Friday, December 28, 2007

Tiny Pies

No doubt you've seen this already, but we feel you should watch it again, paying close attention to the ultra-tiny pies. We would also like to add that no insects were harmed. Lots of information can be found here.

More than two hundred and twenty five miniature desserts, including Lemon Meringue pie, Coconut Custard pie and Cranberry Jelly pie, were specially crafted by an expert team of miniature props creators.

And here is the recipe for the miniature Lemon Meringue Pie:

0.7478 mllilitres cornstarch
0.1478 milllilitres tablespoon flour
0.176 mililitres cups granulated sugar
0.2 millilitres water, boiling
0.004 egg yolk, beaten
grated rind of .02 of a lemon
0.1478 millilitres butter
0.025 mililitres salt
0.075 millilitres unstrained lemon juice

Under microscope: Sift together cornstarch, flour, and sugar. In centrifuge mix in boiling water, continuing to mix until mixture becomes smooth. Cook the mixture in top of a double boiler for 30 seconds. Be sure the water in the double boiler is simmering before the 30 seconds count begins.

Meanwhile, beat a .25 millimetres egg yolk. Stir the hot mixture into the beaten egg yolks (to temper), then slowly combine the egg yolks entirely with the remaining hot mixture. Pipette in the grated lemon rind, butter, salt, and lemon juice.

Stir constantly, continuing to cook until the egg yolks become smooth and thick.

Pour the filling into the baked pie shell. Cover with meringue (see below) while still warm, but not hot.

.005 egg whites, stiffly beaten
.0025 teaspoon salt, scant
.09 tablespoons granulated sugar
.025 teaspoon lemon juice

Place salt and lemon juice in bowl and mix in and centrifuge egg whites. Check under microscope that mix is stiff, but not separating.

While centrifuging, gradually pipette in the sugar.

Spread meringue on top of lemon filling with a spatula.

Bake pie at 300°F until the meringue takes on a delicately golden color with lightly browned tops.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Handy, Recycled, and Pie-Oriented!

What more could we ask for? This little notebook is made from a recycled apple pie box box, and is just the right size to carry in your purse or pocket. Use it for lists! 50 white pages. Available from ivylanedesigns at etsy.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

A Sneak Peek!

We've got mini pies popping up all over the place! Here is a sneak peek at some of the little darlings we've been collecting. If you haven't already joined the revolution, now is the time! Be sure to check back on New Year's Day for the round-up and complete list.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

The Mini Pie Gift Guide

Not done shopping for the holidays? Never fear! The Mini Pie Gift Guide is here!

These fluted-edged Cuispro Cookie Cutters make the perfect tops and bottoms for your mini pies.

Non-Stick Mini Muffins Tins will make whipping up batches of tiny tarts and pies a breeze.

Star-Shaped Cookie Cutters let you create adorable tops for your mini pies.

This adorable ornament can be bought at SoManyWeeds.

This wooden block would make a great paperweight for a true pie lover. Available at FartsyArts.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Your Letters


I'm an old guy out here in Oregon who's gonna be lucky enough to have his granddaughters (8 & 10) stay for a few days until the whole family comes over for Solstice. So I thought that I'd bake some pies with them (and give them a bunch of pie making stuff and baking booksfor the holidays - any ideas on good books or tools?)

so then I found your website - beaucoup cool.

I am a stew and italian sauce cook if I had to describe myself (I'm making a deep sauce and bracciole for our Solstice meal) and have never made a pie crust. My questions -

How long should I bake mini pumpkin or fruit pies? (425 for 10 min and then 375 for 40 min?

How do I keep them from sticking to the bottom of cooking tins?

How do I remove them without brutalizing them?

Do I pile the filling up high - esp. fruits, and let it run wild?

Do I give the kids the ritalin before or after the pies go in the oven?

What else would you do with chocolate chips to make them pie-worthy?

Thanks for your help.

Dear Old Guy in Oregon,

1) Temperature and baking time for mini pies: If you are using muffin tins (or mini muffin tins) we recommend setting the oven to the standard 350 or 375 F and then setting the timer for an initial 15 - 20 minutes. Check them frequently after that-- the filling will be fine, you just want the crust to brown nicely.

2) The sticking issue: We use non-stick mini muffin tins and rely on the butter-rich pie crust to do the rest.

3) Non-brutal removal techniques: This is very much dependent on the pie crust recipe you use (Ann's current favorite is this one from African Vanielje and Karyn swears by this one) and the depth of the muffin tin-- another reason why we favor mini muffin tins, as they are very shallow. Additionally, we let them cool before we even try to lift them out.

4) How much filling: If you are making an fruit mini pie and you intend to put a crust on top AND you are confident of your sealing technique AND you use an egg wash AND you remember to poke a vent hole, piling the fruit high should be fine.

If you're going to leave the top bare or lattice your crust you will probably have a bit of a mess if you pile the fruit too high.

5) Ritalin before or after the pies go in the oven? As we are not physicians we will leave that to your own discretion. :-)

6) What else would you do with chocolate chips to make them pie-worthy? We have been thinking about using that old Magic Bars cookie recipe on a regular shortcrust. Maybe try that?

In solidarity,

Ann and Karyn

PS/ If you send us photos of your pies (and grandchildren) we'd love to write a little follow-up about it... Good luck!