Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Mini-Berry Pies

One of the joys of living in the Pacific Northwest is the bounty of berries we have here. Blackberries are EVERYWHERE and with a short hike you can have your hearts content with wild blueberries and huckleberries. With that comes pie of course! With just the hubby and I at home we don't need a full pie so I wanted to make it a little smaller and a lot healthier. These little mini pies fit the bill perfectly on both fronts.

It depends on how big/small your pie pans are on how many pies you get out of this recipe. My pans are 5" so I was able to get two pies per recipe. A friend and I went blackberry picking and I made two full-on blackberry pies. For my second batch I used the rest of my blackberries and then made up the difference with blueberries from my garden. Both pies turned out great!

These pies freeze really well, so you can enjoy one fresh out of the oven and save the rest for another time. Once the pies were good and cool I double wrapped each one in plastic wrap and then zipped them up in a Ziplock freezer bag. When ready to eat, take your pie out in the morning to thaw out on the counter. (there isn't anything in these pies that will go bad by sitting on the counter) Right before eating place in the oven for about 10-15 minutes to re-crisp the crust and warm up the filling, because warm pie is the best of course.

One last thing. I made these pies single crust. Hubby wasn't too thrilled about this concept, as the crust is his favorite part, but it helps to keep the pies light. Even though I use whole grains, lighten up the fat content, and use natural organic butter instead of evil shortening, it's still not the best part of the pie for you. It was perfect for me! A taste of crust without a ton of it. Once he tasted the pies he was OK with there not being a double crust. Win!

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees, and lets get ready to get our pies on.



3 Cups Whole-Wheat Flour
1 1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 Cup Firm Butter
8-10 Tb Water


Put your flour and salt into a medium bowl and stir to mix. Add your butter and cut into your flour until resembles fine crumbs. You can use a fork to do this, and I did it for years this way, but my view on crust making changed dramatically when I bought a pastry cutter!!! No comparison. If you don't have one I highly recommend getting one. The difference in ease in cutting butter is night and day.

Once your butter is completely mixed into your flour and salt, and it looks like a light crumbly mix, start adding your water 1 Tablespoon at a time. Crust is finicky and you don't want to to get to wet or it will turn out tough. So slowly start mixing your water in, 1 section and 1 Tablespoon at a time until your flour is all just slightly damp and you can stick it together with your fingers - don't get it any wetter than this. If it doesn't stick together when pinched, it's not quite wet enough. It's a fine line, so check it often.

Once dough is just right, divide it up into how many pies you are making - I did two. Take each part, roll it into a ball and place on waxed paper. Put another piece of waxed paper on top and roll the crust into a circle about 3" in diameter larger than your pie pan. Place your crust in the pie pan and gently line the pan with the crust all around. Fold any overhang of crust under itself on the edge of the pie pan and seal the crust by taking a fork and pressing down all the way around. (This is the easiest way to seal a crust. You mostly have to seal a crust when you have a double crust, to keep the juices from running out, but it looks much more finished even with a single crust. There certainly are fancier ways, and if you know them go for it. There are a lot of resources to show you how to different kinds of pie crust seals that look awesome too. I fluted my crust in the pictures)



6 Cups Berries - your choice
1/2 Cup Honey, Melted
1 tsp Powdered Stevia
1/2 Cup Tapioca
1 Tb. Lemon Juice
2 tsp Cinnamon

This is the easy part! Mix all ingredients in a large mixing bowl until well blended and berries are evenly coated. That's it. Easy as pie (wink).

Evenly distribute your filling into your prepared pie crusts.

Put pies in oven and set your timer for 15 minutes. After the 15 minutes turn your oven temperature down to 375 and cook pies for an additional 20-25 minutes. If you are making extra mini-pies your cooking time may be less. Keep an eye on it and your pies are done when your filling is solid all the way through.

Cool on a cooling rack. Eat one, and freeze the rest as described above.

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