Last year around this time (at the urging of Shauna), LOTS of food bloggers took to their kitchens and made pie (I made this). That first annual Pie Party was a great success, so today we’re celebrating Pie Party 2012. Thank you Garret, Shauna, Justin, and Ashley for hosting ;)

I made “mini” cheese pies because I also wanted to submit these cuties to Abby Dodge’s BakeTogether. Abby featured berry pies and though I did something completely different, I’m so glad that I tried Abby’s method for baking pies in a muffin tin. This is such a fun way to bake pie, plus it keeps everything nice and neat for serving. Thank you Abby ;)

mini cheesecake tarts

Now let’s talk about crust for a moment, shall we? I avoided making pies for years because I thought it was difficult to accomplish perfect pie crust at home. But it’s NOT difficult! To get a crust that’s both tender and flaky (which is what perfect pie crust is, right?!), all you need is your fingers and good technique. As I mentioned last week in my King Arthur Flour recap, you want to cut half of your COLD fat into small pieces (generally butter and/or lard, though Nikki told me she’s had success with coconut oil when it’s solid), then work into the flour with your hands until the mixture looks like cornmeal. Yes, this can be done in a food processor but in the time it takes to drag one out and set it up (not to mention the time you’ll spend cleaning it), you’d be long finished if you’d just trusted your fingers. The rest of the COLD butter (or other fat) should be cut into larger pieces, dropped into the flour, and flattened down between your thumb and forefinger. Don’t work it in too much- visible butter is a good thing!

I made a gluten free crust because not only did I want to test out my new pie crust making skills, I wanted to see if the above mentioned tips extend to gluten free pie dough. They do. To make this crust- which turned out to be fabulous- I used King Arthur Gluten-Free Whole Grain Flour blend. If you’ve got a favorite gluten-free flour blend, feel free to use it; you can also make this crust with all-purpose flour instead. Instead of rolling out the dough, I pressed it into each muffin cup and this worked well for me; I also pressed a piece of foil into each pie shell for par-baking purposes, so that the dough wouldn’t puff up too much.

The idea for the cheese filling and the inspiration to top these with jam came from the recipe for Cheese Tart with Apricot Preserves which appears in The Preservation Kitchen: The Craft of Making and Cooking with Pickles, Preserves, and Aigre-doux. Ten Speed Press sent me this book to review and upon first glance, I thought it was too “cheffy” for me. I’ve formed a different opinion since studying it more carefully, however: it’s an exciting book filled with beautiful photos and ridiculously creative recipes. If you’re into preserving, I think you will love it.

Last thing before I get to the recipe: I must tip my hat to Domenica, whose plum jam inspired mine. I love the lemon peel in this jam…it gives it a wonderful flavor and keeps it from being too sweet. I did not can my jam for shelf stability but you certainly “can”, if you like…follow Domenica’s instructions if you plan to do that.

If you don’t want to make your own jam, go ahead and use any jam or fruit preserves that you have on hand to top these pies. The author of The Preservation Kitchen suggests sticking with stone fruits, but also mentions using a thin layer of lemon curd.

cheesy jam tarts

Happy Pie Party!!!

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savory cheese tarts

 

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22 Comments

  1. 1

    amelia from z tasty life — June 20, 2012 @ 3:33 pm

    what a great idea, Winnie!

  2. 2

    abby dodge — June 20, 2012 @ 4:43 pm

    Winnie, The goat cheese fillings sound killer and jam topping is the perfect compliment. I’m so happy to could bake with all of us this month!!

  3. 3

    Laura (Tutti Dolci) — June 20, 2012 @ 5:11 pm

    I love these mini pies and the roasted plum jam sounds divine!

  4. 4

    Paula — June 20, 2012 @ 6:08 pm

    I can’t wait to make mini pies. They are the cutest dessert for summer. Yours look delicious, how can they not be with that cream and goat cheese and that fabulous roasted plum jam!

  5. 5

    kellypea — June 20, 2012 @ 8:09 pm

    These are wonderful — and it’s good to know that making the crust gluten-free still delivers the results using the techniques you’ve described. One of my grown sons is gluten intolerant and I like to be able to make a treat for him when he comes for dinner :) Gorgeous little tarts — love the citrus in that yummy jam.

  6. 6

    Sabrina Modelle — June 20, 2012 @ 10:43 pm

    Ooo, I love these. First, they’re adorable. I love pies in muffin tins and mason jars or anything that makes them mini. Also, I love the goat cheese filling- that tang makes a dessert walk the sweet/savory line in just the right way. Super yum.

  7. 7

    Jamie — June 21, 2012 @ 10:34 am

    They are wonderful and adorable! I love making piecrust and agree that it is pretty easy. I love the mini pies, too, now. And I must try this fabulous cheese filling! I know that goat cheese goes so well with fruit jams so your serving these tarts with jam must be so good. Great recipe, Winnie! Happy Pie Day!

  8. 8

    Carol Sacks — June 21, 2012 @ 11:57 am

    Your cheese pies are beautiful, Winnie. I love the idea of roasted plum jam. Lovely post!

  9. 9

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  10. 10

    Nancy — June 21, 2012 @ 3:21 pm

    Such cuties! I love their plummy tops, and goat cheese makes for the most complex and tangy cheesecakes – yum yum!

  11. 11

    Julia — June 21, 2012 @ 4:17 pm

    Plums and goat cheese, together?!?! In a little pie!!! Love!

  12. 12

    Christie {Pepper Lynn} — June 23, 2012 @ 1:27 am

    These look delicious and I love that little plate – so much character.

  13. 13

    Lorii Abela — June 23, 2012 @ 11:42 am

    Wow!. Can’t wait to try out this recipe. Thanks.

  14. 14

    caralyn @ glutenfreehappytummy — June 23, 2012 @ 2:46 pm

    wow those look so delicious! i love anything “mini!!”

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    Amanda @ Once Upon a Recipe — June 25, 2012 @ 5:37 pm

    Oh! These look lovely! I am still scared of pie crust though…maybe one day I will have the courage to attempt it!

  17. 17

    JNerissa — June 25, 2012 @ 9:11 pm

    These sound divine. I can’t wait to try them myself.

  18. 18

    Nutmeg Nanny — June 25, 2012 @ 11:48 pm

    Sooooooo do you have any of these bad boys laying around? If so, I’m coming over…haha :)

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