Archives for posts with tag: pie

it has become a bit of a tradition to have an ‘orphans’ thanksgiving at my place for a few years now. i start with the usual list of friends, but anyone is invited, and there are always a few last minute add ons. this year it tipped the scales with almost 20 guests. from shopping at the farmers market all the way to the leftovers, here is the feast in photos:

the farmers market fairy delivered this 18+ lb beauty on monday:

i did a majority of my shopping at the wednesday morning santa monica farmers market:

on my way to the market, kcrw had a wonderful segment with christopher kimball, of america’s test kitchen and cook’s illustrated, talking about a julia child thanksgiving. of course he spoke of her simplicity and her use of the best ingredients. it was just the motivation and inspiration i needed. this is the beautiful and colorful loot i came home with:

the pie prep: cranberries, rhubarb, and roasted pumpkin.

the veggie prep: roasted winter vegetables, roasted garlic mashed potatoes, and creamed corn with crispy bacon.

the free range willie bird all buttered up, stuffed, and carved to perfection:

the buffet: the aforementioned creamed corn with crispy bacon, garlic mashed potatoes, roasted winter veggies, along with sausage + fennel stuffing, and gravy. my guests brought sweet potatoes, green beans, carrots, salad, cranberries and homemade bread.

the table as people were plating up their food:

the pies: cranberry rhubarb (as well as, a crisp from the extra fruit) and pumpkin. not shown: pumpkin cheesecake and paleo pumpkin bread.

the dead soldiers the next day:

a few of us took off for big bear the next afternoon to just chill out (and digest) for a couple of days. these were some of the leftovers by the fire at the little cabin in the woods the next night:

i made stock from the carcass yesterday, and there was just enough turkey leftover to make soup today. recipe to come…

note: more (professional) photos from the evening can be found at rafiel chait photography. the photos above were just taken by me with my crummy iphone and hipstamatic.

rhubarb brings me back to my grandma’s homemade crisps. i tried my hand at a strawberry rhubarb pie once, but it turned out a bit soupy (i blame the juicy strawberries from harry’s berries.) i decided to skip the berries this time, and make 4 mini pies, using 5-inch tin pans that i got at surfas. i just happened to have some fresh thyme on hand and thought it might be an interesting compliment with the tart rhubarb. since i have always wanted to try using lard in my crust, and i had picked some up at lindy + grundy when i was there last, i substituted it for the shortening in the dough recipe.

ingredients:

  • 4 cups fresh rhubarb, chopped
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme
  • 3/4 cups white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, not packed
  • 6 tbsp flour
  • 1 double-crust pie dough, divided into 8 discs
  • 1 tbsp butter, cut into 16 pieces
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp turbinado sugar
  • cinnamon

directions:

this is stupid easy. toss the thyme with the chopped rhubarb.

combine the white and brown sugar with the flour. roll out 4 of the disks of dough and place in the tins.

put a couple tablespoons of the sugar flour mixture in the bottom of each.

divide the rhubarb between the tins, and top with 4 pieces of butter on each.

put several more tablespoon of the mixture over each, letting it get in between the rhubarb. (i did end up with some mixture left over.)

roll out the remaining 4 disks and top each. crimp the edges making sure they don’t hang over too much.

brush the egg over the top, sprinkle with turbinado sugar, and lightly dust with cinnamon. cut four slits in the top to allow for ventilation.

put them on a cookie sheet on the bottom shelf of the oven at 450˚ for 15 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 350˚ and bake for another 45 minutes. let them cool on a wire rack.

parts of two of my crusts fell off early in the baking, due to hanging over the edge too much. i was able to save them, and i’m sure just as delicious, but just look a bit messy. the other two were perfect.

…and i had leftover rhubarb to make a crisp to boot!

i now have copious amounts of rhubarb treats, and kicking myself for not picking up vanilla ice cream. grrrr.

notes: i prefer my rhubarb on the tart side, so i’ll probably use less sugar next time. i couldn’t taste the thyme, whereas others could, so adjust to your taste.

i took a road trip with my sisters kate and emma the week of june 10-15, 2012. i enjoyed every single moment and meal of this week, regardless of the food we consumed, and where it came from. (well, with the exception of tuba city.) this is my story.

6/10

i left on a sunday morning. i flew to chicago from los angeles with nothing in my belly but a nectarine, and a grapefruit in my purse. of course, when i got into chicago, it was discussed that we would have lunch.

kate picked an awesome start to our journey.

lunch at belly shack, chicago, il: pork rib + sausage sandwich with chihuahua cheese, caramelized onions, and mushrooms.

finding a good dinner spot was another thing. the three of us were used to being able to get food past 9p. not so much in the middle of iowa, or as we found out, in many other parts of the country.

dinner at casa tequila, tiffin, ia: pork tacos, tecate.

the beer was good. the salsa tasted like canned tomato sauce. not kidding.

6/11

good morning! god love college towns for having decent coffee shops. this place made my morning, and besides the slow service, it was a wonderful way to start the day.

breakfast at mars cafe, des moines, ia: ham + egg, lavender dijon on ciabatta, intelligentsia americano.

i had a lot of good breakfasts on this trip. this would prove a hard one to beat.

for lunch i was determined to find a non-fast food place in the middle of nebraska. it was tough, but we did it.

lunch at cafe on the square, seward, ne: blt (perhaps on homemade bread) + coleslaw. (no photo)

by the by, i loved finding this place smack dab in the middle of america.

although we weren’t able to stop, i surely would have liked to have a libation here:

on the way to denver, we researched a few places for dinner, but again we were getting in past 9pm. thankfully, our cousin penny and her husband charlie, who were putting us up for the night, were gracious enough to make us dinner. honestly, it was so very wonderful to have a home cooked meal after being on the road for hours on end.

dinner at penny + charlie’s, denver, co: brats, ravioli, green beans + asparagus.

this was hands down my favorite dinner. oh and there was ice cream later. happy girl.

6/12

the next morning, emma and i needed to get our caffeine fix, so we walked to the local coffee shop.

coffee at tenn street coffee, denver, co: black coffee.

we returned to yet another homemade meal.

breakfast at penny + charlie’s: eggs, toast, grapefruit and kefir. (no photo)

we stopped in glenwood springs, co for lunch. emma found the spot. if anyone knows me, they know i enjoy the pig. this place was made for me.

lunch at the pullman food + drink, glenwood springs, co: miyagi oyster with cranberry fennel vinaigrette, pulled pork in balsamic bbq, homemade talera bread, tempura caramelized onions and asparagus, salad with house vinaigrette.

definitely the best lunch of the trip.

once we made it to moab, we were again a bit stifled on choices for places for dinner, but ended up with the safe bet. italian.

dinner at pasta jay’s, moab, ut: caesar salad, margherita pizza, chianti.

meh. average italian, but really not that bad. the chianti was the star of this meal.

6/13

we had walked by this place on our way to dinner the previous night and commented on the possibility of having eggs benny before hitting the road in the morning.

breakfast at jailhouse cafe, moab, ut: coffee, eggs benedict, bacon, more coffee.

this place was in contention for best breakfast on the trip. damn good bacon, and non-intelligentsia coffee.

lunch at goulding’s stagecoach dining hall, monument valley, ut: mini navajo taco.

their idea of ‘mini’ is ridiculous. i think even if kate and i were to have split a ‘mini’ we still would have had intestinal distress regardless.

dinner from sonic, tuba city, az: cheeseburger, fries. (eaten in our motel room)

no comment.

6/14

breakfast at cameron trading post, cameron, az: red ranchero cheese eggs benedict, hashbrowns.

good try. not what i needed on top of a sonic dinner the night before though.

lunch at bright angel dining room, grand canyon village, az: roasted red pepper soup, arizona caesar salad, grand canyon pilsner.

the soup wasn’t bad, but super salty. the salad was a huge disappointment. once again, the beer was the winner of this lunch.

dinner at plaza bonita mexican restaurant, tusayan, az: pollo mole, grand canyon pilsner.

emma: ‘is it good?’

me: ‘no.’

lots and lots of laughter.

6/15

breakfast from american flyer coffee, williams, az: cinnamon roll, black coffee.

yup…delicious sugar high.

lunch at ludlow cafe, ludlow, ca: tuna melt, peach pie.

i had been here previously while working on the john mayer #roadtripmusicvideo, so i knew what was to be expected as far as the tuna melt. i didn’t get to taste the homemade pie on that trip, unfortunately i did on this one. fail. fail. fail. the crust tasted like something from a communion cracker i once had when i was eight, and the fruit was obviously from a can. blech.

obviously this trip was not about the food. it was so much more than that. when we reached los angeles we had all learned a few more things about each other: kate rules at off-road driving, and music education; emma makes high pitched noises whenever she sees a cute animal; and i think we can all agree…i am a huge food snob.

i got together with a friend today to go hiking. we decided to go up to the griffith observatory.

we ended up parking on fern dell right across from the trails, a cute little cafe that serves pie, and other good stuff.

i’m not going to lie, pie was on my brain the whole way up and down our hike. by the time we made it back down, they only had one slice left…apple.

this was fitting, since it was their apple pie that began my obsession with pie a few years back, and even got me to enter the first annual kcrw good food pie contest. we also got delicious stumptown coffee, oh and a vanilla lavender shortbread cookie to go, and by ‘to go’ i mean to go in our bellies.

the pie was even better than before, mostly because when i had my first slice here they kept the skins on the apple (which is not my preference), but the crust was perfection per usual, and no skins this time.

it was a lovely way to end a really nice hike, and though it negated any calories burned, it made me very, very happy.

i love pie…which is actually a gross understatement. i have always preferred pie to other desserts, but it wasn’t until a few years ago that i decided to make my first pie with a homemade crust. it all began while working in griffith park, where there was a quaint little place across the street from where we were shooting called the trails, and it served pie. i collected some money from interested individuals, and bought one of their apple pies. the filling was good, but they chose not to peel their apples, which i personally don’t care for. what was unbelievable was the crust. it was flaky, thick, buttery and ultimately so much better than the filling, that it made me realize…it’s all about the crust. i began my mission to make a pie with the best crust…ever. i have tried a few different recipes, but the one i settled on is pretty much based on the cook’s illustrated version of basic pie dough.

shortly after making my first pie i entered the  kcrw 1st annual good food pie contest. i made a sweet potato pecan pie with jack daniels whipped cream. i didn’t even make it to the 2nd round, but it sure was a lot of fun.

photo courtesy of dennis barth jr.

since then, pies have been my contribution to many a cookout, holiday gathering, and birthday celebration. in fact, i have made several different pies over the past few years, but this is my first plum pie, and it might just be in the running for the 3rd annual good food pie contest.

ingredients

pie dough/crust:

  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 12 tbsp unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), cold and cut into 1/4 inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening, cut into tablespoon sized chunks
  • 3-4 tbsp ice water
  • 3-4 tbsp cold vodka
  • 2 tbsp whole milk, or and an egg beaten
  • 1 tbsp raw sugar (turbinado)

filling:

  • 5 cups pitted plums, sliced and drained
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp cloves
  • 1/8 tsp allspice
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

instructions

make your dough first, so while it chills in the fridge you can make the filling. cut up your butter and shortening, and put it in the freezer, so it is extra cold when making the dough.

while they are in the chillin’ with your frozen goods pull out your food processor. put 1 1/2 cups of the flour, 2 tbsp sugar, and 1 tsp salt and pulse to mix.

by this time your butter and shortening will have chilled enough.  add the shortening.

i use the crisco sticks so it is easier to cut them up into tablespoon sized chunks, but if you use the tub kind, just dollop in equal amounts, and process for about 10 seconds. it will look like coarse sand.

then add the butter pieces, scattering them over the flour mixture.

process again, about 10 1-second pulses. the butter bits should be no larger than the size of a pea. add the remaining 1 cup of flour and process about 4-6 quick pulses.

turn the mixture into medium bowl.

sprinkle in 3 tbsp of the cold water, and 3 tbsp of the cold vodka.

with a rubber spatula using a folding mixing motion, pressing down with the broad side of the spatula as you turn the dough letting it stick together. you will more than likely have to add an additional tbsp each of water and vodka if it isn’t coming together.

divide the dough into 2 flattened circular discs about 4 inches in diameter, and wrap in plastic.

refrigerate for an hour, or up to 2 days, before rolling out.

in the meantime, make your filling. pit and slice up the plums. my plums were especially ripe, so many of them didn’t need to be sliced because they basically became pulp in my hands. let them drain.

whisk the sugar, cornstarch, salt, cloves and allspice together in a large bowl. add the plums, lemon juice and vanilla and mix to combine.

adjust a rack to the middle position and pre-heat oven to 450º.

once you take the dough out of the refrigerator, let it sit for a few minutes, or even more if it has been in longer than an hour. flour your work space and roll out the bottom. christopher kimball, from america’s test kitchen, has an excellent video on his blog as to how to roll out dough.

pour in the filling.

re-flour your work space and roll out the top. cover the filling. trim the edges leaving about 1 1/2 inches hanging over the edge of the pie pan.

fold both layers of dough under.

using your thumb and pointer finger on one hand and your thumb on the other, crimp the edges. (i had to hold the camera, so imagine using all three digits at the same time.)

with a brush wash the top of the dough with milk or egg. cut 6 1-inch slits on the top to vent, and sprinkle with raw sugar.

place on a baking sheet and put it in the oven. reduce the temperature to 375º.

start checking on it at 45 minutes, but mine took just over an hour. the crust should be golden brown.

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