Have you ever seen these vintage mini metal pie pans? They’re about 4″ wide and only 3/4″ inch deep or so. I think I’ve seen them at almost every estate sale and thrift store I’ve ever been to.
At some point, back in the day, mini desserts were very chic. And suddenly I feel like I missed my calling. In a world that wants outrageous desserts crammed with as many flavors as possible (and laden with as many processed calories as possible), my petite desserts are crumbs. I’m just making mini pies today. With one nectarine. It seems small. It seems like a lot of effort for two mini pies. But, they’re special little pies because they’re flecked with vanilla bean. If a sparkling crust isn’t pretty enough, a pinky-peach pie filling with black specks will win the beauty pageant.
I tried to keep it as simple as possible—you don’t even have to peel the nectarines. The thin nectarine skin melts in the oven. They’re also responsible for the pink hue. I love the skins because I think they add a bit of tartness. However, don’t forget the lemon for tartness. I made these once without lemon, and they tasted flat. As I’ve learned with juicing, lemon is important for flavor in fruit desserts.
If you want to bake 4 mini pies instead of just 2, I’ll include instructions in the recipe below. From there, you can triple the recipe (or quadruple,or whatever-your-little-heart-desires).
If you haven’t scooped up a few of these vintage mini pans before, you can make this recipe in muffin cups. You will get a few more pies out of it that way. I think you’ll know what to do with the leftovers. I know a puppy who might like them.
- 1 cup (120 grams) flour
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoons (60 grams) unsalted butter, cold
- 1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 3-4 tablespoons (45-60 mL) ice cold water
For the filling:
- 1 medium nectarine
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1/2 a vanilla bean, scraped
- 1 egg yolk, for brushing crust
- sparkling sugar, for crust
- In a small bowl, combine the flour,2 teaspoons sugar and salt. Dice the cold butter and add it to the bowl. Work the butter into the flour mixture using your finger tips or a pastry blender. The butter should be evenly distributed throughout the flour and smaller than peas. Take your time, it takes a few minutes.
- Next, add the apple cider vinegar to 3 tablespoons of water, and add this to the flour mixture. Stir with a fork until a shaggy dough forms. If the dough seems dry and won't clump together in your hand when squeezed, add the remaining tablespoon of water.
- Form the dough into a 5" disk, flatten, and wrap in plastic. Chill for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, dice the nectarine (leave the skin on). Place the nectarine in a bowl with 3 tablespoons of sugar, cornstarch and lemon juice. Stir very well. Set aside to let the juices develop.
- Preheat the oven to 375.
- Remove the dough from the fridge, and roll out on a floured surface. Roll it wide enough to have room for 4 pies (even though you are only making 2--you need a bottom and top crust). Cut out two bottom crusts and two top crusts about 1" larger the the pans.. Drape the bottom crusts in the two pie pans.
- Stir the nectarines, and then add the vanilla bean. Enough juices should have been released to let the vanilla bean evenly distribute throughout the mixture.
- Divide the nectarine mixture between the two bottom crusts. Add the top crusts, and pinch together.
- Brush each pie with egg yolk, sprinkle with sanding sugar, and place on a small baking sheet. Bake for for 30 minutes, or until nicely browned. Let cool for at least 1 hour before serving.
***To make 4 crusts, double the filling ingredients, except only increase the cornstarch to 3 tablespoons. The pie crust becomes:
1 cup + 2 tablespoons flour
2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons cold butter, diced
1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
4-5 tablespoons ice cold water