Wednesday, December 7, 2011

My Little Cutie Pie: Cranberry, Pear & Ginger Miniature Pies

Sweetie-Pie, Pie of Pies, Newfie-Pie, Noodle-Pie, Pieder-dog and Pie-Dog are just a few of the terms of endearment Dooley has acquired in his almost-13 years.

What a Cutie Pie!

Cutie Pie, Flipside, Piejar, Piepop, and Petit-5 are Danie Cone's terms of endearment for her handmade, all-natural miniature pies featured in her Cutie PIES: 40 Sweet, Savory, and Adorable Recipes, of which I recently received a review copy. Dani is also the owner of Seattle's High 5 Pie, a pie shop that sells these pies.

The cover photo of a Pear-Cranberry-Ginger Piejar looked beautiful and festive for this time of year. However, I was unable to find mini-mason jars and settled on these pretty 4 1/2-inch ramekins, from Cost Plus World Market.

Most of the recipes are adaptable for Cutie Pies (baked in a standard 12-cup muffin pan), Petit 5s (baked in a mini-muffin pan), Flipsides (updated version of the classic turnover), Pie Pops (pie lollipops), Piejars (baked in mini mason jars), or a single 9-inch pie. Piejars are the most charming to me, and would make lovely holiday gifts, so I do need to track these down. Even our local Leroy's serves desserts in jars.

Cutie Pies offers four crust options: All-Butter, Graham Cracker, Vegan, and Gluten-Free.  Some crusts work better with certain pie shapes or fillings, and that is noted in each recipe. The same applies to the three Pie Tops: Flat top, lattice top, and Crumb top. For the Cranberry-Pear-Ginger Pie, the All-Butter Crust and Crumb Top are recommended.

Cranberry-Pear-Ginger Filling

Sprinkled with Crumb Topping, and ready for baking

Cranberry-Pear-Ginger Cutie Pies
Slightly adapted from Cutie Pies: 40 Sweet, Savory and Adorable Recipes
Makes 8 Cutie Pies (4 1/2-inch ramekins)

All-Butter Pie Crust

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold, cut into ½-inch cubes
½ to 3/4 cup ice water

In the bowl of a food processor, briefly pulse together the flour, salt, and sugar. Add the butter and pulse 8 to 12 times, until the butter is the size of peas. Add the ice water, a tablespoon at a time, pulsing between each addition, until the dough begins to form a ball. Dump the dough out on a floured board and roll into a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Crumb Top

½ cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cinnamon
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold, cut into ½-inch cubes
1/4 cup rolled oats

In the bowl of a food processor, briefly pulse together the flour, brown sugar, sugar, salt and cinnamon. Add the butter and pulse 8 to 12 times, until the size of peas. Add the oats and pulse to create a crumbly consistency.

Pear-Cranberry-Ginger Filling

3/4 cup water
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
1 16-ounce bag of fresh cranberries
4 medium Bosc pears
1 teaspoon fresh minced ginger
1 teaspoon cornstarch

Pour the water and sugar into a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the cranberries, lower the heat, and simmer the cranberries about 10 minutes, or until they start to pop. Drain the cranberries and set aside to cool.

Peel, core and cut the pears into ½-inch cubes.

In a large bowl, mix together the pears, ginger and cornstarch. Add the cranberries and mix to combine.

Assembly and Baking

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and allow it to sit at room temperature for at least 10 minutes. Place the oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to 1/4-inch thickness, lightly dusting with flour as needed to prevent sticking. Cut circles from the dough, large enough to fit in the ramekins with a little bit of an edge left to crimp. Press the dough rounds into the ramekins and crimp the edges. Spoon the filling into the ramekins. Sprinkle the crumb topping over the filling. Bake 25-30 minutes, or until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbling.

Allow to cool, and serve warm or at room temperature. Serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream. I served ours with whipped cream, flavored with a touch of ginger liqueur and some crystallized ginger sprinkled on top.

Served as is, with crunchy, crumbly, cinnamon topping

Kicked up a notch, with ginger liqueur spiked whipped cream
and crystallized ginger sprinkles

"Praised by Bon Appetit, DailyCandy, and Sunset magazine, the secrets behind Dani Cone's signature handmade, all-natural miniature pies are revealed for the first time inside Cutie Pies: 40 Sweet, Savory, and Adorable Recipes. Whether you're grabbing the perfectly portable Flipside on the way to work, enjoying a Piejar as a tasty afternoon treat, or looking for a fun and impressive dinner party dessert, Cutie Pies provides the perfect morsels to satisfy sweet and savory cravings alike.

Inside Cutie Pies, Cone presents 40 exclusive recipes inspired by the unique line of compact pastries she serves at her Seattle-based Fuel Coffee and High 5 Pie locations, which have received a Best of Seattle Weekly award. Sweet, one-of-a-kind treats like a Mango-Raspberry-Lemon Piepop mingle with savory recipes like Cone's Curry Veggie Piejar, all in a distinct and delightful design.

Cutie Pies is illustrated throughout with more than 20 mouthwatering, full-color photographs, and its contemporary fashion and straightforward recipes enable bakers everywhere to create these tiny treats with big flavor."  -


Lakelady said...

Forget the pies, I want to give that Furry Cutie Pie a big kiss. Love that Dooley!

Carmen said...

I had a pie in my eye tonight and it couldn't have been better. In fact, I'd say you are the pie-d piper of pies. That crust was as delicate and moist as it appears in the photo! I es-PIE-er to make these lovely little pies ASAPie.