The Cake Princess: How to: Bake Cake in a Jar.

 

cake in jars

The Cake Princess: How to: Bake Cake in a Jar..

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SINGLE SERVING PIE IN A JAR

These are individual-sized pies made in little glass jars that can go straight from your freezer to your oven to your mouth. SO cute. You can make these with store-bought crust and canned filling or jazz it up with homemade like we do.   And just for added cuteness we teamed up with crafting expert Lolly for some personalized tags.  These are just about the best little gift from the kitchen you could share with someone!

Pie in Jar

This is the type of jar you’ll need.


They’re half-pint jars, but short and squatty instead of tall and skinny (Ya know, like me as opposed to my mother. Why oh why did I have to get the other parent’s genes??!) Mine are made by Kerr (Here’s the link to buy them from Amazon). They’re stinking cute as is, don’t you think? Something about a short squatty jar makes me giddy with the thoughts of fun things I could put inside. Ya know, like PIE. (And also cupcakes.)

Step 1: Pie Dough
The first thing you’ll need is dough. You can use any pie dough you like. Here’s a great tutorial on making a basic crust. That particular recipe will make 4 jars. You can also use the all-butter crust from this post. Or if you’re really in a pinch, even a store bought crust will do.

Step 2: Make a topper and line the jar
Roll out a small handful of dough. This is just for the tops of your pies, so eyeball about that much. Grab the ring part of your jar and use that as your cookie cutter. Brilliant, right? Cut out the tops and set aside.

Use the rest of the dough to line the jars. (No, you do not need to grease them) The great part is that there’s no rolling required! Just take little pieces and press them in. Make sure it’s pressed all the way up to the top of the jar, or pretty close to it.


Step 3: Fill ‘er up
You’ll need about 1/2 C filling for each jar. You can use any filling your little pie-craving heart desires, even (gasp) canned! You can also use the same method shown in the galette post to use any fruit you happen to have around.

Here’s the basic recipe (for 4 pies)
2 C prepared fruit (pitted, diced, peeled, etc.)
2 T sugar- brown or white (use more or less depending on sweetness of fruit)
2 T flour- (again, more if your fruit is super juicy like cherries, less if it’s pretty dry)
1 T butter (divided between the pies)
Seasonings/flavorings- cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla and almond extract, citrus zest etc)

Play around with it and come up with something yummy! I made 2 different pies in my pictures: one, a cut-down version of Kate’s Apple Pie and one with fresh cherries and almond extract.

When your filling is all combined, divide it between the jars and dot a pat of butter on top (about 1/4 T)

Step 4: Top it off
Make sure your “lid” has a vent so steam can escape. You can use a knive to make a couple of slits or a tiny cookie cutter to make it decorative. I am in LOVE with these little Autumn Leaf Pie Crust Cutters that my sister gave to me last fall. Oooh, I just saw this year’s set has an acorn in it! I might have to get that one too–how cute is that little acorn??! My little maple leaf is pretty darn cute, too.


When your topper is ready, slip it onto the top of the pie. It will be large enough that the outside edge goes up the side of the dough-covered jar a bit, as show in the picture below. Then use your finger, or a fork (as seen above), to press the 2 pieces of dough together to seal. And nobody even think about mentioning the state of my fingernails.

Another option is to do a crumb topping. I put a basic crumb topping on my cherry pies and they were sooo yummy.

Crumb Topping (for 4-6 pies)
1/4C brown sugar
1/4 C flour
2 Tbs oats
1/4 tsp cinnamon
3 Tbs cold butter
Combine sugar, flour and cinnamon. Cut in butter. Add oats and stir to combine.

And I couldn’t help but try a mini lattice on one. Eeek! Dying of cuteness overload. (Click here for a how-to on a lattice pattern)


** Optional step here that I HIGHLY reccomend: Brush pie tops with butter and sprinkle with sugar at this point. Yumminess highly instensified!

Step 5: Freeze ‘em!

Ready for this? When your pies are all done and topped, place metal lids back on and seal them tight.

Then pop these little cuties in the freezer. There they will stay until you find yourself having an insatiable craving for home-baked goodness. You’ll be reaching for the crumbs at the bottom of the keebler box when suddenly your eyes will light up because you remember you have THESE sitting in your freezer.

Or when you have unexpected guests in need of impressing, or a friend needing to be cheered up, or it’s Thursday…I can think of a million reasons why one should have a constant supply of fresh pie in the freezer.

Step 6: Bake ‘em

Now first let me say that one of the biggest concerns from everyone is about the jars breaking in the oven. All I can say it that I’ve baked hundreds of these and never once has a jar broken. These are canning jars- they are designed to be boiled, pressure cooked, etc. So it’s different than putting any ol’ piece of glass in the oven. They bake just fine!But if you’re freaking out then my advice would be this: remove lids from jars and place jars on a baking sheet. Place baking sheet in a COLD oven. Then turn the oven to 375. That will give the jars a chance to warm up slowly as the oven preheats. If you’re really worried you can always let them sit at room temp for a bit first before putting them in a cold oven. Bake for about 50-60 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown and the middles are bubbly. If you’re baking them fresh and not frozen they take about 45 minutes.

Depending on your filling you can pop them right out of the jar and onto a plate like so:

Or just eat them right out of the jar. There’s something way more fun about eating it right out of the jar…

And if you have oozing cherry filling, that might be the only option!

Or you can skip the freezing all together and just bake them up for gifts.

Change out your cookie cutters on top for cute holiday versions

Okay now…freebies for all!
Lolly is the brain behind Lollychops. Some of you may remember last year when she designed these cute cute Christmas tags for us to put on our goodies. So of course, I instantly thought of her when I realized that I could not sleep at night knowing these mini-pies could be better dressed. They needed just a touch of Lolly. And she delivered like always with these adorable tags!

All of the directions are right on the tag and you can write a little To/From on it. Plus in true Lolly fashion there’s like, a million different versions to go with any flavor you could possibly imagine.

These little pies are perrrrrrfect for giving. So once you have these cuties made up, download Lolly’s tag set, and get your cute on. People will think you are amazing because not only did you come up with the brilliant idea to make a mini pie in a jar, you also made an adorable personalized tag. Talk about moving up a notch on the popularity ladder.

–> CLICK HERE <– to head over to the Lollychops blog and get all of the instructions and details on downloading and using the tag sets. And here is a direct link to the tags.

Edit: Lolly has just added this adorable TURKEY pie tag!! Click HERE to get it!
A big thanks to my girl Lolly for playing along with pie this week!
All of the rest of you- get baking and have a great week!
SENDING OVERSEAS:  One of the most common questions we get is about sending these overseas.  I have not personally sent these so I cannot give advice from personal experience, however many people have left feedback.  People have noted that putting the lids on the jars when the are still hot out of the oven and then letting them cool to room temperature helps “seals” them and keep them fresher longer.  Note that the canning jars are purely for appearance and these are not shelf stable.  I cannot tell you how long they will stay fresh, as environmental conditions (heat of travel vehicles etc) would all affect the pies.  Generally when shipping to soldiers overseas items need to stay fresh for 1-3 weeks.  Many people have shipped the pies with success, but that’s all we can offer in terms of advice.

Recipe: Buttermilk Cheddar Biscuits with Fermented Jalapenos

Recipe: Buttermilk Cheddar Biscuits with Fermented Jalapenos

It’s been a cold, grey weekend.  You know the kind of weather – gloomy enough that you never fully feel warm yet warm enough that it isn’t quite cozy weather.  It’s just kind of dank, dark and droopy.  It’s that kind of weather.

Last night we decided to watch movies, curl up with a blanket and make a big pot of chili.  I’m a giant fan of having some form of bread to dip into chili and last night we made these awesome biscuits:

We fermented jalapeno peppers in the summer (similar to this recipe but stopped short of blending and adding vinegar for hot sauce) and use them for everything from regular cooking to these cookies.  They are a pleasant combination of hot, sour and savory.

We also used rendered beef fat for this recipe.  It’s similar to lard (which is from a pig) and can be used in the place of butter for many things (although it’s smoking point is much higher so it can be used in higher-heat cooking).  It’s consistency is slightly thicker than butter and it’s a great alternative to commercially produced lard and vegetable shortening.

It’s biggest downside is that it can be hard to find: an old-fashioned butcher store (like Sausage Partners, where we got ours).  You’ll have to ask if they have it (it’s rarely on display) and you could replace it with lard or duck fat.  If you’re really stuck, you could also buy duck breasts for a wonderful meal and use the rendered fat (like in this recipe) for the biscuits.

Lastly, these are really easy to make.  The biggest secret to biscuits is to touch them as little as possible and prevent the fats from melting with the heat of your hands.  The real magic of biscuits occurs when ‘clumps’ of butter and fat remain in the dough (as opposed to a smooth dough like you would make for bread).  The two ‘secrets’ I use to do this are: working with cold fat and grating it when necessary.  I explain how to do this in the recipe below.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons frozen butter
  • 2 tablespoons rendered fat (cold is best)
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 1-2 tablespoons fermented hot peppers (more or less as you like).  Include a small bit of brine as well.
  • 0.25 cups of old cheddar grated super fine (I used my microplane which continues to be my favorite kitchen gadget for more than 2 years)
  • 1 cup buttermilk, chilled

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 450.
  2. Toss the dry ingredients (they are the first 4) in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Grate the butter into the flour (you can use a large cheese grated like we do with pie but I prefer the microplane).
  4. Stir the mixture with the handle of a spoon (this prevents your hands from melting the butter) so that all of the small pieces of butter are individually coated in flour.
  5. Chop your fat fine (grating didn’t work for me but it was easy to create small ‘pebbles’ with a knife).
  6. Stir the fat with the handle of a spoon into the mixture and coat with flout.
  7. Add molasses, stir to incorporate.
  8. Chop your fermented peppers, stir to incorporate.
  9. Add the cheese, use the handle of your spoon to stir and incorporate.
  10. Create a ‘well’ in the center of the mixture, pour in the buttermilk.  Stir with the spoon to incorporate until it won’t come together any further.  It will be sticky and not completely incorporated.
  11. Rinse your hands with very cold water for about 30 seconds.  This will help cool them (you could also use a glove but you won’t be touching the dough that much.
  12. Dump the dough onto a floured surface and fold it onto itself (incorporating any stubborn bits into the fold) 5-6 times.  It should be a sticky dough at this point.
  13. Roll the dough into a 1-inch thickness.  Cut 2-inch biscuits from the dough (I used a hearty wineglass to do so).
  14. Place each biscuit on a cookie sheet and ensure each biscuit just touches the one next to them (they won’t stick together).
  15. You can reassemble the excess dough and make extra biscuits from it but they won’t be as flaky as the ones that have been worked less – so know which ones came from the scraps and use them for testing the ‘doneness’ as they cook.
  16. If you wanted to increase the fermented flavor, you could glaze the biscuits with brine at this point.
  17. Place in the oven.  They should turn golden and be cooked throughout in 15 minutes.  I tested in 12, separated them and could see the sides were still a bit doughy.  I left them separated and they finished cooking 4 minutes later.

Who’s making biscuits tonight?

http://wellpreserved.ca/2012/12/16/recipe-best-buttermilk-cheddar-biscuits-with-fermented-jalapenos/#