The Mini Pie Revolution continues and this time it is all about mini-sized pot pies. As much as I love cake (and I do love cake) this is where pies can separate themselves from most other forms and you can make an entire meal of nothing but pie.
Since I love chicken pot pie so much, and always have the makings on hand, it was fun to try to make miniature ones. I used my usual recipe here for chicken pot pie and made a homemade crust for the pies. Although biscuit toppings for our savory mini-pies was allowed, and that is usually the topping I use, I thought it would be fun to try a pastry crust for once.
I used a jumbo muffin tin to make these, so they were the perfect size for individual servings. The directions for the crust and assembly of these mini pies is below. The crust recipe I used is my “go-to” recipe for pie crust, I ended up doubling the recipe shown below.
Basic Pie Crust
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Collection Series, Pie & Tart, by Carolyn Beth Weil (Simon & Schuster, 2003)
1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 Tbs. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
8 Tbs. (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 4-inch cubes
3 Tbs. very cold water
1 egg, lightly beaten with 1 teaspoon water for egg wash
To make the dough by hand, in a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar and salt. Using a pastry cutter or 2 knives, cut the butter into the flour mixture until the texture resembles coarse cornmeal, with butter pieces no larger than small peas. Add the water and mix with a fork just until the dough pulls together. To make the dough in a stand mixer, fit the mixer with the paddle attachment, and stir together the flour, sugar and salt in the mixer bowl.
Add the butter and toss with a fork to coat with the flour mixture. Mix on medium-low speed until the texture resembles coarse cornmeal, with the butter pieces no larger than small peas. Add the water and mix on low speed just until the dough pulls together. Transfer the dough to a work surface, pat into a ball and flatten into a disk. (If you have doubled the recipe, you should divide the dough into two disks at this point, one slightly larger than the other. The larger of the two will be for the bottom crusts of the pies). (Although many dough recipes call for chilling the dough at this point, this dough should be rolled out immediately for the best results.) Lightly flour the work surface, then flatten the disk with 6 to 8 gentle taps of the rolling pin.
Lift the dough and give it a quarter turn. Lightly dust the top of the dough or the rolling pin with flour as needed, then roll out into a round at least 12 inches in diameter and about 1/8 inch thick. Roll out the second dough disk into a round at least 12 inches in diameter and about 1/8 inch thick and refrigerate until ready to use.
For the bottom crusts, cut the dough into a circle large (or small) enough to fit into your muffin pan, all the way up the sides. Make sure to prick the dough all over with a fork in each cup. Bake the bottom crusts for 15 minutes, until puffed and lightly browning, in a 400 degree (F) oven.
Remove from the oven and fill with the chicken mixture, top each cup with another cut of dough round large enough to cover the entire topping. Cut vent holes into the top of each crust.
Brush lightly with egg wash. Bake in 400 degree (F) oven for 15 minutes, or until crust is lightly browned.
Make-Ahead Tip: Pie dough may be made ahead and frozen for up to 2 months. To freeze, place the dough round on a 12-inch cardboard circle and wrap it well with plastic wrap. Alternatively, use the round to line a pie pan or dish, flute the edge and wrap well.
NOTE: I often end up with more filling than crusts to fill. Just put the extra into freezer bags or containers and freeze until the next time you are ready to make pot pies.