The other day I shared a tutorial for delicious Mini Pie Pops on a stick. In case you missed it, you can catch it here. As I said there, the Cinnamon Apple Raisin Pops were quite good, but the Chocolate Marshmallow Cremes didn’t work out too well. Plus, the pastry dough came out tasting like a cookie rather than a flaky pie crust. It wasn’t quite what I was going after, so I went back into the kitchen and rolled up my sleeves. I had Valentine’s Day on my mind and this is what I made…
Can I just say that Mini Brownie Pies are my new favorite dessert? Seriously! These babies came out like a dream; I had to pinch myself to believe that I had made them! The pastry dough baked up buttery and flaky, just like a pie crust should. The brownies inside reminded me of the chocolate fudge filling you would find inside a chocolate croissant. Definitely not like a brownie, but fudgy chocolate? Works for me!
First, I started with the Good for Almost Everything Pie Dough recipe that I adapted slightly from the award-winning baker and cookbook author, Dorie Greenspan. I’m hoping to meet and thank her personally for this great recipe on Friday at her CookieBar pop-up shop in New York City. Here’s the recipe along with my changes.
1 1/2 cups all-pupose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 sticks very cold unsalted butter (I used frozen butter), cut into tablespoon size pieces (I diced into small cubes)
2 1/2 tablespoons very cold vegetable shortening, cut into 2 pieces (I pre-measured and froze Crisco ahead of time)
About 1/4 cup ice water
Now here’s where I modified Dorie’s recipe: She uses a food processor to combine and mix her ingredients and I chose to do this part by hand. Actually, I was forced to do it by hand when my old, barely used food processor just wouldn’t work! After reviewing Pie Crust 102 over at Smitten Kitchen, I was confident that my shiny, new pastry dough blender would be able to take the place of my processor. Here’s what I did.
1. Put the flour, sugar and salt in a bowl. Mix together with a whisk or spoon just to combine the ingredients.
2. Drop in the frozen, cut-up butter and shortening.
3. Use a pastry dough blender and begin working the butter into the flour mixture. When the butter pieces are about the size of peas, stop. If some pieces are larger than others, this is fine. Do not over mix.
4. Add 3 tablespoons of ice cold water to the dough mixture. Using a rubber or silicon spatula, start pulling the mixture around to moisten it. Continue to add a tablespoon of water at a time as you work. When most of mixture seems moistened, pinch some pieces together to see if they stick. (It will still look somewhat dry in spots.) When pieces stick together, use your hands and combine the dough together.
5. Roll into a ball and place on a piece of plastic wrap. Flatten ball down into a disk, wrap it up and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, preferably for longer. (Remember, the colder the dough, the easier it is to work with. I refrigerated mine for several hours before getting to work on the Brownie Pies.)
Dough can be kept in refrigerator for up to 5 days and frozen in freezer for up to one month.
While the dough is chilling in the fridge, you can get started with the next step which is to prepare your brownie batter. Any brownie recipe is fine so if you want to make it from scratch, go ahead. I was a little short on time, so I used Ghiradelli Dark Chocolate Brownie Mix. After the batter was made, I covered the bowl and put it in the fridge to set. Stiffened brownie batter is much easier to work with than the loose mixture we’re used to pouring into a pan.
After both the pie dough and the brownie batter are well chilled, take out the dough and place on a well floured counter or baking mat. Flour the top of the dough so it doesn’t stick to your rolling pin. I like to dust my pin with flour as well. Work quickly so the dough doesn’t get warm and roll out the dough to about 1/8″ thickness. Use a cookie cutter of your choice (I used a heart shape cutter about 3″ big) and begin to cut out your bottom pieces. Place them carefully on a Silpat (or similar) mat in a jelly roll pan or on parchment paper.
Use a teaspoon and drop some chilled brownie batter on the dough. Be careful not to use too much batter as the pies will leak if they are overfilled.
Use your finger (I like to use a paintbrush used for food only) and put some water on the perimeter of your shape. Roll out more dough (if necessary) and cut the top pieces of dough for your pies. Give the top pieces a quick extra roll with the rolling pin after they’ve been cut out. This will make them slightly larger than the bottom pieces and easier to cover and close. Push the two pieces of dough together, making sure all edges are sealed.
Use a fork or a piece of cookie pop stick and create a crimped edge around the pie. (For more on this, see my previous post here.)
Brush the top of the pies with an egg wash consisting of 1 egg white and 2 tablespoons of water. Add sparkling sugar if desired.
Pierce the pie tops with 2 or 3 holes for venting. I used a metal cake tester to make the holes.
Bake in oven preheated at 425° for approximately 10-12 minutes or until golden around edges.
Cool in pan for a few minutes. Serve immediately or transfer to wire rack to cool completely. To serve later, heat in oven for a few minutes on 350° and serve warm. Enjoy!
Are you planning to try these or have you made mini pies already? Drop me a line in the comments and tell me what you’re up to!
Have a sweet day!