So I did give you a heads up on the amount of dough I have handled this month. Well, I just cannot stop! We are not even into proper cold months and I am on a baking overdrive. Mini pies are the order of the day. I think the real reason are the beautiful combination of fruits that are available at the moment. The last of the summer stone fruits and the fresh Autumn produce together make for the most delicious pie filling possibilities. There are plums and peaches. And there are apples and pears. And there is the beautiful Sydney autumn with bright sunny afternoons and a slight chill in the air. The best of both worlds in seasons and food.
School holidays have started today and my basket is loaded with mini pies as I prepare for a little picnic with the boys. Nothing fancy or far away. I’ve been eyeing an open stretch of greenery near my house for days with the hope of great weather and a holiday when we can just lie down on the grass and enjoy our moment together. That day is today!
These pies are wonderful. Sweet with an hint of cinnamon and you can obviously see how passionate I’ve been about the tops. I tell you, that’s a great way of having fun in the kitchen with the kids. There were all kinds of designs and cut outs. The best ones were the ones I didn’t photograph:-)
Plum And Pear Mini Pies
For the pastry (or you could use store bought shortcrust pastry)
21/2 cups plain flour
1/4 cup castor sugar
1/4 tsp salt
240 g unsalted butter, cold, cut into cubes
1/2 cup cold water
1 egg, for eggwash
raw sugar, for sprinkling
For The Filling
3-4 pears, peeled, cored and roughly chopped
4 plums, stone removed, roughly chopped
1/2 cup castor sugar (or as per taste)
1/2 tsp powdered cinnamon
1/2 tsp powdered ginger
In a large bowl combine flour, sugar and salt. You could do this in the processor or by hand. Add the butter and blend quickly so that the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Stir in the water, 1 tbsp at a time, until dough comes together. On a floured surface, knead the dough gently and shape it into a ball. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate (at least 30 minutes). Meanwhile make the filling.
Heat the pears and plums along with a tbsp of water in a heavy bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Keep stirring occasionally until fruits are soft. Add the sugar and cinnamon. allow the mixture to simmer until you get a thick consistency along with chunks of fruit. Cool slightly (about 20 minutes). I usually make the filling the previous night.
Preheat oven to 200 degrees C. Make the egg wash by lightly beating the egg in a small bowl with 1 tbsp of water. Take the dough out of the refrigerator. On a well floured surface, roll out the dough into a large circle and cut out circles using a cookie cutter for the bottom and tops. I used a 3.5 inch round cookie cutter. Place the bottoms on individual aluminium foil trays or muffin pans that has been greased well. Spoon 1 tbsp of the filling into the center of the pastry bottom. Lay the top pieces of pastry over the filling, bringing the edges together and sealing them. You can do so with your fingers or with a fork to form a pattern. Refrigerate. Reuse the balance dough to roll out and form more pastry tops and bottoms. You could cut out small flowers and shapes using cookie cutters to decorate your pies. For the lattice tops here is a tutorial. Brush the tops all over with egg-wash. Sprinkle with raw sugar.
Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown and crispy.