Autumn brings on so many wonderful things. Leaves turn red and yellow, deep shades of maroon and gold. They drift to the ground like Fall fairies, decorating the ground in a patchwork quilt. Football begins, with rosy cheeked fans bundling into their team’s colors, chanting and cheering with no thoughts other than touchdowns and tailgate parties. School starts, sending the kids into a world of newness and learning. And, it’s pie time.
Little baked pies are perfect a perfect autumn treat. These hot pies are hand-sized (large or small) and more fun to make than a pile of colorful fall leaves for jumping in.
Mix your favorite pie crust recipe, whether out of a book or box. Let your little one measure ingredients and help with the stirring and rolling out the dough. It’s their job to cut it into rectangles about 5×8 inches (using a butter knife or a Curious Chef knife). The filling and decorating, also known as “the fun part”, are next.
Fillings can be as varied as your imagination. We use jelly of every variety, a bit of cocoa mixed with cinnamon and sugar (a lot of sugar!) set inside the crust with a blob of butter or regular pie filling. We prefer the ‘homemade’ route, filling our little rectangles to the halfway point with strange concoctions–like a canned half-peach, chopped fine and mixed with a little of its own juice or raisins and nuts in brown sugar.
We carefully moisten the edges of the crust with a bit of water and close the little pies shut, pushing the edges tight with tines of a fork. Then the fun begins – from the remaining pie crust we cut leaves, jack-o-lanterns, even acorns (or something that’s supposed to look like an acorn). For football, we cut eye-shaped balls and trace the lacings into them with the tip of our knives (go Vikings!) and create 3-D pompoms with strips of crust pressed together at one end. Attaching each precious decoration to a pie with a bit more water, we sprinkle with sugar and bake them until they’re golden, eating them as soon as our mouths can handle the heat.
I guarantee your children will love making them, too. The pies that come out of the oven are kid-sized and delicious. But the memories you’ll bake up with them will last forever–I guarantee that, too.
Happy Family Cooking Everyone!
Alex, Soph and Kelly