Gift-Giving As Hospitality: Pie In a Jar! What A Great Gift Idea!

Pie in a Jar:
Cherry Pie in a Jar from OurBestBites

This is Hospitality Week, Day 2!  I promised on my last Food Friday post that I’d give you an idea for how to use any extra pie dough from my recipe for Pumpkin Pie, that you might have had, because that pie crust recipe makes a lot.  And I’m excited to share with you this idea which we found.  On your list of people to give to this Christmas, is there a teacher–maybe a piano or violin teacher?  Maybe a Grandma or Grandpa who doesn’t need a thing? Maybe a single neighbor, or a couple or a family who you don’t know well, but you’d like to introduce yourself to and give just a little something, as well?  Maybe even a postman you’d like to say Merry Christmas to?  Well, this is the perfect gift for every one of them.  I’m sure they would enjoy receiving one of these homemade Pies in a Jar!  (see http://www.ourbestbites.com/2009/09/single-serving-pie-in-jar.html to see where we got the idea.)

Have you ever thought of gift-giving as showing Hospitality?  Well, in a sense it is!  Or it can be!  Here is one way to open up your heart and home to others and bring the love to them!

Ingredients:

Pie crust, Filling and a Jar:
1) Jars:
You need half-pint jars that are short and fat, not tall and skinny, in other words, as wide at the top as they are at the bottom.  We were able to find these jars, which came with the lids, at our local Cub Foods grocery store.
2) Recipe for Pie Crust: (*Store bought pie crusts work wonderfully, too and are so simple)
Your favorite, or here’s the one we use:

(This is my mother-in-law, Pearl Gunn’s, recipe, recorded in the Camp Jim cookbook, and used for at least 70 years)
Ingredients:
(You can’t make it tough)
4 cups flour
3 tsp brown sugar
1/4 tsp baking powder
2 tsp salt
1 lb lard (ask for it if you can’t find it–it’s in your grocery store)
1 tsp vinegar
1 egg plus enough water to make 3/4 cup
Directions:
Mix together until the consistency of biscuit dough.  Don’t be afraid to mix well as the dough will not toughen.  Add flour to roll.  Makes enough for 4 regular size double pies. You will get about 4 Pies in a Jar from 1 of these, or 16 Pies in a Jar from this recipe.  (Ministry Idea:  Why not take these to elderly neighbors or (if they allow) give them out at the local nursing home.  I’m sure you can think of many people on your list who would love one of these.)  Otherwise, dough keeps well in the refrigerator for a week or two.  Or you can divide up leftover dough and freeze in zippered plastic bags.
Apple Pie in a Jar Unbaked from OurBestBites
Directions for Pie in a Jar:

You can either make a top of crust or make a crumb crust.  If you want it from dough, then use the ring of the jar to cut out a top for your pie, or eyeball it.  (Now set that aside for later.)
Smoosh dough into the jar bottom and sides, but keep it somewhat thin. Otherwise, we found that it was too heavy on the crust side. So, line the jar with dough (just use your fingers) and go all the way to the top.  (You don’t need to grease the jar.)

Filling: You need about 1/2 cup per jar
Here’s the basic recipe (for 4 pies in a jar)
2 cups prepared fruit (pitted, diced, peeled, etc.)
2 Tbsp sugar, brown or white (use more or less depending on sweetness of fruit)
2 Tbsp flour (again, more if your fruit is super juicy like cherries, less if it’s pretty dry)
1 Tbsp butter (divided between the pies)
Seasonings/flavorings- cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla and almond extract, citrus zest, etc.)

(*Update to Post:  Our Favorite so far of all we’ve made is the Cherry Pie using the Pet Ritz pie crust–we had some in the freezer to use up:)
We used apple and cherry.  For the cherry, we used canned cherry pie filling.  It actually could have been a little sweeter–add the sugar according to the sweetness of your fruit.  Fill your crust-lined jar with your filling, put your favorite crumb topping on top, or the piece of pre-cut dough that you set aside, pinch it together and make a couple of slits or a cut-out in the top to let out steam, just like a regular pie, and put the lid on and make it tight.

Now, you can FREEZE THEM!  Yeah, that’s the best part.  You can make them up ahead and when you need a gift, or you want to show some HOSPITALITY, you can just take one or more of these cuties out of the freezer!  If you want, you can decorate the jars. A simple card stock tag with a little message like Homemade with Love, or From Our House to Yours, and a hole through the top tied around the jar with raffia or ribbon would be cute.  (For more decorating ideas, click on the link above.)

To BAKE (don’t forget to include these instructions if giving these as a gift):
To bake from frozen state, take the cover off, place on a cookie sheet, and put them in the oven and bake at 375 degrees F. for 50 minutes or until bubbly and golden brown.  If you’re worried about the jars breaking, don’t.  It’s never happened in hundreds of tries, and they ARE canning jars, after all, but if you’re still worried, you can put them in a cold oven on a cookie sheet, without the lids, and then turn on your oven which will allow them to warm up with the oven.  You can, of course, also let them sit out for awhile on the counter before putting them in the oven.

If baking fresh, they take about 45 minutes.
We did it both ways and had no problems!  Aren’t these really cute?  Now you’re ready to share Hospitality–all wrapped up in a Home-baked gift of a Pie in a Jar.
Enjoy!

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