Mini Pies!

mini pies unbakedI enjoy having family over and cooking. My sister is here from Hawaii for a month. Usually when she’s home we have a dinner with her son and his wife and children. This dinner was extra special because it was a birthday celebration also. The menu always starts out simple, but for some reason it grows bigger and more complicated before long. Which, by the way, I thrive on. I’m not going to highlight dinner, just dessert. With the holidays on the horizon, it’s always nice to have an easy and impressive dessert to serve.

mini pies unbaked 2 mini pies unbaked 3

This is going to seem like it was a-lot of work, but it wasn’t. Use whatever mini pans you have, I used a whoopie pie pan and a pan with mini 2 “squares. Using already Pie crust 2-3 boxes or homemade, cut out the size pie crust circle you need to fit the opening. Press them into the pan.

Prepare a bunch of fillings. I made half batches of Pumpkin pie filling and pecan pie filling. I also made blueberry pie filling and raspberry filling in the microwave. (1 cup frozen  Blueberries or raspberries, 2 Tbsp. sugar, 1 teaspoon flour, microwave until thickened, about 2 minutes) Or just open a can of filling.  I also prepared an apple filling, (3 apples peeled and chopped, 3 Tbsp. sugar, 1 Tbsp flour, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, microwave until thickened and partially cooked about 3-4 minutes).

mini pies baked

Spoon the fillings into the prepared crusts and fill only 2/3 full. Top with pretty pie crust leaves.

mini pies baked 2

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees until and bake until golden approx 20 minutes. Serve warm with Ice cream and whipped cream.

 

 

Mixed Berry and Apple Pie

pie 2When we first opened TJs restaurant all the pies I made were with store bought pie crust. I couldn’t make pie crust to save my life. Enter Tracy, my friend, and waitress, who was by our side through our entire first 10 years, through thick and thin. She taught me to make pie crust and now I can do it with my eyes closed. I used to make 18 to 20 pie crusts for each holiday. I saved all of my dessert menus and look through them occasionally. I still can’t believe how many choices we used to have and how did I make all those desserts. Well, my mom helped a lot, she and I would sit down the week before the holiday and divide up the desserts. She was the cheesecake queen. I would say to her, okay, this week your gonna make the cheesecake this way. She would argue and resist, she didn’t like change. But, she always came through and it was always awesome.

Filling
1 c. Frozen raspberries
1/3 c. Frozen blackberries
1 c. Frozen blueberries
2/3 c. frozen strawberries cut in half
2 apples, peeled and cored and sliced
1 c. Sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
3 tbsp. all purpose flour
Mix all of these items in a microwave safe bowl.
Microwave for 2 minutes, stir and microwave for 2 more minutes.
Set aside

Pie crust
9″ plate

In a good sized bowl
2 c. All purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
3/4 c. Crisco
With a pastry blender cut crisco into the flour until resembles pea size crumbs
Add 6-7 tbsp ice cold water.
Stir until it forms a ball, divide in two balls, shape into two flat discs. Do not handle the dough for too long or will melt the butter.
Sprinkle flour onto countertop and dust the disc of dough with flour and begin rolling out into a circle. Transfer to the pie plate. The crust should hang over the edge of the plate by a half inch all the way around. If your pie crust has any holes or rips seal them well.

Pour the pie filling into the crust

Roll out the second disc.

Place on top of the pie filling, cut away any excess crust and fold the edge of the two crusts together and pinch. Cut slits or a hole in the middle of the top crust for the air to escape while cooking. Brush the top crust with egg white and sprinkle with coarse sugar. Bake for 30 minutes on 400 degrees, lower to 350 degrees if getting dark and cook for another 15 minutes. The crust will be puffed and golden when done.
Cool before cutting. Serve warm with ice cream.

Broccoli Quiche Party Bites

broccoli quicheI have never served these without everyone just raving about them. Even men, apparently eat mini quiches, haha! On Christmas Eve, every year I make 48 of these little gems. Usually I make 12 crabmeat or lobster, 12 spinach and bacon, 12 broccoli, and 12 whatever else I have on hand! If you want a different kind just replace the broccoli in this recipe for any other ingredient. They are so delicious and I love when they are left over. Whatever is left at the end of the night, I always scoop them up for breakfast and snacks the following day. They reheat in the microwave in 8 seconds. I make them a lot throughout the year. They are awesome for any occasion. The worst part of making them is cutting the dough to fit in my little square pans. I cut 2.5″” circles and then shape them into a square, press them into the pans and then fill. You have to be careful not to overfill them or let the egg drip down behind the piecrust because they stick. They still come out okay they just don’t look perfect when they stick. I found these pans at Target, they work great for so many things, muffins, brownies, cupcakes, mini appetizers of all kinds. You have to have these pans. I have bought 3 of them because I make so many of these at once and it saves me lots of time.

Broccoli Quiche
Bake 15 minutes ~ preheat oven 350 degrees ~ makes 12

1 roll Already made Pie Crust, floured and rolled out very slightly thinner
you will only be able to cut out 10 circles, pick up the scrap and roll out again to achieve 12 circles.
Fit the circles into the pans making sure they have been stretched into a square shape and just make it to the top of the pan. If the piecrust gets ripped, patch with dough.
quiche in pan
1 cup of fresh steamed broccoli, chopped into small pieces
1/2 cup shredded cheddar and mozzarella blend cheese
2 slice of white american cheese cut into small cubes 16 per slice

In each pie crust place a few pieces of broccoli in bottom
next take a pinch of shredded cheese and sprinkle in
divide up all of the pieces of the american cheese and sprinkle in each crust

3 xtra large eggs beaten
3/4 cup of light or all purpose cream or whole milk

Beat these in a pourable measuring cup.
Now pour just enough egg mixture into each quiche slowly, until it just comes a little below the top of the crust. It takes a second for the egg to work its way through the filling so pour slowly. Overflowing makes for tough removal of each quiche. Bake for 15 minutes, remove and cool. Serve immediately or refrigerate for use the next day. They reheat perfectly well on a flat sheet pan, pop in the oven for 8-10 minutes on 375 degrees and you’re good to go.

Pumpkin Chip Whoopie Pies

pumpkin whoopie

 

 

 

These are phenomenal. Super moist and very tasty. I got this recipe from Pinterest and, of course, I tweaked the recipe a tiny bit. Loved the cake, just added the miniature chocolate chips. The filling was too cream cheesy so, I reverted back to my filling from my whoopie pies and added half the cream cheese. They turned out very well. My
mom who says she hates whoopie pies loved them.

Pumpkin Chip Whoopie Pies
Original recipe from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking
Preheat oven to 350 ~ Bake 10-14 minutes~ makes approx. 20

3 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
2 Tbsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 c. oil
1 c. dark brown sugar
1 c. white sugar
3 c. pumpkin puree
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
1/2 c. mini chocolate chips

Lightly spoon the flour into the measuring cup and level with a knife. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Set aside. In a large bowl, beat together the brown sugar, white sugar, and oil. Add the pumpkin puree and mix well. Add the vanilla and eggs and mix well. Slowly add in the flour mixture and mix until combined. Fold in chips! Using a standard size ice cream scoop, drop onto an ungreased cookie sheet and bake 10-14 minutes. Cool and fill.

Cream Cheese Filling

4 oz. cream cheese
4 c. Powdered sugar
1/2 c. Shortening
1 tbsp vanilla
2 egg whites

To a bowl add the egg whites, beat until frothy 30 seconds, add vanilla, shortening, cream cheese and 1 cup of the powdered sugar. Add 1 cup at a time of sugar until fully incorporated. Fill the pies.

pumpkin whoopie dozen

Whoopie Pies

whoopieEverybody loves a good whoopie pie. I’ve recently started branching out from the usual suspects, chocolate cake with white filling. There are so many things you can do to really spice them up. I have been making the same recipe for 30 years. That just sounds so wrong, that I could possibly be old enough to be doing anything for 30 years. When I began experimenting with recipes, I could not find one that Brian and I liked. So after many trials, I found the correct creme filling and the the right cake and two recipes became one. The filling has eggwhites in it, so when ever you make a recipe that calls for egg yolks, always save your whites, because this is one of those recipes you get to use them up in. You can spread just about anything on the cake before filling, or swirl whatever you like into the creme filling. Personally, I like the plain ones best, but I love making a variety of different pies on a platter. You always get the ooos and ahhhs when you walk in with the most enticing tray of pretty sweets. Use your imagination, and create a masterpiece. Rolling the edges in something creates a pleasing look. I rolled the edge of the peanut butter filled ones in chopped reese’s cups for a more dramatic presentation. This week I made raspberry filled, peanut butter filled, and plain.  As well as pumpkin chip cream cheese whoopie pies, which I will post next.

Whoopie Pies
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake 6-8 minutes makes 10 large

Cream with electric mixer or kitchen aid mixer
1/3 cup shortening
1 c. Sugar
In a separate bowl
1 c. Warm milk
3 tbsp cocoa
1 tbsp vanilla
Mix well and add to the sugar and shortening, while mixer is on.
Add:
1 egg
1 tbsp oil

In a separate bowl
2 c. Flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
Add 1/2 c. at a time to the mixture until all incorporated. Do not over mix.
Scoop with an ice cream scoop onto ungreased cookie sheet, cool and fill.

Creme filling

4 c. Powdered sugar
1/2 c. Shortening
1 tbsp vanilla
2 egg whites

To a bowl add the egg whites, beat until frothy 30 seconds, add vanilla, shortening and 1 cup of the powdered sugar. Add 1 cup at a time of sugar until fully incorporated. If you desire to make a flavored filling, add it now or divide your filling up and make different flavors.