Pie Therapy

Recipes and ruminations on pie.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Egg Pie - a.k.a Quiche Lorraine

With all the previous posts focussing on sweet, it is time to take a jaunt down savory lane. I received this fab new pie plate from my friends for Christmas. The brand name is Emile Henry. It is a beautiful ceramic green and even came with a matching towel. Very chic - but its French; I wondered, could it work?

So, I took it on trial run with it a quiche. I had made bacon for breakfast; the yummiest ever. It was from the farmers market. Thick and smoky. So, with seven slices left and some Emmenthaler in the fridge (and not much else) quiche ended up on the menu.

First I looked up recipes. Mark Bittman had one, in How to Cook Everything. But I have YET choose a recipe from him that works. You may know how to cook everything, Mark, but none of it tastes good. My trusty 1970's James Beard's American Cookery had nothing. No surprise, it is quiche afterall; a french dish that didn't hit its zenith until the late eighties. I also looked it up in the Farm Journals pie book. Amazing resource, also an Xmas present, but no quiches. It is from the sixties. More on that book later.

So I called mom. Here is the recipe I used. Her recipe called for four eggs. Bitman's called for six. So I split the difference at five.

1 T flour
1/2 a red onion (this is all I had - the recipe called for 2 medium onions)
1 1/2 c grated Emmenthaler (I also added a smidge of Comte)
5 eggs
1 c milk
1 c cream (recipe called for 2 cups half-and-half)
7 pieces cooked bacon
1 t salt

Cook the onion in bacon fat. Yum. Crumble up the bacon and mix it with the onion. Put it on top of the pie shell. Mix the flour with the cheese. Sprinkle it over the bacon and onion.

Lightly beat the eggs. Mix in the milk and cream. add the salt. Pour it over the the cheese and bacon. Bake for an hour at 350. You want the knife inserted to come out relatively clean. And just a little jiggle in the middle.

The new pie plate was AWESOME. First of all the built in flutes make it much easier to just plop in the crust. And, it cooked the crust perfectly. Bacon, cheesy, oniony EGG PIE loveliness.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Lemon Meringue and Pecan Pie Shower

I was hosting a baby shower. Luckily my cohost was making all the food except for the deserts. I, of course decided on pie.

Showers are weird. Everybody gets together to give gifts to the honoree. It seems really overt. I actually prefer the all girl event. It at least seems beyond just gifts, more about sharing experiences, talking about girly stuff. This was particular shower was a coed event. No games, no advice. But great food.

The cohost, as well as the two showerees are chefs. Murphys law with a bunch of chefs to please, the pies weren't my best by a long shot.

I tried Lemon Meringue and Pecan - with maple this time.

Lemon Meringue Pie
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 3 T cornstarch
  • 2 t lemon rind
  • 1/3 c lemon juice
  • 3 T flour
  • dash salt
  • 1 1/2c water
  • 2 T butter

  • 5 egg whites
  • 10 t sugar
  • 1/2 t cream of tartar

In a medium sauce pan combine sugar, cornstarch, flour and salt. Gradually stir in water and cook over medium heat until thinkch and bubbly. Reduce heat and cook and stir two minutes more.

Seperate eggs and whites. Beat eggs slightly and stir 1 c hot mix in. Put all back into the saucepan. Bring the whole lot to a boil. Cook and stir two miuntes more. Stir in butter and lemon peel Gradually stir in lemon juice. Pour into a baked pie crust.

Mix the sugar and cream of tartar. Beat the egg whites. Gradually add the sugar mix. Beat until stiff. Spread in a peak like fashion over the lemon mixture. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes until brown.

This is my mom's recipe. She makes a great lemon pie. Mine wasn't so hot. It looked beautiful. But unfortunately the pie crust could've been more cooked. And the filling was a bit runny. It tasted good, but it wasn't great. I had added more lemon than she had said, but it still could have been more lemony.

My mom also gave me a great tip. She said to avoid uhaving to use pie weights when baking an empty crust, poke it ALL over with a fork. Make sure you have ample overhang. If the pie starts puffing while baking pop it down.

The chefs were kind, they said the pies were good. I think it was performance anxiety. They were okay, but not great.

To make the pecan, I substituted maple syrup for the karo and used white sugar. Unfortunately the crust didn't come out well. It was tough. The maple syrup was more subtle than I had thought. Then two days later I read a maple syrup pecan pie in Gourmet - ARRRGHH! It was with lemon. Next time.

Monday, January 02, 2006

NOLA New Year's with Chocolate Bourbon and Traditional Pecan Pie

We spent Christmas in New Orleans. The trip was an emotional rollercoaster. Fun in the french quarter, devastation in the ninth ward, lovely celebrations with friends and family, and a mud-colored water line marking the whole city.

Inspired by the trip, we decided to hold a New Orleans themed New Year's party. Good friends joined in the celebration and brought 'nawlins yummies.

I decided to try southern pies, which of course means pecan. In my family (which has plenty of southerners) we say pacawn. My husband's family says peeecan. Either way I tried two (both slightly modified) - Jack Daniel's Bourbon Pecan Pie, with a recipe from Cooks.com and a traditional version from my James Beard cookbook.

Jack Daniels Bourbon Pecan Pie
  • 2 eggs slightly beaten
  • 1/8 c molasses
  • 1/8 c light karo syrup
  • 4 t corn startch
  • 3/4 c sugar
  • 8 t butter
  • 1/4 c Jack Daniels bourbon
  • 6 oz. hershey semi-sweet chocolate
  • 1.5 c pecan halves
Melt the chocolate and butter. Add the bourbon and cool. Beat eggs. Add the karo and molasses. Mix corn starch and sugar and add to mixture. Combine the chocolate with the sugars mixture. Beat together in mixer on slow speed. Stir in pecans. Pour into a nine inch pie plate. (I added the molasses). Bake at 350 for 1 hour until firm in the center.

Pecan Pie
  • 1.5 c pecans
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 c sugar cane syrup
  • 3/4 c brown sugar
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 4 T butter
Sprinkle the nuts over the nine inch pie crust. Beat the eggs. Add the sugar, syrup, vanilla and salt. Pour over th pecans. Pour over nuts. Bake at 450 for 10 minutes. Reduce temp to 350 bake for 25 minutes until firm in the center.

You might be asking what are those weird things in the middle of the pie. One was meant to be a champagne bottle. The other is '06. They didn't really convey.

The pies however were tasty. I thought for sure the bourbon pie would be the true winner. It was like a pecan brownie with a hint of bourbon. But no, the traditional pecan was the best ever, as hubby said. It was velvetty, not too sweet, exactly what you imagine pecan pie to be. The brown sugar, butter and especially the cane sugar syrup really made a difference. I served the pies with whipped cream of course. YUM.