I’m participating in The Nester’s 31 Days Challenge, so for the month of October I’ll be writing each day about 31 Days of Christmas: plan a little now to enjoy it more later. You can see all of the posts here.
I may sound like a broken record, but this series is about finding things that I can do now to have a more relaxed and special Christmas. One of the things that can help me be more relaxed is having a plan and feeling confident about what I’ve got ahead of me. This includes my baking. A few weeks ago I shared a recipe for our favorite apple pie and mentioned that when I have some go-to recipes and feel confident in my ability to make them, it makes me more comfortable with what I’ve got ahead of me.
The apple pie recipe that I shared came from the book Handheld Pies and while it has awesome recipes for pies of any size, it also explains how to make mini-pies – either in mini pie pans or in jars. I had never made baked anything in a jar, but last year Matt mentioned that it would be fun to make pies in jars to give as gifts to coworkers. While I loved the idea, it also made me slightly panicked. What could have been fun and special instead caused stress. I hadn’t thought ahead about making gifts for coworkers so I felt unprepared. We decided not to make the pies because we ran out of time, but we do want to show some love to our coworkers this year – it even made our ”Don’t Miss List!”
This is a good example of why I’m trying to be more intentional and thoughtful in planning for Christmas this year. I don’t want Matt’s great, thoughtful ideas to throw me into a frenzy; I want to have margin in our schedules and our budget. I want to be comfortable with a general game plan (making gifts for coworkers) and some options for how to execute that plan (making mini pies or scrubs) so that I can be confident and peaceful in December.
So as far as the pies go, I wanted to do a “trial run” batch before December so I would feel confident about baking them again closer to Christmas.
If you want to see the recipe and step-by-step instructions for the filling, see the post from day 4 of this series. The pie filling make about 8 servings, so I washed and dried 8 jars to hold the pies. Last year, Matt bought these canning jars from Amazon; they’re less than $1.50 each and they hold 8 oz (1 cup), so they are the perfect container for mini-pies!
Like last time, I just used a box of Pillsbury pie crust from the grocery store. I unrolled both crusts and cut them into fourths so I had 8 pieces of crust.
I wish that I had better instructions on putting the crust into the jar, but there’s not really a “right” way to do it. I told Matt that it’s kind of like using play-dough. I just picked up the piece of crust and bunched it up in the middle enough to get it into the jar. At first, the crust would just flop over the edges.
Then I used my fingers to mold it to the edges of the jar and get it as even (in terms of area covered and thickness) and smooth as possible. Obviously it’s not perfect, but I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was.
When the filling was ready (it’s supposed to sit in the fridge for 30 minutes), I spooned it a little bit at a time into the pies.
I was planning on taking this batch of pies to our small group from church and one of our sweet friends has a gluten allergy so I made hers without the crust (and without flour in the filling). That gave me 1/4 of one of the crusts to use as the top crust for the other 7 pies. It wasn’t a lot to work with, but I split it up evenly into little balls of dough.
Then I flattened each portion as much as I could to get little circles of dough about the right size to cover each pie.
Here are all the pies ready to go in the oven -
They took a little bit longer to bake than the other pies. Instead of 20-25 minutes, I probably baked them closer to 30. I just focused on the crust on top and took them out when it turned golden brown.
We haven’t tried these yet, but I’ll update the post as soon as we do! Update – they came out great! Matt and I loved them and so did my coworkers! I like the flakiness crust of the other apple pies I made better, but I didn’t have any trouble helping to eat these!
Have you ever made a mini dessert? Or baked anything in a jar?