It’s true. Think about it: baby shoes are way more adorable than grown-up ones. Santa Claus figurines manage to make a jolly, belly-jiggling old man positively adorable. And foods follow suit: miniature M&M’s, miniature chocolate chips, Dippin’ Dots. Everything’s cuter in miniature. I think pies are no different.
As a Georgia girl, peaches hold a special place in my heart. They’re juicy, messy, sweet, tart, and get away with being fuzzy on the outside and soft on the inside. Growing up, if we passed a roadside stand where a man in overalls (they were always in overalls, it seemed) was selling either tomatoes or peaches, my stepdad always pulled the car over and bought some. One of my favorite things to do was to slice the peach, and then line a dessert bowl with sugar and dump the peach slices in. (In case you haven’t noticed a trend, I’ve always lived by the rule that adding sugar only improves things.)
On Saturday, instead of a roadside stand, Amanda and I hit up the Portsmouth Olde Towne Farmer’s Market and picked up some delicious, firm, ripe peaches for me to make pies with. An issue of Southern Living that came out last year had a lovely recipe for Brown Sugar-Cinnamon Peach Pie, and I’ve made it for parties, my roommates, and my co-workers. It is always met with rave reviews, and it’s delicious warmed (or cold – heck, it’s pie) and with a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of ice cream (or plain – and again I say, heck, it’s pie).
But this weekend, I was feeling a little experimental. Earlier this week, I tried out a friend’s recipe for tartlets, which are cooked in muffin tins rather than in small tart pans. This got me thinking – what if I could use that method for pie? So that’s what I did. I modified the recipe from Southern Living, sticking with their instructions for the filling, but tweaking the preparation of the crust.
Brown Sugar-Cinnamon Peach Pie
Recipe courtesy of Southern Living Magazine
Yields 10 miniature peach pies
- 1 1/3 cups cold butter
- 4 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 to 3/4 cup ice-cold water
- 8 large fresh, firm, ripe peaches (about 4 lb.)
- 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- Cut 1 1/3 cups butter into small cubes, and chill 15 minutes. Stir together 4 cups flour and 1 1/2 tsp. salt. Cut butter into flour mixture with a pastry blender until mixture resembles small peas. Gradually stir in 1/2 cup ice water with a fork, stirring until dry ingredients are moistened and dough begins to form a ball and leaves sides of bowl, adding more ice water, 1 Tbsp. at a time, if necessary. Turn dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap; press and shape dough into 2 flat disks. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap, and chill 30 minutes to 24 hours.
- Preheat oven to 425º. Pull walnut-size hunks of dough off of the first dough disc, placing them on a floured surface. This will yield 10-12 hunks (or 10-12 small pie shells). [I used 10 and kept the remaining dough in reserve, just in case.] For each hunk of dough, roll into a ball between your hands, and then shape into a small disc (like a silver dollar pancake). Then place dough disc onto a floured surface and roll out into a 1/4″ thick circle. Repeat with each hunk of dough until all are rolled.Then, place each circle into a greased muffin tin cup (one circle per cup). You’ll likely have to do some folding and coaxing to get them in there properly, and there will be some extra hanging over the sides; that’s just fine.Repeat the rolling out process for the second large dough disc, reserving the rounds of dough to cover each of the pies once covered.
- Peel peaches, and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices; cut slices in half. Stir together brown sugar, next 3 ingredients, and remaining 1/4 cup flour in a bowl; add peaches, stirring to coat. Immediately spoon peach mixture into the muffin cup pie shells, and dot with 1 1/2 Tbsp. butter. (Do not make mixture ahead or it will become too juicy.) [I left out the butter step on this one and they turned out just fine.]
- Carefully place the remaining piecrust circles over each of the small pies. Press the edges together to lightly seal the top and bottom crusts, and then fold the crust under around the pie, pressing and folding as you go. Press edges with the tines of a fork to seal the crusts. Brush tops with egg; sprinkle with 1 1/2 Tbsp. granulated sugar. Cut 3 slits in tops of pies for steam to escape.
- Refrigerate pies 15 minutes. Meanwhile, heat two cookies sheets in oven 10 minutes. Then place the muffin pans on the hot cookie sheets.
- Bake at 425° on lower oven rack 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375°; bake 40 minutes, checking pies about mid-way through and covering loosely with aluminum foil to prevent excessive browning. Pies are done when crust is set and juices are thick and bubbly (juices will bubble through top). Transfer pans to a wire rack; cool 2 hours before removing pies from the pans. Serve warm (or cold – heck, it’s pie!).