It’s no secret that there has been a heated debate on the interwebs of late about whether or not pies will be overtaking cupcakes as the “It” of sweet treats and desserts. Personally, there hasn’t been much of a debate for me, because…well. I don’t really like pie. So. Yeah. Cupcakes, FTW!
Actually, that’s not really true, but it sort of is. But not really. See, I do like pie. Just not very many pies. It’s gonna probably sound pretty weird to you guys, but I’m not much of a cooked fruit fan. I really like my fruit au naturale. It drives the Hubster crazy, but I can’t help it. To me, apples are supposed to be crisp and cold, not warm and soft and mushy. Blech!
But I love pie crust, the flavors of most pies, and any cream, fresh fruit, or chocolate pie (duh). Not that that solves my pie problem, but at least i still have options.
So that’s pretty much why I’m always on Team Cupcake, rather than Team Pie. But I do love the idea of pies. I love the tradition behind and them, and how happy they make people. No, they’re nowhere near as portable as cupcakes, and no, they’re not as much of a crowd pleaser for picky people like me, but there is just something about a beautiful, warm, homemade pie.
So what’s the solution? What’s the real answer to pie vs. cupcake?
Well, what if a pie married a cake? What would their babies look like? I’m pretty sure they’d look like these little gems that I’ve (naturally) dubbed “piecakes.”
These are the result of pie’s gorgeous golden crust being formed into individual babies, filled with fluffy, delicious cake, topped with gorgeous pie filling, and finished off with a lovely little lattice design on top.
Tell me, what’s not to love?
Oh yeah, and then I went and topped the whole shebang with cool, creamy ginger whipped cream.
Pie lovers and cupcake connoisseurs UNITE! No more must we battle in the streets. Never again must we stand divided in our bakery lines! Let us join forces to defeat the evils of indecision that drive to separate us. Let us all eat cake. And pie. Together!
Once the dough is chilled, I prepared my cake batter (recipe below) and set it aside.
While the pie crusts bake, mix up the pie filling. You can use any fruit pie filling that you like, but I chose to go with peach as a last hurrah for summer. Plus, peaches and vanilla cake and ginger whipped cream…um. Yeah. Meant to be.
If you also decide to use my peach pie filling, you’ll need peaches (peeled, pitted, quarted, and sliced thin), brown sugar (packed), sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, corn starch, and lemon juice.
I got the peaches prepared just before I made my cake batter. Then, while the crusts baked, I mixed the filling up. Once mixed, spread the filling in a glass baking dish and set aside until the pie crusts are par baked.
Bake the filled pie crusts, and the prepared pie filling, for 10 minutes. You can do these at the same time in the oven, by rotating the two pans from top to bottom and front to back, halfway through baking.
Remove everything from the oven and place one to two tablespoons of pie filling on each piecake. I like to do this immediately out of the oven so that the heat of everything lets some of the pie filling juices soak into the cake.
Then, you go and top it all of with a quintessential match for pies and cupcakes alike: whipped cream. I was unsure of these when i dreamed them up, but ph my, thank goodness for dreams. Yes, these are quite involved, but they’re very much worht it. It’s not the any one step takes a long time, or much work. It’s only that there’s a lot of waiting and assembling. Like I said, though, all of the steps are easy, so as long as you have the time, you won’t mind making these up. Trust me. They are so very worth it. Enjoy!
Vanilla Peach Piecakes [Printable Recipe]
Makes 24 standard sized piecakes
FOR THE PIE CRUST
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons shortening, cold
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold, cut into small chunks
6-8 tablespoons cold water
FOR THE CAKE
2 egg whites, at room temperature (save the yolks to use in an egg wash, if desired)
1/4 cup milk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup, plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
5 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon1 baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
FOR THE PEACH FILLING
4 peaches, peeled, pitted, quarted, and sliced thin
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons corn starch
To make the crust: In a food processor, mix the dry ingredients for a couple of seconds to combine, then drop the shortening evenly on top in chunks. Process until the mixture looks like wet sand. Evenly distribute the butter on top and pulse until the mixture has pea sized chunks in it. If mixing by hand, cut the cold shortening in with a fork or dough blender, again until it resembles wet sand. Then cut the butter in until you have pea sized pieces.
If using a processor, transfer the mixture to a large bowl.
Add about 6 tablespoons cold water and begin mixing with a spatula. Using a spatula, mix the dough by ‘folding’ from bottom to top and pressing down with each fold, adding more water if the dough is too dry.
Once the mixture has just formed a dough, turn it out onto a very lightly floured surface. As quickly as possible, finish bringing the dough together by hand, kneading as little as possible.
Divide the dough in half evenly and shape into two disks, roughly 4 inches across. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least two hours or over night.
Once chilled, make cake filling: Lightly coat muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.
Combine the eggs, milk, and vanilla in a small bowl, and whisk together; set aside.
In a large bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients. Beat in the butter on low speed until the mixture looks like soft wet sand or until there are no longer any large chunks of butter or streaks of dry flour, about three minutes. Add the egg mixture in two small batches, beating on low until combined in between each batch. Scrape the bowl and mix for another 15 seconds. Set aside while you prepare the pie crusts.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Remove your one of your disks of pie dough from the refrigerator and roll it out to a little less than 1/4-inch thick. Cut several 4 to 5-inch circles out of the dough, re-rolling the remaining dough, as needed. Place each circle into the cup of the prepared muffin pan, pressing gently into the corners and trimming any excess dough away. Bake for 10 minutes.
While baking, make the pie filling: Combine the peach slices, sugars, and spices in a medium bowl, tossing to coat the peaches thoroughly. Stir in the lemon juice and corn starch until well combined. Spread in a glass baking dish; set aside to bake with the piecakes.
Remove the pie crusts from oven and immediately fill each muffin cup with 1 tablespoon of the cake batter.
Bake the filled pie crusts and the pie filling for 10 minutes, rotating the pans front to back and top to bottom, halfway through baking.
Remove the piecakes and filling from the oven and place about 2 tablespoons of the pie filling on top of each piecake. Roll out the remaining pie dough and cut into 1/4 to 1/2-inch strips and weave the pieces into lattice tops on each of the piecakes. Return to the oven and bake until lattices are light golden brown, about 10 minutes. Allow to cool completely before serving.
Ginger Whipped Cream [Printable Recipe]
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoons vanilla
In a large bowl, or the bowl of a standing mixer, whip the cream on medium high speed until it begins to thicken and form very soft peaks. Sprinkle the sugar and ginger over the top of the cream and continue whipping until firm peaks form. Stir in the vanilla. Chill until ready to serve.
Recipe by Darla