While on one of my Bed, Bath, and Beyond outings (with coupons in hand, of course!), I came across a cool little tool that I’d never thought of using before in my baking arsenal: A pocket pie mold-and-press.
This gadget immediately brought me back to my childhood days, not because I made pocket pies growing up (now I wish I did!), but because of those little store-packaged pudding and fruit pies. Some of the fast-food restaurant chains are infamous for their pocket pies, too. Ah, to be a kid again. However, we all know those shelf-stable and fast-food selections aren’t the best choices anymore, so when I came across the pie press, I knew that I wanted to get it not just to relive my childhood but to pass this little treat along to T, too.
RMT’ers, making pocket pies is so easy; in fact, the directions and a few ideas for recipes are right on the box of the tool I bought. As for the fillings I used, I just made them up depending on whatever I had on hand. They can be sweet, savory, meal-based for parents or kids on-the-go, appetizer-inspired, or leftover-holders. What do you have on-hand in your cupboard or fridge? Would it taste good in a hot or a cold sandwich or tart? If the answer to the last question is yes, then you can most likely whip it up as a filling for a pocket pie. The size of a pocket pie also offers up a perfect portion for a light meal or for a generous dessert depending on your mood and needs.
I was a pocket pie making fool last weekend. It started with a rainy day on Friday afternoon where we had a baking play date with a set of friends; my contribution was a few fresh strawberry pies. I pressed on with the pies into Sunday with fig-ricotta and berry-cream cheese sweets for my sweet during our date-at-home-weekend.
I’ll post a pictorial step-by-step of how I made my own pies below. I hope it inspires you to give it a try. And even if you don’t have the handy-dandy mold-and-press, if you’ve ever made large ravioli, then why not try making more rustic pocket pies with a large circular biscuit or cookie cutter (about 5-6” diameter at minimum would be needed to be sure you can fill and seal the pies without bursting the seams)? I bet even if they’re not as picture-perfect, they’d still taste pie-licious!
– One package ready-made pie crusts (two-9 in. circular pieces; found in fresh grocery case near canned biscuits; frozen can be used, too, but make sure to allow time for defrosting properly), or make your own pie dough recipe
– 1-2 cups filling of your choice (mixtures of the following worked best for me: jams and/or fresh fruit, and cream cheese; ricotta and fig jam or butter; or cubed meat and shredded cheese; fresh macerated fruit or jams on their own were too runny and blew out the seams of the pies, so use a thickening agent or other ingredient along with fruit fillings)
– 1 egg, beaten
– Turbinado or raw sugar (for sweet pies) or dried herbs (for savory pies), enough to sprinkle on top of pies
– 1 large, lipped cookie sheet (AKA jelly roll pan)
– Parchment paper
– Pastry brush
– Pocket pie mold and press OR large (5-6 in. diameter) cookie cutter
Directions (From Pocket Pie Mold/Press Box):
1. Cut two pieces of the pie crust dough using bottom of the press as a pattern. Use fingers and press one piece of dough into mold.
2. Top with two tablespoons of filling to within 1/2-in. of edges.
3. Brush dough edges with beaten egg and lay second piece of dough on top. Close press to crimp edges and seal pie. Trim excess dough if necessary (I never had to do this).
4. Remove mini-pie from press and bake or fry (see below for two different methods of cooking, choose one, and continue).
To Bake (I used this method for all my pies):
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place pies on baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush tops of pies with beaten egg, pierce with fork, and sprinkle with sugar or herbs (if desired). Bake 18-20 minutes or until golden brown, remove and cool five minutes for immediate serving. Cool leftover pies to room temperature before wrapping individually in plastic wrap, then store on countertop (24 hours) or in refrigerator for longer (up to five days).
To Fry (I did not use this method):
Fill a wide saucepan with two inches of vegetable oil. Heat to 375 degrees F on a deep-frying thermometer. Fry pies in small batches, turning once, about two to four minutes or until crusts golden brown. Drain on paper towels.
From two-9 in. pie crusts, I made five pocket pies easily. For more pies, you could pile all your crust scraps together and re-roll the pie dough into another 1/8 in.-thick round, which would yield enough to make another two pies.
Enjoy the pie, and the newest recipe secret in your pocket, RMT’ers!
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