One Saturday in the spring of 2011 I walked into my very first pie party. Alone. I didn’t know a soul.
Sure, I knew who was hosting this shindig – But I had never met them in person.
Walking in, solo was the bravest thing I did that year.
I have no regrets.
I made friends, I ate pie. So much pie. Sweet pies, savory pies. Asking me to choose a favorite is like asking me whether I like chocolate pudding or mousse. That’s just crazy talk. I want them both. Together. Hand me a spoon. Duh…
Fast forward to 2014. The ever effervescent duo, Jackie from The Diva that ate New York and Ken from Hungry Rabbit outdid themselves once again, hosting the BEST EVENT EVER!
Pie Party GE is one of the most sought after events of the year – And dang it – I got my ticket! And brought pies.
We hung out and watched a lively demo by Chef Tagiere in the GE Monogram Center; a place which is sort of like a living porno dream for bakers and cooks.
Is it porno or porn?
Then we ate pie. Loads of pie. AND we got to take home pie in nifty snapware containers.
AND! Pie Party had sponsors galore – Goodies from OXO, Wusthof (the ONLY knives I use.), Anolon, Jarlsberg, Dub pies, and the best butter in the world – Kerrygold filled our GE Monogram goodie bags.
But that’s not why we were there. We were all up in that piece strictly for pie and conversation. We got that in spades.
Prior to the event I received lovely OXO goodies to aid in my pie baking, along with butter and cheese from Kerrygold. Let’s not even go there with the Kerrygold butter. I am officially out of the best butter in the world and WILL need a support group, or a rapid relocation to Ireland. My pie dough will never be the same.
And speaking of pie. You’re wondering what I bought to this pie-licious extravaganza, right?
My strawberry cheese mini pies. The secret to the best mini pies this side of the Mississippi ( I don’t even know where this is on the map, by the way) is the pie dough. There’s an INSANE amount of butter in this jammy; butter when worked into the dough, is left pea size or larger so those butter pieces create a flaky crust. There you go. Tell your friends. The dough is very soft, like sugar cookie dough, but firms up in the fridge and rolls beautifully. The only downside is you have to work quickly. Butter melts, homies.
Then there’s the filling. I kept it simple – A cream cheese filling with vanilla bean paste and confectioners’ sugar is all you need, plus some strawberry vanilla jam.
Once baked and cooled, just pour a simple glaze of strawberry vanilla jam, confectioners’ sugar and milk. Easiest thing you can ever make. The most difficult part is rolling and cutting the pie dough and keeping that sucka’ cold. The rest is cake. Um… Pie.
They won’t be the prettiest – Somewhat funky looking – However, that party in your mouth will make it worth it. Sort of like an ugly rich suga daddy.
Whatever that means…
Strawberry Cheese Mini Pies
For the pie crust
- 2 cups all-purpose flour scooped then leveled
- 2 ½ tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup 2 sticks, 8 ounces unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
- 1 large egg
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 1 large egg beaten (for brushing the dough)
For the filling
- 4 oz. half an 8oz package full fat cream cheese
- 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
- 1/2 - 3/4 cup strawberry jam
For the strawberry glaze
- 1 cup confectioners' sugar
- 3 tablespoons milk
- 2 heaping tablespoons strawberry jam
Make the pie crust:
- In a bowl of a food processor, add the flour, sugar, and salt. Add the cubes of butter and pulse about 8-10 times until the flour is incorporated with the butter, and the butter is in pea sized pieces. It is totally cool if the butter pieces are larger than pea size.
- In a separate bowl, beat the egg with the milk, then add them all at once to your dry ingredients. Pulse a few times until the flour is moistened. This will take about 7-8 pulses and you'll be left with a very wet looking dough which will resemble sugar cookie dough. This is fine.
- Turn the dough over a lightly floured surface and gently knead a couple of times. Divide the dough in 2 and gather the dough pieces in a rough square. Lightly sprinkle flour over top of the dough and wrap in plastic wrap or place in a zip lock bag. Place in the freezer for about 30 minutes. While the dough is chilling, make the filling.
Make the filling:
- In a medium bowl combine the cream cheese, confectioners' sugar, and vanilla bean paste. Mix until the cream cheese is softened and ingredients are fully combined. Wrap the surface of the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside. Measure out the strawberry jam and place in the refrigerator. Make the glaze.
Make the glaze:
- In a small bowl, combine the powdered sugar, milk, and strawberry jam until combined. Wrap the surface of the bowl with plastic wrap and place this in the refrigerator as well.
To assemble the pies:
- Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Remove one piece of dough from the freezer. Turn the dough onto a floured surface and roll out a 9x12 inch rectangle to about 1/8 of an inch in thickness. If you can't get a 9x12 inch rectangle, get as close as you can. If its a square, its a square. No one is judging you. Trim the edges of the dough with a pizza cutter or a knife to make a nice rectangle (Or a square. Still not judging you)
- Using a square biscuit cutter, as many 3x3 inch squares as you can. Alternatively, you can use a pizza cutter, cutting each side into quarters, creating the squares. We're trying to cut 12 small squares. Note: You may have to re-roll the dough to get the 12 squares. If this is the case, gather the dough pieces into a rough square. Freeze for a few minutes, then roll and cut once more. Place the squares onto your prepared cookie sheet and place the sheet in the refrigerator to chill as you cut the second piece of dough in the same way as the first. Remove the first batch of squares from the refrigerator and place the newly cut batch of squares in the refrigerator to chill.
- Are you ready to fill? Let's fill. Remove the filling, jam, and glaze from the fridge. Spoon about 1 teaspoon of filling onto the center of the dough square. Spoon about 1 teaspoon of jam either on top or next to it. Repeat with all dough squares.
- Remove the second batch of dough squares from the refrigerator and use them to top the filled dough squares. Crimp the sides with a floured fork. Use the tines of the fork to create a few vent hole on surface of each mini pie. Brush the surface with beaten egg and place in the oven. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until the tops are golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before glazing.
- Place a wire rack over a piece of parchment. Place the mini pies on the rack and pour the glaze over the mini pies. Allow the glaze to dry completely before serving.