When you think about Thanksgiving, one dessert that will always make an appearance is pie. My kids stay far away from warm or cooked fruits, so pie definitely doesn’t make their list of exciting Thanksgiving desserts. In an effort to give them some positive exposure to pie, I decided to craft a baking class around 3 mini pies. A safe way to introduce an often rejected food is to have kids to help prepare the food. Children may be more receptive to trying a new food if they have seen how it is prepared and have some ownership in the preparation. Plus, who can resist a cute, mini dessert?
I decided to put three different pies together: apple, pumpkin, and chocolate pie. I figured they would easily try the chocolate and then it would build their bravery toward trying the apple and pumpkin.
First, we made a homemade pie crust, but you can also just grab a refrigerated pie crust from the store. Take some regular sized mason jar lids and cut a circle a little larger than the circumference of the lid. Make sure the orange seal of the lid is facing the outside of the lid so the inside is all silver. Press your pie crust into the lids and keep them in the fridge.
I scaled down Joanne Chang’s recipe for the apple pie filling. To make the filling, peel, core, and thinly slice 2 medium Granny Smith apples and 2 medium McIntosh or Rome apples. Mix with 6 Tbsp packed light brown sugar, 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour, pinch of salt, pinch of cinnamon, and pinch of nutmeg. Let this sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes.
Take your pie crust out of the fridge and lay the apple slices in each mini pie. Take a second circle of pie dough and lay it over the top to create a top crust. Press the edges to seal and cut a few slits in the top. Brush the top of the pie with an egg wash (1 egg mixed with 1 Tbsp of water) and sprinkle some sanding sugar if desired. Place your pies on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Bake in a 325 degree oven for 25 - 30 minutes depending on how quickly your crust browns. Let cool before removing from the lid.
I came across a recipe for a Maple Pumpkin Pie and it has changed my outlook on pumpkin pie. It takes a typically one note pie up a notch to a full fall experience. This recipe will make 8 mini pies depending how thin you roll your crust. In a medium bowl, whisk together 1 cup pumpkin puree, 1/2 cup of maple syrup, 1 egg, 1/3 cup of sour cream, and 1/2 tsp of vanilla. Once smooth, whisk in 1/2 Tbsp of cornstarch, 3/4 tsp of pumpkin pie spice, 1/2 tsp of cinnamon, and 1/4 tsp of salt. Pour into your prepared pie shells and bake at 375 degrees for 30 - 35 minutes. If you want add a decorative piece of pie crust cut into any desired shape, you can bake these on a separate sheet or add them to the top of your pie for the last 10 minutes of the baking time. Allow the pies to cool for about 20 minutes before removing them from the tin.
Last but certainly not least, is chocolate pie! Diane at createdby-Diane.com has created the most delicious Mini S’mores Pie. My kids licked their plates clean. She uses a wide mouth mason jar lid but a regular size lid works just a well. A classic graham crack crust is filled with a 3 ingredient chocolate ganache and topped with a toasted marshmallow. You’ll be so glad you tried these. Even your toddler can help with these!
What's your favorite Thanksgiving Pie, and more importantly, what's the recipe? Share it in the comments below.