Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Single Serving Pies

This may be the most excited I've ever been about pie. There are some things you learn when you become a stay-at-home mom, and that is that making lunches for your husband is probably as boring as eating packed lunches.

I'm not a cold cuts kind of girl. I've always hated packed lunches from the time I started kindergarten to the end of my college career. Unfortunately my husband is exactly the same. He'll eat whatever I make him, but it is not very satisfying to make someone a lunch you know they won't enjoy.

Enter: single serving pies.

If there is one dessert my husband loves, it's apple pie. So these on-the-go pies are perfect for his lunches. You will need the half pint, wide mouth, short Mason jars for this recipe. It is important that you get the ones with the straight sides so they are easier to fill and eat.

You can use any pie crust recipe that you love, but here is one that is perfect every time. This recipe has been passed down at least three generations, if not more, and it produces a flaky, delicious crust that I dare you to try and beat.

Mom's Flakey Crust
(makes one standard size 2-crust pie)

2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup shortening
5 Tbs cold water

Combine the flour and salt. With a pastry cutter, incorporate the shortening into the dry ingredients until crumbly. Once all the flour and shortening are incorporated, add the cold water one tablespoon at a time. Mix lightly with a fork between each tablespoon. Do not overwork. Gather the crust into a ball and roll out on a floured surface.

For these pies, you can cut out the tops of the crust with the lid of the mason jar or you can use the crumble top recipe.

Crumble Topping
(makes about 6 single-serving pies)

1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
4 tablespoons cold butter
3 tablespoons of oats

Stir sugar, flour, and cinnamon together. Cut butter in with a fork or a pastry blender until incorporated. Add oats and mix together. Add two to three tablespoons of mixture to each pie top.

Apple Pie Filling
(makes 4 to 5 single serving pies)

2 to 2 1/2 cups of sliced and peeled apples
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 pinch of nutmeg
1 pinch of cloves
1 tablespoon of butter chopped into 4 to 5 pieces

Add all ingredients except the butter in a bowl and stir. Coat evenly. Fill each crust with a little space remaining at the top. Add the pat of butter. Top with the top layer of crust or the crumble topping. Make sure to poke holes in the top layer of crust for vents if you aren't using the crumble topping.

Heat oven to 375 degrees and bake pies for 45 minutes or until the tops are browned.

You can eat these right away and use the baking instructions above, but I doubled the recipe and saved a lot to freeze. Don't cook the pie first if you are going to freeze it; just assemble it in the jar and screw the lid on tight! 

To bake after freezing, heat the oven to 375 degrees. Place the jar on a cookie sheet and remove the lid. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until the top is browned. So if you are packing this in your lunch, bake it far enough in advance that it is cool enough to travel in your lunch box. You can then eat it at room temperature or give it a little zap in the microwave before eating. 

This idea is also great for really any kind of pie, so the sky is the limit. Be creative and enjoy!