I’ve had a lot of requests for this recipe, and I’m not really sure why I haven’t posted it. But hey, it’s never too late…right?
I created this recipe for a pie contest that was held way back in September. Unfortunately, I didn’t win, but that’s okay. You see, I made 300 little pies the night before because Piyush and I had to transport them to Minneapolis by early afternoon the next day. Living a couple hours away from Minneapolis, I knew I wouldn’t have time to prep and travel the day of.
I practiced the pies a few times and they were wonderful! The crust was perfectly flaky and they didn’t even get soggy when stored in the fridge! I was excited! So imagine my surprise when I woke up the morning of the contest and nearly all my pies’ crust had gone soft! I had a minor freak out, but realizing there was nothing I could do…we made our way to Minneapolis.
Needless to say, I learned a little lesson about food competitions. Anything that could possibly go wrong–even if it doesn’t happen in your test batches–will happen. Prepare for that.
Even though I didn’t win the competition, I assure you these little bites taste quite amazing.
If you intend to make these a day or more before you serve them, my advice would be to bake the pie shells and make your curry, just don’t fill them until a couple hours before you serve them. If you do, it won’t be the end of the world. Your pies will still taste amazing, your crust just won’t be as crispy and flaky as it should be (and who knows! Maybe they will…).
I used a mini muffin pan to make the pie shells but if you’d prefer larger pies you could put the korma in ramekins and top with crust–making an Indian-style pot pie. Yum!
I made a simple pie crust using the recipe found in Cook’s Illustrated. You toss a little ice-cold vodka (yes, vodka!) along with a bit of water to bind the dry ingredients together. There’s some science involved. Then magically, the dough becomes a beautiful, flaky crust–and it’s super easy! You can find the recipe on Serious Eats HERE. I really recommend it. This recipe is now my go-to pie crust, it really is fool-proof!
To give my crust a little Indian flair, I tossed in a tsp. of ajwain seeds.
Ajwain seeds–otherwise known as carom seeds–are delicious! They taste almost exactly like thyme and give the dough a wonderful flavor. In my opinion, they can be quite potent. So, a little go a long way!
After I made the dough and pressed cut circles into the mini muffin pan, I blind baked the crust. This wasn’t really necessary, the crust will crisp up just fine if you add the curry and bake it all at once, but every time I make a pie I get this crazy anxiety about the bottom crust not fully cooking.
There’s not many things more disappointing than a fabulous pie with a not so fabulous–raw–crust on the bottom.
The filling to this pie was my insanely awesome Vegetarian Navratan Korma.
Seriously, this recipe is the only korma recipe you will ever need. You can find the recipe HERE. If you don’t have time to make the curry, or you have left-over curry from the night before–you can definitely use what you have on hand.
I filled the pie shells with curry and tossed them in the oven at 375 degrees F for about 12 minutes–or so–just long enough for the curry to begin to bubble and turn a deeper shade of yellow-orange.
Once the pies were cooled, I topped my them with shards of dried coconut and even made a whipped coconut cream. What’s pie without a little dollop of cream!?
To make the whipped coconut cream (sorry, I don’t have a picture. You can see it in the photo of the pies on the black serving tray) I started out with a can of coconut cream, bought from the Indian market.
I put the cans of cream in the refrigerator overnight just to thicken it up a little bit. Then, I dumped the cream into a mixer along with a little powdered sugar–for some sweetness–and a couple tiny squirts of coconut extract. I really wanted to bring out that coconut flavor. I also tossed in a small pinch of salt.
Once the mixer was turned on, my coconut cream fluffed up perfectly! It’s an easy and inexpensive vegan alternative to regular whipped cream. And it tastes so good!
To finish the mini pies, I garnished them with a sprinkling of dried coriander leaves. Fancy!