Monday, January 7, 2013

Pie Maker: My Latest Toy!

Little Apple Pie
If you like to cook and anyone knows about it, you probably had the fun of receiving some kind of kitchen gadget from thoughtful family members and/or friends!  I don't buy gadgets that much for myself, but when I receive one as a gift, I LOVE it and really enjoy trying them out!  I went many years without a food processor, but Christmas 2011 Ben gave me a super one and I use it all the time now.  I can't believe I didn't think I needed one for so long!  
Anyway, this year, Marie and Miles gave me the cutest Breville little pie maker!!  I couldn't wait to try it out, and it is so much fun and makes very tasty pies!
It seems to me that little, hand-held pies are always popular.  Somehow, things always taste better when they come in a cute (did I already say that?), neat, little package, don't you think?  "Filled" anything just seems like more fun to eat!  Also, little pies are a great way to use up leftovers in a very delicious way!  
I'm including two recipes here.  One for the pastry (quick in a food processor!), and one for the super easy apple pie filling.  These apple pies are really easy even if you start from scratch for the filling.  I just mix stuff together and microwave it for a quick, but homemade, filling.  The other pies were made from the leftovers of a pot roast dinner: super tender beef, mashed potatoes, and gravy-- not really a recipe, but they were yummy--kind of English-- perfect for watching the first episode of Season Three of Downton Abbey!  Are you into that?  Oh-- I digress.........
As far as the crust goes, you can make your own in a food processor so quickly (new discovery for me-- can you believe it?) !  You can also use the Pillbury crusts, which will work fine.  I've always used a really old recipe for my crusts, but I've adapted it now for use in the food processor.  It always works great, even though it might seem a little unconventional!  
If you don't have a little pie maker (is your birthday coming up?), you can cut the crusts into rectangles or circles and just fold them over to enclose the filling.  Seal them well with the tines of a fork.  It doesn't matter how big or little you make them, just do what you want!  In a regular oven, I bake them at 425F for about 20 minutes, until golden brown and crusty.  Delicious and, did I mention?-- so cute! :)

Pie Pastry in the food processor (for a two crust pie, or to make about 8 hand-held pies)
3 cups flour
1 cup shortening (like Crisco), cut into pieces for savory pies OR
12 Tbl. shortening and 4 Tbl. butter (all cut into pieces) for sweet pies (make sure it's cold)
1 tsp. salt
6 Tbl. (or so) of ice water

Blend the flour and salt together in the processor work bowl.  Take out 1/2 cup of the flour-salt mixture and blend it with a fork with the water.  It should be fairly runny, but not watery.  Set that aside.
Add the shortening or shortening plus butter to the work bowl and blend until it resembles crumbs. This just takes a few pulses, like maybe 10.
Take the top off the work bowl and add the flour-water mixture.  Be sure to add all of it.  Replace the top and pulse the mixture until it clumps up into a mass.  Don't over process!  Pour it out onto a piece of Saran wrap and smoosh it together into a disk.  You now have pie dough!  Roll it out on a flour dusted pastry cloth or tea towel and use however you have planned!

Microwave Apple Pie Filling (for 4 pies in the Breville pie maker)
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled and cut into quarters, then crosswise into thin slices, or into small dice
2 Tbl. sugar
2 tsp. cornstarch
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
pinch of salt
Put everything into a microwavable bowl.  Cover and microwave for 2 minutes.  Stir.  There should be a fair amount of juice being released from the apples.  Microwave a bit more until the apples are soft and the filling apple juices are thick and clear.
Little pot-roast pie!

My new pie maker!

Wonderful cookbook my friend gave me for Christmas!


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