In the world of baking, portion control and kids, mini is king. If it can be baked and miniaturized in some fashion, it becomes perfect for child-sized hands and single-serving snacks. Pies are no exception to the rule, and with two new kitchen gadgets from Breville and Emerilware, making mini pies just got easier.
There are pies for every season, but for fall, nothing delights more than a warm kitchen filled with the smell of apple, pumpkin, cinnamon and vanilla. For this comparison, I chose to break into the world of mini pies with two classics — apple pie and pumpkin pie — not only because they’re familiar favorites, but I also wanted to see how the machines handled pies with and without tops. I knew if these appliances could handle the basics, they’d be worth keeping around.
We all know Breville as a Cadillac of kitchen appliances, and Breville’s “The Personal Pie” does not disappoint. The appliance feels sturdy and well-made and has Breville’s signature brushed stainless steel finish. The cooking surface is non-stick and easy to clean, and there’s an edge crimper that seals the pies and leaves a decorative trim. The entire unit can be stored either horizontally or vertically when finished, and there’s even a cord wrap underneath to keep things tidy. It also comes with a pastry cutter and a pastry press, which helped a lot when placing the bottom crust into the wells.
For another option that’s easier on the budget but produces equally tasty results, there’s the Emerilware Pie and Cake Maker. While not as sleek looking, the Emerilware pie maker boasts many of the same features as Breville and can also be used to make cupcakes. And it too has a non-stick surface that’s quick to clean, produces decorative crimped edges, can be stored horizontally or vertically, and includes a pastry cutter (but not a cord wrap or pastry press).
Both pie makers bake 4 pies at a time in about 10 minutes, and in both cases the resulting treats were delightfully delicious. The filling for the apple pie had to be cooked beforehand since the fruit would not soften enough in the appliance, but the pumpkin pie mix could be poured right into each crust and baked without a problem.
Each machine seemed to have a slight issue with uneven baking, even after warming up for two cycles, but not so much that any of the pies were ruined. I would allow each machine to warm up for at least 20 minutes and just be aware that if making covered pies, in each batch there may be one or two that brown slightly more on top.
Aesthetically, the covered apple pies win hands down, as I had trouble forming an even, well-crimped crust on the open-faced pumpkin pies(though the pastry press included with the Breville machine did help a bit.) As far as taste goes, they’re not quite the same as their larger counterparts, since the crust to filling ratio is different, but they are tasty nonetheless and make for fun, single-serving treats.
In sum, with both the Breville Personal Pie and the Emerilware Pie and Cake Maker, the ease of use combined with the ability to mix and match fillings — sweet or savory — for any taste or desire makes these pie makers a handy tool to have in any busy parent’s kitchen.
— Lisa Puttagio
Get the Breville personal pie maker from Williams-Sonoma, $99.95
Get the Emerilware pie and cake maker from Amazon, $49.95
Photo credit: Williams-Sonoma