Mini Pie Problems – Fixed
Posted by Pie Guy
Do not sweat over Tiny Pie Problems
Mini Pie Problems – The rules have changed
Mini pies do have their problems. If you search the internet you will see what the problem is.
So there are some new rules to follow with small pies. The baking game has changed compared to a full size pie.
Battle between the Filling and the Pie Crust
With full size pies the crust tends to bake prior to the filling which is good. If the filling is not cooked, you can turn down the temperature to complete the baking without burning your crust.
The opposite is true for mini pies. The filling cooks first, bubbles all over the place and destroys your top crust by lifting it off your tiny pie. It tries to blow it up, cracking and breaking up the top crust. There goes the appearance.
I bet you want to know what to do to fix this problem. To slow down the cooking of the filling we need to cool it way down.
Freeze the mini pie first before baking
Before baking your mini pies freeze them solid. Put them in the freezer the night before baking. When it comes time to bake them, take out of the freezer only what you plan to eat that day and put them directly into a preheated oven.
Why this works. The pastry will thaw and cook first since it gets the heat first. Since the filling is frozen, it will need to thaw first before it starts to cook. So this will give your filling 15 minutes more time to cook. Hopefully this will buy you enough time to completely bake your crust.
Six inch – The prefect mini pie
The exception to this is the 6 inch pie. It is just the right size so that the filling and the crust cook almost at the same time. This is only true for an all-butter pie crust. Lard or shortening will take longer.
For this reason 6 inch pies are my favorite when you want to impress your girlfriends, to bake a perfect pie where the crust is tender and the filling is thoroughly cook.
Mini pies have the same issue with full pies in that the crust edges want to brown quicker than the rest of the crust top. However, a pie crust shield can not be purchased for this size. And when you use a muffin pan to bake mini pies, it is almost impossible to get a multi hole pie crust shield.
Wash that mini pie
This leads into another problem that got discovered by accident. Certain pie crust washes slow down the baking of the crust even more. This is especially true with egg washes. They really slow down the baking of your pie crust. The extended time in the oven will cause your filling to boil over and out of your tiny pie.
Muffin pan for small pies
We use a muffin pan to bake mini pies. To make this work, the pies need to be removed from the muffin pan. You can not just turn the pan upside down to remove the pies unless you want a mess.
Using a fork or knife to pry the pie might destroy your delicate flaky crust. Then you have a messy mound of pie filling and pastry. This will not work.
Mini pie handles
Before placing the pie crust in the muffin cups, place a strip of parchment paper in the cups of the pan. You will use this as handles to remove the mini pies. This technique works for the most delicate pie pastry you can bake.
There is a proper way to remove your mini pies from the pan. When it is time to remove the pies you, do not just remove the pies by lifting them out of the pan. If your crust is as flaky and delicate as mine, they will fall apart.
Twist then lift the pies
So first loosen the edges with a knife or specula. Hold both ends of the parchment paper firmly, give the pies a slight twist until they rotate freely in the pan. You may now remove the pie gently from the baking cups without any trouble.
If you are not using a nonstick muffin pan or mini pie pan, be sure to butter the insides or use a nonstick cooking spray before placing your pie dough.
Roll the pie dough thin
Due to the size of these tiny pies, you want to roll out the dough somewhat thinner than a full size pie. Roll the dough on a very cold surface to about 3/16-inch in thickness. Dust with flour if it starts to stick.