These lil suckers are my (mostly) annual Valentine’s tradition, in honor of the oh-so-quirky, cancelled-before-its-time tv show Pushing Daisies. In one episode, the cute (but undead) Chuck makes these pies, and if you can say no to the earnest look on her face then you truly have no heart.
(The show was also one of the bonding forces between me and my high school sweetheart, meaning that I had a moment of pause going into my first Valentine’s Day after my breakup. What are the logistics of carrying burnt out candles with you? Etc.)
Eventually I made up my mind to make them, because they’re cute and delicious and I just had a feeling that this would be the year I got them just right; I am not a typically domestic person, so every year prior my cup pies had some sort of glaring flaw. The first year they got stuck in the tin, the second I burned some. The third year, I got a machine in the clearance section of a department store that would actually press the pies into shape (similar to a waffle iron) but the crust came out sort of suspicious and waxy. The fourth year I was just a moody loner.
SHUT UP & TELL ME HOW TO MAKE THE DAMN PIES ALREADY
Ok first things first: how much effort are you willing to expend? I recommend going all out & pouring your heart into it, because it’s kind of a high-effort endeavor no matter what. Don’t be afraid to get emotionally invested in the pie and do extra lil things to make them pretty/give them a special touch. No matter what though, you have to start with the…
You can totally buy crust at the grocery store and use that. 100% an option, you will lose no respect in my eyes.
I made my own this year, based off of this recipe. Lacking a food processor, I just kinda chopped up the cold butter and rolled up my sleeves and mixed everything with my hands. The big thing you need to know about pie crust is that it’s important for things to be cold; you have to use rockhard butter (or butterlike thing), cold water to help get it mixed, and then chill it. This is because the fat in the butter/margarine/whatever will change when it finally gets baked, which is what makes everything so flaky & good.
Another important thing is that YOU CAN FREEZE PIE CRUST for like two months. You don’t have to set aside your whole Saturday to fuck with pies — you can make the dough on a free evening and then do the rest later. Just don’t do what I did and forget to move the pie crust from the freezer to the fridge when you want to use it — if you freeze it, it’ll need time to thaw to the point where you can roll it.
Finally: MAKE TONS OF DOUGH. Like, more than you think you’ll need. You can always pop it back into the freezer, but I doubled the NYT recipe I linked and still barely finished the dozen pies I wanted to make.
MAKING THE PIES
Although I pretty much go rogue with cooking (despite the fact that I do so very poorly) I did consult with/adapt this recipe.
I actually put my pies in cupcake paper, and I highly recommend it because it makes it easier to shape the crust and get the pie out after it’s done baking.
Start by rolling out the crust. Then, find a small bowl/large cup and use it to cut out circles from the dough. Dough goes into the cupcake paper.
Once you’ve filled all those up, you can pour in your filling. I used canned apple pie filling, although you can totally go cherry or whatever, or make the filling yourself if you want! There are endless filling possibilities here — you could make each pie different! (Maybe sprinkle in a lil cinnamon into apple pies, throw some cheese onto a pear pie, and so on!)
After that, I topped the pies with a lattice crust because I didn’t have enough dough left to completely cover all of them. (Although I think they turned out super cute because of this!) If you want to be super fancy, brush whisked egg onto the tops of the pies. Then bake those lil bb’s at 350 for 25ish minutes.
After mine were done baking, I sprinkled some red baking sugar over the tops to give them some Valentine’s spirit. Let them cool for 15 minutes, and then they’re ready to take out of the cupcake tin! (Which is pretty easy because they’re in paper.)
I don’t want to pat myself on the back (except I totally do)– these are a delicious way to win the affection of assorted friends, love interests, and most importantly, your own tastebuds. Hope y’all like them —