Pioneer patty pies

Have you ever baked Mason jar lid pies?

My daughter, my mom, and I tried it with friends last month for the first time, as the finale to a pioneer party for Kelly’s 10th birthday. She loves all things homemade, simple, early American, adventurous, and crafty – so this kind of party was right up her alley.

The scene was easily set with wildflower bouquets, straw hats (from Dollar Tree), and pinafores. (Which on close inspection might turn out to be little girls’ cotton slips from our ample stash. Apparently I keep buying more of the same size in the hopes that they’ll turn out to be longer than before, but they never are. So finally I give up and lengthen them.) For years, Kelly has worn hers outside her dress whenever her imaginary play required a pinny.

We chose embroidery and pie-making for our activities.

I stole the idea of a pioneer birthday party from my friend Ruth Byler in Florida, who chose embroidery and butter-making for her daughter’s activities. (And sewed real aprons! Kudos!) As soon as I saw her lovely ideas, I knew we’d be following suit.

Lettering by Kelly

My mom came early to help set up the party and cook the pioneer-food feast. Experimenting with frying Johnny cakes together was our favorite thing. The girls were quite suspicious of them, and they weren’t as big a hit as say, the bacon.

Johnny cakes – cornmeal patties fried in bacon drippings. We used less salt than called for.

So about these pies though.

You use wide mouth lids as pie pans. Just turn the flats over so the seal is on the bottom, and only the metal is touching the pie crust. After the pies are baked, they pop right out – like mini springform pans without the spring. They are the cutest ever. I am itching to do them again.

Each party guest made her own for dessert. Girls this age are so much fun. Seeing their creativity, delight, and pride was the sweetest. Some of them insisted on wrapping up their pies to take home, eating only a bite or two (if any), because “it’s the first pie I ever made” or “I want my dad to see it.”

We had pre-made and rolled the crust, and we made sure to grease the pans. Then the girls:

  • Cut out circles for the bottom crust
  • Fitted it into their pan and fluted it as desired
  • Filled the crust with an assortment of fillings – we offered apple, blueberry, cherry, and strawberry; some girls mixed two kinds
  • Topped it with the decoration of their choice – lattice or cutout shapes
  • Sprinkled their masterpiece with sanding sugar.

The pies came out golden and delectable. I ate a whole one. They’re the perfect serving size, besides having extra crust, which is always the best part. They didn’t even drip over, as we feared. So darling!

While the pies baked, my mom taught the girls embroidery. We found inexpensive embroidery hoops online, so the girls could take their project home – with hoop, needle, floss, and a fabric square marked ahead of time with a Mark-B-Gone pen and a stencil. Ten and eleven year old girls are at the perfect stage for this kind of needlework. A few have practiced before. They’re coordinated enough to do a great job, but still childish enough to labor over threading a needle with several strands of floss – and to squeal in delight over their first French knot.

But for sheer novelty, those pies (as you might say) took the cake. We’re trying it with the two- to four-year-old nieces next!

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Beth R.
3 years ago

I’m going to save this post because this is the cutest idea ever!! They all look like they’re having so much fun, too. Thanks Shari!

Priscilla F.
3 years ago

You try out and create the loveliest girl’s parties, (and it’s so convenient for me since my girls are slightly younger, so I just make a mental note that I MUST do this for one of their birthdays!) Well done!

3 years ago

I never heard of these but what a fun idea! My 10 and 8 yr old girls would love it. Thanks for the inspiration!

3 years ago

This is so so sweet! (In more ways than one????)
Creative and girly!
Happy Birthday to the birthday girl!????

Joanna Yoder
3 years ago

Ariana LOVED this party. She’s been happily working on the embroidery here & there since. And that pie that she brought home almost whole to show off?–her pie-loving daddy was bustin’ his buttons.???? Your creativity & energy amazes me.

3 years ago

Oh those are so cute. I have never heard of making little pies like that. What a nifty idea for using canning rings and lids!

3 years ago

This is a good idea. My girls and I will probably be trying the pies. And what a pretty picture those simple hats make! And I had to laugh about your slip-buying experience because it is my story exactly!

3 years ago

My 6-yr old daughter (a lover of peach pie ???? and one that likes to play with dough) sees a few of the pie pictures and says: “I wanna make a pie!” I may or may not be borrowing this idea in the future. Thanks for sharing, Shari! ????

Marlene Stoltzfus
3 years ago

Oh my goodness, those little pies are adorable! ????♥️

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