Monday, November 22, 2010

One Pie Crust to Rule Them All

This is THE Crust recipe that I may just use forever now. On my first try, I used it on a pumpkin pie. On my second, I used it on a pot pie, photo below, instructions in another post.  Crust was great, but the pumpkin pie was not noteworthy. Thanks so much to Pim, for sharing it on her blog. Please go read it. Here's the link again:

I like it with salt added. I was eventually able to make it without extra water, as listed below. I use King Arthur All-Purpose flour.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Blueberry Preserves or Topping

This is the best thing to put on top of those lovely cheesecakes you buy from fundraisers. It's also great on pancakes, waffles, toast, bagels... you get the idea. It's really good stuff, and keeps for a week or two, maybe more, in the fridge, if it lasts that long. Probably could "can" it, but I never have. Makes maybe 6 cups.

It is especially easy to make if you have a bread machine, like my well-loved Zojarushi. I haven't made it on the stove before, but all the Zo does is cook it slowly and stir it gently. If I try it on the stove one day, I'll update this post. The bread machine is so easy, though. If you have a dropper bottle for your vanilla, pinch your salt, and use a fork in the lemons, there is very little to clean up.

15 oz can blueberries
1 lb frozen or fresh blueberries (no need to thaw)
1 3/4 c sugar
2 lemons
1/4 cup pearl Tapioca
4 pinches salt (maybe 1/4 tsp?)
4 droppers vanilla, about 1/2 tsp

Pour canned blueberries into bread machine pan. Stir in sugar, then tapioca. "Fork" lemons, squeezing in most of the juice. This is probably about 1 1/2 lemons worth of juice if you really squeeze it all out. Add the salt, vanilla, and fresh or frozen blueberries. Stir everything well one last time, without mashing the berries, and start on the "jam" cycle. When it's done, let it cool some, then pour into jars or other containers.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Big Turkey Pot Pie

Isn't this worth 1000 words? I must say it turned out amazingly! I was trying out this pie crust recipe, which sounded very promising, while using some leftover turkey from a pre-Thanksgiving dry run. I have tried many pie crusts, without much luck until just now. This one is a keeper! The filling is based on a skillet pot pie recipe from Cooks Illustrated. The only criticism from my husband was, we shouldn't eat it very often unless we can reduce the calories in the filling.


* Crust:
13 1/4 oz plain all purpose flour
3/4 tsp salt
12 oz cold SALTED butter
3/8 cup water (put generous amount of water and ice in a bowl, with a 1/8 c measure in it)
* Filling:
1               teaspoon butter
4 1/2               cups turkey, cooked and cubed
1               medium onion , cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 1 cup)
4               medium carrots , cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 1 1/2 cups)
3               medium ribs celery , cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 1 cup)
4 ¼          cups low-sodium chicken broth
4               tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2          cup unbleached all-purpose flour
¾    cup whole milk
1/4          cup heavy cream
3/4          cup frozen peas
3/4          cup frozen corn
2               teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1               teaspoon minced fresh parsley leaves
1               teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
1               teaspoon minced fresh sage
1    egg
1    tbsp water

·  PREPARE DOUGH: Read about the Crust first.
Flake the butter into the flour, add water, wrap, and chill for 30 min per directions. If your hands are warm, chill them on the side of the ice water bowl, then dry your hands and continue. I used King Arthur all-purpose flour, and needed to add more than one Tbsp extra water to keep it from crumbling. It seems like a disaster at first, but eventually comes together and turns out amazingly. Divide into two pieces, one being 2/3 of the dough, the other being 1/3 of the dough. Refrigerate.
·  TO ROAST VEGETABLES: Adjust oven racks to lower-middle position; heat oven to 450 degrees. Heat butter in heavy-bottomed 12-inch ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat and add onion, carrots, celery, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables begin to brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Add about ¼ cup chicken broth to de-glaze, then place skillet into the oven. Roast until tender, about18 minutes. Using potholder or oven mitt, remove skillet from oven and set aside to cool.
·  TO ROLL OUT THE DOUGH: (If dough has been chilled longer than 2 hours, let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes before rolling.) Roll dough out per instructions. Lay large bottom sheet into “chicken fryer” skillet (a deep, 12” cast iron skillet). Optionally, place top one on a cookie sheet and refrigerate both. I sometimes skip the fridge here.
·  TO MAKE SAUCE AND ASSEMBLE FILLING: Pour contents of skillet into a separate bowl. Melt butter over medium-high heat until foaming. Stir in flour and cook, stirring constantly, until mixture darkens slightly and becomes fragrant, about 1 minute. Slowly whisk in broth, milk, and cream. Add salt and pepper to taste. Bring to boil; reduce heat to medium and simmer, stirring constantly, until sauce is thickened and coats back of spoon, 8 to 10 minutes.

Off heat, add chicken, vegetables, peas, corn, lemon juice, parsley, thyme, sage, and salt and pepper to taste; gently stir to combine. Pour filling into pie dish. Seal top crust in place, and slit. Make sure to open the slits wide, to prevent them from re-sealing. Whisk egg and water to make egg wash. Using a pastry brush, cover the top of the pie with the egg wash.

Place pie on foil-covered baking sheet. Bake on upper-middle rack at 450 degrees until crust begins to brown around edges, about 15 minutes; reduce heat to 375 degrees and continue to bake until crust is golden brown and filling bubbles, 15 to 20 minutes more. Let cool 15 minutes before serving.