Last year for my birthday, I got one of those awesome mini-pie bakers.
It's essentially a waffle iron that makes little pies. It had been stuck in the cupboard until last weekend... and now it's going to see a lot more of the outside world.
I declare this to be the Summer of Pie! First, I found a really great crust recipe (Trader Joe's, your frozen crust has let me down too many times!). I was thinking that it should be all butter, but then I read that even Julia Child says that you should mix butter with shortening, so that became the plan. I used the crust from this book, (from this bakery, originally) using butter and vegan margarine as the shortening, and using 2 c. white flour + 1/2 c. whole wheat flour for the 2 1/2 c. it calls for. (I guess that book might be out of print now, since it's so expensive. This is a very similar recipe, just do 2/3 butter+ 1/3 shortening.) Divide crust into two mounds, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before using. Then roll out the dough and cut circles out of it; a larger one for the bottom, and a slightly smaller one for the top. These four pies used 1/2 of this amount of dough (so one crust's worth).
Then, I pulled out my trusty pie book, and adapted the filling amounts to make it work for a mini pie. Since John and I have VERY different tastes in pie (I like every berry, cherry, summer fruit you can think of; apple and pumpkin are his two favorites) I made just enough filling for two pies of each flavor; peach for me, and apple for him.
Pie Filling (for 2 mini pies):
1 c. fruit (I used one granny smith apple for his, frozen peaches for mine)
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
2 tsp. flour (apple)/1 Tbsp. flour (frozen fruit)
1.5 tsp. lemon juice
dash of salt
1/2 Tbsp. butter
I mixed these things together, and microwaved them for 3 minutes each (just because I didn't know how well the pie baker would cook raw filling). I heated up the machine, put the bottom crust, then filling, then top crust, and closed it. Pies were done in about 10 minutes!!
The only difficulty I had with this machine was that it was very difficult to see when the green light was turned on (signalling that it was done). I had to turn off the kitchen light and be in the dark to know for sure! I also don't think that you could do an open-top pie, like pumpkin, in this. Next time, I think I'll top the pies with a little bit of cinnamon sugar, but these were super good. :)