Monday, March 3, 2014

Hobbit Test Kitchen: Mince and Blackberry Pies

So I had this notion that a tortilla press would make the manufacture of weensie pies much easier. To a degree, I was right - but I need to try something a little different on the next batch.

Remember that proper British mince pies are made in muffin tins or tart tins. I made pretty little rounds of dough on the tortilla press well enough, but they didn't fit in the muffin tins - their diameter was too small and they wanted to crumble and tear instead of submit meekly to their reshaping. So instead, I put a dollop of filling between two rounds of crust, squished the edges, and baked them flat to see what happened.

What happened was, there was a REALLY high crust-to-filling ratio. Well, that was one thing that happened. Another thing that happened is that I learned that my mincemeat? Is amazing.

Another, other thing that happened is that I learned to definitely cook the blackberry filling beforehand. You can get away without it in a big pie, but in a small pie it needs to be compacted down so that as much as possible can fit into the weensie pie. The blackberry pies were really ridiculously crusty.

So next time, come what may, I have to make the pastry bend to my will. This will be one of my big tasks this coming weekend, since this is just the sort of thing you can freeze ahead to free up your hands for other tasks that can't be accomplished ahead of time.

Here's how I made up this round of pies.

Mince Pies

1 premade pie crust (don't judge me!)
Mincemeat with cornstarch (I just used 1 T. in one pint of mincemeat)

Divide the pie crust into quarters, ball, and flatten in the tortilla press. Balance one round over a muffin hole to allow more filling; spoon filling in. Place second round on top, seal, and set on parchment-lined cookie sheet. Repeat with second pie.

Poke with fork or cut slits so steam can escape. Bake at 450°for 15-20 minutes, until crust is golden.

Blackberry Pies

1 premade pie crust
Filling made from:
12 oz. frozen blackberries
2 T. cornstarch

¼ c. sugar (I think it might need more - hard to tell with the crust ratio that resulted)

See above for instructions

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