Sunday, June 26, 2016

Mini-Pies and Cherries: A Freezer Full of Joy

Here's a trend I've been meaning to jump on for a while.
So long in fact it's probably already past. But guests coming to visit with their mini-pie sized daughter and our little cherry tree's first real fruit harvest seem like a perfect excuse for a freezer brimming with mini cherry pies.
I made my usual flaky pie crust with both butter and lard (2 cups flour, pinch of salt, 1/3 cup cold butter, 1/3 cup cold lard, 1/3 cup ice water). With a little cutting and a little pressing I fit my dough into 7 1/2 pint mason jars, saving half the dough for the lattice tops.
Next I mixed up my filling. I had just barely 2 cups of cherries. I combined those with 1/3 cup sugar, 1 TB cornstarch, a pinch of salt, 1/4 tsp of lemon juice, 1/4 tsp vanilla extract and a pinch of nutmeg. I gave the filling a good stir and let it sit while I rolled out my second crust and cut it into long thin strips for weaving.
I used the jar's lid to cut out circles of my lattice woven crust, placed each one on top of the now filled little jars (it took about 1/4 cup of filling for each jar), and snuggled the dough down to meet the crust on the side. Lids on top, bands screwed down, 7 pies in the freezer for futures guests -- expected or not.
While I was looking for ideas online I saw reference to a baker on Etsy who makes mini mason jar pies for weddings for $7 each (prices have come down quite a bit since that article) and I scoffed.
"Who would possible pay that," I thought.
Now that I have made just 7 of these cute little pies -- $7 each doesn't seem like near enough.
Make them for love, not for money.

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