I like pie, but it is often so rich that Holly and I can’t eat a whole pie between us without feeling bloated and icky. The answer? Mini pies. I stumbled upon this solution because I’d come home with 2 cups of salal berries, which really isn’t enough to make a proper pie. Making a pie in a ramekin was the perfect compromise.
Salal berries, you say? Yeah, I know. Weird. Don’t worry, this recipe works with any berry that isn’t too seedy: blueberries, huckleberries, blackberries, raspberries, thimbleberries, elderberries — you get the picture.
The one tricky thing to remember here is the amount of lemon juice. Blackberries and huckleberries have plenty of tartness already, so those pies probably won’t need added acid. Salal berries and domestic blueberries are low in acid, though, so you will need the amount I list in the recipe.
As for the pie crust, I really can’t beat the pie dough made by my friend Elise over at Simply Recipes. Follow the link to her site for that recipe, and use this recipe for the filling.
These pies are best the day after they’re made, as the filling sets up better then.
Makes 4 pies, each serving 1-2 people
- 4 cups berries
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup minute tapioca
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- A pinch of salt
- Zest of a lemon
- 4-6 tablespoons lemon juice, depending on how tart your berries are.
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 recipe of Elise’s pie dough
- 1 beaten egg
- Make the pie dough. It can be made up to a full day in advance, or it can be frozen.
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
- Mix the berries, tapioca, sugar, lemon zest, cinnamon, salt and lemon juice together in a bowl. Crush the berries a little to bring out some more juice. Let this stand for 15 minutes.
- Butter or otherwise grease four 4-inch ramekins, and fill them with the berries. Mound them a little in the center, as they will cook down a bit.
- Cut the butter into little pieces and dot the top of the berries with them.
- Roll out your pie dough to less than 1/4 inch; 1/8 inch is better. Put a ramekin down on a corner of the dough and cut a circle of dough that is a little larger than the ramekin.
- Slice an “X” in the middle of the circle and place the dough on top of the ramekin. Crimp the edges around the rim. Repeat for the other ramekins.
- Paint the tops of the pies with the beaten egg.
- Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Check the pies and turn the heat down to 350 degrees. Ovens tend to have hot spots, so you might need to rearrange your mini pies so they bake evenly.
- Remove the pies when the tops are golden brown, about 10-15 more minutes. Let them rest on a rack to cool, then let them set overnight in the fridge to set up properly.