I’ve been making lots of bigger pies for years–the standard, round 9- and 10-inch ones, and even a few big rectangular “slab pies.” But all the while, I’ve been watching my fellow bakers churn out cute little individual pies. They’re so terrific, I thought; the folded-over hand pies are so easy to pick up and eat, and the little round ones are, well, just so cute. I knew I needed to develop a tiny pie of my own.
Finally, I have. I decided to give it a whirl after seeing a video by my esteemed pie-baker colleague, Ken Haedrich of the Pie Academy in South Carolina. I loved his idea of using Mason jar lids, and decided to give it a try.
I used lids that are 2 1/2″ in diameter, and divided my batch of dough to suit that size. It is a little challenging to roll out little 1-ounce balls of dough. But I had fun experimenting with techniques to get it to work. (“Quick! Get those dough balls into the fridge, they’re getting too warm! You can have more wine after you get ’em in there to chill.”)
My first batch didn’t go particularly well. I used 2-ounce balls of dough, and they were too bulky and thick for the size of the jar lids. Friends who served as tasters were still charmed by the little pies, fetchingly filled with dark chocolate-cream. But they agreed that batch #2 should be lighter on the dough.
For batch #2, I rolled 1-ounce balls of dough. They were just the right size for a nice thin/delicate crust. I rolled them out and eased each one into a jar lid, taking care to roll the top edge down a bit so it rested ever-so-slightly on the edge of the lid. (You’ll notice that I didn’t use the separate, circular piece of each Mason jar lid. All you need is the rim.) I arranged the crusts on a baking sheet and put them in the freezer.
When my oven was preheated to 425, I blind-baked the crusts. I lined each one with a cupcake paper and filled it with dried beans that I keep around for this reason. I baked them for 15 minutes, then took out the papers and beans and baked them empty for another three minutes. They came out of the oven to cool. Lifting each crust out of its lid was super easy.
I used my regular recipe for coconut cream (and, for batch #1, chocolate cream) pie filling. I’d made it already, on the stovetop, and chilled it in the fridge. So when the crusts were cool, I spooned in the custard filling, then whipped up some cream and piped it on top.
I hope you love these as much as my friends and I did! Let me know what you think!
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 3 Tbsp. cornstarch
- 1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
- A dash of salt
- 1 1/2 cups coconut milk
- 1 1/2 cups half-and-half
- 4 egg yolks
- 1 1/2 cups sweetened, shredded coconut
- A few drops of coconut flavoring (I like LorAnn brand)
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 2 Tbsp. powdered sugar
- 2-3 Tbsp. shredded, sweetened coconut, toasted til golden brown
- For CurvyMama Pies' all-butter dough:*
- 12 ounces all-purpose flour
- 2 Tbsp. sugar
- Dash of kosher salt
- 8 ounces butter, cut into 1-ounce pieces
- 4 ounces iced water
- In a medium, heavy saucepan, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, flour and salt.
- Putting a medium-high heat under the pan, whisk in the coconut milk and half-and-half, making sure there are no lumps. Whisk in the egg yolks.
- Cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens and reaches a boil. Lower the heat to low and keep the custard at a gentle simmer for two minutes, whisking frequently. Remove from heat. Stir in the coconut flavoring, vanilla and butter.
- Pour the custard into a bowl and press plastic wrap onto the surface. Chill until cool.
- In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar and salt. Put all but 1/3 cup of the flour mixture into the bowl of a food processor. Buzz three times. Add all the butter. Buzz 22-25 times, until the mixture is a coarse meal, but lumps of butter the size of almonds and peas are still visible. Add the rest of the flour. Buzz 4-5 more times.
- Turn the flour mixture back into the large bowl. Add the iced water gradually, mixing just enough to let the dough take up the moisture.
- Gather the dough into a ball in the center of the bowl. Knead briefly -- no more than 10 seconds -- to help the dough come together. Shape it into a ball, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least an hour.
- Remove the dough from the refrigerator and weigh out 1-ounce balls of dough. Alternatively, divide and sub-divide it until you have 24 pieces.
- Roll out each dough ball into a circle. (You might need to keep one half of the dough pieces refrigerated while you roll out the other.) Ease each circle into a 2 1/2"Mason jar lid rim (don't use the center part of the lid, just the rim), rolling the top edges so they are thick enough to avoid burning, and rest ever-so-slightly on the edge of the jar lid.
- Arrange the crusts on a baking sheet and freeze them.
- Preheat oven to 425. When it's fully heated, remove the crusts from the freezer. Place an empty cupcake paper in each crust, and fill 2/3 full with dried beans. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove crusts from oven, and remove the papers and beans. Bake the crusts empty for another 3 minutes. Let cool on a cooling rack for about 10 minutes. Gently remove each crust from its lid and allow to cool the rest of the way.
- Spoon coconut cream filling into the crusts. Just before you're ready to serve the pies, whip the cream with the powdered sugar. Pipe whipped cream onto each teensy pie and sprinkle with toasted coconut.
- *This batch of dough will produce enough for about 24 1-ounce "teensy" pie crusts