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Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching. I’ve got a few ideas for dinner and dessert (We’re thinking about avoiding a fancy restaurant since they will be packed and overpriced). I’m going back and forth between just ordering in Chinese, watching Netflix, and chilling in sweatpants and getting steak and crab legs and throwing a fancy Valentine’s Day meal in the apartment. I’ll let you know which wins out!
What is it that makes tiny things so much cuter than their full-sized counterparts? Think about it – muffins, cupcakes, cake pops, birthday cakes, kittens, puppies all are cutest when they are tiny! Don’t believe me? Do a quick Pinterest search for teacup puppies.
I wanted to take something to our monthly potluck. In the spirit of the season, I decided to make mini heart-shaped hand pies. They came out just as I had hoped, although they were a little on the crusty side. The fellow said I could have used more filling, but it would have made it more difficult to close the pies.
There was a bit of trial and error with the sizes of my pie crust hearts. Originally, I had thought that the best way would be to make the bottom crust larger and the top crust smaller. The thought was to lay the base crust down, fill with the meat and veggie mixture, and top with the final crust. To close the pies I folded the bottom crust edge up over the top crust creating a seam to hold in the filling. I made about three that way before I realized there had to be an easier way.
My second attempt was what I ended up doing for the rest of the pies. This time I made both the top and bottom crusts the same size using my largest heart cookie cutter. I layered the bottom crust, then the filling, and lastly the top crust. Instead of folding the bottom layer up, I just took a fork and crimped the edges down which made the heart into a pocket.
In hindsight, it probably would have been best if I had combined my first and second attempts. If I make these again, I will try making the bottom crust a size smaller than the top crust. That way I could put more filling into the pies and the top crust would have more room to stretch over the filling. I would still crimp the edges.
Grammy’s Pie Crust:
2 C Flour
1 tsp Salt
¾ C Crisco
Cold water to mix
Blend Crisco into flour and salt; gradually add water until dough reaches correct consistency to roll.
(This is the official Crisco pie crust recipe in a double batch. My grandmother has used it for years and it is amazing. This yields enough for a top and bottom crust or two topless pie crusts and is flakey and wonderful.)
1 Large can of Campbell’s cream of chicken soup
1 Bag frozen mixed veggies
3 Sticks of celery
3 T Butter
3 Chicken Breasts
Salt, Pepper, and Herbs De Provence to taste.
Boil and shred the chicken breasts. Chop the celery and sauté it in the butter until tender; add in the bag of mixed veggies and heat. Once the celery and veggies are tender, add the cream of chicken soup and spices and continue to heat. Add the shredded chicken breasts to the heated veggie mixture. Set aside on low heat while you prepare the crusts.
I mixed each batch of dough individually, rolled it out and cut out as many hearts as I could from one batch. I’ve found rolling it two or three times in succession causes it to be tough so I work the leftover dough from each round into the next batch. I made approximately four turns of pie crust for this endeavor.
I swear by parchment paper for almost everything that requires a cookie sheet. Less spreading and quicker clean up makes me a happy camper.
Towards the end, I managed to fit around 8-9 hand pies on a cooking sheet. At the beginning, I was spacing them farther apart and only got around 6-7 per sheet.
Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 20 minutes until edges of crusts are beginning to turn golden brown.