A couple days ago, I cleaned out the refrigerator and realized I had two small containers of blackberries that wouldn't live much longer. I also had some pie dough, but I knew I didn't have enough berries to make a "real" pie, so I didn't do anything about the berries that day. I guess, though, that somewhere in the back of my mind, I'd been thinking about what to do with those berries, because the next day, it occurred to me I could make mini pies in our large muffin tin. Genius!
That evening, after the mini pies came out of the oven, I asked Hubby if he'd like a little pie, and of course he said "yes!" I think he was a little surprised to see I meant that literally--what I served him WAS, in fact, a little pie.
I made a crumb topping for these, but I'm sure I could have made a regular crust for the top instead. To make these, I rolled out the dough and cut dough circles (I used a bowl as a template) that were a couple inches larger than the circumference of the opening of each cup. I sprayed the muffin tin with cooking spray and fit the dough down into the cups.
I took a look at the pie section of my Betty Crocker cookbook to get the general proportions of fruit, sugar, flour, and spices, and I "guesstimated" in making the filling--and it turned out just right! I filled the cups and then I made about a half recipe of crumb topping, which I thought would be enough to cover the tops of my six mini pies.
Most of the recipes I looked at called for cooking the pie at 425 degrees; because these were small, I thought maybe 400 degrees would be best, and they turned out okay--I just kept an eye on them to make sure they didn't over brown.
I know mini- and hand-pies are popular now and I can see why. These would make a perfect Thanksgiving--or any other holiday--dessert. In fact, if I were having a large crowd for Thanksgiving and wanted to offer my guests a selection of different types of pie, I think I'd make a few batches of mini pies with different fillings and whipped cream and ice cream on the side. Yum!
If you're stumped for an idea for Thanksgiving dessert or if you've been appointed to bring dessert to a large gathering, please feel free to use my idea. The other really excellent thing about these are the fact that they're small, which makes them the perfect treat to follow a large meal without being tempted to over-indulge. Bon appetit!