Archive for the 'Pie' Category

Quick and Tasty Pot Pie with Biscuits

Serves 6 to 10

Recently, I posted a recipe for Turkey Pot Pie.  It requires a lot of cutting and sauteing of vegetables and a roasted turkey.

A faster way to make a pot pie is to barbecue some boneless, skinless chicken breasts first (or use a rotisserie chicken from the store), make the gravy, chop up the chicken, add a bag of frozen mixed vegetables, top with biscuits and bake. Quick, simple and delicious.

Is this as good as making it from scratch?  Well, in my opinion, no.  But, this way is way faster and very close.

To keep the speed factor up, use biscuits (recipe here) instead of pie dough.  The trick here is to heat up the pot pie mixture on the stove until it is boiling.  Then put the biscuits on top and pop it in the oven to bake the biscuits.

Recipe follows.

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Turkey Pot Pie

Serves 8 to 10

Any kind of pot pie is great comfort food to serve for dinner.  But during Thanksgiving or Christmas, we usually have leftover turkey and that calls for a turkey pot pie.  My family loves it.
When I first started making pot pies, it seemed like such a hard dish.  But the more I made it, the easier it got.  I have found that with a lot of recipes and there is a lesson in there: stick to it and if you make it enough, it will become almost second nature.
While a pot pie has a long list of ingredients, it is not hard.  Cook some cut up veggies, make a roux (butter and flour cooked together), add some stock, add some milk, add some frozen peas, and mix it all together.
I use pie crust for the topping but you can use biscuits if you wish.  Both are good. This recipe uses a unique method of keeping the pie crust from getting soggy and it works great.  So look for it in the instructions.
I also use a lot of meat in my pot pies.  Two pounds to be exact.  I just hate eating a pot pie where it seems like a turkey or chicken just walked through the gravy.
This recipe works well with barbecued boneless chicken breast, a rotisserie chicken for the grocery store, or leftover turkey meat.   Your choice.
So give this a try.  It is fast and delicious.

Recipe follows.

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Mom’s Apple Squares

Makes one 15 x 10-inch jellyroll pan of delicious apple squares.

When I was growing up, my mother (who is a great cook) used to cook for our family of six.  She had a recipe that made 14 dozen chocolate chip cookies.  And every time she made them they lasted two days!  But I digress.
This is another recipe from my childhood that my Mom made all the time.  However, this recipe has evolved over the years and I have made changes to it as I have learned about apples and pie making.
This is a great recipe because it is easy to do, it makes a lot, and it is a hit every time.  I use Granny Smith and Braeburn apples for the contrast between the two.  Granny Smiths hold up while cooking and the Braeburn tend to break down a bit.  If you cannot find Braeburn apples, then Fuji or Johnagold will work.
Also, I use a lot of dough in this recipe. I make two recipes of the Fail-Safe, Double-Crust Pie Dough found here.  I just cannot seem to roll out dough made from 1-1/2 cups of flour and make it fit in the 10×15 x1-inch jelly-roll pan. Besides, I love pie crust.
One unique thing about this recipe is the layer of crushed cornflakes on the bottom crust.  The cornflakes soak up and help thicken the juice that comes out of the apples.  This is what makes Apple Squares so cool. You cut out squares and you can hold the apple square in your hand to eat it. No plate needed.
Of course, I usually take a couple of squares and a little vanilla ice cream on a plate and dig in.  Delicious.
Note: Some in my family like the glaze and some do not. So to keep everyone happy, I glaze just half of the pan.

Recipe follows.

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Fail-safe, Double Crust Pie Dough

Two Pie Crust
Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated.
For one 9-inch, double-crust pie.

This is an amazing pie dough.  Over the last five or six years, I have hunted for the perfect pie dough that was consistent, pie to pie, easy to make, fast to make, and easy to roll out.  And was tender and flaky, too.  That’s a tall order and it was a very frustrating quest.
Until I ran across this recipe.
This pie dough is interesting in many ways:
First, it calls for mixing all the fat and most of the flour until it is well mixed.  This combines the right amount of flour with the right amount of fat.  Then the remaining flour is mixed in giving you the proper ratio of fat-covered flour to fat-free flour.  Thus, you achieve the same ratio every time.
Secondly, the recipe calls for vodka as part of the liquid.  Vodka is 80% ethanol and it turns out that when ethanol and flour are mixed together, they will not form gluten.  And gluten is what makes pie dough hard to roll out and shrink in the pie pan when it is baked.
You can try other liquors, but vodka gives the pie crust a good texture and imparts no flavor.  So please try this recipe with vodka first.  Experiment later.
When you add the water and vodka, it will seem like there is too much liquid.  But, do not despair.  Mix it all in, wrap it in plastic wrap and let it rest in the refrigerator for at least 45 minutes.
Even after this rest, the pie dough will be moister and more supple than most standard pie doughs and will require more flour to roll out; maybe up to as much as 1/4 cup.  So don’t be afraid of putting flour on the bench.
I have made this pie dough several times.  It turned out the same every time (consistent); it’s easy to make; it rolls out like a dream;  and it’s both flaky and tender all at the same time.
At last, fail-safe pie dough.

Recipe follows.

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Best Pecan Pie

Pecan Pie

Adapted from Taste by David Rosengarten
Makes one nine-inch pie

Most pecan pies are gooey and way too sweet.  I tried this recipe from the Taste cookbook years ago.  It was so good, I stopped looking for a pecan pie recipe.  I had found the best pecan pie I had ever tasted.

Others agree.  Some people at my office cannot wait for the holidays to come so I will make a pecan pie for one of our office parties.  Sometimes they even buy the pecans!

The thing that makes this pie great is the texture.  That is accomplished with two cups of pecans, but one of the cups is grounded finely in a food processor.  Theses finely ground pecan absorb some of the filling thus a firmer, less gooey texture.

If you like pecans, this is a truly great dessert.

Recipe follows.

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No-Fear Pie Crust

Blind Baked Pie Crust

Adapted from the Cook’s Country TV free website: No-Fear Pie Crust
Makes one 9-inch Pie Shell.

Believe me when I say that making pie dough is one of the toughest things to do consistently in the kitchen.  I have been trying to make pie dough for over five years and it always seems to come out differently each time I do it.  Of course, over that five years I could never seem to stick with one pie dough recipe.

Until this one.  This pie dough seems to break all the rules and still come out flaky and tender.  The magic ingredient is cream cheese.

The pie dough can go right from the mixer to the pie plate and be pressed into place.  No rolling the dough out.  No chilling the dough after mixing.  And for a make ahead, you can keep the dough in the refrigerator for up to two day or in the freezer for up to one month (double wrap the dough if you freeze it).

If you freeze it, let it thaw out in the refrigerator over night and then bring to room temperature before proceeding.  Also, once baked and cooled, the shell can be wrapped tightly in plastic and stored at room temperature for up to one day.

This is a great solution to consistent pie dough.  Give it a try.

Recipe follows.

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