I have a friend on Facebook that I've known since I believe 3rd grade. Her name is Jaime. I think it's safe to say that she's my "Baking Idol". She bakes all the time and everything always sounds so wonderful and looks so great. One time, she posted a link to Our Best Bites which is a blog similar to this one - only bigger (currently! Maybe one day, I'll pass them! LOL)...they have crafting and baking ideas on there. I found and fell in love with: Pies in a Jar...
So here's the quick scoop on how to make these:
Get wide-mouth mason jars. (Here's a link to some on Amazon, but more and more grocery and big-box-type stores are carrying them now... Ball Regular Mason Canning Jar 1/2 Pt., Case of 12 It's very important to get the WIDE-MOUTH jar...
Next, make the pie crust. You can use a store-bought crust, but I think you lose some of the level of creativity available when you do that. LOL Our Best Bites had a recipe for a Galette. It's a panless pastry. But the crust is all I'm interested in... 2 cup flour, 11 Tablespoons real butter (no exceptions!), 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and 4-5 Tablespoons of ice water. Put the flour and salt in a bowl. Cut COLD butter from the fridge into smaller chunks and put them on top of the flour mixture. Cut the butter into the flour until the butter is in crumbly pieces. Add ice water a tablespoon at a time while stirring the mixture with a fork. It'll be able to form up into a ball.
You do NOT need to spray the jars or put anything in them to make the sides and bottom greasy. You have butter in the yummy crust that will help with that! Take pieces of your crust and line the jars on the bottom and sides with the crust. You should go to the top of the jar - or darn close to it!
For the filling, you CAN use a canned fruit, but if you have the time and patience (or a great hubby like I had for the first round of this), I'd go for fresh fruit. In this case, I made an apple pie filling with chopped apples. We had a lot of apples, so while the recipe just calls for 3 Tablespoons of flour, I mixed in a bit more flour with the apples. Then, add sugar to taste - up to 1/2 of a cup. I believe for these, I used very little sugar. Since I was using apples, I also mixed in a bit of cinnamon (nothing measured... just mixed til I had a pretty color) and some lemon juice to save the integrity of the apples (at least - I believe that's why! LOL). Mix all of that up with your fruit.
Divide your filling out amongst your jars. I had enough that I could do all 12 jars. (If you're going to go overboard, do it right! LOL). I filled the apple pies a bit too much and there ended up being some overflowage after baking. I would stop with like a half of an inch to go at least. Then, dot some butter on top of the fruit. (Finally, I have some pics from this point forward!)
Next, decide how you want to top your pie. Remember to leave some sort of opening for steam to escape while you are baking. Since I made an apple pie, a lattice top just made sense! I laid a snake of dough on top of the lattice to make it look a little more eye-pleasing, brushed some melted butter on top, and sprinkled it with Splenda (since we didn't have sugar - Splenda is a great fill-in!).
At this point, I STRONGLY suggest putting the mason jar top on and putting them in the freezer. We had some right away and compared to the ones we had after they were in the freezer for a while, they weren't as good. The freezer helps build up the moisture and created sort of a "sauce" in the pie. Was definitely worth it to freeze it.
When you are ready to make them, remove the lids and put the jars on a cookie sheet (always be prepared in case of overflowage!). It's ok to put the jars right in the oven rather than defrosting them... If you are real concerned (like we were), just put the jars and sheet into the oven before preheating and then they will warm up with the oven. Put them in the oven at 375-degrees for 50-60 minutes (baking them fresh, only leave them in for about 45 min). The top should be a nice golden brown.
O. M. G. Isn't that the most yummy-looking pie ever?!?! To eat, you can either eat it right from the jar or you can pop it out of the jar... The greasier crust (since we used the extra-buttery, extra-yummy crust recipe!) helps it pop out with a bit more ease... although we did use a butter-knife around the sides to loosen it up a bit.
And just so you know - this hot apple pie and whipped cream? You'll think you would have died and gone to Heaven!
The best part about these pies-in-a-jar is that if you and your family can't fully agree on the best pie, you can make many different options (easier, of course, if you use the canned pie filling!)! It's just a matter of putting in the different fillings! And then you can use a Sharpie marker to write on the mason jar top what kind of pie is inside!!