On the 18th hole and behind the club house of one of our golf courses that sits on the lake, folks start piling in around 6pm with blankets and lawn chairs and picnics, and fun. On the lake, boats start piling in, grabbing their spot on the water for the show.
Our family loves attending this event each year and I try to make the food not only delicious but fun. So this year, I am making as our dessert little individual jar pies and cakes. I've seen lots of versions of these all over the Internet, but since I was in a hurry, opted to do a semi-homemade method.
I started with 24 half pint mason jars, 2 packages of refrigerated pie crusts, 2 can of cherry pie filling, & 2 cans of apple pie filling. I also mixed up this quick crumb topping.
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup brown sugar or sucant (natural sugar)
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 stick softened butter
Mix with a fork or pastry tool until crumbly.
I began with the apple pies. I used the lids 0f the jar to cut out tops for each pie. Then I repeated the process for the bottoms of the jar, too.
And I had this great idea of using this little tool, I got from Pampered Chef. I placed a dough round on the end and put the jar on top of it, flipped it over and easily layered the dough into the jar.
I cut strips of dough and layered on the edges - it will be easier if I show you real quick. Take a look at this quick video ...
I filled 8 jars with pie crust. Now on to filling our pies. Of course, just because you start with store bought filling does not mean it has to taste store bought. I had some caramel sauce in the fridge, so I added that to the canned filling. There was probably not quite 1/2 cup of sauce. I also added a little melted butter, like 2 tablespoons, a sprinkle of cinnamon, a 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice and about an 1/8 cup whole wheat flour. It gave me enough filling to do 8 of the jars.
I used a star cookie cutter to cut a vent out of the top circle of dough for the little pies.
Then I laid the tops on the filling and used my fingers to seal the edges. I placed the star cut back on top a little turned so that the vent hole was not covered. I brushed a little butter on top and sprinkled with a small bit of Florida Crystal sugar, which I like because it is not bleached.
I screwed the tops on and at this point and can freeze them until I need them. I will pop them in the oven on the 4th for a quick bake. I'll start with a cold oven, put the frozen jars in and then turn the heat on to 375 degrees and bake for 50-60 minutes. If you are baking them fresh, not frozen they only need to bake for 45 minutes.
For the cherry pies, I used 2 cans of filling plus a can of drained tart cherries that I had on hand. I spooned a layer of the crumb topping into the jars, then the cherry filling and then more crumb topping. Very easy!
Again , you can put the lids on at this point and freeze like we did with the apple pies. I will pull them out on the 4th and bake with apple pies.
Red Velvet Cakes In A Jar
My son and daughter are not big fruit pie lovers, so for them, I mixed up a red velvet cake mix. I poured the mix into 8 of the jars, about 1/2 way full. I baked them for about 30 minutes at 350 degrees. After they cooled, I used a grapefruit spoon and scooped a little of the cake center out.
Then I made homemade cream cheese icing, because nothing is as good as my homemade cream cheese icing. I'll add the recipe below. I added the icing to a decorator bag and piped it down into the little hole I made into each cake and over the tops.
I used a bit of the crumbs that I scooped out on the top of each little cake for decoration. They look yummy.
Here is my Cream Cheese Icing recipe.
Cream Cheese Icing
1 stick of softened butter
8 oz softened cream cheese
1 pound confectioner sugar
11/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 to 3 tablespoons half-n-half, depending on consistency of the icing you desire: pipeable to pourable
Cream butter and cream cheese with a mixer. Slowly add the powdered sugar. Mix well. Add the vanilla and cream until you reach desired consistency.