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Mile-High Mini Strawberry Pies

Photo: Hector Sanchez; Styling: Caroline M. Cunningham

 

Hands-on time 1 hr, 35 mins
Total time 6 hrs, 30 mins
Yield Makes 12 mini pies
We used Wilton's nonstick six-cavity Mini Pie Pan. Chill reserved crust rounds while the first batch bakes, and allow the pan to cool completely before beginning the second batch. Or simply bake one big 9-inch pie (see Mega Strawberry Pie, below).

Ingredients

  • Pastry Crusts
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 (14.1-oz.) packages refrigerated piecrusts
  • Creamy Lemon Filling
  • 1 1/2 (8-oz.) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 tablespoon sour cream
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • Strawberry Topping
  • 1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped fresh strawberries
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 10 cup hulled fresh strawberries
  • Vanilla Cream
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons powdered sugar

How to Make It

  1. Prepare Crust: Preheat oven to 425°. Sprinkle work surface with 1 Tbsp. powdered sugar. Roll 1 piecrust into a 12 1/2-inch circle on surface, and cut into 3 (6-inch) rounds. Repeat with remaining 3 piecrusts and 3 Tbsp. powdered sugar to make 12 rounds. Fit 6 rounds, sugar sides down, into each mold of a 6-cavity mini pie pan; fold edges under, and crimp. Prick bottom and sides with a fork. Chill remaining 6 rounds.

  2. Bake at 425° for 8 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack 5 minutes. Remove crusts from pan to wire rack, and cool completely. Cool pan completely. Repeat procedure with remaining 6 piecrust rounds.

  3. Prepare Creamy Lemon Filling: Beat cream cheese and sour cream at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Add 1/2 cup granulated sugar and next 2 ingredients; beat until smooth and fluffy. Spread about 2 1/2 Tbsp. filling into each cooled piecrust; cover with plastic wrap, and chill until ready to serve (up to 24 hours).

  4. Prepare Strawberry Topping: Process 1 1/2 cups chopped strawberries in a blender or food processor until smooth, and press through a wire-mesh strainer into a 3-qt. saucepan, using back of a spoon to squeeze out juice; discard pulp. Stir 1 cup granulated sugar into juice in pan.

  5. Whisk together cornstarch and 1/4 cup water; gradually whisk cornstarch mixture into strawberry mixture. Bring to a boil over medium heat, and cook, whisking constantly, 1 minute. Remove from heat, and whisk in butter. Cool 15 minutes.

  6. Toss together strawberry mixture and 10 cups hulled strawberries gently in a large bowl until coated. (Halve some berries; leave others whole.) Cover; chill 3 hours or until cold.

  7. Prepare Vanilla Cream: Beat heavy cream and vanilla at medium-high speed until foamy; gradually add powdered sugar, beating until soft peaks form.

  8. Spoon about 1/2 cup Strawberry Topping into each pie; top with Vanilla Cream. Serve immediately.

  9. Mega Strawberry Pie: Preheat oven to 425°. Reduce 1/4 cup powdered sugar to 2 Tbsp. and piecrusts to 1/2 (1-oz.) package. Sprinkle surface with 2 Tbsp. powdered sugar. Roll 1 piecrust into an 11-inch circle on prepared surface. Fit piecrust, sugar side down, in a 9-inch pie plate; fold edges under, and crimp. Prick bottom and sides with a fork. Bake 10 minutes or until golden. Cool completely on a wire rack. Proceed with recipe as directed in Steps 3 through 8, spooning all of Creamy Lemon Filling into prepared crust, and topping with all of Strawberry Topping and Vanilla Cream. Makes 8 to 10 servings Hands-on 40 min.; Total 4 hours, 50 min.