Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Cherry Pies in a Jar

I've seen people bake cute tiny pies in a jar, and I wanted to try to do it for place settings on Christmas day. I will have about twenty adults, and this evening I only got five pies done from the sour cherries I froze this summer. (One of which I baked as a tester, so really I only ended up with four.) The good news is that they are super simple; they just take some time. I thought I'd share how I made mine. I know there are better ways to do this and better recipes for the filling, but I'm pretty happy with the results of my first attempt.

First thing I did was make some pie filling. I really don't know any recipes for pie filling, so I kinda made it up. (As I mentioned before, I tasted one, and it was pretty good.)

4 cups frozen sour cherries, pitted and stems removed
2 cups of sugar (to start with... I added every now and again, but didn't measure. It was more to taste.)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
2 TBS corn starch
1/2 cup water (Added additional water as needed.)
Splash of Lemon Juice

I combined the cherries and sugar in a pot, then I added the water and brought it to a boil. I added the cornstarch mixed with 2 TBS cold water. I added additional extracts and lemon juice and just cooked it until it was the consistency I wanted. Actually, I think I cooked it a little longer than I would have liked it, but I am still happy with it.

I cheated and bought pre-made pie crust at the store, but it sure made life easier. I used an old Country Crock bowl to cut out the dough. I then put it in the 1/2 pint glass canning jar. I grabbed four "corners" and pinched them together to drop them in the jar.

The dough didn't fit perfect, so I just added little bits to fit inside the jar.

I used the same process for the pie tops. I traced around the screw on lid that comes with the jar so that it is just a little bigger than the jar top itself. I also used a snowflake cookie cutter to cut a center piece out.

My son helped out with this part. He loves to use the rolling pin and use cutouts.

I scooped the filling into the jar but didn't fill it to the top so that I can add the pie crust top.

Now for the top! I later added some sugar to the top.

I'm going to freeze mine to use for Christmas, so after the filling cooled I added a lid. You have to remove the lids when baking them. Tonight I baked mine at 350ยบ until the crust browned. I haven't attempted to cook a frozen one yet, but I'm sure it's the same process.

So, as I said previously... I filled one too full and it overflowed through the top crust. I decided to go ahead and bake it anyway just to see how they tasted. Not the prettiest thing ever... but man, it tasted wonderful! In hindsight I probably should have just taken some filling out and made a new top. Mistakes make wonderful excuses to eat the goods though!

So I ended up with a little left over filling. Not enough for a jar... I used it to fill a rolled pizzelle I made for a different Christmas project. It has chocolate on the ends and powdered sugar on the top. Let me tell you... this wasn't too bad either. :)

And that ends my experiment with the pies in jars. I am going to further test peaches and apples that I canned over the summer. Now I know to fill them a little less. I'd also like to find a smaller cookie cutter for the top embellishment. Overall, I think it was a success. Even if they don't turn out as pretty as I hope, I know they are going to taste nummy!

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