My, Oh My, It’s Pie, Pie, Pie!

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“I don’t like pie,” said no one ever. Okay, that may be a bit of an exaggeration, but one of the many reasons pie is so awesome is that it comes in many forms, satisfying the palette of even the pickiest of eaters.  Don’t get me wrong, I love a sweet type of pie, however, there are few things in life that can compare to a savory, meaty pie.  My mom’s meat pie recipe was such a success in this house that I just have to share it – but I couldn’t share only one pie recipe…

With fall in full swing (woohoo!), my kitchen has quickly become pie headquarters, where both savory and sweet pie recipes have been baked and enjoyed. Hence, I thought why not dedicate an entire blog post to pie? And don’t let the numbers fool you – three baked pies are greater than 3.14 (please, please, get my math joke).

Since coming into this world, my nickname has been — and will forever be — Pumpkin Pie. You can credit my impressive infant body weight for the name.  If I hear “pumpkin pie” in a public place, I immediately turn around expecting to see some close family member or friend. Despite my hatred for pumpkin pie as a kid (blame the nickname!), my adult pallet can’t get enough of the stuff – especially when there is a streusel/crisp topping involved. Yum. So there is pie number two.

Pie number three is actually somewhat crust-less and is what I call a deep-dish apple pie. Instead of crust, you pour a sweet batter over the apples that are smothered in sugar and cinnamon. It’s like a big snicker doodle cookie with apples in the middle. It’s a quick and easy pie to make that has traditional apple pie flavor, but with a sugary/buttery twist.

And lastly, I figured with all this pie talk, the least I could do was throw in a homemade pie crust recipe. It’s an extremely easy recipe that even the most inexperienced baker can perfect. The dough can be used within 30 minutes (after it’s cooled), or it can be frozen and used at a later time. Just don’t nibble on too much of the dough or you may not have enough for your pie.

Meat Pie/French Canadian Tourtiere

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Ingredients:

*Note that the following recipe makes one 9-inch meat pie, but it’s extremely easy to double the recipe and make two pies (meat pie tastes just as good a few days later – just warm the pie back up in the oven at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes).

-2 pie crusts (a homemade pie crust recipe is mentioned below, but just know you can use store bought crusts – I have before and they turn out just as tasty)

-1 lb. of ground meat of your choice (I used a mixture of ground bison and ground beef, but ground pork, turkey, and veal can also be used)

-2 cloves of garlic, minced

-1 small to medium onion, chopped

-1 medium potato, peeled and grated (I grated the potato in a food processor; if you don’t have a food processor, chop the potatoes as finely as possible)

-1/8 tsp clove

-1/8 tsp cinnamon

-1/8 tsp ginger

-1/8 tsp parsley

-1/8 tsp sage

-1/8 tsp + an extra pinch thyme

-4 tbsp milk (for coating the pie crust)

-Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:

-Place all the ingredients except the pie crusts and the milk in a large pot. Pour in enough water that the contents are just barely submerged. Adjust your stovetop burner to low to medium heat.

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-Put the pot on the burner, and break up the ground meat and stir the contents.

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-Cover the pot with a lid and let simmer for 30 minutes. Do NOT lift the lid during cooking time. The picture below is what my meat looked like when done.

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-While the meat simmers, preheat the oven to 450 degrees and place one of the pie crusts in a pie dish and set aside.

-After the contents have simmered for 30 minutes, strain and RESERVE the liquid. (I strained the meat mixture over a large bowl). Set the liquid aside.

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-Place and spread the meat mixture over the bottom pie crust in the pie dish.

-Pour the liquid over the meat. You want to level the liquid with the top of the ground meat.

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-Cover the pie with the second piecrust.

-Brush the top crust with milk.

-Prick the top crust with a fork for venting (at least five times)

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-Bake on the bottom rack of your oven at 450 degrees for ten minutes.

-After ten minutes, reduce the temperature to 350 degrees and cook the pie for another 20 minutes.

-Let the pie sit for a half hour or so prior to serving because you want the meat  and crust to continue absorbing the liquid (If you don’t wait a half hour, your pie will be mushy).

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Pumpkin Pie Crisp

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Streusel/Crisp Topping Ingredients:

-1/2 cup all-purpose flour

-1/3 cup sugar

-2 tbsp brown sugar

-1/2 tsp cinnamon

-1/2 tsp pumpkin spice

-4 tbsp cold butter, cut into small pieces.

Streusel/Crisp Topping Directions:

-In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients.

-With a fork or a pastry blender, blend the ingredients until the contents are well incorporated and the butter is evenly distributed. There should be pea-sized sugary, butter balls. You may have a few chunks, but that’s okay.

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-See the pie filling directions for the topping instructions.

Pie Filling Ingredients:

-1 pie crust (if you want to do the braided crust, I recommend the amount equal to two pie crusts)

-3/4 cup granulated sugar

-1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

-1/2 teaspoon salt

-1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

-1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

-2 large eggs, beaten

-1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin puree

-1 can (12 fl. oz.) evaporated milk (I used fat free, but the typical recipe uses regular evaporated milk)

Pie Filling Directions:

-Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

-Place the piecrust in the pie dish and set aside.

-In a bowl, mix together the sugar, cinnamon, salt, ginger, and cloves. Set aside.

-In a separate large bowl, beat the eggs.

-In the large bowl with the eggs, stir in the pumpkin puree and sugar and spices mixture until well incorporated.

-Slowly stir in the evaporated milk (If you’re using non-fat evaporated milk, I recommend letting the pie filling set in the refrigerator for a half hour.).

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-Pour the pumpkin mixture into the piecrust.

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-Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes.

-After the 15 minutes has elapsed, reduce the temperature to 350 degrees and bake for another 40 minutes (times vary depending on oven).

-Remove the pie and let sit for about five minutes, but keep the oven on!

-Carefully, sprinkle the streusel topping over the pie until you have your desired amount.

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-Put the pumpkin pie crisp back in the oven and cook for another ten to fifteen minutes (again, times will vary. If the pie looks like it’s burning, trust your judgment and take it out).

-Let the pie cool for at least an hour and a half before serving. Enjoy!

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Deep Dish Apple Pie

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Ingredients:

-6-8 medium apples, peeled, sliced, and halved

-3.5 tsp cinnamon (this is for the sugar/cinnamon mixture that will sprinkle the apples. If you prefer more cinnamon, go ahead and adjust the spice to your preference)

-1 cup sugar + 4 tbsp sugar to mix with the cinnamon

-1 cup flour

-1.5 sticks of butter (margarine can be substituted), melted

-1 egg

Directions:

-Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

-Fill a 9 inch pie dish (mine is actually 9.5) with about half of the peeled, sliced apples. You can also use an 8×9 inch square baking dish.

-Combine the cinnamon and 4 tbsp sugar and sprinkle half of the mixture over the apples.

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-Pile on the rest of the apples until just about overflowing. You may have some leftover apple pieces.

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-Sprinkle the remainder of the sugar and cinnamon until the apples are completely covered.

-In a large bowl, combine the melted butter, beaten egg, 1 cup of flour, and 1 cup of sugar. Mix together quickly until well incorporated.

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-Immediately pour the buttery/sugar/floury mixture over the apples. Pour as carefully and evenly as possible over the apples. Try to completely cover the apples with the batter. The batter does NOT spread with a spatula very well, so pouring correctly is critical (it’s not rocket science, though).

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-Bake for 30-40 or until the crust starts to brown.

-Let cool for 15 minutes before serving. You can serve this pie warm or cool. Enjoy!

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Homemade Pie Crust

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Pie Crust Ingredients:

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*Makes two 9” pie crusts

-2.5 cups all-purpose flour

-1 tablespoon sugar (optional if you’re making a crust for a savory pie)

-1 teaspoon kosher salt

-1 cup/2 sticks of cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

-6-8 tbsp ice cold water (you may use less, just depends on how the dough works itself)

Pie Crust Directions

-In a large, cold bowl, (I filled my with ice water ten minutes prior to using, but you can always refrigerate the bowl in advance) mix together the flour, salt, and sugar.

-Add in the butter pieces.

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-With a fork or a pastry blender, cut into the flour and butter until the mixture forms into a variety size of crumbs.

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-Pour in the 2 tbsp of water and quickly fold into the dough (I used a baking spoon). Pour in another 2 tbsp of water and repeat folding the water into the dough.

-Continue adding water, a tbsp at a time, and folding it into the dough until the contents stick together and are moist enough that it looks like dough instead of a heap of flour crumbs. The picture below is what my dough looked like when ready.

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-With your hands, work the dough and separate it into two equal parts.

-Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for a half hour to cool.

-After a half hour, take a rolling pin and roll out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and bake accordingly with your pie recipe’s directions.

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-To create a braided dough perimeter, roll out some of the pie dough in a long and thin shape. With a knife, cut out three pieces of dough in equal length and proceed to carefully braid the dough. You won’t have enough to do one long braid, so repeat the directions 2 to 3 more times, or until your pie dish perimeter is complete!

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One thought on “My, Oh My, It’s Pie, Pie, Pie!

  1. Chuck Barletta

    Nice pumpkin….pies always a….. part…slice….. of your life no matter the batter or filling……Carl Sagan said, “In order to make pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe.” then I remember another quote from a unknown source,”Pie and coffee is approximately the third best social interaction a man can hope to have with a woman.”…..ckb

    Reply

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