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Baking Mason Jar Pies with Your Children

Story and Photos by Amanda Causey Baity

During the holiday season, our house is full of activity. Since it is usually too cold for long outside play time, like most families with small children, we do more indoor activities. Baking and crafting are always at the top of the list.

My children are picky, so to make them all happy, there are times that I bake separate dishes for them during the holidays. Mini-pies are a perfect way to get children of all ages actively involved with holiday
baking and help them independently create their desserts. Using Mason jars in your baking efforts adds a little nostalgia that just might create a new family holiday baking tradition.

Mason Jar Pies
• You will need two wide-mouth Mason jar lids.
For the crust:
• 1 cup all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
• ¼ teaspoon salt
• 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold
• ¼ teaspoon apple cider vinegar
• 3-4 tablespoons ice-cold water
For the filling: (You can use your favorite recipe here.)
• 1 cup berries or another fruit that you prefer
• 1 teaspoon lemon juice
• 2 teaspoons flour
• 1 tablespoon sugar
• 1 egg, beaten
• Optional: sparkling sugar for topping the pies

Take the wide-mouth Mason jar lids and turn them so that the rubber rings are down. You want to cook the pies on the metal side.

Next, make the crust: In a small bowl, stir together the flour and salt with a fork. Cube the butter into 16
chunks. Add half of the chunks of butter to the flour mixture and stir gently, and then add the remaining
butter chunks.

This is the most important step: Use your fingertips to cream the butter into the flour. Pinch and smear the butter between your fingertips repeatedly, like you’re snapping.

Work the butter into the flour for quite a while, making sure it is evenly incorporated and the dough almost comes together in clumps when you squeeze it in your hands. The warmth of your hands is bringing the dough together, so if it’s still flour-y, keep working it.

Finally, add the vinegar and three tablespoons of the ice-cold water. Stir with a fork, and the dough will easily come together into a mass. If you live in an arid climate, add the extra tablespoon of water. Scoop the dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap, shape it into a disk and store it wrapped in the fridge for 30 minutes. If you store the dough longer than 30 minutes, let it warm up before rolling.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a small sheet pan with parchment. Place the Mason jar lids with the rubber side down in the ring on the parchment paper.

Mix your berries, lemon juice, flour and sugar in a small bowl. Stir well. Set aside while you roll out the dough.

Mason Jar Pies

Flour the counter and bring the dough out of the fridge. Place the dough in the center of your flour, and flour the top of the dough. Begin gently rolling the dough out away from you, making a quarter-turn clockwise after every two rolls. This method keeps the dough from sticking to the counter and also creates a perfect circle.

When you have a circle large enough for four Mason jar lids, you’re ready. Place one Mason jar lid on the pastry and use a knife to cut ¼” around the lid. Repeat one time. Use just the lid top (not the ring) to cut out two pie tops. You will have excess dough—you can make three pies or make pie crust cookies in the oven while the pie bakes.

Gently move the bottom piecrusts to the Mason jar lids with rings and press them into place. Scoop half of the fruit mixture onto each. Top the fruit mixture with the pie tops. Brush beaten egg very generously on each mini pie. Sprinkle with sparkling sugar, if desired.

Bake for 35-37 minutes, or until the filling is bubbling and the crust is brown.

Let cool five minutes. To serve, run a knife along the edge of the Mason jar ring to release the pie. Use the Mason jar itself to pour a large glass of milk and enjoy your pie!

Amanda Causey Baity ([email protected]), Prince William Living’s director of operations and photo editor, also blogs about thrifty family activities on her blog



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