Currently as I write this, I am in Portugal on a train from Porto to Lisbon! The sun is shining, and I am halfway through several books on my Kindle. Erlend is sitting next to me eating Portuguese passionfruits, all of which are incredibly sweet and not at all tart like the passionfruits you get in the United States.
If you can believe it, this is the first out-of-the-country vacation since I started my career in 2009. Sure, there were always trips somewhere throughout the years — but mostly to visit family and friends, or to check up on my house in Portland, or to go on a blog-related trip elsewhere. Portugal is the first place I’ve been to in the last 8 years that’s completely brand-new to me, and 100% unrelated to visiting family/friends/work.
I’ll tell you more about the trip soon, but I don’t want to spend too much time on this post lest I break my ABSOLUTELYNOWORKONTHISTRIP promise to myself. So instead, I’ll just leave you with these rhubarb mini pot pies:
I made these pot pies right before we left New York and rhubarb was just coming into season and appearing at all the farmers markets! Rhubarb usually gets paired with strawberry, but these pies are all about rhubarb. The filling is nothing but rhubarb, sugar, and a hint of orange zest to help balance out the fruit’s rooty, herbaceous flavor. And of course, they’re mini! I love mini pies because I feel like you get a more even crust-to-filling ratio. In my book, every bite of pie filling should have a bite of crispy, flakey, sugary pie crust.
- Like I mentioned up top, I made mini pies because I like their crust-to-filling ratio better. But this recipe is flexible! You can either make four mini pies like I did or make a traditional double-lidded 9-inch pie. The choice is yours. For the mini pies, I used mini cookie cutters to stamp out shapes for the crust because I was too lazy to deal with four different lattices. A lattice would work wonderfully for the traditional 9-inch pie though!
- In general, I don’t use a lot of sugar in my pie fillings — I find most traditional recipes too sweet, and I like being able to taste the natural flavors and tartness of the fruit. But rhubarb can get pretty tart when it’s baked, so if you want something on the sweeter side, I recommend adding 1/2 cup granulated sugar to the pie filling recipe.
- As usual, for all my best pie baking tips, be sure to check out this recipe for salted honey pie!
Rhubarb Mini Pot Pies
- A food processor
- 2 separate 1-gallon resealable plastic food storage bags (similar to Ziploc)
- mini cookie cutters for the pie lids
For the Cream Cheese Pie Crust
- 2 cups (10 ounces) all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 1/2 ounces very cold full-fat cream cheese, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks // 6 ounces) frozen unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 3 tablespoons heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
For the Rhubarb Pie Filling
- 1/2 cup (3.5 ounces) granulated sugar
- fresh zest from 1 medium orange
- 1 1/2 pounds rhubarb, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1/4 cup (1 ounce) cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed orange juice
- 1 vanilla bean pod
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon water
- demerara or other coarse sugar
For the Cream Cheese Pie Crust
- Combine 2 cups all-purpose flour, 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, 1/4 teaspoon baking powder, and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt in the bowl of a food processor; pulse for a few seconds to mix well. Add 4 1/2 ounces cream cheese and process for about 20 seconds; the mixture should resemble coarse meal. Add 3/4 cup frozen butter cubes and pulse just until none of them is larger than a pea. Add 3 tablespoons heavy cream and 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar; pulse to process the mixture into pea-size pieces. Divide the mixture in half and transfer to 2 separate 1-gallon resealable plastic food storage bags.
- Working with one bag at a time and leaving it unsealed, knead the mixture through the bag by pressing with the heel of your hand to help the dough come together. Remove the dough from the bag and knead it lightly just until it is slightly stretchy when pulled. Flatten the dough into a disk, wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 45 minutes, preferably overnight.
For the Rhubarb Pie Filling
- In a medium bowl, combine 1/2 cup granulated sugar and zest from 1 medium orange by using your fingers to rub the orange zest into the granulated sugar. This will help release oils from the zest and fully infuse the sugar with orange flavor. Set aside.
- Add 1 1/2 pounds trimmed and sliced rhubarb, 1/4 cup cornstarch, 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed orange juice. Toss to combine ingredients until the rhubarb is coated. Use the tip of a sharp knife to slice 1 vanilla bean pod lengthwise; use the tip of a knife to scrape the vanilla beans over the fruit mixture, and toss again to combine.
- Take one of the dough disks and divide into four, even pieces. Roll out each piece into a circle slightly larger than your mini pie dish (if you’re using a shallow mini pie dish, the circle should be 1 to 2-inches larger than the dish; if you’re using a deep mini pie dish, the circle should be 3 to 4-inches larger than the dish). These will be the base and sides of your crust. Gently nestle each circle into its own pie plate, using your hands to gently press the dough against the sides and base of the plate.
- Divide the filling between the four lined pie dishes. Take the remaining dough disk and roll it out to a rough, 1/4-inch thick slab. Use mini cookie cutters to stamp out shapes for the lid. Arrange the shapes on top of the filling. Transfer the pies to the freezer for at least 15 to 20 minutes, preferably overnight.
- After the pies have frozen, preheat the oven to 425 (F). Place a baking sheet on the center rack of the oven.
- Remove the pies from the freezer. In a small ramekin, combine 1 large egg and 1 teaspoon water and whisk well to make egg wash. Brush with the egg wash using a pastry brush, and sprinkle immediately with coarse demarara sugar. Place the pies on the baking tray and bake for 15 minutes, until the pastry is beginning to set and go golden. Reduce the temperature to 350 (F), and cook for a further 45 minutes or until the pastry is a deep golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool completely on a wire rack.