Pies, pies and more pies!

If you are a sucker for cool kitchen gadgets, there is one product you have to
check out; a mini pie maker! It makes it easy as pie to whip up savory pot
pies and quiches or even sweet fruit pies in minutes.

Studio 5 Contributor Emily Bradley says a mini pie maker is a must have for
any cook.

These handy little electric pie makers make baking pies an absolute breeze!
Just about any sweet or savory combination of ingredients can be tucked into
these individual pies and are sure to impress. From bridal or baby showers,
to picnics or holiday parties – you will find yourself brainstorming all sorts of
ways to use this machine. Wouldn’t a pie party be fun??? With all sorts of
ingredients laid out for people to create their own filling? The possibilities are

I’ve been able to use up leftovers to make what seems like a completely new
meal with all sorts of savory ingredients. Some that we’ve tried have

· Roast beef and mashed potato open face pie sprinkled with a little
cheddar cheese – delicious!

· Taco meat, cheese, rice and beans layered into a phyllo crust creating a
Mexican phyllo pie dream.

· Pepperoni, marinara, mozzarella, basil make scrumptious “calzone” like

· Bacon, egg, cheese and potato quiches – mix and fill for a delicious,
quick breakfast or dinner.

· Spinach and feta cheese open face pies make an excellent side dish.

· Toasted ham and cheese sandwiches using sliced bread for the “crust.”

Sweet pies can be whipped up in a flash. They make the cutest little treat.
Today I dropped some off for my son’s teachers – they looked so yummy
(and extra darling in individual red plaid food trays tied up with cellophane…
I got mine at Orson Gygi and I use them for everything!!!) I love that sweet
pies can be baked open faced, too – from pumpkin to cherry, there’s
something for every kind of sweet tooth in a mini pie. YUM.

I experimented using three different machines… Here’s the lowdown:

Breville Personal Pie
Williams-Sonoma, $79.99
This is the platinum version of pie makers. It is amazing. You will dream of
pie making. The pie molds are 4×4″, it is easy to clean with a non-stick
surface, includes pastry cutters that cuts pastry to the perfect size for your
pie top and base, and evenly cooks four pies in 10-15 minutes. In my
opinion, this machine is worth the extra splurge. Everything I made in it
baked to perfection.

Sunbeam Mini Pie Maker
Target, $29.99
This version makes slightly smaller pies, and includes the same handy pastry
cutters for your pie top and base. Cooking time is also roughly the same
(around 10-15 minutes.) Had I not tried the above deluxe version, perhaps I
would have been satisfied with this one, but… The tops popped off making a
big mess on a couple of rounds, it was much more difficult to clean, and the
quality didn’t compare to the Breville. However, it is less than half of the
price! If you are looking for a fun gadget (and haven’t been spoiled by the
Breville version) then this would be the one to purchase. I think this would
make a great gift for a tween who enjoys baking – especially if they’ve
graduated from an easy bake oven.

Nostalgia Electrics Mini Cupcake Maker
Walmart, $24
I thought I would try making mini chicken pot pies in a gadget some of you
might already own. The end result reminded me of those mini quiches at
Costco – they would be perfect as a little morsel added to a green salad or as
an appetizer. I definitely recommend using the puff pastry over the pie
dough on these. They bake more evenly and taste light and flakey rather
than like a mouthful of piecrust.

If you’re still reading, you’re probably considering making a purchase…
These tips will make you happier and successful with your first batch of mini
pie baking:

· Make sure all of your fillings are precooked!

· I love ready made pie crust (don’t think less of me – you overachievers
can make your own and I’m sure it will be delicious.) Use the pie dough for
the bottom ONLY – use puff pastry or phyllo dough for the top of your mini
pie. If you use pie dough for the top it will not cook through and you’ll end
up with a doughy pie.

· DO NOT overfill your mini pies – I found 1/3 cup filling the perfect

· If you’re worried about your pie crust sticking, brush a little bit of butter
or oil in the molds before filling. I didn’t need to do this with the regular pie
crust, but did with the puff pastry and phyllo.

· Williams Sonoma carries a Chef’n Mini Pie Lifter ($12.95) that makes
lifting your pies out when they’re done baking a breeze. I highly recommend
it. The edges of your pies won’t break off and your fingers will thank me.

· Williams Sonoma also carries a fun cookbook “Mini Pies” ($19.95) that
has lots of great sweet and savory recipes for the electric pie maker.

I hope you enjoy your pie baking! Don’t forget to celebrate “Pi day” next
Wednesday on 3.14! I welcome any questions – cupcakesbyem@gmail.com

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