Fresh Mini Strawberry Pies

Easter is one of my favorite holidays.  My family always had a lot of fun and cooked delicious food.  Unfortunately I couldn’t be with my family this year but we did have a nice day with some of our best friends who also couldn’t be with their families.  It was probably the most non-traditional Easter ever – we had margaritas, cheese dip and muffuletta dip, grilled burgers, hot dogs and some of my husband’s homemade boudin.  There was no shortage of desserts either, with cupcakes, cookie cake, German chocolate cake and mini strawberry pies. 

The mini strawberry pies were originally meant to be a fresh strawberry pie that I saw in the most recent Cooks Illustrated.  I worried though that it would go to waste with all of the toddlers.  Bite-size portions seemed the best idea.  It really was easy to make – probably a lot easier than if I had made a regular pie!  I planned to make homemade whipped cream to top them with, but unfortunately the heavy whipping cream seemed off so I just used whipped topping in a can.  No worries!  Judging from the leftovers, it was a success – there were no leftovers!

Fresh Mini Strawberry Pies
Recipe Adapted from Cooks Illustrated, May/June 2011 Issue

Ingredients:

Filling
2 lbs. fresh strawberries, rinsed and dried and hulled. 
3/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp cornstarch
1.5 tsp Sure-Jell for low-sugar recipes (in the pink box)
large pinch of salt

Pie shells:
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
6 tbsp cold butter, cut into slices
1/4 cup chilled vegetable shortening, cut into 4 pieces
2 tbsp cold vodka
2 tbsp cold water

Method:
Process 3/4 cup flour, salt and sugar in the food processor until well combined, about two seconds.  Add butter and shortening and process about ten seconds.  Scrape the sides and bottom and redistribute in the processor bowl,  Add 1/2 cup more flour and pulse until evenly mixed.  Empty into a medium bowl.

Sprinkle the water and vodka over it and fold the dough into the liquid until it sticks together.  Flatten into a disk and wrap with plastic wrap.  Refrigerate at least 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375 and start on the filling:  Pick about a quarter of a pound of strawberries and process them until it’s a smooth puree. You need 3/4 cup of this.  Whisk 3/4 cup sugar, the cornstarch, Sure-Jell and salt in a small saucepan.  Stir in the berries, making sure to get in all the corners of the pot.  Cook over medium heat, stirring often until it comes to a boil.  Boil, stirring for two minutes while it thickens.  Remove from heat and empty into a bowl and allow to come to room temperature.  Chop the remaining strawberries into small pieces and once the strawberry mixture has cooled, fold in the fresh strawberries.

Once the dough has chilled a while, spray a small muffin pan/mini pie pan with nonstick spray.  Break off small bits of dough and form a ball, place in each of the spaces.  Using a wooden mini-pie shaper, press down and form a pie shape in each of the ball of dough.  Use a small fork and gently prick holes in the bottom of the crusts.  Refrigerate again until firm.  Once firm, bake until golden.  Allow to cool completely before filling with strawberry pie filling.  Refrigerate 3 hours before serving topped with whipped cream.

Mini Strawberry Pie

 

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