Simple Simon (pie in a jar)

March 2, 2008

Cooking, Lauren, Lloyd, Most Popular

The idea of ‘how clean is your house’ has been making the rounds on the sites, and Deanne commented that her house is her playpen – clean but not neat. Beth’s is her castle – tidy, but not overly clean. My house is my lab – always in a state of disarray. It’s not that I don’t clean, it’s that a clean room invites some sort of project to take place.

Case in point. Beth, Tara and Tim stopped by for a bit this afternoon and the house was in semi-disaster mode. After they left, I spent some dedicated time doing house work. All the snowmen stuff came down, I dusted a bit, put away stuff in the living room and dining room, and tackled the kitchen counters. You may have remembered from the colander post that I had some apples sitting on the counter. I stupidly bought a bag that had bruises on every single apple. They sat on the counter for over a week because I couldn’t bear just throwing them away. So….. after the kitchen was clean and shiny…..

He looks mad at my apples.

(Don’t fret – I cut off the yucky parts.)

Tough to fit in the jars.

Ready for filling.

Ready to freeze

So, lids on and in the freezer. WAY more work than I thought it would be, and the kitchen is a disaster again. But, I made six tiny little pies and stashed them in the freezer. Today after church, I baked up:

Tiny Pie!  (one hour at 375 or so, put a ring of foil around edge for first part.)

Fully cooled and out!

I love you, tiny pie in a jar! I’m a crust lover, so this has the perfect crust-to-filling ratio for me. With a bit more tinkering and some other fruit fillings, we may be able to eat a different kind of pie each day! It will be good to cook something else in that oven when I’m baking bread.

UPDATE: For Deanne (I wish I had a giant quarter, because that would be so funny!):

unbaked quarter pie

On the off chance that anyone is reading this anymore, let me answer a few questions that came up in the comments.

I can’t remember the recipe for this dough – it had shortening, water, flour, salt and I subbed out some vinegar and vodka for the water. It was drier than a butter dough. (I’ve made that since and didn’t like it as well.)

I tried several ways of rolling out dough and trying to piece it in, but it actually worked best to just put chunks of dough in the jar and smash it around inside.

A drier filling won’t boil over as much as a juicy one.

Once it’s assembled, just screw the lid on the jar and put it in the freezer. I think it should keep well for at least a month. (I’m totally making that up, but hey – they sell frozen pies at the grocery store and they aren’t flying off the shelves.)

I bake these at about 375 – 400. Take the jar out of the freezer when you turn the oven on to preheat it. Take off the lid and put the frozen jar on a plate or baking vessel so you’ll have less thermal shock when it goes in the oven. (Read: Your jar shouldn’t crack. I’ve never had one crack.) Put a ring of foil around the edge of the pie for the first 45 minutes, take it off for 15.

Let it cool and either eat it out of the jar or run a knife around the edge to get it out. I said it’s a good crust-to-filling ratio, but it’s really a lot of crust. Cute, though!

A 2-crust recipe should work for about 6 jars.

Let me finish by saying that it’s really funny that so many people read this post. I am constantly bemoaning how I can’t make a good pie crust. If I had a show on Food Network it would be called, “Can’t Make Crust” and I’d visit sweet little grandmas around the country and make them teach me their skilz.

These are wide-mouthed 8-ounce jars (think small-cereal-bowl-sized), not tall skinny jars. I apparently caused a bit of confusion. Sorry, everyone!

SUMMER UPDATE: The obsession continues with “eat-’em-frozen” jarred desserts.

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About Lauren

Lauren Sommerer is a preschool teacher who likes to build prototypes, grow cats, cook things once, save money, reduce, reuse and recycle.

View all posts by Lauren

107 Responses to “Simple Simon (pie in a jar)”

  1. Deanne Said on:

    They’re gorgeous! But I don’t have a feel for what their size is… uh, could you sneak a quarter in there?

    Also LOVE your house is your lab… it really seems to fit!

    Finally, we haven’t seen any bread creations lately. Have you tried anything new?

    Reply

  2. Brad Said on:

    I feel your pain about the bruised apples. One of my superhero powers is the ability to always pick bad apples. I can generally avoid bruises, but the apples I pick are ALWAYS mealy. I think that if a genie offered me three wishes, one of them would be to reverse that power.

    Reply

    • Deanne Said on:

      Always buy Granny Smith. There, powers reversed.

      Reply

      • Lauren Said on:

        Here’s the kicker -- we also have a bag of mealy Granny Smiths! I thought that was illegal! They’re going to become the second round of pies.

        Reply

        • Deanne Said on:

          Oooh, the granny’s make great pies. I guess if we all bought apples in season… that’s what we get for buying apples from Chile. (I just ate a mealy apple today, and I think I still have about 5 left, which I may make into a crisp. I’m pie crust challenged.)

          Reply

    • carolina Said on:

      try to buy local apples if you can…i heard somewhere that big apple ‘companies’ vs. orchards have found a way to store apples from the previous years’ harvest…don’t know if that is true but i bet those apples might be the mealy ones…by the way those pies are irresistably adorable…i would eat that for breakfast or at any time for that matter!!

      Reply

  3. Karla Said on:

    I hope you removed the quarter before freezing/eating!! Belch!

    Reply

  4. Beth Said on:

    Your house is your lab, indeed. And mine, my castle. And Brad’s, his small animal morgue…oh wait, that’s his back yard…Brad’s, his terrarium.

    Reply

  5. Deanne Said on:

    Thanks for the quarter!!

    Reply

  6. Peggy Said on:

    I always suspected that the TV people could watch us too … it’s the government watching us, like they’ve always said.

    (and I need the quarter for scale to see how tall these little buggers are. Can you take a bite once it’s cut in 1/2? )

    Reply

    • Deanne Said on:

      I was thinking the same thing, but I was too embarrassed to ask since I got what I asked for!

      Reply

      • Karla Said on:

        And what size jars are those? Wide mouth half pint? I’m only guessing, since I’ve only bought canning jars once in my life and it was over 10 years ago when I was feeling crafty…

        Reply

        • Lauren Said on:

          Whew! When I first read your comment I thought you were an expert canner and I was going to have to reply with, “I don’t know… they’re short and wide.” Let me check. Yes. Wide mouth half pint!

          As to Peggy’s question, they are a little over two quarters tall, so it depends on the size of your mouth.

          Reply

  7. Deborah Said on:

    Mmmmmm. . . I wish someone would make that for me.

    Reply

  8. Janet Said on:

    This has got to be one of the coolest ideas! I want pie!

    Reply

  9. Terry Said on:

    Janet told me about your great idea and I concur…and I want pie too! I am culinarily challenged -- how long do ya bake them and do they leak all over the over and make the smoke alarm go off? My poor dogs don’t like that and it happens 2 times out of 3 that I use the oven…

    Reply

    • Lauren Said on:

      Ha! I’m glad you like them. I put a frozen pie (lid off, of course) on a heat-proof pan, wrap the edge in aluminum foil, bake at 375 for 45 minutes, then another 15 or so with the foil off seemed to work. I only had one boil over, but it didn’t smoke too badly. :)

      Reply

  10. Jennifer Said on:

    (I found this post via notmartha.org)

    This sounds like a really cool idea…especially if you want to have pie from time to time but don’t want to bake a whole pie. Reheated pie pieces just aren’t as good as fresh baked, either.

    Have you had any issues with the jars when frozen or taken from frozen to baking?

    I’ll have to keep an eye out for some wide mouth jars to try. Thanks for the idea! :)

    Reply

  11. Stephanie Said on:

    How long would you be able to keep these in the freezer??

    Reply

    • Lauren Said on:

      I’ve only frozen two batches, and ate them up within a week or so. I would guess it’s pretty airtight in there with the lid on so they should be alright for…. I don’t know. To the laboratory!

      To answer the freezer-to-oven question, I took the pies out of the freezer, put them on the ovenproof plate, then stuck that on top of the oven while it preheated. I figured that was enough thawing to keep it from exploding. (It would be BAD to put a frozen jar directly on a hot oven rack. Bad.)

      Reply

  12. John Said on:

    how did you get the pie out of the jar so cleanly?

    Did you spray the jar with pan release first?

    thanks

    Reply

  13. brilynn Said on:

    Those look so awesome!

    Reply

  14. Vera Said on:

    Okay, this looks so good I want to try it. But I have no idea where to get jars like that. What should I look for? And do you have a recipe? I’ve never made pie before!

    Reply

  15. Rolando Said on:

    Torchwood!

    Reply

  16. Neshura Said on:

    You can get the short quarter pint Mason jars at any hardware store in the canning section, and in many large grocery stores as well. If you aren’t going to can, the plastic twist-on freezer lids are less work than the two-piece metal canning lids.

    Reply

  17. Meredith Said on:

    These are so adorable and practical!

    Reply

  18. Laurel Said on:

    I know what I’m doing this weekend…

    Reply

  19. ChiaLynn Said on:

    Who is that on the TV in the first picture? She appears to be very, very upset about the bruises on those apples.

    We sometimes buy ceviche in jars just that size -- and I can always use another excuse to eat ceviche!

    Reply

  20. DeadlyDad Said on:

    I vote that you make them a little shorter, so that you end up with two inches or so of room on top. Then, after they are frozen, put a 12″ square of plastic wrap over top, pack to the top with vanilla ice cream, fold the plastic over, and screw the lid on. When you take it back out for reheating, the puck of ice cream will pop right out. Unwrap it and drop it back onto the hot pie for yummy pie a la mode.

    Reply

    • Lauren Said on:

      Clever! I’m not sure if I said anywhere that they go into the freezer unbaked, so it’s baking a frozen pie, not reheating. (Like a frozen pot pie. Mmmmm….pot pie….)

      Reply

  21. Rolando Said on:

    @Chialynn:
    It’s actually a he. It’s “Owen Harper”, a character on BBCs “Torchwood”. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Owen_Harper

    BTW, love the pies, gonna make some this week!

    Reply

    • ChiaLynn Said on:

      Ah, thank you, Rolando. I don’t have cable (or any TV reception, actually), so only watch series on DVD. We’ve been working through the new Dr. Who -- I think Torchwood’ll be in the Netflix queue soon.

      Reply

  22. funtime42 Said on:

    Pyrex makes glass freezer to oven dishes about the same size as the mason jars although they are slightly more angled than the jars. I’m thinking chicken pot pies…

    Reply

  23. Mokihana Said on:

    I can’t subscribe to your RSS feeds… it says the page can’t be displayed. Just found your blog via Craftzine, and would love to have the feeds. Can you help?

    Reply

  24. Mokihana Said on:

    How many crusts do you need for six jars? So I can plan, ya know? Like for a 2-crust pie? Thanks!

    Reply

  25. Suz Said on:

    Came across your post via http://www.yumsugar.com

    Such a great idea. It’s something I would definately wanna give a try.

    Reply

  26. Michelle at Scribbit Said on:

    How clever--kind of like those cakes in a cup I saw months ago, but pie is even better.

    Reply

  27. Some other Lauren Said on:

    What is that T.V show in the background?

    Reply

    • Lauren Said on:

      It’s “Torchwood” on BBC America. That’s Owen Harper when he’s switched personalities because some alien is messing with his head.

      Reply

  28. jen Said on:

    oo i’m totally making these. i’m a college student and have discovered rather unfortunately that my eating habits have gone down hill. i love pie but was afraid that if i made one i’d eat it in one day :S these are a perfect, and controllable size for me :D

    Reply

  29. Mary Said on:

    You should be able to buy those 1/2 pint-wide-mouth jars at a Wal-Mart Super Center. Those look so good, and I’m not a pie eater, but love that filling. Do you have a recipe for the filling?

    Reply

  30. veron Said on:

    What a wonderful idea! Love them little jars.

    Reply

  31. Cindy Carnes Said on:

    This is adorable. I would experiment like crazy with this idea, I did the cake in a jar thing years ago as teacher gifts. Did the cookies in a jar, too. They loved them, but this is great. For that dessert craving, portion control, everything, love it!

    Reply

  32. ThursdayNext Said on:

    Hi, I just posted this at Not Martha, and it occurred to me that should post it here, too. I have some confusion about the measurements in this idea. I checked out the sizes above, and Not Martha (who rued not using 8-oz jars) definitely used the same size you used, 4-oz, although here in the comments, you seem to have made a mistake, calling them “wide mouth half-pint.” 8-oz, half-pint jars are, if we use your measurements, about 4 quarters high, not two. We just made these, using 8-oz (half-pint) jars. This had some unintended consequences.

    First, they’re just not nearly as cute.

    Second, you can’t put the dough in and push it against the sides, because the jars are too deep and, using standard wide mouth, too narrow for an average person’s hands.

    So you have to roll dough, make 2 dough circles, put one at the bottom of the jar, roll out a long-ish rectangle, make it into a cylinder, insert the cylinder in the jar, fill it with filling, put the other dough circle on top and tidy up the top of the cylinder. A lot of fussing, especially with pie crust, which notoriously does not appreciate fussing.

    Next time we’re going to try the little 4-oz, because I think the wishful thinking (on Not Martha) about 8-oz didn’t take into account the fact that the size difference is in height, not height and width.

    But the whole idea is absolutely adorable, and we’ll be making more.

    Reply

    • Lauren Said on:

      I’ll have to fix this when I get home (I’m at work waiting for things to print -- I’m not goofing around. Really!) Anyway, the 8 oz. jars I used were pretty short & squat. You can see a picture of them side-by-side with the 4 oz jar here. http://lloydandlauren.com/?p=1792 Sorry for the misunderstanding. I never thought about tall jars. You’re right -- those are no good for pie.

      Reply

  33. Cindy Grice Said on:

    for pie dough try this recipe. I could NEVER make pie dough (and I tried all the “sure fire” “no fail” ones) untill I tried this. Now I never fail!!
    http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Miracle-Baking-Powder-Pie-Crust/Detail.aspx

    Reply

  34. Andrea Said on:

    Has anyone tried this with Pumpkin…I was thinking it would be perfect to take to Thanksgiving…kind of kitchy but hopefully delicious!

    Reply

  35. Sarah Said on:

    This are very cute. My husband is in Iraq right now and I am sure he would love some pie. What do you think about baking them in the jars and them sealing them with the lids while they are hot. Think it would last a week for the hike overseas?

    Reply

    • Lauren Said on:

      I would worry about the crust getting soggy if you sealed it hot, plus I’m not sure about how long pie would last unbaked. Then again, I’m completely germ-phobic when it comes to food.

      Reply

    • Amber Said on:

      I was wondering the exact same thing, for the exact same reason, Sarah. (aren’t deployments fun?…not!) I have heard that the cake version travels over there really well. The crust sogginess factor could be a problem, though…

      Reply

  36. Sarah Said on:

    I would bake the pie before sending it. So it would be baked and then sealed and sent.

    Reply

    • Lauren Said on:

      I’d say perhaps freeze them again and send them in a cooler with dry ice? I looked up some stuff on an FDA website, but I misplaced it. Good luck! :) Tell your husband thanks so much for his service to our country!!

      Reply

      • Crislee Said on:

        I am trying to figure out the same thing. But I’m fairly positive dry ice would be a huge no no in a war zone. It can be used to make bombs!

        I told my husband I was going to try….if it doesn’t smell good or taste ok on first bite toss it.

        And soggy crust will be more like cobbler…we Southerners love that anyway!

        Reply

  37. Sarah Said on:

    So I went ahead and baked the pies in the jar and then put the lids on while they were still hot. The lids sealed really well. After they had cooled completely I put them in the freezer overnight. In the morning I wrapped them with bubble wrap and put them in one of those flatrate boxes from the post office with fragile written all over it. Sent them on Wednesday last week and my hubby got them Monday night. He said they turned out awesome. Nothing broke and the crust was not soggy. I did a homemade cherry/blueberry mix filling for the pies(his favorite). Now Hubby in Iraq gets to have my homemade pie on thanksgiving. Thanks for the idea Lauren. Give it a try Amber. I am sure your hubby would love it. I sent extra so he could share with his buddies. I am going to do this with cake for his birthday in January.

    Reply

    • Beth Said on:

      That’s AWESOME! Makes me a little teary to know your husband gets to have your pie for Thanksgiving even though he’s half way around the world.
      Man, do we have an amazing amount to be thankful for!

      Reply

    • Ericka Said on:

      Why did you freeze them again after baking? Wouldn’t they defrost in the box making the cardboard soggy? Did you ever try pumpkin?

      thanks

      Reply

  38. tonya Said on:

    You know its people like you that makes this old world go round i think this is great and about the sweetest thing ive seen in a while i dont know you at all but this little pie says it all thanks and never stop.

    Reply

  39. Kirsten Said on:

    Love the pie in a jar idea. Think I’ll try several fillings. I may even make a few meat pies as well.

    Reply

  40. Darlene Said on:

    I was wondering if these would ship good to the troops? How would you seal them? Thanks Darlene

    Reply

    • Lauren Said on:

      Sarah (a couple of comments above this one), tried sealing them up and mailing them. She has a nice detailed explanation, and if you’d like her to e-mail you, I could certainly ask her if that’s ok.

      Reply

    • Darlene Said on:

      I would love for her to send me any ideas cause we would love to send them out next week. Thank you so much Darlene

      Reply

      • Darlene Said on:

        Thank you so much, am baking in Saturday with a friend. I am excited to get these over to the troops. Darlene

        Reply

        • Crislee Said on:

          Has anyone tried anything else to troops…like meat pies, etc? I figure if pie and cake work well…why not “Pot roast in a jar” stop laughing I’m fairly serious!

          Reply

  41. Caitlin Said on:

    Normally for Pie crusts I use my great-grandma’s recipe of 2 cups flour, 1 cup shortening, pinch of salt and enough water to bind. (more or less for stiffness)

    Reply

  42. Becky Christensen Said on:

    I love this -- this idea is one of the most wonderful things I have seen -- I was looking for ideas on how to send something to my son deployed in “the SandBox” -- found your information an Navy for Moms -- this takes the cake! No I am going to make Cake in the Jar and send it for his birthday! along with some apple pie! So cool thank you!

    Reply

  43. mandy Said on:

    i want 2 know if you can bake the jars then let them cook then freeze them again then just heat them up in the microwave or the oven when ever i want them and them eat it

    Reply

  44. Frank Eskola Said on:

    Fascinating, thank you! I spent my childhood in Yorkshire in the UK, and I’ve been trying to find a recipe for this delicious pie I remember eating all the time, but can’t remember what we called it!!! Do you know a famous pie recipe from Yorkshire?

    Reply

  45. lynn Said on:

    These are beautiful. It’s such a creative way to serve pies :)

    Reply

  46. Renske Said on:

    I love this idea! I just don’t know where to get jars like that. Can I also use empty jars from the supermarket, like from jam or sauce or something?

    Reply

    • Lauren Said on:

      I haven’t seen this particular style of jar in a while, but if you google ‘pie in a jar’ and search the images, you can see a variety of styles. I would worry about using something that wasn’t meant for home canning, though, since you’ll be putting it in a hot oven (on a cookie sheet or something to help with heat distribution.)

      Reply

  47. Janet Said on:

    I would love to make these as a wedding favor!!!! What do you think? Good idea? Would it work???

    Reply

  48. poppy Said on:

    These are so nice ! I am going to use these small pies as seating tags for this years Thanksgiving dinner .everyone will get to take home a personal pie :)

    Reply

  49. Jenna Said on:

    I just made these…mine exploded though..=[ I think it was too much filling? Maybe I’ll try again? They were fun to make though, you were right about stuffing the dough at the bottom…there really is no other way. Thanks for this post they will make awesome secret santa gifts…er…once I work out the kinks!

    Reply

  50. JODI HARRINGTON Said on:

    ok -- I have a question. You freeze these little pies… then bake them “IN” the glass jar? How is it that the glass does not shatter going from extremes? Please let me know.

    Reply

    • Lauren Said on:

      I wouldn’t put a jar straight from the freezer into a hot oven -- that is asking for disaster. Let the frozen pie sit out while the oven preheats (about ten minutes for me), then set it on another pan (cookie sheet or cake pan) when you put it in the oven. The cold (not freezing) jar will warm up without as much thermal shock.

      Reply

  51. Kylee Sokol Said on:

    It was interesting posts

    Reply

  52. Sis Said on:

    Just wanted to say, I just found this! :) I have 6 kids moving in with me in one week and I’m scrambling for a way to have a variety of foods available for school lunches and snacks… well, for all meals! Love these!

    Reply

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