Well, the puptart and I had been having a bit of a scuffle revolving pie crust. Actually… more about the idea of the fact that something may be super easy for one, isn’t quite so easy for another. It is hard to set a standard of difficulty when we all work in different ways. And, in my world, pie crust is something very easy to make. I learned out of necessity you see. There was one dreadful Thanksgiving where we had to buy a pumpkin pie because we couldn’t find the ready made pie crust to make one. It was a very dark year in our history on this island when it came to finding simple things to make the delicious food we so love. The following year, I was resigned. I would make the silly pie crust come hell or high water. And it came out beautifully on my first try. We haven’t had to buy pre-made pie crust since.
Since Friday I’d been having a hankering for pot pie. I already knew I’d be making lasagna rolls for Saturday and Friday I used the leftover salad from the day before to make some chicken salad. It was quick and easy and after my exhaustive afternoon making cupcakes, it really hit the spot. So this gave me some time to think over the crust and everything I wanted to put in it. I don’t know why the thought came into my head that it would be a good idea to deviate from my tried and true pie crust recipe. But since lately I was working with shortening, I decided to give the pie crust a try with it.
Let me tell you that that did not go so well. It was tough, crumbled and just wouldn’t cooperate. I knew it wasn’t going to be right even as it came together and I put it in the fridge yesterday. I’ve been making pie crust for many, many years now and I’ve developed a touch for it. And let me tell you, that was not it! Against my better judgement I tried to roll it out…. and ended up tossing it in the trash. Immediately I filled a bowl with the right amount of flour and got to cutting in the dough. Had I suddenly jinxed myself by telling the tart that it was wasy?!
Pie Crust Makes for 3 9inch pie shells
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 sticks butter, chilled
1/2 cup water, very chilled
Slice sticks of butter into fourths lengthwise, then cut them out into cubes. Manually crumble the butter into the flour by covering the butter with flour and carefully pressing with fingertips until all the flour and butter are incorporated to look like coarse cornmeal.
Slowly add water one tablespoon at a time, rolling the dough in the bowl until it comes together.
Sprinkle flour lightly onto surface and knead the crust gently while sprinkling water across the surface. The dough crust should be slightly moist, together and not sticky.
Divide into thirds, flatten into rounds and store in plastic wrap in the refrigerator until ready to use.
As always, I seem to be MacGuyvering something in order to make things work in my apartment near campus. In this case, I used a new mop handle stick as my rolling pin. It worked wonders! I wish I had more work surface to roll out on. My crust came out thicker than it normally would have because of it. But, no real complaints otherwise.
Into my beautiful pie shell, I put my yummy ingredients.
I did this by sauteeing: one small yellow onion, chopped; 2 carrots, coarsely chopped; 2 stalks of celery, sliced lengthwise and coarsely chopped; 2 medium potatoes, chopped and parboiled. Then I added a quarter cup of flour and cooked it in the pan while mixing continuously for a few minutes. Next came the addition of some chicken tenderloin, also parboiled. Finally I added about a cup and a half of chicken broth. I let this simmer until it thickened. When this was down to almost room temperature, I filled up the pie plate. I rolled out the crust topping and carefully pressed the sides together, ensuring to cut a hole in the center and a few slices to let out steam.
Before baking I brushed the top crust with an egg wash. I then baked it at 250C for about an hour. It will probably take a lot less if your oven is better than mine. You can tell if it’s done by the rich golden color of the crust and the slightly bubbling liquid seen in the middle indentation.
Final Review: I wish I had had corn, green beans and mushrooms to put into the pot pie. But, I worked with what I had. It really tasted amazing. Really delicious, filling and comforting. The pie feeds about 3-4 people. I served it with some tossed greens and a balsamic vinagrette dressing. Again, my housemate had never had a pot pie. He really loved it and was surprised at how tender the veggies were. Like most puerto ricans (at least the ones I have met), he really doesn’t eat many vegetables. In fact, while we were eating he remarked how he wasn’t fond of onions. I noticed he was picking something out and I asked what was wrong. He said he was picking out the onions. I giggled and responded with “But you’re eating the onions! What you’re picking out is the celery!” After an exchange of REALLY?! and a “I know more about vegetables than you do.” he proceeded to eat the whole serving without complaint. Carlitos even came over for some and a helping of Island Passion cupcakes for dessert. I finally ate one myself and was surprised by how amazingly moist and delicious they were even after 2 days. They were again pronounced perfection. No tasting of fruit loops this time! He even ate the cranberries without complaint. So… all is well in the bombshell world.