As the person in your life who loves to miniaturize your favorite desserts, I should have made these mini pies in muffin cups for y’all sooner.  I apologize for that.

This is my new favorite way to eat pie because it cooks in half the time of a regular pie.  There’s plenty of room to play with this recipe:  make 2 pies in Texas-sized muffin cups or 4 pies in a standard muffin pan.  Switch up the fruit, mix up the spices, etc.  I used apple pie spice in these peach pies (will I be arrested for this?).

I recently wrote an article for a food magazine in which I brazenly declared lard to be the supreme fat for pie crust.  Are y’all scared of lard?  I find most people are, so I’ve only shared my all-butter pie crust recipe here on Dessert For Two.  But today, for the adventurous ones out there, I give you my go-to pie crust recipe with lard.  I cut my full-sized recipe directly in half to make these mini pies.  So yes, if you double it, you will have a single pie crust for a large 9” pie.

The key to cooking with lard is to use FRESH lard.  Fresh lard has not been hydrogenated with trans fats, and is only found in the refrigerated section of your grocery store (not in shelf-stable packages).  If you’re having trouble locating it, try a Latin grocer.

Have fun with these pies.  Mix up the flavors and fillings, and maybe take the time to make a pretty edge before placing them in the oven?  Lord knows I’m way too impatient to do that myself.  Send me pictures of your mini pie variations on my facebook page.  I’d love to see!

Mini Peach Pies

Mini Peach Pies

Makes 4 small pies in regular muffin cups, or 2 pies in Texas-sized muffin cups

Ingredients

For the pie crust:

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lard (or solid vegetable shortening)
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons flour, plus extra for rolling
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2-3 tablespoons cold water

For the filling:

  • 1 medium ripe peach
  • 1/4 teaspoon apple pie spice
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • milk for brushing on top
  • coarse sugar for dusting on top (optional)

Instructions

  1. First, make the crust: place the butter and fresh lard onto a plate, dice it into small pieces, then place it in the freezer for 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk together all remaining pie crust ingredients (except the water). Once 10 minutes has elapsed, add the slightly frozen butter and lard to the flour mixture and cut it in until it is the size of grains of rice. Use a pastry cutter or two butter knives. Next, add 2 tablespoons of the water and press it into the dough with a spatula, turning and smashing it in to the dough. Add extra water if it's not coming together or appears too crumbly. Dump the mixture on a piece of plastic wrap, shape it into a disc, then store it in the fridge for 20 minutes to let it rest.
  3. While the dough is resting, preheat the oven to 375° and peel and dice the peach. In a small bowl, stir together the peach with the apple pie spice, sugar and cornstarch. Set aside.
  4. After the dough has rested, flour a clean counter and roll it out to 1/4" thickness.
  5. If you're using a standard muffin pan: use a 3" round biscuit cutter to cut out 4 circles of dough, placing each one in the bottom of 4 muffin cups. Divide the peach mixture between all 4 cups. Then, use a 2" round biscuit cutter to cut out 4 more circles of dough and place them on top of the peaches. Pinch together the bottom and top pieces of dough, then cut a slit in the top of each pie before brushing with milk and sprinkling with coarse sugar.
  6. If you're using Texas-sized muffin cups: use a 4" round biscuit cutter for the bottom crusts and a 3" cutter for the top crusts.
  7. Bake for 30-33 minutes, or until the peach filling is bubbling and the bottom crust is golden brown (use the tip of a knife to peak). Let cool slightly before serving.