It’s the last weekend before Christmas and, understandably, a lot of folks have big plans. But not me. I’ve got little plans.
More to the point, this is the weekend I’ll bake up some little pies – pint size beauties which, judging from the joy they always bring, pay a ten gallon dividend.
I trust I’m not the only one who always needs a baker’s dozen of last minute gifts, small but thoughtful tokens of appreciation for a favorite postman, shop owner, barber, or unexpected visitor. These little pies – I like to call them stocking stuffer pies – are just the ticket.
I’ve been working on a new Pie Academy course on little pies; it’ll be out this coming year. Meanwhile, here’s a recipe for my Cranberry Cherry Stocking Stuffer Pies. Not only are they delicious; the bright, jewel red filling and snowy dusting of confectioners’ sugar say “happy holidays” loud and clear.
If you can find them, my favorite little pie pans for stocking stuffer pies are disposable aluminum pans about 4 1/4″ in diameter, 1″ tall, and hold about 1/2 cup of filling – about 3/4 cup when you build up the edge of the pastry the way you see here. (The pan I describe is the one on the lower left.) It makes the perfect one- or two-person serving. If you can’t find this exact size, try to stay as close as possible to it. (We’ll be selling this size in our online store shortly.) Depending on the size of your pans, you should be able to make 4 to 6 pies from the recipe below.
In addition to disposable aluminum pans, you can also find a range of inexpensive or – if the recipient is a pie maker herself – truly gift-worthy pie pans for the occasion. In any case, small is best, and be sure to steer clear of “deep-dish” pans because they’ll use up too much of your filling.
A festive wrapping is the thing that makes your pies really special. My wife insists on taking over here, well aware – as she is – of my fondness for duct tape. She’s an artist with cellophane and ribbon. Our 6-inch pie boxes make our gift pies truly memorable.
You’ll find plenty of cranberries in your market in the coming weeks, so now is the time to make these. Even if you can’t get to them before Christmas, steal some time for these little pies before the end of the month: they’re a really sweet way to ring in the New Year, too.
Finally, thanks to all of you who helped support The Pie Academy through your recent holiday purchases of cookbooks, rolling pins, aprons, pie and tart pans, pie boxes, and other products from our online store. We appreciate your loyalty. We’ve had fun bundling up your parcels and communicating with you. And even if we can’t promise delivery before Christmas on items purchased now, if Santa leaves you an envelope full of cash this week, all purchases made this month will still get you a free cookbook. Details here.