These Strawberry-Rhubarb Mini Pies are a real treat sure to delight and impress! The recipe came about because Strawberry-Rhubarb pie is one of my husband’s favorites and I wanted to surprise him for Father’s Day. Since summer is the time of year for rhubarb, it was an easy choice to make. But with the “Man Breakfast” of bacon, eggs, toast and hash browns — and the huge pan of lasagna I’d made for dinner — I knew there was no way he’d be able to eat an entire pie, too. (And I sure don’t need to eat any!)
So making mini-pies struck me as a perfect solution. He’d be able to eat as many as he wanted on Father’s Day, and I could freeze the rest to pull out on other special occasions. Win-win! The fact that I had never, ever made a mini-pie before didn’t faze me a bit.
But it should have, because it turns out that fruit-filled mini pies isn’t as easy as smooshing pie crust into a muffin tin like I did on the first batch I made. As I quickly discovered once those were out of the oven, there’s no easy way to get the pies out. Instead, you get a crushed, gooey, oozing mess. And if you’re me, you get stubborn and decide to make a second batch that look like what you’d envisioned.
That’s when I came up with the idea to put strips of parchment paper in each muffin well. Using the strips I figured I could easily lift them out of the muffin pan using those strips. So, after rolling out my pie crust, I cut out 5″ circles with an extra-large cookie cutter and gently pressed them into the greased muffin wells right on top of the parchment paper strips.
Now, I know what you’re thinking: why not just use cupcake liners, Katie? I thought about that, but didn’t feel they’d be deep enough and what’s the point of a fruit pie unless it’s crammed full of sweet, juicy fruit filling?
Neither of us could wait long enough for them to cool when they came out of the oven. That made me doubly glad for those parchment paper strips which made it so easy to lift them out and gave us a little protection for our finger tips as we took bites out of them like cupcakes. Now, if it’s been a while since you’ve felt fruit in a hot sugar syrup dribble down your chin, let me just say: DON’T BE IMPATIENT LIKE WE WERE! It’ll be days before my chin heals. Days!
Fortunately, that experience didn’t turn me off these mini-pies completely… or even a little bit, for that matter. We both loved them, and since I individually froze and then vacuum-sealed the rest, we’ll have mini-pies to last for months!
Updated to add: To make these as tarts, as pictured at the top of the entry, skip the top crust and cut the baking time in half. Make a pie crust garnish by folding the remaining dough into a rectangle and slicing it into 1-inch sections. Sprinkle these with coarse baking sugar and bake on the top rack while the pies are in the oven. Let cool, then arrange sliced strawberries on top and add a pie crust garnish before serving. Or buy frozen tart shells and stick them in muffin wells on top of parchment paper strips.
- FOR THE PIE CRUSTS:
- 2¼ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp. salt
- 2 tsp. sugar
- 2 sticks (16 tablespoons) very cold butter, cubed
- 1 cup ice water
- 1 egg yolk
FOR THE FILLING:
- 1½ lb. rhubarb stalks in ½ inch slices
- 1 lb. strawberries, hulled and sliced (about 3 cups)
- ½ cup brown sugar, packed
- ½ cup sugar
- ¼ cup cornstarch
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- pinch salt
- Preheat oven to 400F.
MAKE THE PIE CRUSTS:
- In a food processor, blend the flour, salt and sugar for a second.
- Add the butter and process for 10 seconds until the mixture looks mealy.
- Tip the mix into a bowl and add 5 tablespoons of the ice water.
- Work the dough with your hands, adding more water as needed, until a ball forms. If the dough is too sticky, add a bit more flour. If it's too dry, add a bit more water.
- Separate the dough into two balls. Wrap each in plastic wrap and pop them into the freezer for 10 minutes.
- Grease a muffin tin well.
- Cut strips of parchment paper.
- Remove one ball of dough from the freezer and roll it out on a floured surface.
- Cut twelve 5-inch circles out of the dough.
- Working one at a time, place a strip of parchment paper in a well in the muffin tin. Center a round of dough on top of the hole and press it in to the bottom and sides, bringing the edge to the top of the muffin well.
- Put crust-filled muffin tin into fridge for 30 minutes to chill while you make the filling. (See below)
- Fill each pie shell using a ⅓ measuring cup. Press down on the fruit while filling so it is well-packed into the hole.
- Remove the second round of pie crust from the freezer. Let it sit on the counter a few minutes until it's pliable, then roll it on a floured surface and cut out 3" rounds.
- Get the muffin tin out of the fridge and, working one at a time, place a 3-inch round on top of a filled hole. Seal the edges of the top and bottom crust.
- Brush the top of each mini-pie with the egg yolk and sprinkle with more sugar if desired. Using the tines of a fork, poke a hole in the top crust to vent the pie as it cooks.
MAKE THE FILLING
- Combine all ingredients in a bowl.
- Bake the mini-pies at 400F for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 350F and bake an additional 20-25 minutes, until top crusts are golden brown.
- Remove from oven and place the muffin tin on a wire rack for 5 minutes to cool.
- Holding the ends of a strip of parchment in each hand, carefully lift mini-pies from the muffin tin and transfer to wire rack to finish cooling.
Equipment I Used: