Mini Mint Chocolate Pies

This recipe is a case of “What do I do with an extra pie crust?” Let me let you in on my thought process. You see, I had a pie crust leftover from making the crust for the last pie. I wanted to make something with it, and I wanted to make something fun. I also remembered that I had all that peppermint extract left from making these, so why don’t I do something with that?

So then I was thinking. What does mint go with? Chocolate. Mint chocolate sounded good. And while pies are always fun, smaller is probably more fun. The hand pies I made were great. So I thought I would try something like that again.

So with that in mind, I tried to figure out how to make this thing I had just imagined. I had to find a chocolate pie recipe that involved baking the chocolate filling, as opposed to just baking the crust and letting the filling chill, because I was aiming to do hand pies, and the filling would have to bake inside. I figured that I would find a pie recipe, and then modify it to do hand pies.

Ingredients for the mint chocolate filling.

Ingredients for the mint chocolate filling.

I found one, and put it together. I measured out the ingredients before hand. I used semi sweet chocolate chunks instead of chips or a bar, as they had called for. I didn’t do a double boiler, I just melted them on very low heat, watching and stirring constantly. I took that off the heat. I put together the eggs and such and mixed for 5 minutes. Then I poured the chocolate in and stirred by hand (instead of the other way around like they mentioned, because the bowl that the eggs and such were in was bigger).

I added a teaspoon of peppermint extract. I came up with that amount through careful research: comparing recipes with similar volumes of ingredients, reading comments of people talking about using peppermint extract, etc. A teaspoon seemed reasonable. I tasted before and after adding, and it seemed right. It was not super peppermint-y, but I wanted to err on the side of caution.

Filling!

Filling!

Then I had to take care of the dough. I took the dough out of the fridge, cleaned off a space on the counter, and floured the heck out of it. I rolled out the dough, flouring, turning, flipping, flouring all the way. After learning from smitten kitchen, I basically knew how to do it.

So you might realize from the title of the post that I didn’t end up doing hand pies. I was originally going to, but the filling wasn’t super solid, and I was worried about it not holding together right. I decided at the last-minute to do mini pies in muffin tins instead. Now I had to find out how big to make them. The research I did pointed me to 4 inch circles.

My makeshift dough cutter.

My makeshift dough cutter.

I didn’t (and still don’t) have the proper tools to cut a 4 inch circle. So I did some digging around in the kitchen, and after some trial and error, I found something suitable to substitute. The top of a jar used for storing dry goods was a little over 3 1/2 inches so I figured it was close enough. It worked well enough to cut out circles, and I cut out a bunch. I got 22 circles out of the dough. Since they were supposed to be a little bigger, I re-rolled them a bit to stretch them.

Mini pie crusts.

Circles of dough, soon to become mini pie crusts.

I roughly followed some instructions I found for making mini pies. I put muffin cups into the muffin tins and sprayed them with cooking spray. I pressed the circles of dough into them, trying to have a little bit sticking over the top as suggested. They were a little uneven, because I didn’t really roll them evenly. It was a little hard to stick them in and press them in, but I did.

Mini pie crusts, the first batch.

Mini pie crusts, the first batch.

Then I grabbed the filling and started filling them. I wasn’t sure how much to fill them. I figured 2/3 of the way or so, 1 or 2 tablespoons, depending on how heaping they were, and how big the piece of dough was. I had to tilt the muffin tin, scoop up the filling, wait for a bunch to drip off and then quickly pour it in. Until I figured that out, I had a lot of filling that was dripping over the side.

The first batch at the beginning. (Apologies for the blurry picture.)

The first batch at the beginning. (Apologies for the blurry picture.)

I wasn’t sure of the timing, so I split the difference between the two recipes (the one for the pie and the one for the mini pies) and put them in the oven for 20 minutes at 325°F. A few minutes later I realized that I missed getting a picture of them filled, so I pulled them out, took a quick pic, and then put them back in. After 20 minutes, they didn’t seem quite done. They were supposed to be cracked, and they weren’t, but they had really poofed up. I realized at that point that I could have filled them much less.

The first batch!

The first batch, fresh from the oven!

I cooked them for another 5 minutes and they seemed like they had started to crack. I took them out and set them to cool on a wire rack. When trying to get them out of the muffin tins, having the “dough handles” helped on those that had them and a little fork helped with the rest. I waited a few minutes before putting the next batch in so that the muffin tins could cool a little. I let the pies cool in the dining room, because I had run out of space in the kitchen, as I hadn’t cleaned up yet.

The humble beginnings of the second batch. Note the amount of filling.

The humble beginnings of the second batch. Note the amount of filling.

Before I put together the second batch, I also cleaned out the tins of the flour, dough, chocolate, and grease left from the first batch. I didn’t have quite enough filling, so I really scraped as much out of the bowl as I could. (My mom would be proud.) So the second batch was a little skimpy on the filling, but not too bad. I ended up cooking them 22 minutes for this batch. They puffed up nicely, so while they ended up a little less filled, in the end the filling was not much lower than the top of the crust. (The filling in the first batch went way over.)

The second batch, fresh from the oven.

The second batch, fresh from the oven!

My wife cleaned up all the mess I had made before I got to. (Thanks, hon!) I set the second batch out to cool with the first. Because I ran out of filling, I ended up only using 18 of the 22. (Of course I saved the other 4 for something else. Again, my mom would be proud.)

I left them out to cool for a while. Then I totally forgot about them and the next step which was to put them in the fridge. By that point the poofiness had subsided a little bit. I put them in the fridge for a little while until they chilled.

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And now the important question: how did they taste? I was kinda impressed with myself. They were not the best things I ever created, but they were pretty darn good. I’m happy that I was able to mush a few ideas together and come up with something new.

The mint was just about right. I definitely tasted it, but it wasn’t too much. It went well with the chocolate. And the crust? It was complementary. (Not complimentary, although that would have been awesome, too.) Nice and flaky, but not too rich or overpowering so it let the filling shine. (I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised, it’s a good solid recipe.) All in all it was a good package. Good, good, good.

This one had a little air bubble in the crust. It was still yummy.

This one had a little air bubble in the crust. It was still yummy.

I also have some comments from others on how it was. Those comments included: “delicious”, “amazing”, “crust nice and flaky, not too buttery”, “nice hint of mint”, and “best mint chocolate pie I’ve had”.

So there you have it. That’s the story of the mini mint chocolate pies. Since it’s a bit of a frankenstein recipe, I’ll spell out the details below. But I’d love to hear from you. Do you have any favorite recipes that you’ve made from bits and pieces of other recipes? How did they turn out for you? Do you have a favorite pairing with mint that isn’t chocolate? I’d love to hear any other fun ideas you have.

The final recipe is something I put together, but it was built from pieces of other recipes. Crust recipe courtesy of smitten kitchen. Chocolate filling lightly adapted from scoochmaroo’s recipe on Instructables. Mini pie info and inspiration courtesy of Gimme Some Oven on Tablespoon.

Ingredients:

1 pie crust (any crust will do, but I use this one because it’s easy, amazing, and never fails)

6 ounces semisweet chocolate chunks (any other shape of chocolate will also work)

1/2 cup butter

3 eggs

1/8 tsp salt

1/2 cup sugar

1 tsp peppermint extract (or more)

Instructions:

Make/prepare the crust.

If you don’t have a pie crust already made, now is the time to make it. Follow the instructions here for a great crust, or make your favorite. Roll out the dough and cut it into 4 inch circles. (If you cut them a little smaller, just roll them out a little bit.)

Make the filling.

Melt the chocolate and the butter together. I carefully melted them in a saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly. The chocolate can burn easily, so if you want to be more careful (or less adventurous) you can also use a double-boiler.

In a medium or large-sized bowl, combine eggs, salt, and sugar. (In my experience, your bowl can almost never be too big.) Mix with a mixer for about 5 minutes, until the mixture is nice and fluffy.

Pour the chocolate mixture into the bowl with the egg mixture and stir until combined.

Add the peppermint extract and stir it in. The recipe as is makes it slightly minty. If you want it to be mintier, you can add more. (Peppermint extract is strong, so I would caution against throwing caution to the wind.)

Preheat the oven to 325 °F. Line muffin tins with muffin cups and spray them with cooking spray. Put one circle of dough into each muffin cup. Arrange them so that a little bit of dough hangs over the edge, and press them in.

Fill each mini pie with filling about halfway.

Bake at 325°F until the filling starts to crack, about 20-25 minutes. Remove from tins (using dough handles if necessary) and cool on wire rack. Once cool, chill in fridge. Once chilled, remove and enjoy!

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