Mini Pies

Gluten-Free Mini Pies

It’s a small world: mini iPods, mini dogs, mini muffins. Isn’t everything cuter in mini size? And now there is one more item to join the mini obsession: mini pies! These little pies are cute, delicious, and perfectly portioned. What could be better? Well, the only downside to these pies is the inability to, as we call it, “even them off” (a.k.a the act of taking a second sliver of pie under the pretense that you are trying to make the dessert look more symmetrical). But even though you may not be able to sneak a sliver from a mini pie, you can always sneak a second mini portion. Believe me, everyone else will!

Gluten-Free Mini Pie Crust

What makes these little pies so great? Well, first let’s start with the very basics. The crust. This is the type of crust that would make any French pastry chef proud. Why? 1) Taste: butter, butter, butter. This is a rich butter crust with just a hint of sweetness, meaning it has great flavor without becoming cloying when paired with a sweet filling. 2) Texture: strong in foundation so that can hold up to any filling without becoming soggy, but extremely light in wonderful crispy flakiness. Can it really get any better? Oh yes, that’s where the filling comes in.

Mini pies, of course, can come in all shapes and flavors. Fruity or nutty, savory or sweet, the fillings for a mini pie are endless. For me, I chose classic apple and comforting sweet potato as my two test subjects. And both were incredible.

Gluten-Free Mini Apple Crumble PiesTest Subject #1: Mini Apple Crumble Pies. These pies have a wonderfully spiced crumb topping that practically melts in your mouth thanks to its soft, buttery base. This rich topping is complimented by a fresh and naturally sweet cinnamon apple filling; a perfect combination of buttery richness enveloping fresh fruity taste. Classic on the inside and classy on the outside!

Gluten-Free Mini Sweet Potato Pies

Test Subject #2: Mini Sweet Potato Pies. Now I admit that I have had many pumpkin pies in my lifetime, but never a sweet potato pie. Well, these little treats certainly satisfy my pumpkin-pie-loving-heart. Brown sugar imparts a deeper molasses hint to the natural sweetness of this smooth filling, and the slight taste of spice imparts warm autumn memories of your  favorite pumpkin pie. Comfort in a pie shell.

Gluten-Free Mini Sweet Potato Pie

But don’t stop there! Strawberry-rhubarb, blackberry, lemon curd, even a savory quiche filling would be incredible in mini pie form. These tiny tarts are perfect for entertaining, gift giving, or just enjoying as a little treat. Happy mini baking!

Mini Pies
Yield: 15 mini pies

2 ⅓ cups GF Flour Mix*
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 Tablespoon sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, cold
1 Tablespoon cider vinegar
5-7 Tablespoons cold water

Preheat oven to 375°F. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour mix, xanthan gum, sugar, and salt. Using a pastry cutter or your fingers, cut in cold butter until mixture resembles a coarse meal. Mix in cider vinegar and water one tablespoon at a time, adding just enough water until mixture comes together into a ball. Roll out dough to ¼-inch thickness on a piece of floured parchment paper.

Cut out individual crusts using a large circular cookie cutter (at least 3½ inches in diameter). Gently press each crust cutout into a regular-sized (2½-inch), ungreased muffin tin (extra remaining dough can be cut out into different shapes to decorate tops of filled pies). Fill as desired and bake  until crust is golden and filling is set (about 30-40 minutes for apple and sweet potato fillings).

Apple Crumble
½ cup GF Flour Mix*
¼ cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch salt
¼ cup butter, soft

2-3 large apples (or 5-7 mini apples), peeled and thinly sliced
⅓ cup brown sugar
1 Tablespoon GF Flour Mix*
1 teaspoon cinnamon
⅛ teaspoon nutmeg

For Topping: In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together GF flour, sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Using fingers, mix in butter until evenly incorporated and mixture comes together to form large crumbs. Set aside.

For Filling: In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, GF flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Toss in apples, and mix with a spatula until all apple slices are completely covered with mixture. Spoon filling into unbaked pie crusts and top with crumb mixture. Bake at 375°F for 30-40 minutes.

Sweet Potato
½ pound sweet potato, peeled and cubed
¼ cup butter
½ cup brown sugar
¼ cup milk
1 egg
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon vanilla

Steam sweet potato in a steam basket over simmering waters until fork-tender, approximately 20 minutes. In a medium-sized bowl, mash potatoes completely with a fork until smooth. Mix in butter until melted. Beat in sugar, milk, egg, nutmeg, cinnamon, and vanilla. Continue beating until smooth. Pour filling into unbaked pie crusts and bake at 375°F for 30-45 minutes.

*GF Flour Mix
2 cups brown rice flour
2/3 cup potato starch
1/3 cup tapioca starch

5 thoughts on “Mini Pies

    • That is certainly high praise! Does this mean I am officially relieved of my task to create a kale-containing dessert?

  1. Pingback: Pumpkin Goat Cheese Cheesecakes with Maple Whipped Cream « Cakes 'n' Bakes

  2. If you use a lemon curd filling, for instance, do you need to do anything special to the tartlet dough before baking without a filling (docking it, blind baking, etc.)?

    • Dianna, I’ve made the tartlet shells by just docking and baking them for about 20-30 minutes at 375°F, or until golden brown. And they turned out spectacular! Since they’re so small, they bake very thoroughly and evenly without the need for blind baking (as can be seen in the second photo). Docking will just ensure that the bottoms don’t bubble up too much during the process. Happy baking!

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