Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Your Letters: Seven Species Pie

Today, January 23rd, is America's "National Pie Day." Here, at the Mini Pie Revolution HQ, we appreciate any pie-themed celebration. And yet, we have to wonder: what's so nationalistic about pie? Pie types prove regional, but pie itself ignores cultural, geographical, and political boundaries.

To celebrate International pies, we're posting a letter and recipe sent to us by a reader in Israel. His letter proves what we at HQ have always believed - that world peace (and the end of dinner table discord) depends on every eater getting an equal piece of mini pie.

We were interested to note a great technique several of our participants used for our first event: that of rolling out the pie crust and placing it on flattened muffin tin liners!

"I used to bake a "once-a-year" Arbor day (In Hebrew callled TU-B'Shvat) cake and cut it into eatable portions. We all enjoyed consuming it, but I always experienced a few complaints, such as "I always get a smaller piece!" - "Why did you give me the corner piece?" - "She got more crust that I!" etc. So this year, I decided that everybody would get an equal portion, a miniature pie. Then I stumbled upon your web site. Though I don't do these things for prizes, I like to contribute where I can. Therefore, I'm attaching a recipe for mini pies made from all of the "seven species" mentioned in the Holy Scriptures, where it is said: "You shall eat bread where aught is lacking therefrom."

Humbly, Shmuel in Israel"

Seven Species Arbor Day (Mini) Pies
"A land of wheat and barley and grapes and figs and pomegranates, a land of olive-oil and honey (dates). A land where no food shall lack when eating bread where nothing is missing from it, a land whose stones are iron and from who's hills shall copper be mined." (Parshat Ekev Devarim 8 : 8-9)

4+ cups of flour
1 T baking powder
1 t baking soda
1/2 cup sugar (white or brown)
1/2 cup oil (be sure to add 1 T olive oil!)
1/3 cup dark beer (barley)
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup pomegranate juice (or grenadine)
1/2 t allspice
a pinch of salt
Date jam or spread
18 - 20 figs
300 grams raisins
2 eggs, beaten
1/6 cup sugar mixed with 1 t cinnamon, for topping

The utensils include: measuring cups and spoons, a large bowl, flour sifter, rolling pin, spatula, wooden spoon, a small pan, a sharp knife, a muffin baking tin, cookie cutters, and cupcake liners (I used size number 3).

Some people don't like the fig seeds, so in order to accommodate their wishes I boil up the figs while making the dough. This softens them up, making much easier to slit them in half.

The dough is kneaded thoroughly, rolled out thin, cut out in circles, and spread over the bottom and sides of each cupcake liner A dollop of date spread is applied over the bottom layer of the dough.

By now, the figs are soft enough to slice open and scrape out the seeds. This is a time consuming part of the preparation, but the figs are soft (and though a bit messy) not difficult to de-seed.

Over the date spread, we place a few raisins then half a fig. A smaller circle of dough is now placed over the fig and pinched all around to join the bottom layer, sealing the fruit into the pie.

(Karyn adds that you might want to pierce the tops of the pies with forks at this point.)

Place the filled pies into the muffin tin, and sprinkle them with the cinnamon-sugar topping.

Bake for about 15 minutes at 180 C , (about 400 F) or until the crust begins to tan nicely.

Remove from the oven and Voila! You have bread "where nothing is missing from it."

If you increase the number of figs to thirty and roll the dough thinner, you can produce sixty mini-pies. No more complaints of "I didn't get and end-crust" or "Why do I always get the edge?" "She got a bigger piece," etc.. Now, all the portions are equal.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Your Letters

After receiving his letter in December, we wondered how Old Guy In Oregon's mini pie-making day went with his grandchildren. Happily we recently received a follow-up with a few photos. We're glad it went so well.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Mini Pie Revolution #2: Small Tarts Have Big Hearts!

When we think “Valentine’s Day,” our minds jump to Sweet Tarts, those awful heart-shaped chalks with their cutesy messages: “call me,” and “be mine.”

Well, here at the Mini Pie Revolution HQ, we know that Valentine’s Day requires tarts of a different kind. Grandmothers everywhere would not lie – the stomach leads to the heart, and nothing inspires love like a filled pastry crust. For Valentine's Day, we want to see your sweetest tarts!

“But what are tarts?” you ask. “What’s the difference between tarts and pie?”

Tarts, being sexy little things, like to go topless. Some tarts leave a little more to the imagination with strategically placed whipped cream or garnishes. No tart likes complete coverage!

As per the Mini Pie Revolution’s definition, mini tarts should be baked in mini-cupcake or mini-muffin tins, but you can use tartlette pans, too. A mini tart should be a single one or two-bite serving, but we’re not size-ists here at The Mini Pie Revolution HQ – we're not going to pull out tape measures!

Tips and fun facts:

You can find crust recipes and "cheats" in our sidebar, along with other helpful information. Check out the round-up of our last event to see just how adorable a mini tart (or pie) can be!

The smell of lavender and pumpkin pie is said to increase male arousal (from the, erm, baseline state) by 40%.

For women the most arousing scent is Good and Plenty candies and cucumber, with pumpkin pie coming in third, behind baby powder. (We at the Mini Pie Revolution HQ do not condone experimenting with baby powder in pies. Do what you will with the Good and Plenty and the cucumber.)

To enter:

Bake your mini tarts from scratch (they must be mini-sized). We want sweet tarts this time (as arousing as Rocky Mountain oysters are supposed to be, we don't want to see them in pie. Or anywhere, really).

Photograph your mini tarts and post about them on your blog, including a link back to this event announcement, before February 12. Feel free to use the logo in our sidebar, too, if you like. Then email Ann (at or Karyn (at Kosmicfish27ATaolDOTcom) the following:

  • A 100 X 100 mini tart portrait

  • Brief description of your mini tart (just the name of the recipe and a one-liner about why it's special is fine)

  • The title of your blog and a link to your blog
  • A link to your mini pie entry
  • Make sure your e-mail's subject head is "The Mini Pie Revolution" Please send us your entry by Midnight EST on February 12, and we will post the results on Valentine's Day.

Note: during the last event a lot of our mini pie bakers neglected to email us. We found a lot of posts through technorati, but very likely missed some, so please, please, please do send us the requested information!

Thanks to Andrew of Spitoon Extra for making sure this event is listed at Is My Blog Burning?

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

The Mini Pie Revolution Round-Up!

What a great way to start the New Year! When we decided to host our very first blog event, we were nervous. You know how it is... what if we throw a party and nobody comes?!

But you did come to our party, and you brought fabulous, adorable, creative, and scrumptious mini pies with you! Viva la revolution!

Entries were added to this round-up as they arrived (via email or as we found them via technorati), so please don't read anything into your place on the list. Check out the entries, then learn which mini pie won the judges' hearts, minds, and stomachs.

Our first entry comes from Sara at Cupcake Muffin, who combined two classic flavor-parings and whipped up these adorable little Apple-Pear-Rum Raisin Mini Pies with Crumb Topping. Fabulous!

CakeLaw from Laws of the Kitchen made these luscious little fruit-packed Blackberry-Apple Pies. Don't you just know they're going to explode with blackberry flavor at first bite?

Redacted Recipes is not eligible for a prize, of course, but Ann offered up these tiny Christmas Mince Pies in the name of The Revolution.

Gretchen from Canela and Comino ruminates on the sneaky seductiveness of the tiny pie and offers up a delectable batch of Peanut Butter Fudge Cups. How seductive can you get?!

The fabulous Zenchef of Chefs Gone Wild sent us these gorgeous Macau Egg Custard Tarts. Well, he sent us a link. Ann felt he should have have hand-delivered a few of them personally, seeing as how they're in the same city. :-)

Suganya over at Tasty Palettes went for a savory pie with a healthy low-fat crust and created these beautiful Cornmeal Crusted Tomato Tarts. While not exactly single-bite-sized, these lovely four-inch tarts can be held in the hand.

Glorious Food and Wine put together these lovely little Mini Mince Pies, using star-shaped cookie cutters to shape the crusts. Adorable, no?

Carla from But did they eat it? created super-healthy Mini Chocolate Pies, featuring avocado and tofu. And in answer to her own question, (did they eat it?) she reports that yes, they did!

Adele of Tales of The Basil Queen took time out from studying law to create a savory new recipe with these wonderful Chicken, Fig and Mushroom Pies. They look like just the thing for dinner!

Katy of Sugarlaws dreamed up these fabulous-looking Peppermint Tarts with Pomegranate Glaze, using crushed candy canes dissolved in yogurt. She brilliantly added a sprinkling of crushed salted pistachios over the pies' tops.

Mince Pies are popular this time of year and we received another splendid batch from Joy, at Almanzo's Belly. Joy took the time to make her own filling and provides the recipe and some step-by-step instructions with photos.

Cara of Cara's Cravings made these yummy little Sweet Potato Mini Pies, topped with a walnut streusel, which she took to an office potluck. Lucky coworkers!

The CookMobile sent in these lovely Mini Egg Pies along with an innovative tip for using a tortilla-maker to flatten the dough (avoiding over-manipulating it into a too-tough crust). Clever!

Sarah, of Sweets by Sarah, finds that mini pies solve the dilemma of really wanting a single piece of pie without having to deal the left-overs. You make mini pies, eat one, and share the rest with friends! Her Triple Berry Mini Pies look like summer. It's nice to know that warm weather exists somewhere!

Fragole & Cioccolato contributed to la rivoluzione in two languages with these Mince Pies All’Arancia (Orange Mince Pies). Adding orange zest and juice to the pastry, and marmalade and Grand Marnier to the mince filling, gives these pretty pies distinction.

Sarah from What Smells So Good? submits "Mincemeat Tarts with Flair", a new-age twist on an old English "favourite"!

The artistic Ronell of My French Kitchen made these mouth-watering Turkey and Fois Gras Mini Pies using puff pastry to enclose the rich filling. Mmmmm...

Ben of Heights Eats offers up Mini Mud Pies with Bruleed Bananas with Cocoa-Almond Granola crusts. How much more tempting can you get?

Vegan cupcakes take over the world? Not this month! Dayna of Seitan Said Dance baked beautiful Mini Cranberry Apple Crumb Pies. Danya claims these pies as her first original recipe. I say, expect great things from Dayna!

Chris of Melle Cotte whipped up gorgeous Egg Nog Mini Cream Pies by layering a vanilla–eggnog pudding with whipped cream. Can we have rum or brandy on the side?

Ladies, hold onto your Derby hats! Karyn of Hot Potato's not up for the prize, but she doesn't mind not making it to the winner's circle. Her rich chocolate-and-walnut Didn't-Make-it-to-The-Derby Mini Pies provide their own better-than-roses reward.

At Baking History, Manuela made nutmeg-spiced Mini Custard Pies. I certainly think she "baked" history - these mini pies are sure to become a holiday tradition for many a blog-reading baker!

Chef Patti Anastasia, of Anastasia's Table, made these delectable-looking Lemon Meringue Mini Pies. She used foil muffin cups as her pie forms, knowing that she could just cut the foil away if she had any trouble removing the pies later. Smart!

Pie Architect agrees with us that "smaller is better" and redesigned her grandmother's Chocolate Pie in miniature, building up delicious-looking layers of flakey crust, chocolate and whipped cream. Yum.

nicisme at cherrapeƱo posted a photo of these lovely-looking Mince Pies at the eleventh hour and promises us the recipe soon.

Choosing a winner was NOT easy. We debated long and hard, and realized that it would have been a lot easier if we had narrowed the field to a theme (now we know!). As it was, there are so many appealing entries of so many types that we decided to go with a combination of subjective criteria and random selection.

Our methodology? Each Revolutionary Leader picked three finalists based on: 1) Originality, 2) Good Looks, 3) How Badly The Judge Wanted to Eat It.

The finalists were:

Ben's Mini Mud Pies, Cara's Sweet Potato Pies, Manuela's Mini Custard Pies, Ronell's Turkey and Fois Gras Mini Pies, and Suganya's Cornmeal Crusted Tomato Tarts.

Yes, you only see five pies on the list, because both Ann and Karyn selected Ben's Mini Mud Pies.

We were going to toss the six finalists into a hat and pick one out randomly, but given that Ben was selected by both of us, we think he deserves the prize. So send us an email with your address, Ben, and we'll be sending you these lovely tartlette pans!

Thanks everyone for joining the revolution and stay tuned for our Valentine's Day event Small Tarts Have Big Hearts!