So this weekend was the Daisy Flour savory pie competition at The Brooklyn Kitchen around the corner from my house. When I first signed up, I wasn’t sure what I would make. I make a ridiculous Frito pie, thanks to being fairly white trash, and thought about that…but then 2 things happened. One, I got a crap ton of pears in my CSA that never seemed to ripen that I have decided are only good for cooking, not eating raw, and Two, I got in the mood for a sandwich I used to live on…Toasted honey wheat bread with ham, turkey, pear slices, and brie cheese. What I ended up with, I decided to call…
I have to admit, I have never worked much with pastry flour. This whole baking and cooking from scratch thing is relatively new to me, but I’ve made it damn near my second job trying to learn. Daisy supplied all of the contestants with whole wheat pastry flour. I was very intrigued. It had the most marvelous texture. Large, long grains yet with the finest, loveliest texture.
For my first test pie, I mixed it with some plain white flour and went with my standard pie rust recipe with less water and butter. This made a crumbly, unhappy crust. I went with it anyways, and it was goddamn delicious. So good in fact, that I ate too much of it, and went back around to deciding I didn’t like it.
So then the next week I made another pie. An acorn squash and prosciutto pie. I decided to do a top crust only, but it was still so rich that you eat about 5 bites of it before deciding that you were a bad person.
So, the week of the contest, I went back to my first plan, but with another pie dough recipe. One with more butter. Clearly, the better plan.
Makes – 1 double crust pie, or in my case, I used a shallow pie dish, so a double crust pie and 2 yummy pie dough cookies. ; )
Nutrition – Its a pie. Don’t get crazy. You’re using whole foods, but it ain’t a pie without the fat, so go to the gym afterwards and congratulate yourself on getting the best of both worlds.
1 1/2 cups Daisy whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 sprinkle sugar
2 sticks salted butter, super cold and cubed
1 bowl of ice water
2 unripened Bosc pears*, peeled, cored and diced into 1/4″ cubes (do this right before cooking so they don’t get brown)
1 1/2 cups cubed honey baked ham, same size as pear pieces
1/2 a big ass onion*, diced
1 cup freshly shredded gruyere
3 pats of salted butter
1 tsp sage
1 splash Riesling wine, and a glass for the chef
Egg wash for the top –
2 TB milk
What to do –
Make your dough at least an hour in advance. Usually I do this by hand, but I woke up late and was in a hurry, so I got out the food processor. It was an excellent plan. So much faster and easier that I made 2 batches and froze one for another day. Toss in your flour, salt and sprinkle of sugar. Mix with your teaspoon gently and then throw in the cold, cubed butter. Pulse for 8 seconds, it should be grainy and coarse to the touch. Then fill a 1/2 cup with your ice water and slowly feed in, stopping when dough becomes a ball and your food processor makes a weird noise that says STOP. Separate in to 2 balls, wrap them in cellophane and put in the fridge.
About an hour before you want your pie in the oven, start your filling. Prep everything, and melt 2 pats of butter in a wide pan or skillet and add your onions. Let cook for about 20 minutes and then add another pat of butter and your ham and stir. Add your sage and cook for about 10 more minutes.
Shred your cheese, and prep your pears. Toss them in your white wine and throw in the pan. Preheat your oven to 425 and get your dough out of the fridge. Empty your filling in to a bowl to let cool a bit while you roll out your bottom crust. I like to toss my bottom crust into the oven for a few minutes to ensure it gets a nice surface for the filling and so it will cut perfectly. poke it, weight it, do whatever you like to do to keep it flat. While that is in the oven, mix your gruyere in to your filling. I happened to also be making brunch while I was doing this, and failed to take a picture of the completed filling. You have my deepest apologies, as well as a rendering of what it might have looked like had I remembered.
Take the bottom crust out of the oven and add your filling. Now roll out your top crust. I decided to go with a lattice top. Its classic, allows the pie to get air, and you will need the evenly distributed holes in a few minutes. Plus, one of the benefits of being a clothing designer by trade makes me very good at this sort of thing. I treat almost all doughs and pastas as I would fabric or yarn. Next pie, when I have more time, I think I am going to try a knitted top. : )
Since the point of the contest was to showcase the Daisy flour, I made a fatty roll of dough and encircled my pan for the crust, which was a good option anyways since I didnt use my deep dish pie pan with the lacey rim. I wanted to do a braid, but again, I was running out of time.
Now, this next step, in my opinion, is the most important part. The egg wash. And in the case of this particular pie, it is absolutely imperative. You want to shake your egg and milk in a salad dressing shaker or whatever you like to use, and brush over your crust. Sometimes I like to sprinkle coarse, colored salt or sugar in top of that, but for the contest, i wanted a very simple, perfect crust, so I did not. Plus with a savory pie incorporating a sweet fruit, you really have to balance your salty and sweet flavors very carefully.
After you have brushed your crust, you will have a good amount of egg wash leftover. Slowly pour it in to the holes of your pie so it can fill in the gaps and help bind everything together, and give you that slight Super Quiche-y feeling and flavor that we all love so much.
Bake for 35 minutes at 425, rotating if you have a shitty oven that cooks unevenly like I, and most other NYers do. Then unfortunately you have to wait a torturous 15 or so minutes before you can cut the thing, which was perfect in this case, because I literally took it out of the oven and ran down the street to the Brooklyn Kitchen for the contest, where things were crazy and I couldn’t get great pics. Fortunately I have a good one from pie attempt #1.
I did get a nice shot of my pie after the judges took out their piece. I was #17.
I was so happy with how it turned out, and so were the judges, because I WON!!!!! I never win anything, I was beside myself excited, and even more so when the nice people from Pies N Thighs decided to add to my prizes a spot on their menu! (More on that later) I also won a stone pie dish, an adorable pie bird, and a tub of lard from The Meat Hook. Definitely the first time I have been in possession of a tub of lard, not quite sure what I am going to do with that. Haha.
My friend Emily from Nomnivorous won 3rd place with a phenomenal Croque Madame pie that had perfectly runny eggs on top and the most fabulous use of mustard ever. Second place went to a girl i know from my fun times with Foodie Book Club who made a super awesome Samosa pie.
The prize for most entertaining pie was definitely right on. It was the only other one I managed to get a picture of, although I only ate one bite cause I am not a maple syrup fan, esp in a savory environment, but how fucking cool is this thing!?! I mean, Chicken and Waffle PIE?!
So yeah, I am little-kid excited about the whole thing, and I had so much fun. If anyone else from the competition wants to send me their recipes, I would love to include them here as well. Until next time, Happy Eating!
Also, I just want to say it one more time because I am immature. I WOOOOONNNN!!!!!!!
. . . Update . . .
So my Pie finally went on to the brunch menu at Pies and Thighs! It was only for brunch on Dec 17th and 18th and the only way to know that was to check a tiny chalkboard, but the chef Laura was super sweet which kind of made up for the fact that they wouldn’t even let me have a little section to have brunch with my 10 friends, and charged me $8 for a slice of it. Sigh. Still felt nice to have my first menu item! : )