{14 Days of Sweet Valentine's Day Ideas} Sweet Pies from The Sugar Fairy!

We are thrilled to introduce something a little new around here - PIES! After seeing several adorable Valentine desserts on the  The Sugar Fairy Facebook page, we contacted Amy and asked if we could feature one! She graciously offered to create a tutorial on how to make thee adorable little Valentine pies! How cute that she used our Valentine's printables in her photo styling!

From Amy, The Sugar Fairy....

How happy was I when I was contacted by TomKat Studio to do a Valentine's dessert feature?  Happy as pie! Speaking of pie... somewhere between the blogging food world and the Food TV channels, I heard whispers that cupcakes were fading and pies were replacing them. Could this be true? I love my cupcakes... hmmm, but I also love pie!  Can you have your "cake" and eat pie too? Why not?! Cup-pies are what happens when you marry the best of the two! Individually sized pies perfect for gifting or snacking!

Start with pie dough.  Now I know this sounds daunting, but trust me, it's really very easy!  With this foolproof pie dough (recipe below), your Valentine will be singing your praises with flaky pie dough all over his/her shirt.  (And, yes, that's a good thing!)

And, if you're busy or intimidated by the prospects of pie dough... do yourself a favor and buy this:   The end result is still warm pie out of the oven.  How could that ever be wrong?

While the pie dough is chilling make your pie filling. I went with berry because it's red and tasty!  But feel free to play here and make your Valentine's favorite! And again, if you're short on time... by all means buy some. I've seen some great looking ones at Trader Joes, etc.

After your pie dough has chilled sufficiently, roll it out and using a 4 1/4" cutter, cut 6 bottom crusts. With a 3  1/2" cutter, cut 6 top crusts. I purchased my cutters at a local baking supply shop, but if you don't have them, feel free to use an upside down glass or bowl as your guide.  

Take your 6 bottom crusts and line the base of 6 alternating spots in your non-stick cupcake pan. Mine is a Wilton, but use any non-stick pan you like.

This next step is probably the most important of them all!  Place these bottom crusts back into the fridge for at least 20 minutes before you proceed. If you skip this step, your pies will stick and you'll be wrapping the entire pan with bows and ribbons and giving *it* as a gift.  (Still tasty, but not the look we're going for.)

Using your smaller 3 1/2" cutter, cut out 6 top crusts.  You'll need to cut a "vent" in the top of  the crusts for the steam to escape. Play here. I used a small heart cutter and even attempted to stamp a couple with cookie stamps (Wilton) and vented them with my piping tips. Ok, so the stamps didn't show up after they baked.  They were cute going in the oven, and that counts too!  

After your bottom crusts have chilled in the pan, take them out and fill them with some of the remaining frozen berries. Then place the berry puree on top.  (Or fill them with your choice of filling.)

Take an egg white mixed with a tsp of  water (egg wash) and go around the outside edge of your bottom crust. This will act as glue to join the top and bottom crusts. Place your top crust on your cup-pie, press around the rim to attach the two and using a fluted cutter, trim off the excess dough and seal.

Brush the top crusts with some more of the egg wash and sprinkle with sugar. (This is unrefined Cane Sugar, like Sugar in the Raw. I like the way it sparkles on the pie after it's baked!)

Place your pies in a preheated 425 degree oven and bake for about 30 minutes. You may want to check on them around 25 minutes. We are looking for a nicely golden brown top crust. Don't be tempted to pull them out too early because you run the risk that the bottom crust will not be set enough and will fall apart when you try to remove them. Unless you're willing to gift your non-stick cupcake pan, better to over bake a little, than to under bake.

Let them rest in the pans for 5-10 minutes and then remove. If you're having a little trouble getting one out because the filling spilled over, try gently running a sharp knife around the edge of the little pie.  

And here they are!  Aren't they pretty all dressed up with a bow and TomKat's cute Sweet Love  party circles?   

What's that?  You missed the frosting?  Well how's this for a topper?   The only thing better than pie, in my opinion, is pie with ice cream!

I hope you and your Valentine enjoy these little beauties!  Thanks for baking with The Sugar Fairy!

Foolproof Pie Dough - Adapted from America's Test Kitchen
2  1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 TBS sugar
1 tsp salt
12 TBS unsalted butter, cut into 1/4 pieces and chilled
1/2 cup vegetable shortening, cut into 4 pieces and chilled
1/4 cup Apple Jack liquor (or vodka)
1/4 cup ice water

Process 1  1/2 cups of the flour, sugar and salt together in a food processor until combined.  Scatter the butter and shortening over the top and continue to process until incorporated and the mixture begins to form uneven clumps with no remaining flour.  It will look a little like yellow cottage cheese.

Scrape the workbowl and redistribute the dough evenly around the blade.  Sprinkle the remaining 1 cup of flour over the dough and pulse until the mixture has an even distribution of flour... about 4-6 pulses.

Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl.  Sprinkle the Apple Jack liquor (or vodka) and cold water over the mixture.  Stir and press the dough together using a stiff rubber spatula, until the dough sticks together.

Divide dough into 2 even pieces.  Wrap each with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for 40 minutes, up to 2 days.

Berry Cup-pie filling
8 cups of fresh (or frozen) berries
3/4 cup granulated sugar (or more to taste)
1/2 tsp grated lemon zest
juice of half a lemon
3 TBS Minute Tapioca

Reserve 2 cups of berries for the inside of the cup-pies. Place remaining berries in a saucepan with lemon zest and sugar. Cook over medium heat until thick and jam like... about 15 minutes. Cool mixture completely before filling pies. Toss frozen berries in the pie cups and then top with berry "jam" filling, making sure to get all the nooks and crannies.  If you're feeling extra luxurious place a small dot of butter on the top of each before you place on the top crust!

Thank you, Amy for sharing this fantastic tutorial with our readers!
You did a fantastic job and the pies are almost too cute to eat!

Amy Lang, The Sugar Fairy

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