Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Labbits Like: Green Tea Cream Mini Pies

Pipkin bugged Captain Holly to recreate the green tea cream pie he had in Seattle, and he must have caught the Captain in a good mood, 'cause he was up for the challenge! Captain Holly looked online for recipes but couldn't find anything, so he figured he would try the simplest thing: making a cream pie, and adding in green tea flavor to the milk. He'd steep the green tea in hot milk (sort of like making a green tea latte) and then finish up the filling as if it were any other cream pie. And if that failed, well, he'd just have to try again.

So this was his first attempt. The result? Quite tasty, although, not quite green tea-y enough, and not green enough in color. He steeped 2 bags of tea for a little over 10 minutes, but used a very mild green tea, resulting in a mild taste and not much color. Still, these mini pies were tasty, with just a hint of the apple-green tea Holly used.

The recipe is below, and Captain Holly recommends steeping 3 or 4 bags of a mild tea, OR 2 bags of a strong tea for 10 - 15 minutes. He'd also cut out a bit more sugar so it's less sweet, but you can always adjust the sugar your taste!

As for the pie problems there! This is a flaky pie crust that is buttery and oh so good. This recipe is good for a 9" uncovered pie, or 6 mini pies, which Captain Holly made by using a muffin tin. With portion sizes like these mini pies, you don't have to feel too bad about indulging in a such a buttery, flaky crust.

Oh - since Captain Holly was making this up for the first time, he also made too much filling. You might be able to fill twice as many pie shells as Captain Holly, so if you're going to make these mini pies according to the recipes below, make twice as many mini pie shells.

Edited to add: There's also a variation below for Chai Latte Pie. Give it a try! Also, you can make slightly bigger pie crusts by cutting your dough with a 5" cookie cutter and spreading the dough over the back of the muffin tin. No need to stuff with parchment paper and beans, the tin will hold the shape of the dough for you. Don't forget to poke some holes in the dough to let steam escape, and enjoy your bigger mini pie crust. It holds more stuff!
Print Mini Pie Crust recipe here.
Print Green Tea Cream Pie Filling recipe here.

Mini Pie Crusts
1 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 lb cold butter, cut in small pieces
1 egg yolk
2 Tbsp ice water
up to 1 1/2 Tbsp granulated sugar (optional, Captain Holly didn't use any)

Preheat the oven to 425°F. In a large bowl, sift together flour and salt, and up to 1 1/2 tablespoons of sugar if you want to sweeten the crust slightly.
Cut in the butter with your paws (wash them first!) or a pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse meal or tiny peas.

Thanks for not smorkin' in the bowl, Captain Holly.
In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolk and water together, add to the flour mixture, and blend until the pastry is smooth and holds together in a ball.

Wrap ball of dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes.

Remove plastic, and sandwich ball of dough between two pieces of wax paper and roll the dough into a disk about 1/8" thick.

Use a 4" cookie cutter (or the lid off a jar of Ovaltine, which is all Captain Holly had - work with what you've got, like a cup, a clean tin can, etc.) to cut out a circle of pie crust dough. There should be enough dough for 6 mini pie crusts. Take all the leftover pieces of dough for the last circle, and roll it out with your paws.

Press the disks into a lightly greased muffin tin. Place the muffin tin in the fridge for about 10 minutes to cool. Keeping the dough cool will help the crusts retain their shape while baking. Meanwhile, cut out 4" squares of parchment paper.

Press the paper into the pie crusts and fill each paper with dried beans or uncooked rice, gently pressing the beans or rice into the sides of the paper. This will also help the crust keep its shape when baking. Bake on the middle rack at 425°F for 6 minutes.

Remove the parchment paper and beans or rice, and lightly score the bottom of the crust to allow steam to escape. Pop the muffin tin back in the oven to bake another 4 minutes* or until the crusts are a light golden brown. Set aside to cool before removing from the tin.

*Note: if you are making these mini pie crusts for pies with filling that require baking, only bake for another minute, then fill the mini pies, and bake according to your recipe.

Yields: 6 muffin sized mini crusts

Green Tea Cream Pie Filling
2 cups 2% milk
3 - 4 tea bags of green tea, depending on desired strength of green tea*
1/2 cup sugar
3 Tbsp cornstarch
1/8 tsp salt
2 large eggs
1 1/2 Tbsp butter, softened
Whipping cream (optional, for garnish)
White chocolate (optional, for garnish)
Chopped pistachios (optional, for garnish)

Chai Latte Cream Pie Variation:
Instead of green tea, swap in Chai tea! Captain Holly used 4 tea bags of Yogi Tea's Chai Rooibos and steeped for 15 minutes. Follow the rest of the recipe the same way, top with whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

*Although Yamamotoyama's Apple Green Tea is pictured and used in the first batch of pies, Captain Holly found it was too mild tasting. The next batch of pies was made with Choice Organic Teas' Premium Japanese Green, which yielded a stronger green tea flavor. 

In a heavy bottomed saucepan over medium heat, bring milk to a near boil, but do not boil, and stir constantly with a whisk. A thermometer should read between 140°F to 150°F. Remove from heat, add tea bags, cover, and allow to steep for 10 - 15 minutes. Meanwhile, mix together the sugar, cornstarch, salt and whisk in eggs. Strain the steeped tea into a bowl through a fine sieve or cheesecloth to remove and solids and tea leaves. Return liquid to the saucepan and over medium heat, bring liquid back to 140°F, stirring constantly.

Gradually add in the egg mixture, whisking constantly (seriously, do not leave the stove. Keep stirring!) for 10 minutes or until filling is thick and bubbly. Add the butter and stir to mix evenly.

Remove from heat and immerse the saucepan in a large bowl of ice water to cool the filling. Cool for 5 - 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Captain Holly added ginger to a couple just to try something different
Spoon the filling into the mini pie crusts and cover with plastic wrap. Chill pies for 3 hours or until set. Remove the wrap, whip up some whipping cream and shave some white chocolate for garnish. Enjoy!

Yields: 6 mini cream pies, although there was enough filling for 12 mini pies. Double up on the crust recipe above if you want a dozen delicious mini pies!


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. You could add some matcha powder to the filling to make it more green-teay. I'd keep the sugar the same amount if you do that.

    1. Thanks! I later made a version with matcha that was much, much better. I've also made mochi with matcha powder. I haven't kept up the blog in a couple of years but a mochi post would be fun, if messy and sticky to photograph...

  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.