Part of the reason I started this blog many years ago was because I wanted to participate in the Tuesdays with Dorie baking group. And bake with them I did – for nearly 4 years! Along the way I joined two additional baking groups as well. I loved discovering new-to-me blogs and making new friends through the groups. When Tuesdays with Dorie wrapped up nearly a year and a half ago, though, I was ready for a group break. I wanted more freedom to cook and bake what I wanted, and not have to worry about posting deadlines.
And now, after a little hiatus, my batteries are recharged and I’m excited to be jumping back into the mix with another group, the Pass the Cook Book Club founded by Kita of Pass the Sushi. The idea is simple: each month three recipes are chosen from a selected cookbook, and then each member of the group makes and blogs about one of those recipes. It’s a great way to start getting more use out of the cookbooks sitting on our shelves! And the group only posts once a month, which I find much easier to keep up with as compared to a weekly requirement.
This month, the group is exploring The Picky Palate Cookbook, by Jenny Flake who blogs over at Picky Palate. Of the three recipes selected from the book, two were savory and one was sweet. I’m sure it comes as a shock to no one that I made the sweet one! I am powerless to resist a mini dessert, so these peanut butter and jelly lattice pies were a no-brainer.
I adapted the recipe in two ways. First, I made my own pie dough rather than using store-bought. I’d been wanting to try the recipe my friend Courtney posted and this was the perfect opportunity. I’ve made a million and one pie doughs, but this one is probably the best yet. I’ll feel more comfortable saying that after I’ve tried it a few more times, but my results were great this go-round! The dough was so easy to work with and when it was baked, was incredibly flaky and buttery.
My second change to the recipe was to use wild blueberry preserves in place of strawberry. I’m not sure I’ve ever made a pb&j with blueberry preserves in my life, but the flavor just called out to me at the store. The pies are super simple, the filling consists of just a little bit of sugar mixed with peanut butter and a dollop of the preserves. The assembly of the pies may look complicated but it’s really not, and once you get into the groove it goes very quickly.
I almost didn’t want to eat the pies when they came out of the oven, they were so darn cute! But of course I had to sample one. And it was fantastic!! It’s definitely an example of turning just a few quality ingredients into something special. The mini pies taste just like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich but instead of soft, white bread you get a tender, flaky crust. Total comfort food. It’s the perfect little three bite dessert, and I’m pretty confident kids and adults alike would love these.
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons vegetable shortening, cut into 1/2-inch pieces and chilled
6 tablespoons butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces and chilled
3 tablespoons ice water
1 9-inch pie crust
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup wild blueberry preserves
1 egg white plus 1 teaspoon water (egg wash)
sparkling sugar (to garnish)
Add the flour, sugar, and salt together to the bowl of your food processor. Pulse a few times to combine. Add the shortening and pulse about 4-5 times, or until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Scatter the pieces of butter over the mixture and pulse again, until the pieces of butter are about the size of peas. Drizzle the water into the bowl, and pulse just until the dough starts to hold together – try to work it as little as possible (it took about 3-4 pulses for me). If the mixture is still dry and doesn’t come together, you can add 1 more tablespoon of water.
Turn the dough out onto your work surface and shape into a 4-inch disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Remove the dough from the fridge and allow to sit at room temperature for 5-10 minutes before you roll it out. (Make ahead note: you can store the dough in the refrigerator for 2 days or freeze for 1 month.)
Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray a mini muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray.
Place the dough on a lightly floured work surface and roll into a 12-inch circle, lifting and turning as you go to make sure it’s not sticking. Add more flour as necessary. Using a 2 1/2 to 2 3/4-inch round cutter, cut circles from the dough. Reroll the scraps as necessary to get 12 circles. Gently ease each of the circles into a well of the muffin pan.
In a small bowl stir together the peanut butter and sugar. Drop a heaping teaspoon of the peanut butter mixture into each of the mini pie crusts. Then add one teaspoon of the blueberry preserves to each crust as well.
Gather the scraps of dough and roll them to about 1/8-inch thickness. Using a sharp knife, cut the dough into about 1/8-inch-wide strips that are roughly 2 inches long (you’ll need 4 strips per pie, or 48 of them in total). Use the strips to form a little lattice crust on each mini pie (I did a tutorial here if you need help on how to do this.) Gently press the edges of the lattice strips so they adhere to the bottom crust. Combine the egg white and water in a small bowl and whisk until foamy. Brush the egg wash over the exposed crust. Sprinkle with the sparkling sugar.
Bake the mini pies for about 25 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown. Transfer the mini muffin pan to a wire rack and immediately run a thin knife around the edges, especially where the preserves have bubbled over. Allow the pies to cool in the pan for about 5 minutes, then remove them to the wire rack to cool.
Makes 12 mini pies