 2011 4:25 AM
i found your website on a fluke and must say - your my new best friend. i'm recovering from some surgery and was looking for a quick fix and your pielets fit the bill . i have to admit a cheated cause of activity restraints... i used store bought pie crust - couldn't stand up that long. However, i cut the dough fit into the muffin pain , made your filling and whammo they did come out fantastic ... thank you for your clever and excellent recipe !!!!
replied to comment from lynda mcdonald
| October 14, 2011 7:30 AM
Lynda- Best wishes for a speedy recovery. I am glad you had pielets to help you along!
| October 24, 2011 12:20 PM
the picture alone looks delightful. im going to try this one this coming december. thanks for sharing
| September 28, 2012 5:44 PM
Making these tomorrow, but need to make a classic apple pie filling. Can I just use the filling from your traditional apple pie filing? Thank you.
replied to comment from Julie
| September 28, 2012 8:19 PM
That sounds fine to me. If you use the filling from the All-American Apple Pie, just be sure to drain off the juices that remain underneath the cut apple/spice mixture before you fill the pielets so it won't bubble over. Good luck with it all and and let me know how it turns out!
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