Winter Pies Are The Best!

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I just love making pie dough when the temperature drops and i can keep the room at around 60˚F/15˚C. This is the ideal temperature for rolling dough as it is supple enough to roll without cracking and can be rolled really thin without softening and needing extra flour to keep it from sticking. I almost always have frozen sour cherries in the freezer but I've also found an excellent quality cherry pie filling produced by Little Barn. It comes in a 24 ounce/680 gram jar.

Two weeks ago, when the temperature plummeted to the single digits, i cheerfully got out my frozen pie dough scraps and jar of pie filling I've been saving for just such an occasion. I like my pie fillings to be firm enough to cut and just fluid enough to flow every so slightly when cooled, so I stirred 1 tablespoon/15 ml of cornstarch into the filling and brought it to a boil, stirring constantly but gently for about 20 seconds. Then I allowed it to cool completely before adding it to the pie shells.

I made four mini pies, using my favorite flaky creamy cheese pie dough link. You will need a little less than 1-1/2 times the recipe (about 510 grams/18 ounces). I like to roll the dough as thin as possible which is about 1/16 inch.

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I cut the dough round for the bottom to extend about 1/4 inch past the sides of the pan. For the upper crust, first I cut another dough round just large enough to cover the top of the pie and extend 1/2 inch past the edge so that it can be tucked under the bottom crust border after lightly brushing the edges with water to help seal it.

I use a small decorative cutter to make a steam vent in the top before setting the disc on the filling. A fork works well to seal the edges and make a decorative border. I cover the pielets with plastic wrap and refrigerate them for a minimum of 45 minutes up to overnight before baking in a preheated 400˚F/200˚C oven for 30 to 40 minutes or until golden brown and the filling is bubbling through the steam vent.

I like to bake them on a preheated oven stone or baking sheet to ensure that the bottom crust is nicely browned and crisp. I also set a foil ring on top of each pielet before putting it in the oven. I allow them to cool on wire racks for at least 2 hours so that the filling is set.

Unmold each pielet by sliding it onto a serving plate. You can see that the sides of the pastry look like puff pastry. This is because I used pie dough scraps that I layered and then rerolled. This can make most pie crusts tough but not the cream cheese one linked to above!

Note: My favorite mini pie plates are black non-stick by Norpro.