Sunday, November 23, 2008

Ann's September Pie - Cornish Pasties

I've been interested in making a savory pie since the beginning of the year, despite my knowledge that Sue Anne , the pie maven, looks down upon them. However, I am devoted to a restaurant at home that has opened since I moved away called The Cornish Pasty Co., and decided to try my own traditional pasty. (Some of the best pasties at the restaurant are unusual variations like chicken tikka masala and carne adovada...seriously, this is one of the few things I look forward to when I go home).

So I invited my friend Ol' Blue Eyes over for some hand pie. He lived by an exclusive source of hand pies until recently and would often supply me with copious amounts of discount cherry pies during movie watching. I'm not sure if this was a good thing, but in any case, it seemed fun to make a theme out of the evening with both savory and sweet hand pies. It was also my first opportunity to premiere my new pride and joy:

"Jeg ønsker mig så'rn Foodprocessor!"
That is a joke for my brother.

Yes, my mother gave me a food processor for my birthday this month. I was soooo excited - no more grating butter for me!!!!!!

I looked for recipes for pasties online and found one from a blog called The Barefoot Kitchen Witch. I liked her step by step instructions, and I really love home food blogs. It seemed like a more authentically British story than many of the other recipes I found (most of them came from Michigan mining traditions, which is fine, but not exactly what I wanted). I decided to adapt her recipe to my own uses.

I got my ingredients at the grocery store (who knew that you couldn't find turnips in Kroger?) and went to work cutting up steak, potatoes, rutabagas, and onions. I mixed up my pastry, and got it to a consistency I thought would work. However....

I didn't put nearly enough water in the dough to make it form together, and rolling it out was impossible. I ended up pinching pieces together, placing bits of meat and vegetables on them, splashing it all with Worcestershire sauce, dried parsley, salt and pepper, and then pinching more dough pieces on top. You can see the filling peaking through in the picture. At one point, I was just pressing the crust onto the filling like I was making mud pies or something. This was the most frustrating pie I've made, and I was very afraid of the result.

The pie gods have once again smiled upon me, because these turned out surprisingly well. The dough had a nice flavor, and was crisp, flaky, and golden, and the filling was good. I've definitely had better pasties before, and I would have liked more of a gravy inside, but it was good enough to get a review of "if this were a girl, I would ask her out" from Ol' Blue Eyes.

Control had just returned from a performance of Sweeney Todd. I'm quite surprised she was interested in eating a meat pie afterward. I swear I didn't plan these events to happen the same night.

He is naturally suspicious. This is nothing new.

Me with dessert: apple hand pie.

Cornish Pasties

4 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cups chilled vegetable shortening, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
8-12 (or more) T ice water

Combine the flour and salt in the food processor, add the shortening, and pulse until the mixture looks like small peas of flour. Add the water in batches until the dough forms into small clumps. Pat it into a disk, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for at least half an hour.

Cut up 1 lb of steak into small pieces, slice 4-5 potatoes, 1 rutabaga, and 1 onion. Heat the oven to 325 degrees. When the pastry is ready, separate it into 8 even pieces, and roll out each piece into a 1/8-inch thick circle. On one half of each circle, place enough meat and vegetables to fill the pastry, but leave room on the edges to seal the crust together. Splash with Worcestershire sauce, and sprinkle with dried parsley, salt, and pepper. Fold over the other half of the pastry over the filling and roll the edges together to seal them. Place on a cookie sheet covered in parchment. Pierce with a knife to vent the dough, and brush with an egg wash for color. Bake for 30 minutes, checking every five minutes thereafter to see if they are done. They should be golden brown.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Elizabeth's August Pie - CUTIE PIE!

For the month of August, I finished growing a human in my belly. When he was done, I pushed him out. Here is my Cutie Pie:

What?? You say that's cheesy? Well, just think of what I could have written:

Take 1 cup cuteness, 2 tablespoons adorable, 3 1/2 teaspoons sweet cheeks, and a dash of grumpy. Bake for 9 months. Yield: One fabulous baby!

So thank your lucky stars, chump.

(Dedicated to Luke Nielson, one serious cutie pie, born August 12, 2008)

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Ann's August Pie - Lemonade-Peach

I....have a confession. I didn't make this pie in August. Here's the thing: much like Listle, I had an eventful summer. Unlike her, I didn't birth a child. Or did I???? No, I didn't. But in August, I was dealing with my new church calling and getting things set up for the new school year, and I also moved into a new apartment. This combination created one of the more stressful months of my life, and thus I didn't make this pie until after the first of September. Deal with it! It was still awesome.

I wanted to make some more summery fruit pies, and I had a lot of choices in the pie book. Here is the one I picked. The lemonade helped to heighten the flavor of the peaches - it was bright and fresh, like a summer pie should taste.

The crumbly top was luscious! I love any pie that involves melting butter crumbles and fruit, so this, with it's sunset-colored filling, fit my craving perfectly.

Lemonade-Peach Pie

From Pie: 300 Tried-and-True Recipes for Delicious Homemade Pie by Ken Haedrich

1 unbaked deep-dish pie shell


4 cups peeled, pitted, and thinly sliced ripe peaches

1/3 cup frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed

1/4 cup sugar

2 1/2 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca

Streusel Topping:

3/4 cup flour

1/3 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon salt

5 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, frozen

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

2. Combine all the filling ingredients in a medium-size bowl. Turn the filling into the unbaked pie shell and smooth the top with a spoon. Place the pie on the center oven rack and bake for 25 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, make the topping. Mix the flour, sugar, cinnamon, and salt in bowl. Grate the frozen butter over the dry ingredients and rub between your fingers to make large, buttery crumbs. Refrigerate until ready to use.

4. Remove the pie from the oven and reduce the temperature to 375 degrees. Careful dump the crumbs on the pie, spreading them evenly over the surface with your hands. Tamp them down slightly. Return the pie to the oven, placing it so that the part that faced the back of the oven now faces forward. Just in case, slide a large aluminum foil-lined baking sheet onto the rack below to catch any drips. Continute to bake until the topping is golden brown and the juices bubble thickly around the edge, about 25 minutes.

5. Transfer to the pie to a wire rack and let cool for at least 2 hours before serving.