Mini Blueberry Pies for Pi Day
This past week, I haven’t quite been feeling like myself. Maybe it’s the loss of an hour this past weekend, or the racing of my mind in the middle of the night reminding me of everything I have coming up in the next few months. I was definitely in need of a therapeutic creative outlet to bring myself back to life before the week ended. And the task of making a pie for Pi Day at work felt like the perfect opportunity to challenge myself.
Admittedly, since I cook much more often than I bake, I don’t actually own a pie pan - making this task seem daunting at first. So I decided to make handheld mini pies, similar in form to the ones you get at fast food establishments. They would be easy for my coworkers to pick up, and - more importantly - wouldn’t require a run to Sur La Table. And being that blueberry pie is Steven’s favorite, I decided that a mini blueberry pies would be the perfect addition to my dessert repertoire.
I was lucky enough to find this recipe from the site Dessert for Two. Check them out if you get the chance. I made mine half the size of their pies, so that more people could enjoy them! Now let’s get into how I did it.
Serving size: 14 pies
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 sticks of chilled butter (cut into small cubes)
1/2 cup ice cold water (do not actually include ice cubes into your crust mixture)
Blueberry Filling Ingredients:
1 3/4 cup fresh blueberries
2 tablespoons corn starch
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
The zest of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
A generous pinch of salt
1 large egg
1 tablespoon milk (or cream or buttermilk)
Powdered sugar (for sprinkling on top)
Blueberry Filling Directions
Combine blueberries, corn starch, sugar, lemon zest and juice, cinnamon and salt thoroughly in a bowl without smashing the blueberries. Mix until you can no longer see the powder of the cornstarch. Set aside.
Combine egg and milk to create an egg-wash for your pies. Set aside.
Note: Store bought crust or your own favorite recipe should work perfectly for this recipe. This particular crust bakes at 425° for 18 minutes, but bake your own crust for the time and temperature suggested on your packaging or in your recipe.
Add flour, sugar and salt to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse a few times to combine.
Add pea-sized diced cold butter to the food processor and pulse about 10 times until the mixture is compiled of small crumbles.
Gradually stream in half of your cold water, and combine well with a few pulses. Stream in the remaining half of the water and pulse until the dough comes together in a ball. Do not run your food processor any longer after the mixture has become a ball.
Remove the dough from the food processor. I had to add a bit more flour to dough so that it wasn’t terribly difficult to work with.
Divide your dough in half and wrap each half in saran wrap. Press into a flat disk and chill in the fridge for at least 15 minutes. According to the recipe, you can chill the dough for up to two days in advanced, pending you let it rest on the counter for 30 minutes before rolling it out.
After 15 minutes, flour a rolling pin, as well as the surface you’ll be rolling your dough out on.
Remove one dough disc from the fridge, and roll it out on your floured surface until it’s 1/8th of an inch thick all around. Do your best to not taper off the edges of the dough. Feel free to add flour to any particularly wet areas to avoid a sticky mess.
Note: Place each individual mini pie on a parchment-lined baking tray as soon as you assemble it. As they sit out, they will become harder and harder to move, so transfer them over as soon as they’re prepared. And be sure to not place them too close to the edge of the tray , as they will ooze berry juice while baking.
Pre-heat your oven to 425° F. If your oven has the option for convection baking, choose that setting.
Cut out as many 2”x2” squares from your rolled out as possible.
Brush a very thin layer of your egg and milk wash onto half of the squares. These will serve as the bottom halves of your pies.
Place a small amount of the blueberry filling mixture on top of your egg-washed halves. Be sure not to pile the berries - as this could cause the top layer to break later - and leave half an inch of space around the berry mixture on all sides of the dough square.
Place your non-egg-washed halves on top of the berry layer, and gently use a fork to crimp the edges, to really lock in that berry goodness. The egg wash will also act as a paste to keep the two layers from separating while they bake.
Cut out small slits or a hole at the top of the minis. I personally went for a cross shape. Naturally, the berry juices will want to burst while baking, and you need to give them somewhere to go without letting them seep between the two layers of pie crust.
Remove the other half of your dough from the fridge and repeat steps 1-6.
Brush the remainder of your egg and milk wash to the tops of the pies.
Bake the pies for 18 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown.
Let them cool.
Dust them with powdered sugar right before serving. This will give them a nice hint of sweetness, as they’re filled with tart blueberries.
The gorgeous contrast between the golden crust, the dark purple ooze of berry juice and the stark white powdered sugar make this a really visually appealing treat.
While these were a bit time consuming to prepare and took a lot of patience during assembly, the outcome was well worth it. They were gorgeously golden and really satisfied Steven and my sweet tooths. This also marked the first time I ever used a food processor to create pie crust, making that tool even more valuable to me than it already was. If you’re looking for a therapeutic evening of baking, this recipe will definitely do the trick. And it will do the trick in the coming days when you want a bite of pie as an on-the-go breakfast or utensil-free dessert.
I hope you enjoy this recipe if you give it a try, and that you’ll check out the originator of this dish, Dessert for Two. Until next time! Happy Pi Day!