Last updated on October 25th, 2018 at 08:42 am
Who doesn’t love pie?
My top three favorite pies are cherry, banana cream, and apple. If I am being completely honest, cherry is at the top and the other two I will only eat cherry is not available. I eat other pies as well, but only under extenuating circumstances. Like pasta, I will eat cherry pie any time of the day or night!
Being that there are two components to pie, I feel we must pay them equal attention. Some people are drawn to the filling, leaving the crust as an empty shell. Some are crust lovers and like a thick crust and a thin filling. I am in love with both aspects of the pie, eating until there is nothing left, and think they deserve equal representation in any form. I believe the best way to pay respect to both is to make a bite size pie.
On a recent trip to Sur La Table, I bought a ravioli mold and could not wait to try it out! My reasoning for the purchase was that I have always wanted to make fresh pasta. That, and I think I was drawn to the tiny rolling-pin that came with it, since I am a big kid who loves toys.
I have previously attempted to make bite sized pies with puff pastry, phyllo dough and regular pie crust and they turn out tasty, but making the size consistent is hard. Plus, I make them too big and they turn out to be more than a single bite. This amazing mold was the answer to all of these problems.
Cherry pie is my favorite, it should be first on the mold!
In the recipes below, I have included my pie crust and filling recipes. If you are in a hurry, feel free to use ready-made crust and pre-made pie filling. I do it all the time and can be seen standing in the kitchen eating straight from the can. If using previously prepared fillings and crusts, proceed to the bottom and start making your ravioli. You can also make these components ahead of time and store until ready to make!
Makes a double, 9 inch pie crust
Active time: 5 minutes plus chilling time
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (you can use whole wheat)
6 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons butter, cold and diced
2 large eggs, beaten
I make my crust in the food processor because I think it’s the easiest way to combine the ingredients. Add the dry ingredients in first and pulse a few times to mix. Then add in the butter and pulse until it looks like coarse-ground cornmeal. Next add the eggs, one at a time, and pulse until the dough pulls away from the sides and starts to come together. Remove the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead quickly and form into two equal sized disks. Try to work quickly as to not heat up the dough and melt the butter with the heat from your hands. Having chunks of butter help make the dough flaky. Wrap the disks in plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use and at least 1 hour. You can keep the dough for up to 2 days in the refrigerator or double wrapped in the freezer for a month. When ready to use, let defrost on the counter for a about 10 minutes.
If rolling into a rectangle shape, I recommend shaping into rectangles before chilling. This makes it easier to get the final shape with less cracks and less work!
Cherry Pie Filling
Makes 2 cups of filling
Active time: 20 minutes plus cooling time
2 cups fresh pitted or frozen tart cherries (one 16 ounce bag)
3/4 cups granulated sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 tablespoons butter
Thaw cherries overnight in the refrigerator or on the counter top for about an hour. Place cherries and juice in a saucepan and place over medium heat. After the cherries heat through, which takes about 5 minutes, remove from heat.
Strain the cherries from the juice and return the juice to the saucepan. In a small bowl, mix the sugar and cornstarch together. Add this mixture into the hot juice and whisk well. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring constantly, until sauce thickens.
Add the almond extract, if desired, and the butter, and mix. Cook over medium heat until thickened, stirring frequently. Stir in cherries and continue to cook for another few minutes until thick and bubbly. Remove from the heat and let cool. If the filling is too thick, add a little water, too thin, add a little more cornstarch. Store in refrigerator until ready to use.
When ready to use, roll the dough into a rectangle and place on the mold. Press down on the impressions to make some room. Add a teaspoon of pie filling. Place the other dough on top. Roll the dough together with the mold roller and separate the pieces. If not using a mold, cut into squares and add filling. when you top with another square of dough, make sure you pinch the edges together with a fork to seal them tight. Brush with egg wash (one egg beaten with a tablespoon of water) and sprinkle with turbinado (raw) sugar. Bake at 375 for 15 minutes.
I serve these with a simple glaze made from powdered sugar and milk.
Powdered Sugar Glaze
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon milk (or more to consistency)
Mix well and serve with ravioli.
You can drizzle the glaze on top, serve in a bowl for dipping, or serve glaze-free. Enjoy!
(Recipes adapted from Nick Malgieri’s “How to Bake,” Harper Collins, 1995.)
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