Sunday, November 6, 2011

Countdown to Thanksgiving: 19 Days

I'm grateful for Pie.

Pie is one of my favorite desserts because it is (really!) easy to make.  Take your slightly over ripe fruits and mix with sugar and flour (or any thickener... potato starch, arrowroot powder, tapioca...) pour into a crust, top and bake.  Or a custard pie, milk, sugar and eggs either baked or refrigerated. Even meat pies... chicken pot pie anyone?

Pie for breakfast (this quiche recipe is great, but it needs a crust!)
Pie for lunch (pocket pies, anyone?! THIS recipe looks DIVINE!)
Pie for dinner (Chicken pot pie! Yum! Recipe to follow!)
and of course...
Pie for dessert!

I know so many people who are afraid of making pie because the crust is intimidating.  It really is quite easy and the trick is to make sure everything is COLD.  I have known pie making geniuses to put their hands in a bowl of ice water before handling their dough.

Here is my never-fail double pie crust (fruit pies, pot pies, hand pies, etc...)

2 c all purpose flour
2/4 tsp salt
2/3 cup shortening (or butter... I prefer butter)
6 tablespoons COLD water

-In a bowl, combine flour and salt, cut in shortening til crumbly.  I like to do this by using a pizza cutter and running it over the butter and cutting it over and over until the butter is in pea-size pieces or smaller.
-Fill a separate small bowl with an ice cube and some cold water.  Gradually add water to butter/flour mix until dough forms a ball.
-Divide the dough in half so one ball is slightly larger than the other.  VERY SLIGHTLY flour your rolling surface, just barely to prevent sticking.  Roll the larger ball out in a circle to fit a 9"-10" pie pan.  (I prefer to use either glass or ceramic.) Transfer to pan by gently folding in quarters, laying into one quarter quadrant of the pie pan and then unfolding.
-Trim pastry even with the edge of the plate using kitchen shears.  Pour filling into the crust.  Roll out the second ball and cut slits in the pastry.  You can use cookie cutters for a cute effect. :)
-Position over filling and trim so you have about 1" hanging over the pie plate edges.  Fold top crust over the bottom, and then decorate edges (HERE is a great site on how to make pretty pies!).
-Bake according to directions in the recipe.

Chicken Pot Pie Recipe (Makes 1 9x13" casserole dish)
For the Crust:
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground sage
4 tablespoons butter (REALLY COLD)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup milk
1 egg beaten, with 1 tablespoon of water

For the Filling:
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, bite size pieces
1/4 c olive oil
1 tsp minced garlic
1/4 tsp onion salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 small chopped onion
bag frozen mixed veggies (the ones that are cut in small cubes with peas, carrots, and cut green beans)
1/2 cup sliced celery
1 cream of mushroom soup recipe (see below) or 1 can of cream of mushroom soup
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
-In a large skillet, heat oil over medium high.  Add chicken, garlic, onion salt, and pepper and cook thoroughly.
-Remove chicken from skillet and turn heat to low.
-Add vegetables and cook until thawed.
-Meanwhile, In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt and sage.  Cut butter into mixture and then add milk.  Divide in half, one ball slightly larger than the other, and roll out the large ball to fit a 9x13" baking dish.
- Add mushroom soup to the heated vegetables, and add celery seed, pepper, salt and garlic powder.  Heat through.  Add in chicken, and pour into your 9x13" bottom crust.
-Roll out the other ball of dough to fit the top of the 9x13" baking dish.  Trim edges with kitchen shears so about 1" of dough falls over the edges.  Fold top crust over the bottom and use a decorative edging of your choice.  Use a fork to puncture holes into your  top crust.  Brush with beaten egg and water mixture.
-Bake in the preheated oven for about 30-35 minutes, until bubbly and crust is golden brown.

Homemade Cream of Mushroom Soup: 
(This can be used as a substitute for one can of condensed cream of mushroom soup)

1 tbs butter
3 tbs flour
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon "Better than Bullioin Mushroom Base"
1/2 cup milk
mushrooms, chopped, however much you desire.  I usually use about 1/2 package
salt and pepper to taste

- Melt butter in a sauce pan over medium-low heat
-Stir in flour using a whisk, until there are no more lumps.
-Pour in water and the teaspoon of mushroom base, a little at a time until smooth mix well.  Then do the same for the milk.  Stir in mushrooms.
-Bring to a gentle boil and stir occasionally until thickened.  Add salt and pepper to taste Pin It

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