Cooking Tips

Make Individual Pies Using Puff Pastry and a Muffin Tin

The best mini pie shells you’ll ever make. 

Published Nov. 17, 2022.

Puff pastry is a culinary powerhouse. It makes the the airy exterior of your favorite Blueberry Hand Pies and the buttery bottom crust of a savory Asparagus–Goat Cheese Tart.

Why not use it to make mini pie shells too? 

While you can make the Quickest Puff Pastry in 30 minutes, puff pastry is readily available at the store. Plus, if you struggle to make consistent pie dough, store-bought puff pastry pie shells may be your new best friend.

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We used this recipe for pasteis de nata, or Portuguese Egg Tarts, as a filling. Its creamy, lightly flavored custard is sumptuous with a curious bit of chew you simply have to try. The crispy, flaky cups practically dissolve in your mouth. 

However, these tasty cups can be filled with whatever you choose, from chocolate pudding to Meyer Lemon Curd.

Here’s how to bake the cups to get started. 

1. Roll the dough into a log

  • For a full pastry sheet. Roll a full pastry sheet into a tight log and pinch seam to seal. 
  • For a half pastry sheet. Roll the short side of a half pastry sheet into a tight log and pinch seam to seal. Refrigerate until firm. This reduces waste so that you can get the maximum number of cups from your puff pastry.

2. Cut into slices

Using a serrated knife, trim off the uneven end of the dough log and discard. Cut twelve 1-inch slices. Crosswise cuts expose all those beautiful layers. The cups will spread rather than rise for the flakiest finish.

3. Form cups

Place 1 slice in each muffin-tin cup, cut side up. Using moistened fingers, press the dough into the bottom and up sides of muffin cups so that the dough reaches the top of the cups (the dough should be very thin).

4. Prick the shells with fork

Prick shells all over with a fork to prevent the cups from puffing too much during baking. Refrigerate the muffin tin until the dough is firm, about 20 minutes.

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5. Weight and bake

Line tart shells with muffin-tin liners and fill with pie weights. Place the muffin tin on the lower oven rack and bake until the pastry is puffed but pale, about 10 minutes.

6 Cover and bake again

Cover the muffin tin with aluminum foil to prevent the edges from overbrowning. Continue to bake until the pastry is just blond at the edges, about 5 minutes longer.

7. Let them cool

Transfer the muffin tin to a wire rack; discard foil; and let tart shells cool slightly, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove liners and weights. Once slightly cool, fill with any filling you desire.

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