This Love letter Mini Pie can be the cutest, most heartwarming Gift to your loved One on Valentine´s day and beyond!
There is only one thing better than Pie and it is Mini Pie or Hand Pie as some refer to it! If you feel intimidated by making a full size Pie (by the way check my EASY pie crust tutorial in here), this is the perfect easy Mini pie recipe for you! I love everything about these Valentine´s day Love letter Mini Pies; the filling to crust ratio, how easy and quick to make them, the creaminess of the filling and the flakiness of the pie dough, the way how the buttery crust bonds with the most amazing cherry filling! Perfection!
No cherry at hand? No worries! Use your favourite raspberry or strawberry jam or any traditional Pie filling of your choice!
These individual Hand Pies taste amazing served warm, room temperature, or even cold. Due to the moist cherry filling and the buttery dough, they stay super moist for days, not that they will last that long. Easier to make than full size Pies and can be the perfect Valentine´s day gift this year!
My Top 5 Baking Tips for home bakers
- Read the recipe carefully including my tips and recommendations on how to avoid and fix typical issues during baking
- Avoid using substitutes and changing the recipe unless you are aware of how to fully reformulate the recipe in order to keep the balance in texture as well as flavour. Reducing sugar, replacing egg, using ingredients not on the right temperature etc. will all have an impact on your baking
- For consistent, happy baking experience always measure your ingredients with the help of a Digital scale. Cup measurement is provided as an indicative figure only and might be used for less complex and large batch recipes however it is not an appropriate method for more delicate, complex pastries
- Did you know that most home ovens can significantly under or oven run? Also, oven temperature hugely drops when opening the oven door therefore it is recommended to always pre-heat the oven above the required baking temperature.
- Temperature is so important when it comes to baking and accurate oven temperature is key, can make or break any recipe. Make sure you invest into an inexpensive Digital oven thermometer to avoid under baked, burnt, sad looking desserts
Let’s start with some important notes regarding the ingredients of this Love letter Mini Pie recipe for Valentine´s day
For the pie crust
- Flour: Use AP flour with medium protein content. If you want to be a Pro when it comes to deciding what type of flour to use in your baking, please read my article in here
- Salt: An essential ingredient in most of the dessert recipes. Balances flavour and enhances other ingredients
- Sugar: I am using a tiny bit of granulated sugar in the pie dough but it is not necessary. In general, pie crust should not be sweet, it is the filling that brings the sweetness. If you want to learn about the different types of sugar and how to use them in baking, please read my article in here
- Butter: Use always unsalted as you want to be in control of the quantity of the salt. I am using 82% fat content butter in all my recipes. While in most of the recipes butter needs to be on room temperature, this is an exception. Butter needs to be chilled, which means take the butter out of the fridge, cut into cubes then place it into the freezer for 10-15 minutes before using it. Please note that working with cold butter is absolutely key to reach the right consistency of your pie dough!
- Egg: This pie crust does not contain egg, good news if you are looking for an eggless pie recipe. If egg does not concern you, you can use egg yolk with a tiny amount of cream for egg washing the top of the hand pies. Please see details later
- Water: Water needs to be chilled similarly to butter. I am adding 80 g of water however if you are using a different flour, you might need to adjust the quantity paying attention to the right consistency that I will explain later in more details
For the filling
- Cherry Jam: I had some good quality cherry jam in my pantry, feel free use any raspberry or strawberry jam or make your own by cooking fresh or frozen berries with a small amount of sugar and splash of lemon juice until it thickens. (or use pektin and it will thicken in a minute) So easy! The only thing you have to consider is the consistency. Make sure the filling is too runny otherwise it will make the pie crust too wet
Now let’s continue with my top 3 tips of making this easy Mini Pie recipe for Valentine´s day
1. How to achieve the best flaky pie crust
If you ever mistakenly baked dense, hard pie crust you know what I am talking about… Pie crust should be flaky, almost like puff pastry but without the pain of spending 3 days with lamination. (yet if you feel strong and want to make puff pastry, find my tutorial in here!)
So how to achieve flaky pie crust without lamination? In fact it is super easy if you follow 3 simple rules:
1. Make sure all ingredients of the pie dough are very cold at all time, even your kitchen temperature should be relatively cold (18-20c). If at any point the dough gets too warm or butter starts to melt, pop it back the freezer for a minute or two. Avoid using extra flour, instead, make sure the ingredients and later the dough is nice and cold 2. Do not use a mixer, do not over work or knead the pie dough, in fact butter chunks staying in the dough encourage the pie to achieve a lovely flaky texture 3. Avoid soggy bottom at all cost, so make sure the filling does not make the pie crust wet as obviously soggy pie crust can’t be flaky! I use some almond flour under the filling, that is a super simple and delicious trick
2. How to roll the pie dough out
The format you are looking for the envelop shape is a 10cm (4 inches) square. How to achieve that? You either roll the dough into a 20cm (8inch) square then cut it into 4 or you roll the dough into a 40x10cm (16×4 inches) rectangle and cut that into 4. The pic below shows the rectangle version.
Either way you have to make the Pie dough ahead , divide it into two, cover with plastic wrap and and let them rest in the fridge for minimum 2 hours. It is incredible difficult to roll out a Pie dough that is not chilled, please make your life easier by not skipping this step.
After 2 hours chilling time, take one of the pie dough disks out of the fridge and let it rest few minutes on the kitchen counter. The dough should stay cold but slightly warmed up to be able to roll it out without breaking it.
It is very important that you keep the pie dough cold enough to be able to work with it. Remember, if pie dough becomes sticky and butter starts to melt while rolling, you have to control the temperature of the pie dough by chilling it quickly in the fridge or freezer instead of adding more flour!
Transfer the pie dough onto a very lightly floured surface, even better if using Silicone baking mat that prevents the dough from sticking. Start rolling the dough into a 40x10cm (16×4 inches) rectangle or 20cm (8inch) square. No need to add flour while rolling, the pie dough should be cold enough not to stick to the kitchen counter.
Aim to roll the dough into one of the sizes mentioned above, then use a knife and trim the dough into the exact size then cut into 4 equal squares – they will be the used to make the envelops. I recommend to make 10cm / 4 inch size as anything bigger can be too large for individual pie size, anything smaller won´t give you enough filling in my view, however feel free to do it according to your taste. Please note that any leftover dough can be used and rolled out again however might need to chill it first for 10-15 minutes. I used the leftover dough for the heart pattern on the envelops. By the way I made hearts by cutting them out with a knife, you can also use a tiny cookie cutter if you have such a baking equipment.
Refrigerate the squares for 10-15 minutes before filling.
3. How to fill the Mini Pies and turn them into an envelop shape
After chilling time, place the squares onto parchment paper or even better if using Perforated “air” baking mat for even baking. Place about half tablespoon of almond flour then 1 tablespoons of filling in the center of each pie crust. The almond meal is needed to avoid leakage and soggy pie crust. Make sure, that you do not overfill the pies.
If the pie dough is cold enough, continue with folding it into an envelop shape otherwise chill it. Do not force it if it´s too warm. For the envelop, fold opposite corners into the middle then fold the buttom corner on top. Gently “seal” the envelop with your fingers to avoid leakage while baking.
Once you are ready with the envelops, place the heart shapes in the middle and continue with applying egg wash on top – if dough still nice and cold, otherwise chill it first. Remember, if at any point pie crust gets warm, place it into the freezer for a minute or two but do not force it.
At this point you might be tempted to finally bake the hand pies but instead place them into the freezer for 15 minutes while pre-heating your oven to 190C / 374F. Freezing helps to hold their shape while baking. Apply some fine lines on the envelopes before baking as seen on the picture above, they make them look more like real envelopes!
How do I know that the pies are baked? Always check the bottom! If it does not look wet and has a nice golden colour, very likely your pies are done! In case top was browning, cover with aluminum foil until bottom properly bakes.
Do you want to try some of my other Pies?
Check this super easy and yummy Apple Hand Pie recipe
Or this incredible Pumpkin Pie recipe including tons of tips and tricks to avoid soggy bottom!
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Now let´s see the recipe of this Love letter Mini Pie for Valentine´s day!
Love Letter Mini Pie
- Jam of your choice eg. raspberry, cherry, strawberry
- Almond flour small amount under the filling
US customary cup measurement is an indicative figure only. Measure the ingredients with a digital scale by weight (gram). Baking is art but also science which requires precision and accuracy.
Start with Pie dough
- In a large bowl whisk flour, sugar and salt until fully combined and cut butter into small cubes
- Pop butter cubes, flour mixture and water into the freezer for 10-15 minutes
- Once all ingredients are nicely chilled, add very cold butter cubes into flour and rub the mixture between your fingers until it becomes a sand like consistency. Leave some bigger butter chunks in the mixture, no need to fully incorporate butter into flour
- Add very cold water into the dough, a small amount at a time and stir with a spatula or wooden spoon after each addition
- Start working the dough with your hands. First it will look crumby but it should come together in the next minute or so. Remember, leave in some butter chunks, do not overwork the dough, do not use a mixer
Assembling and Baking
- After 2 hours, take one of the pie dough disks out of the fridge and let it rest few minutes on the kitchen counter. The dough should stay cold but slightly warmed up to be able to roll it out without breaking it. Once you are done with the first half of the dough repeat the same for the other half
- Transfer the disk to lightly floured surface or Silicone baking mat and start rolling it out. Make sure you turn the dough with your hands after each rolling so it will become even. No need to add too much flour while rolling, the pie dough should be cold enough not to stick to the kitchen counter. If at any point the dough gets too warm, pop it back to the freezer for a minute and continue
- Roll the dough either into a 20cm (8inch) square or a 40x10cm (16×4 inches) rectangle,. Trim with a sharp knife to achieve the exact size then cut into 4 – they will be the envelopes. Place the squares into the fridge for 15 minutes before filling
- The leftover trimmed dough can be reused after chilling, make the heart shapes out of it
- After chilling time ends, place the squares on parchment paper or even better if using Perforated "air" baking mat for even baking
- Place about 1/2 tablespoon of almond flour and approx 1 tablespoon of filling in the center of each crust then fold it into an envelope shape if the dough is cold enough otherwise chill
- Place the hearts on top and apply egg wash
- Place unbaked hand pies to the freezer for 15 minutes while pre-heating oven to 190C / 374F
- Bake for about 30 minutes or until top is golden brown and bottom is evenly baked
- Let hand pies slightly cool in the baking tray for 5 minutes then move them onto a cooling rack