Easy Peasy Pie Crust

I used to shy away from making my own pie crusts because I thought it was difficult and time consuming.  Then I read Mark Bittman’s recipe and how it just takes a few minutes with a food processor.  The recipe I use is adapted from Allison Holst’s pie crust in her Bacon & Egg pie recipe.  You can add some sugar for a sweet pie crust.  

Pie Crust
1 1/2 cups AP flour (more if needed plus some for dusting surface)
1/4 cup spelt flour (optional- use more AP if omitting) 
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 stick unsalted butter, very cold & cut into pieces
3/4 cup milk
1 tsp vinegar

Add vinegar to milk and set aside.

Pulse dry ingredients together in food processor until mixed.  Add butter and process until butter is mostly incorporated (fine if small pieces, but don’t over do it as you want some chunky bits for flakiness).  

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Slowly add milk/vinegar.  The dough should start coming together, if too sticky add more flour.  It will be done when it forms a ball.   IMG_0961IMG_0964

Place on floured surface and split into 2 or you can wrap well and place in fridge for a couple of days. 
Roll with flour on both sides so it doesn’t stick. 
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When it is your desired thickness/thinness you can place in pie plate.  Fill and bake! IMG_0972 IMG_0976 IMG_0979IMG_0984IMG_0987

This was a version of bacon & egg pie I made because I messed up a recipe calling for egg yolks– I blended the whole egg together; actually 11 whole eggs.  

At least I have a great lunch and possibly dinner!

Now to go get some more eggs so I can make my Thanksgiving Day Apple Cream Pie (using just egg yolks!)


Comfort to some

Something about this time of year— it seems like I’m all about comfort food. Recently I came across the ultimate in comfort food— bacon and egg pie.  I mean, really, it’s got bacon, need I say more?  Oh wait, it’s also a pie.  No, not a quiche, a pie.  With two crusts.  My mother sent me an online article about her friend, Alison Holst, a famous New Zealand chef who’s penned something like 100 cookbooks and is New Zealand’s version of Julia Child.  She’s even got Julia’s stature, voice and also warmth.  Alison visited here a few years back and she is just lovely.  So this article was how she came to make bacon and egg pies and it gave her recipe. 

Now, if you’ve lived in (or even visited) England or a former British colony, you may have learned to love meat pies, fish and chips, sausage rolls and other foods that most foodies would turn their noses up at.  But me, I love them all. They are comfort food and bring back such wonderful memories.  Like when I lived in Wellington I used to go to brunch at the Brooklyn Deli (named for the area of Wellington not New York) and luurved their bacon and egg pie.  Reading about the article made me remember those days.  And it made me want a bacon and egg pie, so I printed the recipe and brought it to the kitchen. 

I couldn’t believe it took me so many years to make this.  The crust was super easy to make in the food processor.  I made the crust and put the potatoes on the stove (on med-low) then dashed off to pick up my eldest from his school’s Kindness Klub (where they help raise money for charities, help fill food pantries, or create gifts for soldiers, etc).   When I returned I rolled out the dough (which was chilling in the fridge while I ran to the school), cooked the bacon, sautéed the leeks and finished assembling the pie.  (Leeks are my addition.)

Alison Holst’s Bacon and Egg Pie

1 1/4 cups of flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 stick butter, chopped into pieces

1 tsp white vinegar

1/2 cup cold milk

4-6 strips of lightly cooked bacon, chopped (nitrate and nitrite-free)

1/2 cup frozen peas

1-2 cups chopped cooked potatoes

6 large eggs

1 leek sliced, well rinsed and lightly sautéed (optional)

salt and pepper to taste (careful since bacon is salty)

Preheat oven to 390F.  In food processor mix together the flour, baking powder, and cold butter until butter is at least pea-sized.  Add vinegar to milk then drizzle both into top of processor while on.  When it becomes one ball, stop and place in fridge to chill for 10 minutes.  After, divide in two and roll out on well floured surface. Place bottom crust into pie plate. Spread with half to three quarters of the chopped bacon, peas, leeks and potato. Mix eggs in bowl with a fork until the yolks are broken, but the eggs look streaky. Pour about half the eggs over the mixture in the bowl, then add the remaining bacon, peas and potatoes, and dribble the rest of the egg over the top.

Moisten the edge of the pastry in the plate, then place the second pastry sheet on top of the filling, trimming the edges if necessary. Crimp the edges if you like. Make a slit in the top and brush the top with milk.  Bake at 390F/200C for about 40 minutes.

Now, what really surprised me was my kids’ reactions.  My eldest, of course, loved it.  But my middle son said he hated it but still ate most of it.  And my youngest refused to try it without coaxing and actually putting a tiny forkful to his mouth.  He actually asked if he could just have his salad and skip the pie.  Bacon.  I reminded him that it was in there.  Oh well, maybe you have to learn to like comfort foods or maybe what’s a comfort to you is poison to someone else.  I even had some Wattie’s Tomato Sauce with mine (the NZ version of ketchup) like I was back at “varsity”. To me it’ll still remain a favorite.  Now to tackle creating a mince pie— as long as I don’t start putting back the freshman fifteen.

Accidental Baker

As I’ve mentioned before I’m not much of a baker, but I seem to be doing my fair share lately.  I attribute some of it to getyourbakeon!, some to actually finding out how easy it is to bake delicious artisanal bread, and some to my natural curiosity when it comes to creating things that I think would go well together.  I often cook this way too, occasionally it’s because I like certain combinations of flavors or that I’ve had some dish in a restaurant and I try to replicate it — even if it’s not the exact ingredients, it often doesn’t matter because it usually works out well.  

I recently bought the kids Banana Cheerios thinking they’d like it, but they don’t.  So, what to do with the box?  Throw it away?  Then two days ago I figured out what I would  do with it.  I had a party to go to yesterday and needed to bring something.  I had some overripe bananas and decided to make banana cream pie with the Banana Cheerios as the crust.  I had never seen or read about using them, just thought they’d make a good one.  I looked up some recipes for graham cracker crusts and other cookie crusts, so I got the general idea of what to do. 

The filling isn’t as easy as pie, but if you have some time and an instant read thermometer(I suggest you get one if you don’t— best way to figure out if your chicken or steak is done), it’s doable.   I found some recipes (Icebox Pies by Lauren Chattman was my main source) and then adjusted them to my preference. 

         Banana Cream Pie  

  • 2 Tbsp cold water
  • 2 tsp of gelatin (about 2/3 packet)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup organic cane sugar
  • 3 ripe bananas mashed
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla (separated into two 1 teaspoon portions)
  • 5 cups Banana Cheerios
  • 1 stick butter, melted

For the crust, preheat oven to 375F.  In a Cuisinart, use regular metal blade to chop the cheerios until they are small crumbs.  Add the melted butter and 1 tsp of vanilla.  They should be mixed until they stick when pressed together.  Pour mixture into pie plate and press to edges.  Bake for 6-8 minutes.  Set aside to cool.

In a small bowl dissolve the gelatin in water (sprinkle on top or stir in, it works either way), set aside.  Whip cream and when stiff, put in fridge for use later.  In a double boiler (metal bowl over couple of inches of boiling water) whisk the eggs and sugar together (temper) until they reach 160 F.  Remove from heat and beat in gelatin— mix for several minutes until creamy and fairly cool.  Stir in bananas, salt and 1 tsp vanilla.  Fold in 2/3 of the whipped cream. Pour into cooled crust.  Chill in fridge for an hour then use the remaining whipped cream to spread on top.

I made the bread again and also turned a failed blueberry mousse into ice cream. 


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