Strawberry Earl Grey Mini Pies

Friends invited us for a socially-distanced pandemic porch dinner for four and I stressed about what to contribute. I never want to show up to dinner empty handed, but what’s safe to share these days?

IMG_5350Enter the mini pie. One for each person and no touching of shared serving dishes or utensils required. Plus, they’re adorable.

IMG_5252I made these seasonal strawberry mini pies with my signature spike of tea in both the crust and the filling. Earl Grey tea is a lovely pairing with sweet and tart summer strawberries.

IMG_5298Why this recipe works with tea: Tea leaves add interest and texture to a pie crust; simply add a tablespoon or so to the dough’s dry ingredients. Admittedly, tea leaves alone do not add a lot of flavor to pie crust. So I steeped a couple of Earl Grey tea bags in the cooked portion of the strawberry filling. This added a subtle hint of bitter tannins from the black tea and floral citrus from the tea’s bergamot flavoring.

IMG_5342Making these has spurred ideas for other mini pandemic pies. Floral jasmine tea with tart lemon filling? Smoky lapsang souchong tea with rich chicken pot pie filling? Spicy chai tea with sweet blueberry filling? Roasted oolong tea with creamy banana filling? The possibilities are (almost) endless.

Happy cooking & sipping!

P.S. I used Earl Grey from Amora Coffee’s Tea to Home Delivery Program. Thanks for sending me a sample your organic artisan teas to cook with, Amora!

IMG_5556

Strawberry Earl Grey Mini Pies {Recipe}

Adapted by Suzanne Klein, Tea Foodie. Crust adapted from Mary’s Lemon Sponge Pie in Ian Knauer’s cookbook The Farm. Filling adapted from Samantha Seneviratne’s Fresh Strawberry Pie for New York Times Cooking.

Makes 4 mini pies

Ingredients

For the crust:

1¼ cups all-purpose flour

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cubed and cold

1 teaspoon brown sugar

½ teaspoon kosher salt

2 Earl Grey pyramid tea bags, bags emptied and tea leaves roughly crushed*

2 to 3 tablespoons cold water

*Pyramid tea bags contain whole leaf tea, versus round or square tea bags which contain very fine cut tea. Crushed whole tea leaves from pyramid bags yield a better texture for pie crust. Two pyramid tea bags yield about 1 tablespoon Earl Grey tea. Use fingers or a mortar & pestle to crush tea leaves.

For the filling:

2 pounds strawberries, hulled and quartered

1⁄3 cup sugar

1⁄4 cup cornstarch

2 tablespoons strawberry preserves

Pinch of kosher salt

2 tablespoons water

2 Earl Grey pyramid tea bags

Juice of half a lemon

Preparation

You’ll need 4 (5-inch) mini pie tins. The dough needs an hour of chilling before baking, and the baked crust needs at least an hour of cooling before filling. Once the baked crusts are filled, the pies need to chill in the fridge for at least four hours to set. These pies will last up to three days in the fridge, covered with plastic wrap.

For the crust:

1. In medium bowl, use fingers or pastry cutter to work flour, butter, brown sugar, and salt together until mostly combined into a sandy mixture. Use fork to stir in crushed tea leaves. Using same fork, stir in 1 tablespoon cold water at a time until mixture comes together enough to press into a ball of dough.

2. Divide dough into 4 pieces and press each piece into a round disk about 1-inch thick. Wrap each disk of dough in plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour.

3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and set mini pie tins on baking sheet.

4. On floured work surface, roll each disk of dough into about a 7-inch circle. Line each pie tin with dough. Fold any overhanging dough underneath itself around edges of pie tin to bulk up the rim of the pie crust. Use tines of a fork to press a rustic pattern around the rim. Poke bottom and sides of dough with same fork, about 10 pokes.

5. Lightly press piece of foil or parchment paper into each dough-lined pie tin and fill with pie weights or dried beans. (It takes about 1 pound dried beans to fill 4 mini pie tins.) Bake until edges of crusts just start to brown, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove pie weights and foil and return crusts to oven until golden brown all over, about 10 more minutes. Transfer pie crusts to rack to cool completely, about 1 hour.

For the filling:

1. Place strawberries in large bowl. Transfer 2 cups of the berries to small saucepan and roughly crush with wooden spoon or potato masher.

2. Add sugar, cornstarch, preserves, and salt to saucepan with berries and stir to combine. Add water and tea bags and bring to a boil over medium heat. Once boiling, cook for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and let cool for about 5 minutes.

3. Remove tea bags and use spatula to transfer cooked strawberry mixture to bowl with reserved strawberries. Add lemon juice and stir to to coat fresh strawberries with cooked strawberry mixture.

4. Divide strawberry filling among cooled crusts. Transfer to fridge to chill for at least 4 hours before serving.

 

One Comment Add yours

  1. Yes please! These sound fantastic

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