Sunday, November 28, 2010

How to "Pie Up!" in the Pantry

From my vintage postcard collection.
Yesterday I cooked another large second turkey, just because it was at the bottom of the freezer. Time to "pantry up," as my friend Edie recently said (and "freezer up," too). Throughout the busy week ahead the juicy 25+ free ranger, from an Amish farm last winter, will be transformed into turkey salad, turkey soup, turkey pie, creamed turkey and sandwiches. [One reason is because I have an article deadline on December 1st and many book orders to process].

Today I'll be making turkey tetrazzini, with roasted beets and parsnips on the side and more rhubarb and pumpkin pies. We're having our Mennonite friends Melvin and Anna Hurst over for a Sunday supper of "leftovers" (well, not really, but that was the premise) later this afternoon and I'm looking forward to a nice leisurely "catch up" as I haven't seen either of them in a month. I'd even intended to host a "leftover" potluck for friends last night but it just never materialized.

As for food this Thanksgiving, back to our "simplicity" kick. I didn't make homemade cranberry sauce this year, or homemade rolls, or even cranberry nut bread. But the stuffing was arguably my best yet––from a recipe I came up with in college that I've been tweaking for the past 30 years. This year I added dried cherries and chopped pecans, as well as the Italian sausage, chopped apples and fresh cranberries that I have always included.

© Anne Taintor, Inc.
But we also had P I E! Homemade! By me! I say this so enthusiastically, and with great unabashed pride in my heart, because I've always had pie phobia–big time. The fillings are never the problem, it's the crust. Usually it is the one thing I ask guests to bring at Thanksgiving: dessert (and dessert at Thanksgiving usually equals pie). A few weeks ago my friend Rosemary back in New Hampshire sent me a pie dough recipe she had tweaked from Joanne Chang's Flour Bakery in Boston. It was the best pie dough, and easiest, I've made yet. If it sounds like there is a lot of butter, there is: but you're worth it (Rosemary also added a few more tablespoons to the original recipe). Rosemary, I should also add, was the frequent pie lady at our house (as well as my friend Linda, but I don't want to start a pie war between these two friends!).

Rhubarb pie awaits baking on Thanksgiving morning.
Rosemary's Second Amazing(ly Simple) Pie Dough
[Here is her first recipe: click here for blog archive!]

• 1 cup flour
• 1/2 tsp salt
• 10 Tbsps cold butter
• 1 egg yolk
• 2 Tbsps milk

Eli loves to help.
Put flour and salt into food processor, with blade (I used my plastic blade). Add cold butter, one tablespoon at a time, while pulsing. I combined the egg yolk and milk in a bowl and beat it quickly before adding to the flour-butter mixture in the food processor. Pulse all ingredients a few times until mixed and turn out onto floured board. Knead and flip several times and press with the back of your palm. (Rosemary said this is called "fraisaging" the dough–rhymes with "massage" and that's exactly what you are doing.) Then pat into a disk, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and chill for at least an hour. The chilling is absolutely essential for ease of roll and a resulting flaky crust. [I doubled this for a 2-crust dough and you can also freeze your disks of dough for another day.]

A perfect pie trifecta!
When sufficiently chilled, roll out dough disk on a floured board to the desired size. You will find, having chilled it, that it will roll very nicely and should feel all satiny to the touch. After it bakes, your pie will have the flakiest, melt-in-your mouth flavor and texture. I can't wait to try it with turkey pot pie later this week! As much as I like Rosemary's other pie recipe, I might just be a convert to this one.
Thanksgiving without pumpkin pie is akin to sacrilege.


Ivy said...

I'm a devotee of the vodka pie crust from cook's illustrated. Fabulous and fool proof.

a Cupcake near you! said...

We are roasting our bird today, Sunday -- nice Thanksgiving out this year, and then leftovers with friends. But of course we need our own leftovers so we can have lots of turkey curry in the freezer, sandwiches all week, etc. Here's to wintertime and all the cooking ahead!

Kate at Wonderful Life Farm said...

I'm rather partial to Colonial Williamsburg's pie crust recipe (from their cookbook), which can be made sweet (add sugar), or not. But I must say, you're tempting me with this one. I just might have to try it!

a Cupcake near you! said...

Whoops! Rosemary here...I should never rely on my memory. The pie dough recipe should be 9 Tbsp. butter, NOT 10. Also, add 2 tsp. sugar to the recipe. Here's the link from the Boston Globe:

Sorry about that...

a Cupcake near you! said...

It's funny about the sugar mention: I was thinking, as I made it, that a bit of sugar would be good. I would definitely add it for a dessert pie; omit for a quiche or pot pie. And VODKA!? Who knew? (well apart from Ivy and I'm guessing Rosemary...) Will have to try it sometime. My friend Melissa said she uses vanilla vodka, too.