When I was a little eater, one of my favorite foods was packaged pie-specifically, the Hostess ones at the gas stations in the middle of nowhere during our annual car trek from Myrtle Beach to Cincinnati. The god-only-knows-what’s-in-it crust was always crisp and buttery and the filling to crust ratio was perfect. Of course, back then, all I knew was that it tasted good, and between that, my juice box, and my Walkman playing my Bangles/Milli Vanilli mixed tape, I was set!
Whether it’s a jonesing for pies that will straight up kill me, or my rediscovered affinity for fat blueberries, I decided to go PIE CRAZY this weekend and make more pie than I can even give away. I didn’t want to do just the standard deep dish [though that’s always a winner], but also try some new things like pie pops and pie tarts. I mean, why the hell not?
Here’s a break down of the ratios:
- Deep dish pie: Filling > crust
- Pie tarts/Pocket Pies: Filling = crust
- Pie pops: Filling < crust
I used a basic filling recipe for all three, which is jazzed up thanks to a bit of lemon, cinnamon, and cardamom, and used a very flaky & buttery crust recipe-I think this type of crust works the best with blueberries. The crust is made with half butter and half shortening, and uses heavy cream instead of water and vinegar. It’s for these reasons that the crust is extremely tender. The Big ‘Ol Pie [the deep dish one] has an almond paste crumble on top, which gives the pie a bit of a crunch to balance out all the moist and bursting blueberries.
The pie pops were fun to make, but as many have said: If you want more than just crust with a little tinge of berry flavor, pie pops are not for you…though, they are damn cute, and I’m sure someone in my office will eat them.
After all, when it’s a “Manic Monday,” everyone could use a little something sweet & baked 😉
[Makes enough dough for (2) 9″ crusts. Filling makes enough for one deep dish pie]
- Dough blender
For the crust: *Note: Because the crust is super flaky and buttery, it’s hard to work with. If you want an easier, more pliable/bendable crust, make a classic one with just butter, water, and cider vinegar.
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- 1 1/2 tsp. sugar
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 stick unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small cubes
- 1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening, chilled
- 5 Tbl. heavy cream
For the filling:
- 32 oz. fresh or frozen blueberries, thawed [blueberries are in season now, so there’s no reason not to go fresh!]
- 3/4 cup + 2 Tbl. sugar
- 1/2 cup cornstarch
- 1 Tbl. fresh lemon juice
- 1 tsp. lemon zest
- Dash of cinnamon
- Dash of cardamom
For the topping:
- 2/3 cup flour
- 4 oz. marzipan or almond paste, broken into small pieces
- 1/2 stick [4 Tbl.] unsalted butter, chilled and cut into cubes
- 1/2 tsp. salt
Crust: Whisk the flour, sugar, and salt. Add butter and shortening and blend with the dough blender until the mix resembles coarse meal. Add 5 Tbl. heavy cream and mix until clumps form [I mix using my hands, but wear disposable gloves to keep the heat from melting the butter]. Divide in half and flatten each half into a disk. Cover with plastic wrap and chill at least 1 hour and up to 3 days.
Filling: whisk sugar and cornstarch in a large saucepan. Add the blueberries, lemon juice, lemon zest, cinnamon and cardamom. Cook over medium heat until the mix bubbles and thickens, stirring frequently, about 13 min. Chill in the fridge, stirring occasionally, until cool, about 1 hour and up to overnight.
Topping: Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until it clumps. Transfer to a bowl, cover, and chill 30 min. and up to overnight.
Deep dish pie
Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Lightly flour a work surface and gently roll out one of the disks to roughly 14″. Place in pie dish and trim edges. Fill with filling, leaving about 2″ of room for the filling to rise and bubble. Take out topping and crumble between your fingers, coating the top of the pie.
Roll out the second disk. Cut shapes or designs out of the disk and line the top part of the crust with the designs.
All ready for the oven! For deep dish pies that bake evenly, I like to use my special Emile Henry pie dish I got as a gift a few years ago. It’s worth the price for how evenly it bakes…plus, it’s pretty 🙂
For the pie tarts, I used one flattened disk of dough and cut out the shapes using Williams-Sonoma’s pocket pie molds, which change every season. The one I used here I bought a few years ago, but it always comes back around during the spring/beginning of summer.
The pocket pies work by being cutters and crimpers at the same time and the diameter measures roughly 4.5″. If you have a large enough cutter, you certainly don’t need this mold and can do them yourself!
After making cake pops, it seemed only natural to make pie pops as well, especially since desserts on sticks are becoming all the rage now…sorry, Mary, still not a lot of meat on sticks.
These are ridiculously easy to make and there are really only a few tricks to incorporate:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Start by rolling out a flattened disk of dough, enough for the base of a 9″ pie. Using round cutters [or any shape you want], no more than 2.5″ in diameter, cut out enough rounds to make 10 pie pops [that’s 20 rounds total-bottoms and tops]. Place 10 rounds on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
Place a sturdy lollipop stick halfway up each round and cover with a little flap of dough to make more secure.
Take your filling [only one piece of fruit with a little filling; otherwise, the filling will spill out] and plop in the middle of the of the round. Using an egg wash, brush the edges of the round.
If your fruit is bulbous, like blueberries are, the top round of dough will need to be slightly larger to accommodate the size. Using your hands, pat the dough tops out so they’re a bit larger. Place a round on top of each pie pop.
Cut off a piece of a lollipop stick and crimp the edges of the pie pop. Brush the pie pop with the egg wash. Using strips of foil, cover the sticks so they won’t burn in the oven.
Next time I might use a more pliable dough so there won’t be as many cracks due to the roundness of the fruit.