Daily Affirmation

The best things in life are free.
The second best are very expensive.
- Coco Chanel

Friday, July 29, 2011

Pies From Summer Goodness

Lately I've become obsessed with making pies.  Not big full-size pies - little hand pies or mini pies.  I've gathered recipes from Williams Sonoma and others, and I've been having pie baking days about once a week.  Last week I made blueberry and strawberry pies.  The blueberry ones were so delicious, but the strawberry ones - while not as pretty (they leaked a lot while baking) tasted just like the best summer strawberries you ever had.  It was hard to stop at just one pie.
This week I wanted to use the blueberries I had, but try something a little different, so I added peaches.  I sprinkled the fruit mix with a little sugar and cinnamon to start.  The fruit looked so gorgeous in the bowl with the flecks of cinnamon!  

I had some really good frozen pie dough from Trader Joe's and I was able to make 13 little blueberry-peach pies with it.  (Actually there were 14 - I had to eat one.  You know - take the new filling for a test drive.)  This is how they looked right out of the oven:

Next up: strawberry.  I'd run out of frozen dough, so I got brave and made my own.  Surprisingly, it wasn't hard to do at all.  I've always been so intimidated by pastry dough that I've just bought the frozen kind, but no more - unless I want to take it easy on myself.  While the dough was chillin' in the fridge, I chopped up the strawberries into small pieces so they'd fit in the smaller hand pies.  This pie is so easy because all you do after you cut the pastry rounds is put a dollop of strawberry jam (any kind) in the middle of the round and then top it with some strawberry pieces.  Brush the dough on the edges with an egg wash, fold it over into a half-round shape, and crimp it with a fork.  So easy for something that is sooo good.
Once I got both kinds of pies all baked, I put one of each on a plate and took their picture.  Help.

And now they'll have to wait to be eaten until tomorrow.  I'm taking them to a friend who is here on vacation with her family - which is why I needed to make so many!  They're such a good little treat - they taste like summer with all the fresh berry goodness inside, and they'll be easy to serve and eat.  You can just hold them in your hand if you want.  Does anyone remember eating those Hostess Pies when you were a kid?  These are like those - only a million times more fresh and delicious.
It was a fun day.  I love to bake, but I can't bake without having somewhere to send all the deliciousness.  So my friend gave me the perfect opportunity to do something fun for her in return for all of the nice things she's done for me, and to enjoy the heck out of myself while I was doing it.  Williams Sonoma sells a new cookbook for these mini pies.  The description in their catalog even mentioned a s'more one.  I've been thinking about how that one would be done.  I may have to break down and buy the book.

I did have some blueberries and strawberries left over after making the pies.  When I was watching the Today Show, Giada di Laurentis was on and gave a recipe for a Mixed Berry and Thyme jam.  I'm here to say it's one of the best things I've ever tasted.  Only, instead of jam, I think we'll spoon it over vanilla ice cream.  It's beautiful to look at, and the slight undertone of thyme gives it the most interesting flavor.  Even better, it keeps for a month in the fridge - plenty of time to use it up!  

I love having a baking day.  I'm learning a lot about making my little pies, and the biggest problem I'll have is to keep myself from sneaking down to the kitchen in the middle of the night to have a little secret snack.  Take my word for it - these little treats are fun to make, and are so good that you really do need to plan on giving them away before you begin to think of them as yours.  Otherwise your jeans will get very tight.


  1. My jeans are already very tight.

    And I think they're about to get a little bit tighter!


    PS. Your post came up on my google reader today. It's fixed! =D

  2. I think little pies are so cute!! These look like they are folded in half and they definately look yummy! Recently I saw some cute miniature pie pans that someone made mini chicken pot pies in. I want to try those too - but not until it gets cooler outside.

    Isn't Williams Sonoma the best? I love that store!

  3. I don't need my jeans to be any tighter but I think it would be worth it to eat these morsels of deliciousness!
    You did a great job taking the pictures! I wish I was the friend visiting you!

  4. Great job on those pies..they look professional and very delish! Here in Amish country they have a pie like that called "fry pies"...they also have a glaze on them and when they are fresh, boy or boy, very yummy! I'm glad I live far enough away to resist them. Now, I want to try making these...you've inspired me! Have fun at Sue's!

  5. Okay! I'm hooked!! Just as soon as I get even a little energy back I'm making hand pies. I'm so glad you posted about them because I was sad to miss tasting yours and now I can make my own.

    I'm also glad you made your own pie crust. It isn't hard and it's less expensive plus better tasting! Plus you can whip it up in nothing flat and usually all the ingredients are right at hand just waiting for you to get in the mood for a little pie baking. Congratulations on coming up with such a great idea.

    Maybe it's just as well I wasn't there though because my clothes are a little tighter than I would like them to be for our big wedding next month in Tahoe.

  6. I could really use one of these! I'm craving something sweet!


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