Sunday, June 29, 2008

Steph and Geoff go crazy for pie

Two of my favorite people were coming over for dinner, and Geoff had already challenged me to a bake off, so I knew I needed to impress. I made two pies for Thursday's feast - chicken pot pie and strawberry tart. I had a heart shaped pan that I bought for Addie's birthday, so I used that for the tart to give it a nice romantic shape.

Basic Pie Crust
2.5 C. flour
1 c. unsalted butter (2 sticks)
1 tsp salt
ice water
(1 T sugar if a sweet pie)

Using a pastry blender mix flour, salt and butter (and sugar if desired) until the lumps of butter are pea sized. The colder the butter is when you start, the better. Slowly add ice water until you can form the dough into a ball. I say, add 6 T, then two more at a time,
slowly working the dough with your hands. It should be relatively dry but stick together. I suggest refrigerating at least over night but if in a pinch, through it in the freezer for an hour. Keeping the butter cold makes for a flakier crust.

* For this evening I did 1.5 times that recipe (two crusts for the chicken, one for the strawberry).

Chicken Pot Pie

1 recipe Basic Pie Dough
2 chicken breasts, cooked and cubed (or equivalent amount of other chicken meat, turkey, etc.)
1 small bag frozen peas, carrots and corn
1 recipe chicken gravy

For the gravy, make a roux, equal parts flour and butter (6 T or so of each) heated on low until it bubbles lightly, slowly add chicken broth (1 quart/liter). Salt and pepper to taste. Let simmer until thickens.

Roll out the dough, pour in mixture of chicken, veg and gravy. Bake for half an hour or so at 375. I say put a baking sheet under it in case of over flow.

Let it sit for 10 minutes before cutting to allow the gravy set up. Enjoy!

Strawberry Tart
1/2 Basic Pie Crust recipe
1 recipe cream cheese filling
fresh strawberries (and blueberries for extra fun!)

Bake the crust for 10-15 minutes until golden brown (use pie weights to keep the crust from bubbling). Allow to cool while you prepare the filling.

Cream Cheese filling:
1 package cream cheese
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 c. sugar
1/4 c flour

In a stand up mixer, blend cream cheese until smooth. Add egg, vanilla, salt and sugar. Mix until smooth. Add flour. Mix until thoroughly incorporated. Pour into cooled pie crust. Bake for 15 minutes until set. Do not over cook. It should be hot and smooth not dry.
Once cooled, cut strawberries in half and place on the pie in what ever pattern makes you happy. Coat with glaze.

Glaze (2 options)
1. Take some jam or jelly and heat until liquid. Brush onto strawberries.

2. Cut up one pint strawberries, mash, cover with water, cook until soft. Mash up some more, then let strain through a mesh strainer, a coffee filter, cheese cloth... whatever you've got.
Once you have a clear liquid, add 3/4 cup sugar per cup of liquid . Bring to a simmering boil, skimming off any build up until it coats the back of a metal spoon. Let it cool. Put it in a jar and reuse it for pancakes, glazes, ice cream...

Turns out Geoff isn't actually as baking saavy as he'd claimed. It was a ploy.


Steph said...

Elsa! I could go crazy all over again - that pie was AMAZING.


Geoff said...

Best chicken pot pie, ever. Although I have to take credit ... the dough rolling is the secret.