All Purpose Pie Crust

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Hey U.S. readers! Thanksgiving is coming up next week guys! What are you taking? This year I get to make the pies. Yes!
Why am I so excited? Because they are mostly done, that’s why.
Question: What’s the hardest part about making a pie from scratch?
That’s right! The crust.
If you follow this simple recipe you to can sit smugly knowing the hardest part is done and waiting for you in the freezer.

All Purpose Pie Crust
(Makes two 10inch crusts)
2 cups All-Purpose Flour
2 tablespoons Sugar (if making a savory crust omit)
1 pinch Salt
1 cup Butter (2 sticks)
1/4 cup Ice Water

Dice the butter and set aside.
Put the flour, sugar and salt into a food processor and pulse a few time to combine.
Add the butter and pulse again until the butter is incorporated (5-10 pulses)
With the processor running, drizzle the ice water through the feed tube until the dough rolls itself into a loose ball.

pie crust 2014

You might need more or less water than 1/4 cup so pour slowly.
Dump the dough onto a floured surface and knead briefly. Cut it into two halves.
Pat each half into a disk shape and place in a zip top bag.

two crust 2014

Store in the freezer or if you need it right away chill in the fridge for just 20 minutes before rolling it out.

Tip: If you are finding it hard to roll out at first let it set on a floured surface for 5-10 minutes before trying again.

Photo credit Pioneer Women

Apple Pie Bread Pudding

Apple Pie Bread Pudding

This can be a cozy dessert or a lovely addition to your brunch table.

Apple Pie Bread Pudding

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

8 cups Baguette torn into rough 2 inch chunks
Butter a 9 x 13 pan. Place the torn bread into the pan and set aside.

For the Custard:
6 large Eggs
6 cups Half & Half
2 tablespoons Sugar
A pinch of Salt

Combine the eggs, half & half, and sugar. Mix well, then slowly pour the mixture over the torn bread in the waiting pan. Set aside while you make the apple pie flavoring.

For the Apple Pie Flavoring:
1/2 cup Water
1/2 cup Sugar
A pinch of Salt
3 tablespoons Dark Rum
1/2 cup Golden Raisins
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1 teaspoon Nutmeg
2 Apples (peeled, cored and cut into large chunks)

Add all the above ingredients to a sauce pan. Bring to a boil then, turn the heat down to a simmer and cover with a lid.
Simmer for 10 minutes or until the apples are somewhat softened.
Pour the syrup and apples mixture over the bread and cream mixture in the baking pan. Stir gently to combine.

Cover the pan with foil and place in the oven to bake for 40 minutes.
Uncover, and allow to brown on top, about 10 minutes.

Allow to cool for a bit before serving.

Chicken Puff Pie

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My biggest peeve about chicken pot pie is that the crust to stew ratio is terribly disproportionate.

For the Stew:
1/2 cup Butter (1 stick)
1/2 cup Flour
4-5 cups Chicken Stock
Salt & Pepper
2 teaspoons Herbs de Provence
2 cups Mixed Vegetables
I used a combination of frozen (thawed) and fresh veggies I had left over.
4 cups cooked Shredded Chicken
You can use a store-bought rotisserie chicken or roast your own. I roasted 2 big chicken breasts then let them cool before I shredded.

In a large high sided pot over medium high, melt the butter. Add the flour and mix until a paste forms. Add the stock, whisking briskly. Turn the heat down a bit and continue to whisk until the sauce is thick. Add more stock if it’s too thick. Season with salt and pepper and the herbs de Provence.
Add the vegetables and shredded chicken. Stir to combine then heat through. You can set this aside off the heat and get started on your pastry crust.

For the Crust:
1 package Puff Pastry (I use Pillsbury)
Egg wash = 1 egg mixed very well with a bit of water
Salt & Pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Defrost the puff pastry and unfold onto parchment lined baking sheets. Cut each pastry sheet into fourths and arrange so they are about an inch or so apart.
Now for each square, measure in at each side roughly half an inch in, and score a line with a knife. Don’t cut all the way through!
Use the egg wash on the outside border of the square. Try not to dribble on the sides or the square won’t puff.
Season with salt and pepper, and place in the over for 20 – 25 minutes.
When they are golden brown and puffy, set aside to cool slightly. Once cooled gently press down along the score line creating a little cup in the pastry.

Spoon the stew into the pastry crust and serve.

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Chicken Filo Pie

Yes, I am suggesting you turn on your oven during the summer. You can always eat on the patio, or take your Filo Pie to the park as a picnic.
I’ve tried to simplify the recipe down to essentials trying to make this dish doable for a weeknight.

Chicken Filo Pie

For the Spice Mixture:
1 tablespoon Ground Cinnamon
1 tablespoon Ground Ginger
1 teaspoon Ground Cardamom
1 teaspoon Ground Coriander
1 teaspoon Ground Tumeric
1 teaspoon Ground Red Cayenne Pepper
1 “fat pinch” of Saffron Threads
Mix all spices in a small bowl and set aside.

For the Filling:
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
1 large Yellow Onion (chopped)
3 or 4 cups cubed Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs
Salt & Pepper
1/4 cup Chicken Stock
4 Eggs lightly scrambled (optional)

20 sheets Prepared Filo Dough (thawed)
1 stick Butter (melted)

Topping:
1/2 cup Crushed Flaked Almonds
1/4 cup Powdered Sugar
1 teaspoon Spice Mixture
Mix and set aside.

Heat the oven to 350 Degrees.

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat and add the Olive Oil. Add the Chopped Onion and Salt and Pepper (to taste) and saute for 5 minutes. Add the Chicken and brown for 10 minutes.
Add 2 tablespoons of the Spice Mixture and stir to combine with the Chicken and Onions.
Add the Chicken Stock, stir to combine then reduce the heat to a simmer and cover for about 10 minutes or until the Chicken is cooked through. Set aside to cool.
(The smaller you cube the chicken the quicker it will cook)

Loosely scramble the Eggs, adding a pinch of the Spice Mixture. Set those aside to cool as well.

Once the filling has cooled you can assemble the pie. I spread the Chicken Filling on a plate and put it in the freezer for 5 minutes.

To Assemble to Pie:
Melt the butter and lightly brush a pizza or sheet pan. Unroll the Filo Dough and use 10 sheets for the bottom layer. One sheet at a time, layer them into a circular pin wheel fashion, brushing them in between layers with butter. Let the edges overhang the pan.
Spoon the cooled Eggs onto this bottom layer. Spoon the Chicken mixture onto the eggs. Fold up the sides of the Filo around the filling. Brush the edges with butter.

Using the rest of the Filo Dough over the open top of the pie, construct the pin wheel assembly again, buttering between layers and on top. Tuck the overhanging pieces of the dough under the pie.

Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes. Then, using another pan on top, flip the pie over and continue to cook for an additional 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Sprinkle with the Sugar and Almond Mixture and slice into wedges to serve.

Dinner Tonight: Bacon and Onion Tart


This is also a really great brunch recipe!

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

For the pastry: (makes 2 tarts)
2 9inch prepared pie crusts (1 box Pillsbury)
1 egg white
Spray the pie plate or tart pans with cooking spray. Unroll the pie crust and gently arrange into the tart pans leaving a small overlap on the top. Prick the bottom of the crust with a fork and brush the crust all over with the egg white.
Put the unfilled crusts in the oven for 10 minutes. Take out of the oven and allow them to cool while you make the filling.

For the filling:
10 extra large eggs (room temperature)
12 rashers of bacon
3 tablespoons jared caramelized onion
2 cups shredded Gruyere or Fontina cheese
1 teaspoon fresh or dried herbs (parsley, basil, oregano)
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt

Snip the bacon into roughly 1 inch pieces using your kitchen shears. Saute the bacon on medium heat until crispy. Drain the bacon on paper toweling and set aside to cool.

In a large bowl combine the eggs, cheese, bacon, onion, herbs and salt and pepper. Stir to distribute the ingredients equally throughout the mixture. Pour or ladle the mixture dividing it between the two tart shells.
Bake on the middle oven rack for about 15-18 minutes, or until just set in the middle and golden brown on top.
Cool the tarts for about 15 minutes before serving. You can also serve them at room temperature.

For this recipe I used prepared caramelized onion from Williams-Sonoma. But if you can’t find that you can do it yourself.
Caramelized Onions
1 large onion chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
a pinch of salt and pepper
Heat oil over medium heat. Add the onions, balsamic vinegar, sugar, and salt and pepper. Saute stirring occasionally for 20 to 30 minutes or until they are very soft and very dark in color.