A tart and sweet cranberry pear filling is tucked inside of flaky pastry, topped with a lattice and baked in a muffin tin to create the cutest mini pies. These Cranberry Pear Pie Minis are both festive and functional to serve during the holiday season!
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The combination of cranberry and pear together in the late fall is divine. Juicy sweet pear paired with tart bright cranberry is the perfect holiday flavor, especially when packed into a cute, little, pastry package.
Mini pies require a little more work up front, in terms of shaping each individual pie, but that extra work certainly pays off later when it comes time to serve the pie; there is no need for slicing! Plus they're simply adorable.
The ratio of crust to filling on these Mini Cranberry Pear Pies are just about equal, making this a pie everybody can get behind. Single-serving pies for everyone!
Let's get to baking them, shall we?
Here is an overview of the ingredients needed for this recipe. The full recipe is listed below in greater detail.
- double crust pie dough
- semi-ripe pears (buy either D'Anjou, Bartlett or Comice)
- granulated sugar
- freshly squeezed orange juice
- spices: ground ginger + cinnamon
- vanilla extract
- egg wash
Tools Needed for Mini Pies
Here is a list of some of the primary tools I use in this recipe. You won't necessarily choose to use them all, but they are exactly what I used. Any links may contain affiliate links.
- food processor (to make the dough)
- muffin tin
- circle cutters
- Christmas cookie cutters or Fall cookie cutters
- rolling pin
- ruler (to make the lattice)
- pastry wheel or pizza cutter or sharp knife
- pastry brush (for applying egg wash)
How to Make Mini Pies
There is some finesse of technique needed to make mini pies, but it's mostly up to you how elaborate you would like to get with your design.
At it's very basic, this mini pie recipe involves stamping or cutting out circles of dough and placing them into a muffin tin. The filling is first cooked on the stovetop. However, it must be fully cooled before being placed in the dough.
The filling is then placed in the tin, nearly to the top, and lastly, topped with either another circle of dough or a lattice.
After the pie has been filled, it should be chilled in the freezer for 15 minutes before heading into the oven.
I recommend using a nonstick muffin tin for baking the pies, as it helps in the release of the pie. The mini pies should be removed from the pan about 15 minutes after they are baked. They should be chilled just enough so that they aren't molten lava hot, but not so chilled that any spilled pie filling is set, which can cause the pie to stick to the tin.
Tips for Making a Decorated Mini Pie Lattice
Because these pies are mini, it can make working with any lattice a bit tricky. Here are some tips that are helpful:
- Make sure everything is cold. Roll out and cut the lattice pieces first and then let it chill for 20 minutes before you go to form them.
- Weave the lattices on a sheet tray first. This was much easier to do than weaving them directly on top of the mini pie. After the lattice is made, use a circle cutter to cut them into the exact size of the top of your mini pie. See the list of tools I used above.
- Chill the lattices again, before transferring them to the top of the pie. At this point, you may be noticing a pattern of "chilling" the pie dough. While this may seem annoying and finicky, it's just the reality of what it takes to make a neat looking pie. All of these steps are completely optional, but it's a trick that does work if you find it difficult to work with the pie dough. When it doubt, chill it out!
- Bake the decorative cutouts separately. Again, another extra step here, but baking the decorative cut out pieces separate ensures they cook properly and maintain their shape. Bake them in the oven on a different rack with the mini pies for about 10 minutes, or until golden brown. When ready to serve, place the decorative piece on the mini pie. You can also bake them directly on the pie if you choose.
Baking and Freezing Options
As with all fruit pies--whether mini or not--they can be baked the day they are made, or frozen to be baked another day (or baked AND frozen to be served another day). Fruit pies are very versatile and are a great make-ahead option when you're pressed for time during the holiday hustle.
To bake them immediately, follow the directions in the recipe below.
To freeze them for another day, wrap the entire tray in plastic wrap twice. Just make sure not to egg wash them yet. Place on a flat surface and freeze for up to 3 months. When ready to bake, remove from the freezer and let it sit at room temperature until the dough is tacky. Then bake as directed, likely for an additional 15 minutes. You'll still look for the pie dough to be golden brown and the filling to be bubbling.
To freeze after baking, let the mini pies fully cool outside of the muffin tray. Then, place in an airtight storage container and freeze for up to 1 month. Defrost overnight and, if desired, warm up the pie in a 300ºF until warmed through.
Make Ahead Steps
As with most pies, there are a few steps you need to make these minis. A lot of these components can be broken down into steps and done ahead of time. I encourage you to make the pastry and roll it out beforehand. The more time you give the gluten to chill out, the better your pie will be.
Make ahead options:
- Make the pie dough ahead of time. This recipe makes 2 pie crusts, which is exactly what you will need. You can make it up to 2 days ahead, stored in the refrigerator, or even up to 3 months in the freezer.
- Make the filling. It can be done up to 3 days ahead of baking. I find it's best to make the filling on the same day you make the pie crust.
- Roll out the pastry. This can be done 1 day ahead of time. Roll out the pastry and cut out the circles and place in the muffin tin. Roll out the second piece of pastry and cut the lattice pieces and lay them flat on a baking sheet. Cover both well with plastic wrap to prevent them from drying out. Store in the refrigerator up to 1 day before assembling the mini pies.
- Assemble the minis: the minis can be assembled and frozen before being ready to bake. See above for more information on how to do this.
More Fruit Pie Recipes:Print
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