Mini pies in muffin tins?
Hey, does anyone have experience with this? I'd like to bring mini pies to a party, and I was wondering if it would be possible (or advisable - be blunt, I haven't started yet!) to make them in muffin tins or some other individual size portion. I figure mini quiches are certianly often found at parties, so why not mini pies? But.... I haven't found jack about how to actually DO it. Anyone BTDT?
Yes, you can!
Growing up I helped Mom make these family favorite at the holidays. She made them with jam, but you could use them with fruit if you cooked it first. (Wouldn't be in the oven long enough to soften firmer fruits from the raw stage) Are you thinking of fruit, custard, or....?
Mom used a standard pie crust pastry, cut into rounds about 2" larger in diameter than the top of the muffin cup. Lay a pastry circle over the cup opening and press it into the cup to make firm contact with the bottom and sides. You can flute the sides to take up some of the extra dough. No need to get fancy with the top edge, just make it even with the cup top. No need to prebake the shells, unless you're adding a filling that won't be cooked (fresh fruit like strawberries or pre-made custard, as in banana cream pie).
You could use canned fruit fillings or make them yourself by cooking fruit pieces in a pan with a knob of butter, pinch of salt, sugar to sweeten, and some moisture (water, juice) just till bubbly and tender. Near the end of cooking , add a bit of cornstarch/water slurry if you need to tighten up the mixture. Spoon into pie shells, about 2/3 full. Bake at recommended temp for regular pies. Cool on racks in tins. Run sharp knife point around top lip to loosen the tarts. Transport to party in tins, then remove by running a knife blade around the rim again and lifting the tarts out with the knife tip onto a pretty plate or tray. Garnish with piped whipped cream.
I've used this recipe as is and just used the shortbread crust and filled them with lemon curd, and made butter tarts with them. I use mini muffin tins and use a shot glass to push the tablespoon of dough into the cups. One word of caution about mini anything...they're more labour intensive than the large version. If you have the time I'd make the crusts one day and fill them the next just to break up the work.
Mawrter, you might also want to Google for tassies. I'm not sure if some recipes call for a pie crust dough. I usually make the cream cheese/butter/flour dough, roll a tablespoon of it into a ball, put in a mini muffin tin, and since I was doing it so often, bought a wooden tamper that squishes the dough perfectly. Then fill and bake.
I use my regular pecan pie recipe and just divide it among the mini's. I've also made lemon pies, pumpkin, and savory mini quiches. I don't know why you couldn't use fruit. I'd be tempted to pre-cook the filling a bit stove-top, cool, then fill the shells and bake. As I recall, they don't take as long to bake as a full pie.
The cream cheese dough is very forgiving. You can form it with your fingers in the muffin cups. I would think a regular muffin pan, or even the muffin tops pan, would work great for pies. The mini's are good for a bite or two.
Instead of a top crust, sprinkle on an oat crumble or streusel topping.
Also, there are pre-baked phyllo shells in the freezer section (bite-sized). You just thaw and fill those. They would definitely need a pre-cooked filling. I've used lemon curd and cranberry curd, topped with a dollop of whipped cream. I would think a layer of sweetened cream cheese and fresh fruit (a kiwi slice, a strawberry, a couple raspberries, blueberries) with a melted jelly glaze would be beautiful.