Friday, March 20, 2015

Pi Day of the Century

3.1415926...Only in America was this a once in a lifetime (literally) kind of day. March 14, 2015, 9:26. So I needed to make a once in a lifetime kind of pie. Opted for the Momofuku Milk Bar Crack Pie. It wasn't nearly as labor-intensive as the link makes it sound. But I was HEAVILY concerned at one point that it was going to be a fail. Started with this lovely crumbled oat cookie crust:

Then filled it with a sugary, buttery filling. And during baking it started to look like the crust and the filling were sort of merging.

In fact, maybe they did. And maybe that turned out to not be a bad thing. It's not the easiest pie to get out of the pan, depending on whether it's cold or warm. But it's worth the struggle. It's unbelievably rich and delicious--a little like...salted caramel pie.

While I was having a panic attack about the Crack Pie, I decided I needed *something* to take its place if it was a fail. Can't have Pi Day with no Pie! I had seen this recipe for Coconut Custard Pie a day or so before I was baking, and it turned out that I had all the ingredients, so I just quick whipped this one up. And it was literally that easy--"I quick whipped it up".

I loved this one as well. I added more coconut than the recipe calls for, and it didn't feel like overkill at all. Not overly sweet, just simple and lovely. Nothing wrong with having two pies on Pi Day! Or any day.

TGIP Rating--Crack Pie--KEEPER. Need to try again to see if I can determine why the crust and filling...became one.
--Coconut Custard Pie--also a KEEPER. In fact, one I might want to play with a little bit. What would adding some lime zest do, I wonder?

Next up: I'm on a pie kick right now, but I want to make a savory one. Looking at this Spinach Pie. The fact that it wouldn't have my traditional crust (with lard) is actually kind of a bonus right now because it means maybe my vegetarian Thing 1 will eat it.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

No Meat Mincemeat Pie

This is how this recipe started. 

It's an old Baker family recipe that's been handed down to me. It strikes me that older recipes are a little less exact than recipes we write now. Maybe baking was as much oral/practical tradition as it was written, I don't know. But this seems like a recipe written more as a reminder than as instructions for someone who has never made it before. At any rate, it's a dessert pie THAT CONTAINS MEAT. Which doesn't go over too well with my people.

But...I like the spiced fruits and other flavors in mincemeat. Everything except the meat. So I wanted to try a little revamp.

Here's what I came up with:

No Meat Mincemeat Pie (in progress) *click here for printable version*

Pie pastry for 1 9-inch, 2 crust pie
2 c. peeled and diced Granny Smith apple (½ inch dice)
1 c. golden raisins
½ c. dried tart cherries (or more)
¼ c. currants
¼ c. chopped figs (or more)
2 T. finely chopped lemon rind
¼ c. brown sugar
¼ c. white sugar
½ c. apple juice
1 T. cinnamon
¼ tsp. each mace, nutmeg, allspice
juice and grated rind of 1 orange
1 tsp. salt
1 T. bourbon
2 T. butter cut into 8 pieces

Stir all ingredients except butter together in a saucepan and boil until apples start to soften and juice is reduced by about half. Pour into a 9 inch pie crust and dot the top with butter pieces. Top with second crust (vented). Bake at 400 for 45 to 50 minutes.

You'll notice it's pretty unrecognizable compared to the original recipe. It's almost like the beginnings of the fruitcake I make. Which isn't a bad thing, in my opinion. Now, a couple of things: 1. This was my first attempt. There was *something* missing. Something that I couldn't quite put my finger on. Possibly the depth the molasses brings. Next time around, I'm going to try adding a tablespoon of molasses and see where that gets us. I'm also going to add a little more of both figs and cherries (hence, the "or more" instructions). 2. This is kind of a "throw in what you like" pie. Don't like raisins? Leave them out! Prefer dried apricots to figs? Throw them in! I think the point is to end up with approximately this amount of dried fruit (2 cups total). Same with spices. You like ginger? Throw it in there!

I guess it really needs a new name. Spicefruit Pie? You people must be more clever than I am--come up with something!

TGIP Rating--No Meat Mincemeat Pie--KEEPER/EXPERIMENTER. I need to try some more options before I'll call this one finished. And I need to have the Pie King try it.

Next up: Well, as you probably know, this Saturday is the ultimate Pi Day (3.1415). Seems like I need to make an epic pie. I've been wanting to try Momofuku's Crack Pie for ages. Now's the time.