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Wednesday, May 28, 2014


By Bryna Bear aka Gluten Free Baking Bear
** (Check out some exciting new info at the bottom.)
     What can I make with only one pint of blueberries?  A new Whole Foods Market opened up nearby and organic blueberries were on sale.  If I had not also bought a container of organic strawberries I would have eaten the blueberries raw; but the strawberries smelled so wonderful that I ate them first.  Then I realized that between what was going on in my life and how long berries stay fresh it was necessary to make something with those blueberries.  Only one pint, need two for a big pie.  Not in the mood for cobbler, I want pie.  I know, I’ll make mini pies!
     Then I realized that I had no idea how many mini pies one pie crust would make, so I went surfing on Google.  I found a great site, everythingPIES.com, where the blogger, Pie Guy, obviously has lots of mini pie baking experience.  I was duly warned that with cupcake sized mini pies the fillings cook faster than the crust resulting in a mini volcanic pie filling flow or possible pie top blow off.  The pies should be frozen solid, overnight, before baking to prevent this.  I threw them in the freezer quite a bit less than overnight.  I froze them for less then even one hour.  So I got a bit of a blueberry lava flow.  When the lava cooled I just scraped it off the pan and dropped it back inside the vent holes of each pie.  If only I had read the instructions the day before I was baking for company. 
Blueberry lava flow.
Freeze your pies solid before baking
 to prevent this from happening to you!
Pie Guy also recommended placing a strip of parchment paper in each muffin cup to help lift the pies out.  I read this too late for the first tray.  Then I forgot for the second.  The pies came out easily and in one piece anyway, despite the blueberry spills.  I did run a knife where the spills were in case the pies would stick at those spots. 

     I used my current favorite GF pie crust recipe for Pâte Brisée, making one crust using unsalted butter and one using Earth Balance Buttery Sticks for my vegan and dairy free friends.  For the filling I followed the one in my Betty Crocker Pie and Pastry Cookbook that called for two pints of blueberries and cut the recipe in half.  I decided to add the optional cinnamon and also some lemon zest to give some fresh flavor to the cooked berries. 
      Each 9-inch pie crust made five two-crust mini pies, so there were 5 butter crust pies and 5 dairy free ones.  The pies were very easy to eat and serve.  They held together very well.  Much less messy than serving slices from a large pie.  I was very happy with how it came out.  They were quite delicious.  All my friends loved the pies and appreciated the portion control and neatness.  

** I would like to send a shout out to 2 Gluten Free food bloggers THE BAKING BEAUTIES  & ALLERGY FREE ALASKA.  They have started a Gluten Free and DIY Tuesday link up party where bloggers can share links to their posts every week.  A great way to discover other GF bloggers and DIY sites.  Thanks you Jeanine and Megan! 

Makes about 10 two-crust mini pies if using a standard muffin tin

Make recipe for Two 9” pie crusts of GF Pâte Brisée or pie crust recipe of choice.  For dairy free use dairy free margarine & for vegan use vegan margarine and sugar in the recipe.

1 pint or 2 cups Fresh Blueberries
¼ cup Sugar
1 tsp. Lemon Zest - very fine
1 Tbs. + 2 Tsp. Sorghum Flour
¼ tsp. Cinnamon
1½ tsp. Lemon Juice

  1. Prepare a muffin tin by lining 10 of the cups with a strip of parchment paper to help lift the mini pies out easily. (I am not preheating the oven because I am giving directions for making this after freezing the pies solid overnight to prevent the filling from oozing out of the pies.  If you want to bake these mini pies right away preheat the oven after you make the pie crust dough and place the discs of dough into the freezer for about 1 hour to chill.  I would also chill the completed unbaked pies in the freezer for at least 15 minutes before baking to get a flakier crust and a bit less filling ooze.)
  2. Make dough for two 9-inch pie crusts.  Divide the dough into two equal parts, shape into flattened discs and wrap each piece in plastic wrap.  Place the discs in the freezer for about 1 hour. 
  3. Place the washed blueberries in a bowl and add all the rest of the filling ingredients.  Note that the lemon zest should be very fine.  Mix well and set aside.
    Finely grated lemon zest.

    Filling all mixed.
  4. Take one chilled dough disc out of the freezer and place it between two pieces of plastic wrap.  Roll it out to about ⅛ - ¼ of an inch thick.  
  5. Remove the top sheet of plastic wrap.  Use a cookie cutter or large cup or bowl to cut circles 3½ - 4½ inches wide.  I used a 3½ inch cutter and the dough reached the rim of the muffin tin cups.  If you want to have the dough fan out over the sides of the cup use the larger sized cutter.
    Rolled out dough from one 9-inch crust recipe.
     3½ inch circles & vent holes were cut with cookie cutters.
    I made one more circle after re-rolling some dough scraps.
  6. Make vent holes in the center of half of the circles using a small cookie cutter or with a knife.
  7. If the rolled out dough has softened put it on a flat tray and put it into the freezer while you roll out and cut the second dough disc.  Take the first sheet of rolled out dough out of the freezer.  Place the second rolled and cut out dough onto a tray and put it in the freezer.
  8. Use a kitchen shears to cut out the plastic and circles of dough without vent holes.  I just cut around the circle taking care not to cut the other circles.  Lift the circle of dough and hold it in your palm plastic side on you hand.  While on your hand the edges bend over and make it easier to peel the excess dough away from the circle. 
    Dough on palm plastic side down.
    Note that the edges bend away from the circle
     making it easier to take the excess dough off.
  9. Center the circle over one muffin cup, plastic wrap facing up.  
    Dough with plastic in cup.
  10. Use your thumb, or fingers (your choice - I found the thumb to be more efficient) to press the dough onto the bottom and center of the cup.  Repeat for each circle without a vent hole.  Repeat with the second tray of dough circles.  Gather and reroll the scraps of dough to make other circles if needed.  You can bake the extra rolled dough and eat it plain or with some jam.
    Pressing the dough into the bottom & sides of each cup with plastic wrap in place.

    Removing plastic after done.
  11. Fill each dough filled cup with the blueberry filling mixture.  Try to evenly distribute the filling.
  12. Cut out the plastic under and the dough around the circles with vent holes using the kitchen shears.  
  13. Center the vent hole over the center of a blueberry filled cup and remove the plastic wrap.  Fold the edges up to make a crust.  Tuck the crust down around the edge of each cup to help it adhere to the bottom crust and keep the filling from oozing out.  You can crimp the edges with a fork if you like. I crimped one and then I realized the soft dough was adhering to the bottom crust without the need for this.  You can crimp the crust if you like how it looks.  Some people make lattice tops. 
    Vent hole centered over the top of the filled pie bottom.
    Then the plastic wrap is removed.

    Folding the edges of the top to fit the mini pie bottom.

    Crimping the edge with a fork (optional).
  14. Wrap the tin of mini pies in plastic wrap and freeze overnight.
  15. When ready to bake. Preheat the oven to 400°.
  16. Take the pies out of the freezer and remove the plastic wrap.
  17. Place the tin on a baking tray to catch drips and put in the center of the oven. 
  18. Bake 15 minutes at 400 degrees.  Then after the first 15 minutes turn the oven down to 375 degrees and bake another 10-20 minutes if not frozen solid and another 25-35 minutes if the mini pies are frozen solid or until the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbly.
  19. Cool for at least 10-15 minutes before you try to remove them from the pan so that they do not fall apart. Cool completely on racks or serve warm with ice cream. 

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