Monday, February 16, 2009

Pie in a jar for my Valentines

I had such a hard time trying to decide what to make for my Valentines to exchange at my party.  I've come across so many great ideas that I ended up with a long list to choose from so of course I choose the most time consuming and the least practical idea of them all.  I decided to make pies in tiny jars.  I got this idea from this post on Not Martha months ago and I've been dying to make them ever since.  This seemed like a good opportunity to try.  She made the pies in tiny canning jars and froze them raw, then you can take them out whenever you feel like dessert and pop them in the oven.  I thought they would make great Valentines because people would already be full of cookies and candy and this dessert they could take home and keep in their freezer until they felt like having dessert with their valentine.

I had to do a trial run because Not Martha used cherry pie filling and since a lot of people don't like cherry pie filling, I wanted to try to use real fruit.  I wasn't sure that the fruit would cook all the way since it starts out frozen and cherry pie filling is already cooked, but after a trial run, I think we worked out the kinks.  I used frozen fruit since nothing is in season right now so I really crammed it in thinking that since it was already frozen and expanded, it would cook down a lot, and I didn't want half empty pies.  As you can see, the first round bubbled over a lot so I didn't cram them so full during round two.
I still thought they were cute, but I slid a knife around the edge and turned them over onto plates and served them upside down with whipped cream on top.
Lisa helped me with the whole process so she came over with Tyler and helped do a taste test after the first round.  We picked our favorites and then made 26 for the exchange.
They looked so cute together.  I wish I had taken a picture of the entire group.
For anyone who wants directions, I used the same Cooks Illustrated  All Butter Pie Crust recipe that Not Martha used (although I do not have a food processor so it took a long time to mix).  You can find it here, but be sure to scroll down because it's the second pie crust recipe that they list.  It makes enough for about 6 tiny pies.

I used Kerr's little half-pint wide-mouthed jars (be sure to use a wide mouth jar or you will not be able to get your pie out of the jar).  I sprayed each jar with cooking spray and then just squashed crust in until the bottom and the side were covered.  For the filling I mixed about 4 1/2 cups of frozen fruit with 1/2 sugar, 2 T flour, and 2 T lemon juice.  You can also add 1/4 tsp cinnamon or at 2 T of butter cut up but I opted not to.  I made two kinds of pies; a mixed berry with frozen blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries and a peach pie.  I had to cut the peaches up a little bit so they would fit easily in the jars without too much empty space.  Fill the jars until about 3/4" from the top then roll out remaining pie crust and use and empty jar to cut out circles for the tops.  Be sure to cut slits in the top for ventilation.  Then just add the tops and crimp the sides.  Put on the jar lids and pop them in the freezer.  Now you have pie ready on demand.

These are the baking directions that I included with each pie: Keep pie frozen until ready to bake.  Remove jars from freezer and place on cookie sheet to acclimate while over preheats.  Take off lids and put foil ring around the outside edge of pie to prevent crust from burning.  Bake at 375 for 55 minutes, then remove foil and continue to cook at 400 for the last 15 minutes.  Let pie cool and serve in jar or run a knife around the edge to remove it.

Since they were Valentines I had to decorate the lids, and here's how they turned out.


Alissa said...

pretty much the cutest adult valentines ever.

Annie said...

i can't wait to eat mine!! waiting for the perfect night when i really really need a beautiful treat!

lisa (lost pezhead) said...

those look like a lot of work!

how are you posting your photos so big?

Sara said...

What a fun party! And fun Valentines. Stephanie, you are amazing! Maybe someday we will live close to each other, and I'll invite myself to your V-Day party!

Reba said...

cute cute cute.

Happy Valentine's Day, Stephanie

Anne Left. Lisa Right said...

oh wow I'm photogenic.....

your pies are adorable though, A+. and I love the tags.

tania said...

i'm so jealous of your friends. you throw THE BEST parties ever. move back to columbus, pronto! then meet me. heheeee.