May 14, 2012

Pin It Mini Blackberry Pie

Week 19
The final thing I needed to whip up for Tom’s birthday was a blackberry pie (his favorite). Instead of making a whole pie, I found these on amazon and decided a mini pie would be more fun.

Originally I wanted to make hand pies for everyone, like this Smitten Kitchen recipe, but it was a little too involved and I just didn’t have the time. So a mini pie it would be!

I used my friend Emily’s pie crust recipe, and halved it for the mini pie plate. Below is her recipe for a half butter, half Crisco pie crust (enough for a top and bottom crust).

2 1/2 C. all-purpose flour
7 T. unsalted butter/7 T. Crisco
1 t. salt
6-8 T. ice water

For mini pie use:
1 1/4 C. all-purpose flour
3 T. + 1.5 t. unsalted butter/3 T. + 1.5 t. Crisco
1/2 t. salt
3 T. ice water

Chill butter in the fridge and Crisco in the freezer. Only freeze Crisco for 15-30 minutes.
Sift then measure the flour. Then re-sift with the salt into a large bowl.
Cut the butter into the flour/salt mixture with 2 knives or pastry cutter. Then cut in the Crisco. 
Add water by sprinkling in one tablespoon at a time, and toss with a fork to combine. The amount of water needed will depend on humidity. You want it to be just enough to hold the dough together when you squish it between your fingers.
Divide the dough in half, flatten a bit, and refrigerate the dough disks. (I refrigerated the dough for ~1 hour).

Dough disks ready to chill for a bit.
I was one tablespoon away from being done with my dough and I turned my back for a second to get my camera.  As I did, my recipe book slipped and this happened:
The book knocked my bowl of dough on the floor and I had to start all over L Quite a bummer.

I used my Mom’s berry pie filling recipe and ~halved it for this pie. Below is the recipe for a full pie.

4 C.  fresh berries
7/8 to 1 C. sugar
4 T. flour
3-4 t. quick cooking tapioca
½ t. cinnamon
1 T. butter or margarine, cut into pieces

For mini pie use:
2 C.  fresh berries
1/2 C. sugar
2 T. flour
1-2 t. quick cooking tapioca
1/4 t. cinnamon
1/2 T. butter or margarine, cut into pieces

Directions for full pie 
Use fresh ripe berries.  Rinse gently in colander and remove any stems and hulls.  Drain well, shaking gently, and put ½ of the berries into the pastry-lined 9 inch pan. Blend four and sugar in a bowl.  You can increase or decrease the amount of sugar in accordance with sweetness of fruit (up to 1 ½ C. sugar to 4 cups berries). Sprinkle ½ of the flour-sugar mixture over berries.  Sprinkle 1 t. (or more) of the tapioca over this first half of berries.  Add the rest of the berries, sprinkle with the remaining flour-sugar mixture and sprinkle the last of the tapioca over the top.  Sprinkle with cinnamon and dot with butter. If fruit is dry sprinkle with 1 to 2 T. of water.  Cover with top crust.  Be sure to seal the top to the bottom well so it doesn’t bubble out.  Cut a few slits in top crust.

Bake in hot oven (450) 10 minutes, then in moderate oven (350) about 30 minutes, until crust is nicely browned and berries are cooked through. 

For the mini pie I cooked it for 8 minutes at 450 and then for ~20 minutes at 350, watching the crust to figure out when it was done.

The crust turned out great but I did have a couple issues with the pie filling. Since blackberries aren’t really in season yet, the berries were not super juicy.  My mom’s recipe says to add a little water to the berries if they are dry, which I probably should have done.  Because there was not a ton of moisture in the filling, the tapioca balls did not dissolve all the way (you can see this in the close up photos of the pie innards).  It tasted ok but was a little tart and lacking in flavor.  The bright side was that it was totally solid and not runny at all (hard to accomplish with berry pies). I told Tom next year that I would make him a pie with something that is actually in season J

I did feel really good about the crust though.  It turned out really well and I following all of Emily’s directions.  I even sifted all the flour twice, enough though the only sifter I have it not really meant for flour since it’s so small, but it is really more for dusting things with powdered sugar. It took me awhile but it was worth it.
Bottom crust ready for berries.
2 layers of berries with flour/sugar/tapioca in between layers.
Topped with more flour/sugar/tapioca and cinnamon.
Dotted with butter.
Top crust on and pinched to look pretty.
Baked golden pie.
Birthday boy and his pie.
Tom had no room for pie on his birthday so he ate it for breakfast the next day.  He sat down and I handed him a fork, assuming he would just eat the whole thing.  He asked for a knife He still took down half of it but I guess the whole thing in one sitting would be a lot.

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