Friday, August 27, 2010

Pie pops

I'm not much of a baker.  Not that things generally turn out badly when I bake, but I don't do it very often and I'm wildly inefficient.  There are a handful of things I'm comfortable making, but my skill set doesn't necessarily translate to other projects.

However, last night, I made pie pops.

Every year since 2005, my friends and I have gathered for a potluck feast on the afternoon of another annual tradition.  Every year, my contribution has been baklava.  Baklava is something my family has made at least annually for as long as I can remember, so it wasn't a big deal.  But last year ago I saw this post on luxirare, and became smitten with the idea of pie pops.  Little pies on sticks!  I think the blog's elegant photos had a lot to do with my interest, but either way I was hooked.  It seemed like a fun project for a gathering, and since this year's potluck is later in the season than usual, it seemed like a good fit for summer.  I hadn't made pie since junior high cooking class, and I had vague plans to do a trial run earlier in the year.  It never happened.  So yesterday after work, sink or swim, it was on.

The luxirare blog is lovely, but didn't offer step-by-step instructions.  Internet research turned up a helpful instructables article by scoochmaroo and post by bakerella.  I wanted to use more than one filling, and chose two that seemed summery to me: the peach filling from scoochmaroo, and the filling for a blueberry pie recipe I found on allrecipes.  I seriously considered making my own pie crust, but in the end decided to use store-bought dough.  Thank goodness.

As mentioned above, I'm not an efficient baker.  I started the project at 5:30, and - including a 30-minute break for dinner and another 30-minute break to accomplish some random tasks later on - I finished at 11:30.  Five hours to turn out sixty pie pops.  Probably not a speed record.

One of the most time-consuming parts was - sadly - peeling, pitting, and chopping four peaches.  It must have taken me the better part of an hour.  How is that even possible?  The recipe claimed that if I boiled the peaches for five minutes and then transferred them directly to ice water, they would peel easily.  This was a lie.  I ended up using a vegetable peeler.  Also, I am the worst chopper in the world.  Partly because I have don't have a good chopping knife, but mostly because I'm just bad at it.  Slippery skinned peaches aren't the easiest things to finely chop.

The blueberry filling was relatively simple.  The only change I made to the recipe was adding a tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice and increasing the cornstarch as suggested in the comments.  I put the fillings in the fridge and ate dinner while I preheated the oven and took out the pie crusts to warm up.   Then the assembly line began.

The most time-consuming part of putting the pie pops together was sealing each one with the end of a lollipop stick.  Still, I made decent time.  The pops baked at 375 for about 15 minutes per sheet, and I was usually almost ready to put the next sheet in the oven when one came out.  Each roll of crust made 12-15 pops on the first go-round, and I used two double rolls.  I rolled out the remains for the last sheet and got eight more.  I could have kept going - I had more crust in the fridge and barely made a dent in my filling - but sixty pops was all I could handle in one evening.  I hope I find time to make a pie or two with my remaining ingredients before they go bad.  A full-sized pie seems like such a simple task now.

How did they turn out?  I'm not sure.  They didn't burn.  A beaten egg white wash gave them a nice crackly look on top.  The blueberry filling leaked in a colorful manner, but the pops all maintained their structural integrity.  I only tried one, a peach pop from the first batch.  It was tasty, and lot hotter than I expected inside, which led to some undignified open-mouthed hand flapping.  The pops have a high crust-to-filling ratio, but I guess that's to be expected with tiny pie.

Once they were cool, I slid each pie pop into a treat bag and fastened it around the stick.  About halfway through, I grew paranoid: what if the plastic made the pie taste funny?  I was too far along to turn back, though, and the bags themselves had no discernible scent.  I'm hoping for the best.  I put a color-coded sticker on each bag - not that it isn't obvious which pie is which - and put them all into a box in the fridge.  Ready for transport!  Please don't let me forget them.

1 comment:

Heidi said...

SO? Success? Were they a hit? Either way, I'm so doing this. Great post!: )