Mixed-berry Mini-pies


This is one of my favorite recipes from my cookbook Insolito Muffin. It’s the perfect way to use up all the ripe summer berries and other abundant fruits of the season. Feel free to substitute the berries with small chunks of peeled peaches, apricots, plums or any fruit you desire. In the fall and winter, use diced apple or pear laced with cinnamon and cloves. Run wild and make pie!

Mixed-berry Mini-pies

  • 1 recipe pie crust (see below)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
  • 1 pint (3/4 lb, 350 g) fresh berries, washed and dried
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 egg

Follow the instructions below for the preparation of the pie crust. Using a round cookie cutter or jar lid with a diameter of about 4.5 inches (11 cm), cut out 6 rounds of dough. Press each dough circle into the bottom of a muffin tin so that a tiny rim of dough remains sticking out the top. Repeat with remaining dough to fill all 12 muffin cups. Transfer the cups to the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes while you prepare the filling.

Stir together the sugar (set aside 1 tablespoon of sugar for decoration), salt, cornstarch and lemon zest in a large bowl. Add the berries and lemon juice and gently toss to combine.

Remove muffin tin from refrigerator and fill each cup with about 1/4 cup pie filling, or until the filling nearly fills the cups.

Use the remaining dough to cover the tops of each pie. To make a lattice crust, use a sharp knife to cut out thin strips of dough, then lace together to form a lattice. If the dough becomes to sticky and difficult to manage in the process, transfer to the refrigerator or freezer briefly before proceeding. To make a standard crust, cut out a circle of dough just large enough to cover the top of the crust.  Use your fingers to gently press the top crust to the bottom crust until they stick together and no gaps remain, use a fork to create a decorative border.

Chill the prepared pies in the refrigerator for another 30 minutes before baking.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400°F/ 200°C. When ready to bake, prepare an egg wash by beating together an egg with 1 teaspoon of water. Remove the pies from the refrigerator, brush with the egg wash, sprinkle with the reserved sugar and bake in preheated oven for about 25 minutes, or until the crust is golden and the filling begins to bubble. Remove and let cool for at least 15 minutes. Then very carefully use a knife to loosen the edges of each pie and gently lift each pie out. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate.


Pie crust

All the ingredients must be cold to avoid a tough crust. Chill the flour in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. The butter pieces should be chilled in the freezer for 10 minutes before use.

  • 2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (320 g) flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup (2 stick, 230 g) butter, chilled and cut into 1 cm pieces
  • 5 to 7 tablespoons ice water
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

In a food processor with a metal blade, briefly pulse together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the butter and quickly pulse until chunks are the size of peas.
Add vinegar and smallest amount ice water, and pulse briefly. Mixture will be powdery but should hold together when pinched. Add more water and pulse again if necessary.
Transfer to a plastic bag and briefly knead from outside of bag until mixture holds together. Divide dough evenly and form into two balls, wrap with plastic and flatten into disks. Refrigerate at least 1 hour (preferably overnight) before rolling out and baking.

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