Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Single Serve Pie In A Jar


First of all, best idea ever! These are individual-sized pies made in little glass jars that go straight from your freezer to your oven to your mouth. SO cute! Most people make these with store-bought crust and canned filling so we jazzed it up a little.

This is the type of jar you'll need.

They're half-pint jars, but short and squatty instead of tall and skinny Mine are made by Kerr They're stinking cute as is, don't you think? Something about a short squatty jar makes me giddy with the thoughts of fun things I could put inside. Ya know, like PIE.

Step 1: Pie Dough

The first thing you'll need is dough. You can use any pie dough you like. Here's a great tutorial on making a basic crust.

I have to tell you that when I started really cooking, one of the things I was most scared to make was pie crust. I'd only heard how hard it was, how bad tough, non-flaky crust can be, how careful you have to be, all that stuff. And I believed it. Wanna know a secret? I think Pillsbury secretly spreads these rumors that everyone will screw up pie crusts and that they're hard and time-consuming to make so you'll go buy their refrigerated pie crusts. Also, they want you to believe that there's little difference in taste or texture between those pie crusts and the ones you can make yourself. That is a big, fat lie.

If you've never made your own pie crust, it's honestly not that hard to make your own and the results are so phenomenally different that you'll never go back. It's easy, it's super tender and flaky, it's forgiving, and you can so totally do it.

9-Inch Single Pie Crust

1 1/4c. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 c.+ 1 Tbsp. butter-flavored shortening
Ice water (probably about 1/4 c.)

Making The Dough:

Combine flour and salt in a medium-sized bowl. Add shortening in small cubes.
Cut in shortening (room temperature) until you get pieces that are about pea-sized.

Now, this is where it gets a little tricky, but don't be scared. Start sprinkling the ice water by about a tablespoon at a time over the flour/shortening mixture.

Very, very gently, turn the dough with your fingers so it gets exposed to the water. You're NOT mixing, just trying to moisten all of the flour/shortening mixture. Gradually, all of the flour mixture will be moistened. Gently pat the dough into a ball (it should come together easily but not be sticky).

Wrap in plastic wrap and keep in the fridge until you're ready to use.

Rolling The Dough

When you're ready to roll out your pie crust, lightly flour your work surface and place the dough ball on the surface. One of the keys in making pie crust is to handle the dough as little as possible. Don't freak out TOO much; like I said, this recipe for crust is pretty forgiving, but at the same time, the less you touch it, the more tender and flaky it will be. Starting in the center, roll the dough out into a circle shape, about 1/8" thick. When you've reached your desired thickness, place the rolling pin in the middle and gently fold the crust over the rolling pin. Lift the dough onto your pie plate and unfold it (gently; notice a theme here?).

The Edge of Reason

Unless I'm planning on doing something fancy schmancy with my edges, I just run a sharp knife around the edges of the pie plate, cutting off the excess dough. Then I use my thumb and fingers to make kind of a big, wavy edge on the crust, but that's just how I do it; there are lots of pretty pie edges.

Pre-baked Crusts

Sometimes a recipe will call for a pre-baked crust. Some people place "weights" (either little balls specifically designed for this purpose, or even beans) in the pie to keep it from puffing and shrinking, but I've found that with this recipe, I don't need them. Just prick the bottom of the crust with a fork and bake at 450 for 10-12 minutes or until golden-brown.

Double Crusts

Sometimes you'll need or want a lid on top of that pie. Just double the recipe for the crust and cut the dough in half, using one part for the bottom and one part for the top.

When you put the crust on top, you'll need some way of letting the steam out. This is where you can really wow people. I had a roommate who would cut a cute little heart in the top crust; some people cut some decorative slits so when you put it on top, it spreads a little and looks all pretty. My favorite thing to do is a lattice top. To do that, place the rolled-out bottom crust in the pie plate, fill your pie as desired, and then roll out the top crust and cut it into strips about 1" wide. You can use a knife or a fluted pastry wheel.

Now, lay 4-5 strips vertically on top of your pie...

Now fold every other strip back...

And then lay a horizontal strip right under the part you've folded back. Unfold the vertical strip so it lays on top of the horizontal strip.

Repeat this step, this time folding back pieces that you didn't fold before. Repeat with remaining strips of dough.

Now gently press the crust strips into the bottom crust and finish the edges however you like! This step goes for any way you top your pie...

Shiny Things...

Some people really like that pretty, golden shine that some pies have. If you've ever wondered how to get that pretty, shiny pie and want to do it, beat an egg very well and then brush the crust top (or edges if your pie doesn't have a top) with the beaten egg and bake. You'll want to keep an eye on how it's browning, though, you don't want your pie to look burned. Personally, I've found that this crust browns nicely and looks perfectly pretty without an egg wash.

If You Can't Take the Heat...

You'll want to keep an eye on your pie as it's baking because sometimes, the crust gets brown long before the pie is done. If you see this happening, take some tin foil and punch a hole a couple inches in diameter in the middle. Remove pie from oven and carefully, loosely place the shield over the pie (loose because you still want the steam to be able to escape). This will keep the edges from getting too brown while the middle finishes cooking.

This was way, waaaaaay more than I ever meant to say about pie crusts!!

That particular recipe will make 4 jars. You can also use the all-butter crust

All Butter Crust:

2 C Flour
11 T Butter (real butter, no exceptions) that's just over 2/3 C.
1/4 t Salt
4-5 T ice water

Alright, let's make that eeeeasy crust. This will only take 5 minutes, I swear! And actually, this makes more crust than you actually need, but I really like having more than enough so I can get it just how thick and just how big I want. And you can make this way ahead of time and just keep it in the fridge.

Step 1: Measure flour and salt into a bowl. Cut cold butter (straight from fridge) into small chunks and throw on top of the flour.

Step 2: Cut the butter into the flour. Until butter is in small crumbly pieces.

Step 3: Add ice water a tablespoon at a time while stirring dough mixture with a fork.

Step 4: Bring it all together and pat into a ball. You're done! See? Less than 5 minutes. Wrap in plastic and put it in the fridge.

****Or if you're really in a pinch, even a store bought crust will do.

Step 2: Make A Topper And Line The Jar

Roll out a small handful of dough. This is just for the tops of your pies, so eyeball about that much. Grab the ring part of your jar and use that as your cookie cutter. Brilliant, right? Cut out the tops and set aside.

Use the rest of the dough to line the jars. (No, you do not need to grease them) The great part is that there's no rolling required! Just take little pieces and press them in. Make sure it's pressed all the way up to the top of the jar, or pretty close to it.

Step 3: Fill 'er Up

You'll need about 1/2 C filling for each jar. You can use any filling your little pie-craving heart desires, even (gasp) canned! You can also use the same method shown in the galette post to use any fruit you happen to have around.

Here's the basic recipe (for 4 pies)

2 C prepared fruit (pitted, diced, peeled, etc.)
2 T sugar- brown or white (use more or less depending on sweetness of fruit)
2 T flour- (again, more if your fruit is super juicy like cherries, less if it's pretty dry)
1 T butter (divided between the pies)
Seasonings/flavorings- cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla and almond extract, citrus zest etc)

Play around with it and come up with something yummy! I made 2 different pies in my pictures: one, a cut-down version of Kate's Apple Pie and one with fresh cherries and almond extract.

When your filling is all combined, divide it between the jars and dot a pat of butter on top (about 1/4 T)

Step 4: Top It Off

Make sure your "lid" has a vent so steam can escape. You can use a knive to make a couple of slits or a tiny cookie cutter to make it decorative. I am in LOVE with these little Autumn Leaf Pie Crust Cutters!
When your topper is ready, slip it onto the top of the pie. It will be large enough that the outside edge goes up the side of the dough-covered jar a bit, as show in the picture below. Then use your finger, or a fork, to press the 2 pieces of dough together to seal. And nobody even think about mentioning the state of my fingernails.

Another option is to do a crumb topping. I put a basic crumb topping on my cherry pies and they were sooo yummy.

Crumb Topping (for 4-6 pies)

1/4C brown sugar
1/4 C flour
2 T oats
1/4 T cinnamon
3 T cold butter
Combine sugar, flour and cinnamon. Cut in butter. Add oats and stir to combine.

And I couldn't help but try a mini lattice on one.

** Optional step here that I HIGHLY reccomend: Brush pie tops with butter and sprinkle with sugar at this point. Yumminess highly instensified!

Step 5: Freeze 'em!

Ready for this? When your pies are all done and topped, place metal lids back on and seal them tight. Then pop these little cuties in the freezer. There they will stay until you find yourself having an insatiable craving for home-baked goodness. You'll be reaching for the crumbs at the bottom of the keebler box when suddenly your eyes will light up because you remember you have THESE sitting in your freezer.

Or when you have unexpected guests in need of impressing, or a friend needing to be cheered up, or it's Thursday...I can think of a million reasons why one should have a constant supply of fresh pie in the freezer.

Step 6: Bake 'em

Now first let me say that one of the biggest concerns from everyone is about the jars breaking in the oven. All I can say it that I've baked hundreds of these and never once has a jar broken. These are canning jars- they are designed to be boiled, pressure cooked, etc. So it's different than putting any ol' piece of glass in the oven. They bake just fine! But if you're freaking out then my advice would be this: remove lids from jars and place jars on a baking sheet. Place baking sheet in a COLD oven. Then turn the oven to 375. That will give the jars a chance to warm up slowly as the oven preheats. If you're really worried you can always let them sit at room temp for a bit first before putting them in a cold oven. Bake for about 50-60 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown and the middles are bubbly. If you're baking them fresh and not frozen they take about 45 minutes.
Depending on your filling you can pop them right out of the jar and onto a plate like so:

Or just eat them right out of the jar. There's something way more fun about eating it right out of the jar...

And if you have oozing cherry filling, that might be the only option!



All of the directions are right on the tag and you can write a little To/From on it. Plus in true Lolly fashion there's like, a million different versions to go with any flavor you could possibly imagine! How cute are these?!

These little pies are perrrrrrfect for giving. So once you have these cuties made up, dowload Lolly's tag set, and get your cute on. People will think you are amazing because not only did you come up with the brilliant idea to make a mini pie in a jar, you also made an adorable personalized tag. Talk about moving up a notch on the popularity ladder.


These are pretty little personal sized pies to be shared with those you cherish the most These little fellas would make terrific house warming gifts or perhaps small somethings you can bring to a holiday party (or you can whip up a batch of 12 and keep them all for yourself). Here are 7 different tags you can use with your pies. Some are labeled for specific flavored pies (apple, cherry and blueberry)... and some have a space where you can write your own flavor. The last set is just a little pair for gifting with two labels. One has a "To" & "From" written and in and the other the how to cook-em-up instructions.

I cut out a circle 6 inches in diameter and that seemed to do the trick for getting just the right amount of crust into the little jar. I kinda folded it into a flower and tucked it inside and then pressed the sides down.

I used the lid (the one that sits on top of the jar not the one you screw down) to cut out a pie top. I then used some mini cookie cutters to create a little vent hole.

Note: The lovely brownish/red orbital globs in the pie jars above is canned cherries packed in water that I turned into pie filling with the addition of a little sugar and cornstarch. Keeping plain ole canned cherries in the pantry makes for a pie filling you can whip up yourself that's not too sweet (I find that the ready made cherry pie filling is a littlesweet and thick).

This is a little pic of the tag with the cooking instructions and the to/from tag. You stack them like a sammich. 1) Lid with the rubbery ring goes on the jar (to seal it). 2) Then the cooking directions tag gets placed on that lid. 3) Then a piece of fabric (to make a little jar skirt). 4) Then goes the metal band that you screw on. 5) ...and lastly you use some super sticky tape to glue the to/from tag in the center of the fabric.

So here is the side view (I love making little jar skirts... I even do layered ones sometimes). If you want to do a layered one - cut a 6 inch in diameter circle for the top layer and a 7 inch in diameter circle for the under layer. I find that sheer fabrics or tulle work best for the under layer. It's thin enough that you can still screw the lid on with two layers of fabric.

...and the top view. I think that solid colored fabric sets the tags apart a little bit better than a print. But that's just me thinking.

As with all of these tags... you can use any 2.5 inch circle punch to punch these tags quick and easy...or you can cut them out. I have the Marvy pink circle punch - so that's what I usually use. If you like the scallop tags in this set - the Marvy pink scallop punch works perfectly with that one as well.

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