So 2015 is the year of the sheep/ram/goat in the Chinese zodiac.
Turns out making adorable little sheep pies worked great for Chinese New Year dessert AND they are also perfect for Easter or a farm theme party.
They do not require very much effort BUT they can be a little fiddly. Having a helper to make them will definitely make things move along faster.
You can use your favorite pie crust and filling or give our butter pie crust recipe a try. I decided to go with a butter crust instead of our usual Never Fail Pie Crust with lard because I wanted something almost shortbread-like. Our recipe for pie crust is very flaky so I also wanted something a little sturdier.
This one worked perfectly for these little cute-y pies...
1 1/4 cup flour
2 Tbsp sugar
1/2 cup butter, chilled
ice water (about 1/4 of a cup or so)
approx 1/4 cup Cherry Pie Filling (Canned)
or favorite filling, prepared
approx 8 Mini Chocolate Chips
Preheat oven to 425. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, set aside.
Prepare crust - In a mixing bowl, combine flour and salt. Grate in the chilled butter and stir to combine.
Gradually stir in ice water, a tablespoon at a time, until dough starts to come together. (You may need to add a bit more than 1/4 of a cup.) When dough sticks together, wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 2 to 3 hours.
After chilling dough, roll out to approx 1/4 inch thickness - a little thinner is okay too.
Cut into circles (I used a 4.5 inch cutter). Reroll scraps and cut out more circles. (I got 8 total.)
Cut the circle vertically a little more than 1/3 of the way in. Then cut the smaller piece into 4 separate pieces - PLEASE SEE PHOTO below for how you want to cut the circles into pieces.
Form the 4 cut pieces into the shapes below - the head, the 4 legs, and the horn.
Place a teaspoon of pie filling onto the top half of the remaining circle piece.
Gently bring up the bottom half of the semi-circle over the filling and pinch to seal. (P.S. - It helps to dip your finger in a bowl of cold water and moisten around the edge of the crust to form a better seal!)
Press the head, legs and horn onto the body of the sheep - again, wetting your finger and dabbing on the dough then pressing firmly together will help form a better seal. Make 4 or 5 small cuts around the body of the sheep - being careful not to cut into the filling - to look the sheep look a bit fluffy.
(FYI - the legs and horn stick fairly easily - the head is a little more tricky. It helps to pinch a flat spot on one side of the head to attach to the body.) SEE PHOTO for more details.
Press a mini chocolate chip into the head for an eye.
Bake at 425 for for 15 minutes. Then turn down heat to 350 and bake until crust has browned, another 10 or more minutes - keep an eye on them.
When they are done, let them cool completely on the cookie sheet. You will want to move them as little as possible. The legs and head are fairly fragile. I had one decapitation and one leg amputation when I moved them trying to take photos.
They are worth the little bit of extra effort it takes.
They are just so darned cute.
I mean...it's pie.
Pie is always good.
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