Monday, October 3, 2011

Don't make your guests cook! -> Pie in a Jar

So if you are a pinterest and facebook addict like I am you may have seen 'Cake in a Jar.' This concept of making single serving cakes in mason jars made me so excited I talked about it for probably a month straight. When I started to plan for Lucas' birthday party it was a no-brainer that I was going to make them. But then I saw these. The most beautiful creations ever... PIES in a Jar . This was ABSOLUTELY perfect for my Harvest themed birthday party! The concept is to make individual pies in mason jars. The pies are uncooked. You freeze them and then when you want to eat it you bake it for 45-50 minutes and then eat it!
As the party drew closer. I continued to run down the logistics with friends and family as I obsessed over these magical creations. Note that I think she makes FOUR pies in her tutorial and I was planning to make TWENTY FOUR. We later found this is the equivalent of making 6 pies. Flashes of my grandmother bringing seven pies to Thanksgiving one year went before my eyes.
We still talk about it.
Because that's A LOT OF PIES!
And my apple peeler corer leaves a lot to be desired. It basically works well if every apple is the EXACT same size and shape. But sorry, God don't make 'em that way. My grandmother recommended cherry pies. This made me sulk around the house for a day, because cherries aren't fall fruit and thus do NOT go with my wonderful Harvest theme. I felt like my masterful plan, my hopes and dreams for pies in jars were all falling to pieces before my eyes. Ahh, logistics.
Then it came to me, PUMPKIN pies! I was all excited that I could use my handy Foley mill that I use for making my son's purees or if I lost ambition at the last minute I would just buy canned pumpkin pie filling! Easy Peasy!
Now I don't know the last time I ate pumpkin pie (I don't even like pumpkin pie) and I have never made one in my life. Actually I've never made a pie before. I do make a mean crisp. My mom said I had to wait and make them the day before the party. She was worried about freezing them and thawing them just for our guests to freeze them again. The day before the party my mother-in-law mentioned what uncooked pumpkin pie filling looked like. She said its really runny and kindof gross. AWESOME. So we will give runny uncooked ugly pies to people.
After much discussion, chocolate came into the conversation. Precooked crust was mentioned. All you need is chocolate pudding for the filling was brought up. We were down to the wire and I was SOLD. Note: We did TRY making crusts to see how many we would need to fill a jar. There was flour everywhere and it was a disaster. Again we realized we would at least need enough for 6 pies. So the next day I packed up my one year old on his birthday and we bought out Market Basket of every last box of chocolate pudding and grabbed all the pre-made pie crusts they had. Here's how to make these bad boys.

Roll out 1 pie crust-  (or in my case- unroll my prepackaged crust)
Cut it into quarters with a sharp knife
Use one quarter per jar. Push the center of you quarter to the bottom and push it tight against the glass.
Push the extra onto the sides. Overlap as necessary. Smoosh with your fingers until it feels evenish and completely layers the inside of the glass. Make sure that your edge comes as close to the top of the glass as possible. You can add extra dough if you need to. I used one and half extra pie crusts just for filling in gaps and adding edging to the top
I used a fork along the top rim to make an edge. Then take your fork and poke holes in your crust on the bottom and sides.
Now you really need pie weights or else they do sink down quite a bit in the jars. I used empty baby food jars.They worked perfectly. I used the pie crust directions cooking at 350 degrees for 11 minutes.
You can see in the photo my first batch in the upper left. I didn't build them high enough and didn't use the weights. I also took them out a little early
Now mix up your pudding as they cool. You can simply follow the directions on the jello box. Once the pudding thickens and your crusts are cooled it's time to add them together!

I let them cool together for about another hour before I sealed them shut and put them in the fridge. I bought labels from this fabulous etsy dealer .

A bunch of party goers forgot their pies when they left so we were left with 6 pies in our fridge. After trying one, my husband and I devoured the remaining 4 in the next 12 hours. They were delicious! And all my guest had to do was EAT them! Or put them in the fridge until they had a lovely chocolate craving.

Note: I used 1/2 pint wide mouth jars. The brand I used was Kerr and we picked them up at Ace Hardware.

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