It’s March already? You’ve got to be kidding me.
Let’s get down to business. First of all, I would like to announce that the Five-Spice Pear-Apple pies I mailed out during Thanksgiving week made it safely to their destinations.
Ironically, I’m pretty sure that standard mail to Australia is faster than priority mail to Georgia, Illinois, or Virginia. What in tarnation?! Lesson: The United States Postal System is an abject failure.
Eric Lange, my official domestic tester in Virginia, sent me this lovely ditty after receiving and consuming the pie:
“O Apple-Pear 5 Spice
You are so good and nice
You make my taste buds sing
You are the greatest thing!
A brown box in the mail
Delivered, without fail
A complete, delish pie
I was one lucky guy!”
Eric, you are the greatest thing.
Following that mini-pie episode, I embarked on another of epic proportions before Christmas, making about 30 pies to give as holiday gifts to the wonderful and devoted teachers I work with and some of my faraway family in New Jersey and Georgia.
Just one of the fillings I used was a recipe from Ken Haedrich’s book: All-Pear Pie with Maple and Candied Ginger. I’d been meaning to try this pie for so long (it’s one of my cousin Carly’s favorites, and she gave me the cookbook so she ought know). Funny thing is, I didn’t gift myself one of these pies, so I’ll be no doubt re-doing this recipe so I can actually have some. (I did have one bite of a friend’s, to be fair. But it wasn’t enough.)
The next two fillings were my own made-up combinations. Here’s the Cran-Apple Spice; I love how beautiful the fresh cranberries are and the sourness they bring to the table. I choose sour flavors over sweet every time and I have to say that I thought this pie was a win-win combination of both.
And here is the Honey-Apple-Raspberry filling, looking like a bit of a mess. But yum.
Mini-pie manufacturing is no piddling job. By the time you make multiple batches of crust, a few fillings, crumbs for the topping, labels for the tops…you’re looking at a long night.
The three pies below traveled not by car, not by mail, but by carry-on. This conversation happened.
TSA agent: I’m going to have to re-run your bag, miss.
Me in my head: Crap.
TSA agent: What are these?
Me: They’re pies….in jars.
TSA agent: Pies in jars?? That’s the coolest thing I’ve ever seen!! (Calls other TSA agents to marvel over the coolness that is pie-in-a-jar.)
TSA agent: I think I’m going to have to keep one of these…*laughs*
Me: I’ll make an extra one just for you next time I come through *smiles*
Would this have happened at any other time besides Christmas? Doubtful. But I loved it.
While we’re on the subject of mini pies (which, as it turns out, is more often then not…) for the third year in a row, I had the opportunity to contribute pie to a bake sale supporting my students. (Last year I sent this batch of minis…the year before I had not yet perfected the art of sending pie traveling and sent two whole pies to be sliced and sold.)
I made another Honey-Apple-Raspberry filling (since they had been pretty popular the last time ’round) and a Blueberry-Pear filling with cardamom and maple syrup, both my own recipes. I think I have figured out a pretty exact ratio for mini pie filling; the amount of filling that would fit into one largish normal pie fits roughly into nine jars. Okay, perhaps “exact” isn’t the right word, but it’s a helpful rule to follow. So the filling below made 18 mini pies. And the filling overflowed, so I really could have done 19, or 20.
This was the first year I was able to see the bake sale in person (and I forgot to take any pictures, wouldn’t you know!) By the time I got there, the sale had been going on for perhaps two hours and most of my pies were already gone. I hope they were thoroughly enjoyed. Thanks so much to those who bought them or supported the Palm Springs bake sale in any other fashion. Over $1600 was raised for the Christadelphian Heritage School!
As always, thanks for reading. I’ll leave you with a reminder…PI DAY IS NEXT FRIDAY!
Let me know if you’re planning on celebrating.
Tamara Elliott said:
How do you send the mini pies, cooked or uncooked? And, how do you cook them, in the jar?
Hi Tamara! I bake them right in the jars (no lids!) and then screw the lids on while they are still warm, which creates a tighter seal. I recommend heating them up a little before eating them, but they can be eaten as is. Unless they’ve been frozen after baking. Sometimes I also assemble the pies and freeze them uncooked, then bake them when I want one. (But I would never mail an uncooked pie.) This post was my original inspiration and has lots of details. http://www.ourbestbites.com/2009/09/single-serving-pie-in-a-jar/
Tamara Elliott said:
What a great idea, mini pies, perfect for small families or dessert for one. Thanks for the inspiration.
You are very welcome! If you make some, please let me know how it goes! 🙂