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Discover India Hicks

Discover India Hicks
Discover India Hicks

Party Pleasers: Little Cuties

 
I love the idea of Little Cuties. Translation: Fruit, custard, cream or meringue mini-pies baked in ½-pint, oven-safe mason jars. What a perfectly portioned treat. Just press the crust into the containers (available at Amazon, Walmart, even your hardware store). Choose a canned filling or whip one up yourself. Come dessert time, there’s no need to cut and serve. “People can grab a jar and dig right in,” says Shaina Olmanson, author of Desserts in Jars: 50 Sweet Treats That Shine. “They’re great for parties.” And your waistline - as long as you eat just one. Great as gifts too!

:: 2 Crowd Pleasing Little Cutie Ideas :: 

Mini Apple Pies: Who doesn't love apple pie!?!?

Ingredients:

2 boxes refrigerated pie crusts
8 Tbsp. butter
1/4 C flour
1/4 C granulated sugar
1/4 C brown sugar
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp salt
6 C sliced apples
1/2 C dried cranberries (optional)

Directions:

1. Heat oven to 350° and set out 8 wide-mouth 8 oz jars. Cut out eight 6-inch circles and eight small circles (using jar lid as guide) from 2 boxes refrigerated pie crusts. Press into bottom, up side and over the lip of jars.

2. In saucepan, melt 8 tbsp butter over medium-high heat. Stir in 1/4 cup all-purpose flour and cook, whisking continuously, until golden brown, 2 minutes. Add 1/4 cup each granulated sugar and brown sugar, 1 tbsp lemon juice, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp nutmeg and 1/8 tsp salt and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and pour over 6 cups peeled, cored and thinly sliced apples and, if desired, 1/2 cup dried cranberries. Toss to coat. Spoon into jars.

3. Cut small dough circles into strips; weave into lattice and crimp edges. Brush with lightly beaten egg and sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Place jars 2 inches apart on large baking sheet. Bake at 350° for 45 to 55 minutes or until golden. Allow to cool.

Lemon Meringue Pies with a Thyme-Shortbread Crust : Herbed shortbread becomes the crust for this classic lemon meringue pie, adding a bit of a twist on an old favorite. These tiny treats will win the hearts of the lemon lovers in your life.

Ingredients:

For the shortbread crusts:
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves

For the lemon filling:
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups water
1 cup fresh lemon juice, from about 4 lemons
Grated zest of 4 lemons
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
8 large egg yolks, beaten

For the meringue:
8 large egg whites
1/2 cup sugar

Makes 10 individual lemon meringue pies

Directions:

1. Make the dough for the crusts: Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes on medium-high speed. Mix together the flour, cornstarch, and thyme in a separate bowl. Add the flour mixture to the butter and mix until incorporated.

2. Have ready eight wide-mouthed 8-ounce jars. Turn out the dough onto a piece of parchment paper. Shape the dough into a long cylinder with a diameter 1/2 inch smaller than the diameter of the jars you are using. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

3. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Slice 1/4-inch slices of dough from the roll and place a slice in the bottom of each jar. Place the jars 2 inches apart on a large baking sheet. Bake the crusts for 10 minutes until just lightly golden. Remove from the oven and set aside.

4. Make the filling: Combine the sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a medium-size saucepan. Mix in the water, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Bring to a boil over medium heat, and stir in the butter until it is melted. Place the egg yolks in a heatproof bowl. Slowly pour 1/2 cup of the lemon mixture into the egg yolks, whisking continuously to temper the eggs. Whisk the egg yolks into the saucepan. Bring to a boil again and continue to cook over medium-high heat until the lemon filling is thick, about 5 minutes. Spoon the filling into the warm jars over the crust.

5. Make the meringue: In a large bowl, beat the egg whites until foamy. Beat in the sugar 1 tablespoon at a time until all is incorporated. Beat at medium-high speed until stiff peaks form. Spoon or pipe the meringue over the lemon filling in the jars, mounding it in the center to create peaks.

6. Place the jars 2 inches apart on a large baking sheet. Bake the pies for 10 minutes, or just until the meringue is golden brown. Remove from the oven, let cool completely, and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. Serve cold.

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