Thursday, March 3, 2011

A Peculiar Pie Maker

I have one of the sweetest moms on the planet. It should be noted that when it comes to generosity, she rates off the charts. Especially with her daughters.

A few years ago she "discovered" Williams-Sonoma, Crate & Barrel and Restoration Hardware (it doesn't hurt that they are were all three side by side stores at our local mall). She also discovered that gifts from these stores were quite a big hit with my sister and I.

Two years ago we each got a Crepe pan and crepe mix from Williams-Sonoma. Last year, I got an Ebelskiver Pan and mix and my sister got Madeleine Pan and mix.

I think my mom gets the most joy out of my sister and I shaking the big green boxes wrapped with their cream paper with the pineapple logo and copper pineapple cookie cutter trinket tied on with a big green ribbon. It brings her a lot of joy to find something new and fun for my sister and I to "play with." Which is a little bit harder now that we are grown ups and Cabbage Patch Kids and Gameboys don't really cut it anymore.

This year, on Christmas Eve, my sister and I went to open our big gift, in the big signature Williams-Sonoma wrapping, both completely unsure of what was inside. When we opened the boxes, I think we were both still a little surprised and unsure of what we were looking at.

We each received our own Breville Pie Maker. Our mom was so excited. She had told us how she had been telling all her friends at work about this super cool pie maker, and then how her friends were super jealous and wanted to get them for their daughters, but they were all sold out. (My mom is too cute)

Anyway, I think the most exciting thing about the pie maker (aside from the fact that it makes PIES) is how cute and excited my mom was to give it to me. I have been dying to try it out, but despite all of my previous baking adventures the last few weeks I hadn't had a chance. Until this weekend.

I decided for the inaugural pie making venture I would try to keep things simple. I used pre-made pie crusts (boo! I LOVE making my own!) and canned pumpkin pie mix (double boo! I am a pumpkin pie snob, scratch only please!). But in an effort to just see how this whole contraption works, I went with the premade stuff.

The pie maker is pretty simple. It comes with a cutter to cut the top and bottom crusts, and a little press to make sure the bottom goes all the way in.

I was able to make 4 top crusts and 4 bottom crusts out of two premade crusts. I took all the scraps mushed them up and rolled them back out and was able to get three more tops and three more bottoms (with even a little left over from there). Bakers Note: The crusts that I rolled out myself were actually a lot more stable than the pieces I cut from the already rolled out dough. Definitely will just mush and roll the whole thing next time.

I had quite the Pie Factory going:

It was actually a lot of fun. I made the first four pies - and at this point I read in the directions you are only supposed to use precooked pie filling (or a filling that doesn't require cooking). I think this is because the piemaker is designed to bake the crusts and not necessarily the insides. But I already had it all whipped up, so I just filled the pies and hoped they would cook through.

I used a little less than 1/3 cup of filling per pie - it seemed to be all that they would hold. In retrospect, I think I could have definitely gotten the full 1/3 cup in each pie, if not more. And the the final crust to pie ratio could have used a bit more pie. Lesson learned.

Another weird thing about the pie maker is the uneven cooking of the crusts. The edges ended up cooking exponentially faster than the tops and bottoms. (I think this is because of the heating elements pressing down on the edges very closely) I couldn't tell how the bottoms were doing - and I was worried they were browning as fast as the edges. I was able to lift them up about halfway through and see that they were browning at the same rate as the top crust - so I didn't really worry too much about them.

The instructions said to cook the pies for 14-16 minutes. I think in the end I had them in there for maybe 20-22+ minutes until the top crusts were baked all the way. This was really good for the filling, which ended up completely cooked.

During the second batch of pies, I threw some heavy whipping cream and brown sugar in my KitchenAid, and made some homemade whipped cream (nothing better than that, yum). After that batch was done, I sat down with a very hot pie (burned my lips a bit) and cool whipped cream and enjoyed. Yum.

I definitely want to experiment with this a little more, and maybe some different filling types (but oh, I just love pumpkin pie). And even though the itty bitty pie tasted delicious, I think the best part was just having fun making them.

And don't worry, I dropped off the rest of the pies to my mom and dad yesterday. They are more than happy to be my baking guinea pigs. 


  1. Yum... looks good! I will take a turn at baking guinea pig any day, that is if mom and dad ever need a break. :)

  2. You got it! I'm always looking for more guinea pigs! Sometimes my baking does NOT promote weight loss. Especially since its just me! :)I'd love to share!

  3. That's so cool! What a fun gift!

  4. I've never heard of a mini pie maker...gotta love Williams-Sonoma!
    Have fun experimenting. :)

  5. I've found mini pie makers to be tricky to use. They use to burn my pies like yours before I discovered this clever tool. Now I bake golden pies almost every time, no more burning. Some of you can get the mini pie tool for free here. I love my pie maker now and have learn how to bake pumpkin pies in it. Something the manual said we couldn't do.
    Did you know you can use sliced bread for the crust? It works pretty well.