Saturday, June 18, 2011

A Tale of Two Pies

This is a tale of two pies. Two pies that differ in nearly every way except in how pleasing they are to the palate. One is 'Sweet and Simple', literally. The other, savory and not so simple, yet both are rich, delicious, and satisfying in their own right.  In fact, they compliment each other nicely and could be eaten together if you're willing to toss in a sizeable portion of excercise to go with them!

The idea to 'blog' about pies came when I recieved a facebook message about an internet wide Pie Day coming up July 5th from my always in the know friend and blogger extraordinaire  Marnely Rodriguez.  It seems there was a day when lots of people on-line were in a mysterious 'Pie Alignment' and so talk began of each person making a pie, any pie, and posting it on facebook or twitter July 5th.  What struck me most about it was the comment; "...and how sad it makes us that people are too afraid of pie crust to make pie".  How sad indeed, so I decided to dive in early with the hopes of offering both inspiration and encouragement. Inspiration to those who are comfortable in the kitchen, and with pies. Encouragment to those who hear 'Pie Dough' and get so tense they could crack a walnut with their butt cheeks.

To encourage my piephobic friends, I'm going to offer a sweet, simple pie that can be in the oven in under five minutes but taste's wonderful. For the pie afficianados I offer a more challenging, savory 'pie', that uses a double crust made from scratch.

I always love a friendly smile, kind greeting, or uplifting word, so let's start with encouragement. This pie uses a store bought crust and easily prepared filling, yet produces crowd pleasing results.

Key Lime Pie
This is one of my favorites. So cool, rich, creamy and delicious, yet sooo easy to make. If you can't find authentic Key Lime Juice, just use the limes at your local market. The pie will still be wonderful!  In fact, the company in the Key's that boasts of making the world's best Key Lime Pie, adds pineapple in their filling! I've had it and, trust me, it ain't the best in the world!. But I digress. On with the show...

1- 9 inch graham cracker pie shell
1- 14oz can Eagle Brand condensed milk
5- egg yolks
4 oz fresh lime juice
zest of one lime

In a bowl, combine condensed milk, lime juice, egg yolks, and zest. Mix thoroghly and pour into pie shell. Bake at 350 deg F for 12 minutes. Remove from oven and cool. SIMPLE.  Best if refrigerated overnight before serving.

Top with fresh whipped cream & toasted coconut or make meringue with left over egg whites. In fact, they're so easy, why not make several and give one away and put one in the freezer for a quick and delicious dessert when you're short on time!

And there you have it. Sweet and Simple. Easy enough for a child to make, yet fit for a King! Encouraged? I sure hope so! =)

For my Inspirational Pie, I decided to go outside the box slightly and get your minds off  round, fruit filled pastries.  In the South, there are as many pie dough recipes as there are barbeque sauces or brands of chewin tobacco, so I chose one that works for me, the family loves, and makes enough for a double crust on a large 'pie'.  Feeling inspired yet?

Chicken Pot Pie
Hey, The message said; "...make a pie, any pie..", So I did. And I feel sure that once you've tried this, you'll be glad you did too.  My family loves homemade chicken pot pie and when I pulled this out of the oven, they threatened me with physical violence if I took more than 5 minutes to photograph it.

Pie Dough Ingredients:
3 cups all purpose flour
8 oz (16 TBSP) chilled butter cut into 1/4 inch cubes
8 TBSP chilled vegetable oil
1 tsp salt
6 TBSP ice cold water

Sift or mix together thoroughly the flour and salt in your mixing bowl. (You can do this quicker in a food processor but you have to be real careful not to overmix and I'm just a mixer kinda guy)

Add the butter cubes one or two at a time making sure they get coated with flour. Then add the oil.

A special thanks to Smokin Hot Wife for modeling that cute butter cube!

Now add the cold water 1 tablespoon at a time until the dough just starts coming together. Use slightly more or less water if needed.  Don't overmix. After it just comes together, take it out of bowl, knead once or twice by hand to form a ball, then flatten into a rectangle, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Chicken Pot Pie Filling
This is the real McCoy so put aside any hopes of canned cream of chicken soup or mushrooms in a jar. Around here it's Cooke'd With Luv so it's cooked from scratch!  I did vary slightly from the traditional pot pie filling in that I substituted chopped asparagus for english peas.  It was the first time and I did it on a whim, but it was quite good. Asparagus is in season, fresh, and delicious. Peas are....well....NASTY....but anyway, let's get to it...

1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken cut into bite size pieces
1 1/2 TBSP vegetable oil
1/2 cup chopped onions (1 small)
1/2 cup chopped mushrooms (your fave)
1/2 cup chopped carrot (2-3 Med or handful of baby)
1/2 cup chopped asparagus
4 TBSP Butter
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
2 TBSP Sherry
1 tsp chopped basil
1 tsp chopped parsley
1/2 tsp chopped thyme
salt to taste just before adding to dish

In a large skillet, sautee the chicken in the oil until just done. Remove from skillet and set aside. Then repeat with the carrots, mushrooms, and onions. Don't sautee the asparagus or it will be overcooked and mushy.

In a large pot, melt the butter over med high heat, then whisk in flour to form a paste. Add the milk and whisk until this thickens. Next add the broth and stir in followed by the Veggies, chicken, and herbs. Allow to simmer a few minutes, then adjust salt and seasonings to taste.

Once the filling is complete, set it to the side (or let it simmer a bit if it seems too thin) while you begin preparing the bottom crust.

This recipe is for a 9 x 9 baking dish. If you wanted to make a round 8 or 9 inch pie for say two people, just half the recipe and use the pie pan of your choice.

Take 2/3 of the pie dough, knead it a couple of times to soften it up, then roll out on a floured surface into a large sqaure 12 x 12.  Fold it in half carefully and then gently pick it up and place over half of the dish and unfold over remaining half. Gently press the dough down into the sides and corner, then trim exces dough from the rim of dish. Add the scraps to your remaining dough, knead together and roll out another 10 x 10 in square to cover the top. Pour your filling into the dish (careful not to splash it on yourself, it's hot!)  

Cover with top crust, crimp the edges, and cut vent holes to allow steam to escape. And, since it's Cooke'd With Luv, we add a little special touch made from the scraps =).  Next, brush with a little egg wash (an egg beaten with a little water) and bake at 350 deg F for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool 5-10 minutes before serving (if your family will let you), then enjoy!

Oh yeah! That IS a wine bottle being used as rolling pin! Why? To show everyone that a little imagination can make up for lack of tools or fancy gadgets and because I felt my 18" commercial rolling pin would be a little out of place in those photos. ;)

I hope you've enjoyed my 'Tale of Two Pies', my family sure did. Until next time, whatever you cook, make sure it's 'Cooke'd With Luv'


  1. 2 great pies = 1 great post! Pies are a lot of work, but worth it. Both of yours look amazing! And you can eat one for supper and then have the other for dessert!

  2. You're too kind with that shout out, but thanks dear! Seriously love both pies and want to make the key lime pie!! The pot pie, I love and thanks for hating peas, I hate them as well. Wine bottle? I have a similar picture as well! It's called resourceful!

  3. I love making chicken pot pie from scratch!! Nothing beats it! Think you just helped folks over the pie crust hurdle with your easy to follow instructions.

  4. Trust me when I say Alan's cooking is the best!I had my doubts early on, but now I am a believer. His very first foray in the kitchen was making the BEST scratch apple pie ever! I should know......I'm his Mother. Keep on cooking, son. I love you!

  5. Key Lime Pie is definitely sweet and simple. I couldn't have said it better myself. Heh heh. One of my favorite desserts of all time!

  6. Since I'm pastry-phobic, can you make the pie dough and I'll do the rest??? Both of these pies look delicious...savory and sweet. One for dinner, one for dessert. I'd take a slice of that cool key lime right's a hot night here in California!

  7. Oh, and welcome to the world of blogging!

  8. baaaah!! I love chicken pot pie!! and this one looks to die for! soooo making it this week!

  9. Oh gosh. I am absolutely one of those pie-phobics! I have a long way to go. Haha. Thank you so much for this! May I be slightly more daring and combine the pie crust recipe from Pie #2, with the key lime filling of Pie #1? What do you think?

  10. Woo-hoo, a pot pie without peas (which I do NOT like)! And I'll admit here, publicly, that I am pie-dough-aphobic. Great post, thanks!

  11. That key lime pie was the best I have ever had. So, next time you come to visit us, you need to make the chicken pot pie. How come you never made all this when we were growing up??? I do remember you making apple pies though! :)

  12. Both pies look fab! So happy that you used asparagus instead of peas, I can't stand them! My favorite part was the heart on top :)

  13. I heard about pie day. Love that there is going to be a whole day devoted to making pie. If I had to choose I would go for the key lime pie.

  14. You had me at the wine bottle rolling pin. I think you may be my long-lost brother.

  15. My sister used PAM cooking spray as a rolling pin one time, but I gotta say the wine bottle is way better! Great job on the pies! I'm ready to have a slice through the computer screen. YUMMY!


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