Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Little Happy Hearts and Happy Little Pies

It's Valentine's Day (obviously). Here's a little Valentine from my sweet trio to start us off (photo credit to sweet Mags):

The big kids started their day with a little peanut butter 'n' chocolate french toast and raspberries. Yum.

Now, start documenting, take pictures and blog about it.  I actually did something crafty. Well, semi-crafty anyway. I am one of the least crafty girls I know. It is truly a genetic trait. Like cooking, or lack there of. My mom missed out on the crafty genes and then passed on the deficiency to me. Thanks, Mom. I know I have other skills. And, I really don't feel bad about being craft-inept. It's just something I've come to accept. 

But, sometimes I still try. Because it is fun. And, I want to give cute gifts too, darn it. Baking is one of the skills in which I do have some aptitude. If a craft involves baking it's more likely that it won't be a total loss.

I found these uh-dor-able single-serving pies-in-a-jar on one of my fave blogs, Our Best Bites

It probs would have made more sense to blog about these before Valentine's Day, so that this idea might have been useful to someone. But, you can make them for so many other occasions. Definitely not limited to Happy Hearts Day. Any holiday, having company over, midnight snack, you get the picture. And, I'm just so proud of myself for actually doing it that I want to write about it now.  So . . . here's how you make them:

Start with a half-pint, wide mouth canning jar. You can buy them on Amazon here. They look like this:

The next step would be to make pie crust. Alternatively, and especially when time is scarce, you can buy pre-made pie crust at the store. Don't feel bad about it. Just do it.  Like I did. I was low on time. So, store-bought pie crust it was. Otherwise I would be inserting a pie crust recipe here. 

Also, I like to top my mini-pies with crumb topping, like cobbler. However, you can top your pie with crust, just like a full-size pie. If you are choosing to use crust for the top, use the ring part of your jar lid as a cookie cutter and cut out tops from your dough. Set aside for now.

After making or buying your pie crust, press the crust into your too-cute little jar. It doesn't have to be perfect. So, don't worry about rolling out your dough. Just press small pieces into the jar until it is covered.  Cover all the way to the top of the jar. Kids are great little helpers for this step as well. Their little hands fit so well in the little jars!

Here's where you can get a little creative. Choose whatever type of filling you are craving. Apple, cherry, berry . . . Homemade or canned/jarred. Here's a little secret - I used jarred filling. I just didn't have the time to cut my own fruit. I had a gourmet filling in a jar. (For some reason I felt better that it was gourmet - it was still jarred though!). But, you could use any type of canned pie filling as well.  

Fill the jar with about a 1/2 cup of your filling:

Now you have a choice. If you cut out pie tops from your pie crust, then you slip it onto the top of the pie.  The crust will go up the sides of the jar. Pinch the top to the crust with your fingers or a fork. Make sure you vent the top so that steam can escape. You can use a knife to make slits or use a extra-small decorative cookie cutter to cut a hole in a seasonally-appropriate shape.

The other option is what I did. Make a cobbler-type crumb topping and fill up the rest of your jar. Eric says that the crumb topping version is the bomb.  

Crumb Topping:
Mix the following in a food processor or blend with a fork:

1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated white sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar (I'm sure light brown would work too but we have become dark brown sugar snobs at our house)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup oats
6 Tablespoons COLD butter cut into pieces

Okay . . . here's the last step with options:

Option #1: Tightly seal your jar. Place in freezer and have ready for anytime you want a last minute dessert or late night snack.  Bake these, from frozen, at 375 degrees for about 50-60 minutes. Keep an eye on them. Only let them bake until the tops are golden brown or the middle of the pies are bubbly.

Option #2: Bake them immediately. Because they are so yummy, how could you not? Bake at 375 degrees for about 45 minutes.  But, again, watch them. They are done when the tops are golden brown or the middles are bubbly.

They really make great gifts for so many occasions. And the gals at Our Best Bites even have free printables to make labels for them for lots of different occasions.  To make it even easier than store-bought pie crust and canned pie filling, here are the links.  Just click and print: Valentine's Day, Thanksgiving, or Any Day!


Kari @TwinMamaLoves said...

Wow girl! I am amazed. Love your happy hearts AND your happy pies. Looks like the day was fully celebrated at your house! Pretty sure you are a totally legit blogger now that you have a crafty tutorial. :)

Jocelyn said...

Thanks friend! We definitely made the most of our day at home, celebrating the heck out of hearts, love and candy!

Anonymous said...

Please post of photo after you have baked one too : ) What a cute idea! Looks like you had a fun day with your kids...so much love in your home!


Lacey Wilcox said...

LOVE this!! Such a fun day! Loved your idea for breakfast as well!!

Jocelyn said...

Janice - The next time I make them, I definitely will. I had baked a couple of them a few nights before I decided to blog about them. But they were eaten up quick and I didn't think to take a pic. And, I gave away all of the jars I made while creating the blog. If you go to the Our Best Bites page they have some darling pics of finished pies :)

Jocelyn said...

Thanks Lacey! My hubs gets credit for the breakfast. Our Great Harvest Bread Co. here in Salem makes Peanut Butter and Chocolate bread every February. And, Eric suggested I make french toast out of it. My kids loved it so much that they had it again this morning :)