Wednesday, January 25, 2012

New Gadget in the Kitchen

For those who have not heard of this new gadget, I want to introduce you to some exciting fun in the kitchen.  Maybe about a month ago I saw a post in an online forum that talked about a Personal Pie Maker.  I did a little investigation at that time and thought it would be a neat thing to try.  Around that time I was talking to a good friend who said she had also heard about this new gadget.... Then I kind of put it on the back burner, out of mind.  Two weeks ago, she calls and says she bought one at a William Sonoma store.  Then she brought dessert to a meeting I had at my house and she made the little pies in her new Breville Pie Maker.  That is when I decided I just had to have one.  Last Friday I bought mine.  My husband wasn't too sure it was worth the cost, but he agreed that it looked very intriguing.

My first pies were cherry with two crusts.  I had a bit of a time getting the pies out, even though I had bought the two prong lifter that they suggested to go with it.  I used my regular pie crust recipe and the crust turned out nice and flaky as usual.  I then made pumpkin pies which do not have a top crust and they were just awesome... but again I had a bit of a time getting them out in one piece.  We have already had three different kinds of pies, and it is still not a week since I bought it.  My husband is not afraid of the kitchen, but he likes to know he can accomplish the task before he starts.  I told him that he could probably make himself a pie anytime he wanted one if I rolled out and cut the crust for him.  I figured I could layer the cut crust between wax paper in the fridge to have handy.  He wasn't sure he wanted to deal with the crust.

I was reading through the book that came with the unit and it indicated that you could use bread as the crust, or puff pastry... so not limited to just pie crust.  The unit comes with a two-sided cutter.... large on one side for the bottom crust and smaller on the other side for the top crust, and a press that forms the bottom crust to the pie shape.  Ron asked if I thought we could try using tortillas so I bought a fresh package to give it a try.  Today for lunch we had mini-chili pies.  I first put the 4 tortillas in the microwave with a damp paper towel over them so they would become a little more pliable.  I also heated the canned Wolf chili a little.  I pressed the bottoms in place, spooned in the warmed chili and put shredded cheese on top.  Ron thought I should try one with a top crust, so I only put a top crust on one.  These little pies were great.  I didn't get too fancy on these cause I wasn't sure how the tortillas would work, but the tortillas worked beautifully... and they were just as good with or without the top crust.  I can see making a meal out of these with a nice salad to go with a couple of these little gems.  The scraps from cutting the crusts could just be laid across the tops or eaten on the side... so there would be no waste.  I can see there will be no limit to creativity here.

What I did learn from the tortillas was the best part.  I like to roll my pie crust really thin.  I look at it as kind of an art to be able to roll thin pie crust.  Well thin is not good with the pie maker.  The filling is heavy enough with most pies that the thin crust is just not sturdy enough to allow a clean lift to a plate.  These tortillas on the other hand lifted out perfectly.  They turned out like baked shells, nice and sturdy and crispy on the edges.  So I will be rolling my pie crust for the pie maker just a bit thicker from now on.  Of course when you buy pre-made pie crust from the freezer section, it is rolled thicker anyhow, so this would not be an issue for alot of people.  Thicker is better, at least for mini-pies.

Ron has decided now that he has seen how nicely the tortillas work that he can make himself a pie with whatever he can find in the fridge, anytime he wants to... like when I'm gone to my quilt meetings.  Did I say that once the pie maker is heated up (about 4 or 5 minutes), the pies are done between 8 to 12 minutes.  How great is that?