With Mother’s Day fast approaching, I thought that I would share one of my favorite recipes to make for any Spring or Summer event; Mini Strawberry Pies!
I came up with this recipe last year when I was trying to find something that I could take to my brother’s for Mother’s Day dinner that his 2 young children (now 1 and 3) could have that wouldn’t make a giant mess. I had a bunch of strawberries in my fridge that I had gotten at the local flea market and thought I would make strawberry shortcakes. I mixed together the berries and what not and put them in the fridge to do their thing overnight. When I tasted them the next day, I decided that they were way too good to make shortcakes with, so I had the idea to make them into pies…mini pies that is. So I whipped up a batch of Never Fail Pie Crust and got to work. The product was one of the best desserts I’ve ever made. I hope you will give them a try and enjoy it as much as my family did. Oh, and it also looks amazing on any Summer picnic table 😉
Ok, so here is the breakdown of how to make this amazing, yet simple dessert.
Clean and cut 2 pounds of fresh strawberries into a large bowel. Add 1 cup of sugar and combine well, until all berries are coated. It might look a little slimy; that just means the sugar is doing it’s job. Now we add the secret ingredient, 1 shot of peach whisky. I know, I know, but the whisky brings out the sweetness of the berries by inhibiting the taste buds that puck up tartness. You can also use regular strait whisky if you don’t have peach on hand. Cover the bowel with plastic wrap and let it chill in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours. You can let it sit up to 3 days if you like, but I don’t find that necessary.
While the berries chill in the fridge and get happy and more yummy, go ahead and make your pie crusts. You want them to be totally cool when you fill them so that they don’t get soggy from the hot filling. I always use my mom’s Never Fail Pie Crust. It is soft and flaky and so freaking yummy, you can fined the recipe here. Roll half of the batch of pie crust dough at a time, to about 1/4 inch, then cut to size. I make these in mini pies, so I use my muffin tins as molds. To cut the crust into the right size, I used a ramekin that I had on hand. It’s about the same size as a coffee mug, so you can use one of those instead if you like. Simply place the ramekin or coffee mug upside down onto the sheet of dough and use a sharp knife to cut around it. Place the pieces of crust dough and push down the centers to mold to the muffin tin. Bake as directed in the recipe for the Never Fail Pie Crust (here).
When they come out of the oven they should look something like this. Golden brown on the edges and lighter towards the center. Set them aside until it’s time to fill them.
After the mini crusts are ready, take the berries out of the fridge and pour them into a large pot. Bring them to a boil on no higher than medium heat. If you crank up the heat, you could scorch the sugars and ruin your entire batch 😦 Lets avoid that shall well. Stir the mixture occasionally to make sure it’s not scorching or sticking to the bottom or sides of the pot.
Once the berries come to a boil, lower the heat to low or medium-low; just enough so that it is bubbling, but not foaming. Combine the corn starch and cold water. It should look kind of like milk when it is right.
Add the entire slurry of corn starch and water to the berries. Stir constantly and quickly since the berries will thicken as soon as the slurry hits them. Keep stirring until it is totally combined; no white streaks and an even color. You should be able to make a pass with your spoon and it will not close up, like the picture below.
Turn off immediately and fill mini pie shells. Let cool for at least 2 hours before you try to eat them, they will be very hot! After they are cool they will have a nice glossy finish and you can serve them as is, or topped with whipped cream and mint, if you wanna be fancy about it; either way they will disappear from the table 🙂
Mini Strawberry Pies
What you need: 2 pounds fresh strawberries, 1 cup sugar (or sugar substitute works well also), 1 shot peach whisky (or traditional whisky), 4 Tbsp corn starch, 1/8-1/4 cup cold water and 1 prepared batch of Never Fail Pie Crust.
~Cut strawberries into small pieces and put into large bowel. Add sugar and mix well, until all berries are coated. It may look slimy, that’s ok. Add peach whisky and mix well. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit at least 3 hours in refrigerator.
~Prepare and roll out 1 batch of Never Fail Pie Crust. Use a wide mouth coffee mug or ramekin and cut to fit muffin/cupcake tin. Mold pie crust into muffin tin and bake as directed. Let cool for at least 1 hour before filling.
~Pour berry mixture into a large pot. Bring to a boil on no higher than medium heat. Stir occasionally. Once it reaches a rolling boil, turn down to medium-low to low, enough so it’s not foaming but still bubbling. Combine corn starch and cold water to make a slurry, about the texture of milk. Pour entire corn starch mix into bubbling berries. It will get thick as soon as the slurry is added. Keep stirring until combined totally, no white streaks. Turn off and fill pie shell(s) immediately.
~Let cool for at least 2 hours before trying to eat. Serve as is or top with whipped Cream and mint 🙂