Friday, November 29, 2013
Thanksgiving is really the best time of year to be the keeper of a nerdy blog about pie. It's been so nice the past few days to have friends and readers from all over the country (and one in the UK!) send photos of their pie creations (I've posted a few here) or ask for advice about substitutions or cooking temps or burnt pears (you know who you are) or send exclamations of satisfaction. It's as if I get to share a little bit of your celebration with you, and I'm thankful for that.
I hope everyone had a lovely day yesterday with friends and family and delicious food, and now you're enjoying some pie for breakfast and a big cup of coffee at home and not out out in the shopping madness. If you do want to do a little at home shopping, though, Elizabeth Graeber is running a Holiday Sale in her shop, which includes our PIE. A Hand Drawn Almanac, and all of her many other beautiful illustrated goods! Get $5 off of every order of $30 or more, which means two Pie Almanacs will cost ya just $25. And if you're looking for more ways to shop local & handmade, check out the Handmade Holiday series on Witchin' in the Kitchen which profiles three women artisans whose work makes lovely gifts.
Sunday, November 24, 2013
I never know what pies I'm making for Thanksgiving until the very last moment. There's just so much to choose from and I wonder if should go with an old standby or try something new and experimental and potentially risky?! I feel overwhelmed by the possibility. If you're like me and still at a loss, here's a handy list of suggestions to help guide you in your selection. Still haven't found what you're looking for? Visit the Recipe Index for more ideas, and take a gander at last year's guide.
Pumpkin & Sweet Potato
Drunken Pumpkin Pie with Mascarpone Cream
Pumpkin & Chai Spice Nut Butter Pie, pictured top left
Sweet Potato Speculoos Pie
Apple Pie with Salted Caramel Glaze
Cranberry-Lime Galette, pictured bottom left
Pear & Cardamom-Fig Pie
Quince Biscuit Pie, pictured bottom right
Chocolate & Nuts
Bittersweet Chocolate Pecan Pie (a long-time Thanksgiving favorite)
Chocolate Chess Pie
Custard & Cheese
Cranberry Goat Cheese Tart with Almond Shortbread Crust (a favorite from last year's Thanksgiving)
Maple Bourbon Buttermilk Pie
Pumpkin-Ginger Cheesecake Pie
Salty Honey Pie, pictured top right
Gordy's Cherry Pepper Spread Galette
Red & Golden Beet and Goat Cheese Tart
Swiss Chard & Goat Cheese Galette
I'd love to hear what you come up with, whether it's from this list or not (and maybe it will help me in my own decision). Happy baking!
Thursday, November 21, 2013
We're just one week away from the number one pie holiday of the year, and for a little bit of guidance, I'm participating in a Thanksgiving pie twitter chat hosted by American Food Roots! I'm honored and excited to be included among this group of pie heronies, which includes Nancie McDermott, Art of the Pie's Kate McDermott, Paula Haney of Hoosier Mama Pie Company, America's Test Kitchen's Julia Collin Davison, Jan Moon of Dreamcakes Bakery, and D.C.-area pastry chef Tiffany MacIssac. Get more info here and join us tomorrow, November 22nd at 10am EST, via hashtag #TGPieChat for Thanksgiving pie advice, crust tips, regional varieties, and historical tidbits. It's going to be a fun conversation with some real pie pros.
Monday, November 18, 2013
A few years ago while both teaching at the New England Literature Program (NELP) and fresh off of reading Sandor Katz' Wild Fermentation, my friend Ryan and I started a club. A pickle club, dubbed "Fermental Health." Late at night we'd enlist students to abandon their Walden and join us in the industrial kitchen to help finely chop and tamp huge buckets full of cabbage for sauerkraut and kimchi. We employed the meat slicer to make petal-thin pickled beets and cukes, and tried our hand at a carrot-ginger slaw.
Ryan and I still fantasize about opening a fermented foods grocery store someday under the Fermental Health moniker (don't steal it or we'll send a plague of live and active cultures upon you), and I remain a brine devotee through occasional home pickling, happily eating leftover deli pickles my luncheon companions leave behind, and in my stance that a good night is always topped off with a pickleback (or two).
All of that's to say-- I love pickles! And I've long wondered how to incorporate them into a pie. Enter Gordy's Pickle Jar-- a D.C.-based, woman-owned, handcrafted pickle company that's been garnering acclaim and winning all sorts of awards for their briney delights. When my friend Morgan, who runs their social media, asked if I wanted to collaborate on some recipes, I knew this was my chance.
Armed with this Sesame Street animation as our theme song and a super secret Pinterest board (SSPB), we developed a pair of recipes for Thanksgiving side dishes featuring Gordy's products. This Cherry Pepper Spread, Goat Cheese & Caramelized Onion Galette highlights the bold spice of Gordy's Cherry Pepper Spread, tempered by creamy goat cheese and sweet caramelized onions. It would be fantastic as an appetizer with a relish or charcuterie plate, or as a side dish. It also makes for a fantastic brunch or lunch, paired with a leafy green salad.
Gordy's Cherry Pepper Spread, Goat Cheese & Caramelized Onion Galette
Nothing in the House pie crust, halved
1 medium onion, sliced
4 oz. goat cheese
1 tsp. fresh rosemary
1/2 c. Gordy's Cherry Pepper Spread
2 Tblsp. olive oil
Salt & pepper to taste
1. Prepare half of Nothing in the House pie crust as per the directions (save other half in the fridge or freezer for a future pie). Chill dough at least 1 hour before rolling out into a 10-11-inch circle on a sheet of parchment paper. Return rolled crust to the fridge while you prepare the filling.
2. Prepare the oven to 375 degrees F. Add 1 Tblsp. olive oil and sliced onions to a cast iron skillet and place over medium heat. Stir to coat onions with olive oil. Cook the onions, stirring occasionally, until translucent. Sprinkle onions with salt and pepper and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook 25-30 more minuted until onions are caramelized.
3. Remove crust from the fridge and brush with 1/2 Tblsp. olive oil. Scatter the caramelized onions over the crust, leaving a 1-inch edge. Crumble the goat cheese and spoon Gordy's Cherry Pepper Spread evenly over the onions. Sprinkle with rosemary. Fold the edge of the crust over the top of the filling and seal. Drizzle remaining 1/2 Tblsp. of olive oil over the entire tart and sprinkle a dash of salt and pepper over top.
4. Bake tart for 35-40 minutes until crust is golden brown. Enjoy as an appetizer or side dish to your Thanksgiving feast.
For our accompanying recipe for Brine Roasted Potatoes and Spears, and additional pics, words, and more recipes featuring Gordy's products (think pickle juice cocktails!) head over to the Gordy's blog. Big thanks to Morgan Hungerford West of Panda Head for these beautiful photos and infectious creativity, positivity, and jokes.
Ham, Gruyere & Caramelized Onion Galette with Fried Egg
Swiss Chard & Goat Cheese Galette
Tri-color Potato, Caramelized Onion, Goat Cheese & Rosemary Galette
Photos by Morgan Hungerford West
Sunday, November 17, 2013
I believe it was Jess who first "introduced" me to Shauna. She showed me a Long I Pie photo-- of a golden crust baked in a cast iron skillet, and said I should probably check it out. Since then I've been a devout oggler of the whole Long I aesthetic, following closely as they've launched their new website and business in Denver, Colorado (if only it weren't so far away!) As Shauna and I started to correspond, we found we had a lot in common-- pie, sure, but also a love for folk music and butter and Americana. Then we realized that we're both from Indiana and it all made sense.
I was pretty jazzed that Shauna was game to share a few words about her pie baking, The Long I Pie Shop, as well as the recipe I was MOST excited about-- "Too Piglet To Quit Pie" or her Apple, Brie & Prosciutto. At least it will assuage my hunger before I can get myself out to Colorado to taste it and meet Shauna in person. After you're done reading her words, head on over to Long I Blog to find more about the shop and read my thoughts on these same questions.
Tell us about yourself! Where are you from, what are your hobbies, whaddaya like to do on the weekends, what books do you like to read, etc.?
I’m from Fishers, Indiana originally --- born and raised. Now, I have been living in Boulder, CO for the last 7 ½ years. I really enjoy traveling and try to get out of the United States at least once a year to see friends that live around the world. On the weekends, you’ll probably find me hanging out with friends at one of Colorado’s amazing breweries or distilleries, listening to live music, sitting around a table with my dearest friends eating a home cooked meal and catching up on life, finding a photo booth to take ridiculous photos in, or baking pie. As for books, I love people’s stories, so I like to read memoirs or autobiographies.
What led you up to the point of opening a pie shop and why did you decide to do it?
Honestly, I feel like it was a mix of a few things. One was the desire to honor a legacy of hospitality and generosity that my grandmother has left after she passed a year and half ago and one my mother is still building. Baking is something that my family does well. Pie is the baked good that I think of when I think of the feeling of being at “home”. It’s not like a cookie that you can eat in passing. It’s a conversation dessert. You sit down at a table with your family or friends and laugh or cry, but definitely enjoy each other’s company. The thing that led me to opening a pie shop was to combine my love and skill of pie making with my passion for helping people. I’ve done social work type jobs since I graduated college. In this past job, I worked primarily with youth and refugee families. In working with those two populations, they have one thing in common --- a low chance at obtaining stable employment. Youth and refugees have different kinds of barriers, but they both lead to not get a first chance at employment. My plan is to start a youth employment services program to go with our first mobile pie shop. We’ll teach a curriculum that discusses everything from hygiene to resume building to interview skills along side pie making and customer service skills training. My hope is that as we grow that we can expand to an employment program that focuses on refugee women as well.
What's the intersection between pie and social justice/community and specifically your social justice mission?
Pie is a creative tool for me to pursue justice in my community. Our social justice mission is two fold --- employing youth at risk of homelessness, exploitation, or incarceration and giving $1 per slice to an organizations working to prevent or restore children who’ve been trafficked in to the sex trade both locally in Colorado and around the world. Pie feels like home and safety. I want to provide a workplace that provides a place that is safe and feels like home for our youth. Also, I want to put money into organizations that provide for other youth in the city and around the world.
Pie is home. Pie is family. Pie is comfort. Pie is laughter around a table. Pie transports people to good memories. Pie is an art form that you can consume and enjoy. It’s creative and I happen to be good at making it. The “why” is how it makes me and others feel when we are eating it with our family and friends.
Tell me your pie aesthetic in one pithy sentence.
Think “what would my great-grandma do?” --- simple recipes, fresh ingredients, and butter.
I have to ask--what's your favorite pie?
My favorite pie is the pie my grandma used to make all the time when I was growing up --- Spiced Apple Cranberry Pie. It’s the best combination of tart and sweet. It brings back beautiful memories around my grandma’s kitchen table for dinners of homemade chicken dumplings and playing a rousing round of rummy after dinner.
Where'd the Long I name come from?
The Long I came from one Tuesday night sitting around the kitchen table with a couple of friends. We’re all a little nerdy, but one of my best friends from college, Mandy, is the English Lit/grammar kind of nerdy. We were dreaming together about what an Americana, homey airstream food trailer could look like. I was set on pie, but Mandy thought sliders and fries. Then, the name "The Long I" was birthed because they all have the long “I” sound in them. I chose to stick with pie.
What's your crust philosophy?
I want my crust to always be simple, buttery, flaky goodness. You achieve that by making the crust as cold as you can and bake it as hot as you can. Cold butter. Ice water. 400 degrees.
Any special pie-making tips for home bakers?
Be creative with your pie. Think of some of your favorite flavors in other foods and try them out in a pie. Experiment. Experiment. Experiment.
What do you like to listen to while baking?
I LOVE music which makes it hard to choose just one genre. There are days when I listen to banjo and fiddle-filled folk music like Gregory Alan Isakov. Other days, I listen to Beyoncé and dance around my kitchen.
What pies will you be making for your own Thanksgiving feast?
My Grandma’s pie --- Spiced Apple Cranberry, Bourbon Chocolate Pecan (“The Drunken Nut”), and an experimental Chocolate Pumpkin Pie.
Tell us about the recipe you're sharing. How did it come about and what should we pair it with (other food or drink)?
I’m sharing the recipe for my "Too Piglet to Quit Pie." Last Spring, I went to Paris with a few of my close friends. Oh, it was a treat! One night we went to Rue Clar, picked up some brie, prosciutto, baguettes, wine, and macaroons, walked to the Eiffel Tower, sat on a bench all buddled up and ate until our hearts were content. It was a dreamy French picnic. I wanted to put that experience into a pie, so the Too Piglet to Quit pie was birthed. I’d pair it with a generous glass of a red wine blend from Bordeaux.
Big thanks to Shauna Lott of Denver, Colorado's Long I Pie Shop for the lovely words and recipe.
All beautiful photos by Caitlin Fairly.
Friday, November 08, 2013
1st slice. D.C. is no doughnut town, but DCist gives it a good go with this round-up. When I'm hankering for fried dough, I either make my own, or take a trip to old-school bakeries like Woodmoor Pastry Shop in Silver Spring or Mt. Pleasant's Heller's Bakery (pictured above). 'Cause in my opinion all you really need is a good classic plain glazed and a cup of coffee.
2nd slice. Notice something new around here? I'm still working out the overall look, but Nothing in the House has a BEAUTIFUL new hand-printed logo designed by my friend Mike Costello of Printed Appalachia. It's a perfect fit for this pie blog's rustic aesthetic and historical & folkloric bent and I'm so happy to have it.
3rd slice. Next week is Pie Week at Food52! Tag your pie instagrams with #PieWeek and #f25grams and they'll feature their faves. So on it.
The tasty crumbs. Looking for something to do this weekend? The D.C. Square Dance, which happens to be the biggest square dance in the country, is this Saturday. It's always the best party in town, and sometimes-- there's pie. Come out swingin'.
Sunday, November 03, 2013
Durham's Big Spoon Roasters did not yet exist when I lived on the Carolina Piedmont. Since I moved away, though, I've heard murmurs about the handcrafted nut butters from various food sites and magazines and friends who can't get enough of the stuff and I wondered how I too could get my hands on a few jars. As I was browsing the Big Spoon website, deciding which of the flavors--from Chai Spice to Peanut Cocoa I most wanted, I realized that the nut butters--those two in particular would make perfect pie ingredients.
So I emailed the owner Mark to tell him my idea, and the next week, a box showed up on my door with those two flavors packaged inside. Though the Chai Spice--a peanut and almond butter with local wildflower honey, salt, and chai spices-- could make a delicious pie filling almost all by itself (or in a Chocolate & Peanut Butter Pretzel Tart or a Peanut Butter Banana Cream Pie or... the possibilities are endless--stay tuned!), I decided to start with the seasonal and perhaps unsuspected pairing of pumpkin. Chai spice and pumpkin pie spice are kissin' cousins as is, and I thought the smooth pumpkin and slightly grainy nut butter would compliment each other's textures and flavor well. I had also done a similar butter 'n' orange-veggie in this Sweet Potato Speculoos Pie, adapted from a Pumpkin-Nutella version from Sally's Baking Addiction.
The duo got along just splendidly, the nut butter adding a hint of honey and a darker, richer flavor to the fairly standard pumpkin pie base. The consistency was thick and hearty, a substantial slice that would also work well substituting sweet potatoes for the pumpkin purée. Though I added bourbon to my whipped cream, in my humble opinion it never hurts to throw in a dash in the pie itself. This recipe is definitely in the running for what will be on my dessert table this coming Thanksgiving, though I've yet to bake with that Peanut Cocoa butter...
You can check out where you can buy Big Spoon Roasters nut butters near you here, and if there's nowhere close, you can also order online.
Nothing-in-the-House Pie Crust, halved
2 c. (15 oz.) pumpkin purée, canned or fresh (sweet potato purée would also be delicious)
3 large eggs, lightly whisked
1/2 c. heavy cream
1/2 c. light brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. cardamom
1/4 tsp. cloves
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. salt
2/3 c. Big Spoon Roasters' Chai Spice Nut Butter
1. Prepare half of the Nothing-in-the-House pie crust as per the directions, reserving the leftover egg for an egg wash. Chill dough at least 1 hour before rolling out and fitting into a greased and floured 9-inch pie pan. Let chill for 15 more minutes in the fridge. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add pumpkin purée, whisked eggs, heavy cream, brown sugar, spices, and salt and mix well to combine. Add the Chai Spice nut butter and stir just until incorporated.
3. Pour filling into the chilled pie crust and distribute evenly using a rubber spatula. Bake 40-45 minutes until filling is well-set. Let cool and once at room temperature, chill pie until you're ready to serve. Serve chilled or at room temperature with a dollop of bourbon whipped cream.
Drunken Pumpkin Bourbon Pie with Mascarpone Cream
Pumpkin Ginger Cheesecake Pie
Sweet Potato Speculoos Pie
Friday, November 01, 2013
I've been negligent in serving up these slices. But it's a new month and new beginning--happy November!
1st slice. My Pentagram Pie (see below) was featured on The Hairpin this past week, with an expanded post--now with more jokes! Halloween may be over but pentagrams never go out of season.
2nd slice. As we turn the corner into the biggest pie month of the year, some great recipes are popping up in the blogosphere, like this Butternut Squash & Brie Galette from Happyolks and Homesick Texan's Sweet Potato Cobbler.
3rd slice. A few weeks ago I stopped by the St. Mary Armenian Apostolic Church's 65th Annual Fall Food Festival here in DC for a story & accompanying video for American Food Roots, not to mention a delicious lunch of stuffed grape leaves and cheese pies.
The tasty crumbs. There's a great new drink magazine on the block called PUNCH and my dear friend Lora Smith is one of the contributors. Read her piece on growing up in a Kentucky bootlegging town here.