Working in a public relations office and running a blog definitely has its perks. This past week I was asked to help bake treats for the re-accreditation committee coming to review our college. My contribution was one of multiple treats and favors made by alumni and faculty. After much deliberation I decided to make pie–not just any pie, mini pies in cute little jars–who could resist?
Berry pies are not terribly difficult to bake so I was at a loss for how to spice up my treat. I settled on creative crusts and lots of lemon. For my first trial pie, I used raspberries and lemon zest. The lemon zest alone didn’t give it enough pizzazz so I altered my ingredients and came up with this tasty recipe.
Lemon-Berry Pie Jars
Yield: 6 pie jars
* 1-10 oz. bag frozen raspberries
* 1-14 oz. bag frozen blackberries
* 1/2 c. sugar
* 1 tsp lemon juice
* 1.5 tbsp tapioca
* 1/4 tsp vanilla
* 1/4 tsp cinnamon
* 1 lemon zest (whole lemon)
* 3 c. flour
* 1/4 tsp salt
* 2/3 c. shortening
* 6 tbsp cold water
1. Thaw berries and drain in a strainer.
2. Place berries, lemon juice, sugar, tapioca, zest, cinnamon and vanilla into a large bowl. Gently combine until berries are well coated.
3. Allow to sit for 20 minutes.
4. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and prepare the dough.
5. For the pie crust, combine flour and salt.
6. Cut in the shortening a small amount at a time. I use a fork for this portion of the process. Scoop out a little shortening at a time and press the clumps into the flour. You want to see the flour turn crumbly.
7. After all the shortening is combined. Add cold water one tablespoon at a time. Toss dough until it forms an even mixture. This is the point where most instructions will tell you to refrigerate the dough for at least one hour. I have done this with and without refrigeration and honestly couldn\'t tell the difference, so, I leave it up to you.
8. The last step is filling your container-of-choice and laying the crust over the top. For my jars, I used two different types of flowers cookie cutters and laid the first pattern over the top of the jar. I cut the middles out of each flower with a frosting tip. The second, smaller cookie cut-out I baked separately on a cookie sheet.
9. Brush your crust with egg wash (1 egg and 2 tbsp water) before placing in the oven and again after 10 minutes. Don\'t forget to also sprinkle the crust with cinnamon and sugar.
10. Bake for at least 15 minutes (see baking precautions below).
11. The berries are full of liquid so you need to monitor the pies carefully. I didn\'t want the berries overflowing onto my crust so I let it bake until the juice started bubbling over (about 15 minutes), then removed the pies from the oven to cool for a a few minutes before putting them back in under the broiler to finish browning the crust (about 15 minutes).
12. I finished my pie packaging by hot gluing fake leaves onto the side of the jars and tying them with twine.