Tag Archives: A Year of Pies

Whiskey Buttermilk Pie

Whiskey Buttermilk Pie 4849

I have one, major, not-so-fond memory of buttermilk as a child. I was vaguely (very vaguely) aware that it was used in baking things like biscuits and pancakes, but I never put much thought into exactly what buttermilk was. Until one fateful day, I was at my grandparents’ house. I opened the fridge looking for something, I don’t remember what, and there sat a carton of buttermilk. And so I pondered it… buttermilk… Buttermilk. Why hadn’t I had this before? It sounded just delicious. And since my parents had never stocked it nor offered it to us, I automatically assumed it must be fatty and rich and delicious, because why else would those health nuts deny me this beautifully-named dairy beverage?

whiskey buttermilk pie 4854

I helped myself to quite the tall glass. So excited was I, I took a pretty decent-sized gulp. And this is where the story gets extremely predictable, even more so than during the first paragraph. Oh the horror. The sourness, the bitterness, it was so unbelievably terrible! It wasn’t just thick, it was gloppy. And so sour and bitter!! Needless to say, I did not finish my glass, so my sincere apologies to Nina and Pawpaw for wasting that buttermilk.

Whiskey buttermilk pie 4827

This little incident seared into my memory, so you can understand that I was always reluctant to try buttermilk pie. I mean, why would you ruin pie? Or so my thinking always went… Turns out, no – buttermilk does not ruin a pie. Au contrare, it actually makes it quite delicious. And the whiskey didn’t hurt anything. Of course. I’m now happily in love with buttermilk pie, though if I ever again express desire to drink buttermilk straight out, please just dial 9-1-1. Something is terribly wrong… Enjoy!

Whiskey Buttermilk pie 4862

whiskey buttermilk pie 4878

{One Year Ago: Apple Streusel Bread}
{Two Years Ago: Huevos Rancheros, Apple Escarole Salad, Veal Ricotta Meatballs}

Source: slightly adapted from A Year of Pies by Ashley English

½ recipe of this amazing pie dough
3 large eggs
1/3 cup plus ½ cup granulated sugar
2 tbs all-purpose flour
6 tbs unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 cup buttermilk, well-shaken
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1-2 tbs whiskey
½ tsp freshly ground nutmeg
Pinch of salt

Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface and fit it into a regular 9” pie plate. Trim and fold the crust overhang as needed and decoratively crimp the pie edges. Or, flatten the pie on the edges of the pie plate and make pretty indentations with the tines of a fork. Refrigerate the pie shell while you make the filling.
Preheat your oven to 375 F.
In a large bowl, whisk the eggs with the sugar and flour, making sure there are no lumps. Add the melted butter, buttermilk, vanilla, whiskey, nutmeg and salt. Whisk to combine.
Pour the filling into the prepared pie shell and place in the preheated oven. It’s best to set the pie plate on a rimmed baking sheet, just in case of spill-over, and it makes it easier to remove later.
Turn the oven down to 325 F and bake for 45-60 minutes, or until the edges are set and the center is still a tiny bit wobbly, but not liquidy.
Remove the pie from the oven and let it cool for at least 30 minutes before serving warm or at room temperature.
Store leftover pie in the fridge.

Carrot Pie

Carrot Pie

When I was in college, I worked at Victoria’s Secret part time and over winter breaks and summers for a couple of years. Part of my job description of course included helping the customers find what they were looking for, and many a time, those customers were men shopping for their wives or girlfriends. Almost all of them had quite the awkward vibe going, as if they’d never done this before and felt really clueless. (And I would have to suppose many of them were, judging by the number of returns I did).

carrots for carrot pie


But anyway, these men were rather shy customers most of the time, so you had to take the lead and ask questions to ascertain what they were looking for, but in asking questions you had to be a bit delicate to make sure you steered clear of stepping in a big pile of TMI. So usually we would start by asking about the lady’s shape and dress size. And I cannot tell you how often we women employees would hear in response, “Well, she looks like you! Only different.”

Yeah, not helpful. Not helpful at all, in fact.

Carrot pie

Which brings me to this pie. Although a bit more elegantly worded than my former Vickie’s Secret male customers, the cookbook’s blurb about this pie can be summed up as, “It’s like pumpkin pie; only different.” And while that sort of is an accurate description, it’s somewhat maddening, so I’m going to try and describe this pie without referencing the more familiar pumpkin pie.

Carrot Pie

First of all, yes, carrot pie is a thing. And why not? If you can have carrot cake, then you can have carrot pie. This is very reminiscent of Indian flavors, so it’s very warm without overpowering the carrot flavor. It’s custardy but quite light; its texture was less smooth than most custard based pies, yet not all the way to grainy, so still quite pleasant. I think carrot pie would make a perfect dessert for the end of an Indian food themed dinner party. Enjoy!

carrot pie

Source: A Year of Pies by Ashley English

Basic pie dough to fit a 9-inch pie plate (I used a half batch of this recipe)
1 lb. carrots, peeled and ends removed
½ cup packed brown sugar
1 cup whole milk
1 tsp ground cardamom
½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground black pepper
½ tsp kosher salt
3 large eggs, separated

Preheat your oven to 400 F. Grease a 9-inch pie plate.
Roll out the pie dough on a floured surface and fit it into the prepared pie plate. Price the bottom and sides of the crust with tines of a fork, then place the crust in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes.
Line the crust with parchment paper and fill it with dried beans or pie weights. Bake 10 to 12 minutes, then remove the crust from the oven. Leave the oven on and reduce the temperature to 375 F.
Remove the beans/weights from the crust and let it cool completely.
Meanwhile, make the filling. Cut the prepped carrots into ¼-inch rounds. Fill a small saucepan with a couple inches of water and let it come to a soft boil. Add the carrots and let them boil until softened. Drain them thoroughly and transfer the carrots to the bowl of your food processor. Puree until very smooth. Now add the sugar, milk, spices, and salt to the carrot puree. Process again until smooth and uniform. Pour the mixture into a medium sized bowl.
Whisk the egg yolks in a small bowl until blended. Using either a whisk or electric mixer, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form in a separate bowl.
Whisk the beaten egg yolks into the carrot puree until thoroughly blended, then whisk in the beaten whites. No need to be careful about not deflating them, so you don’t have to be gentle when incorporating them into the carrot puree.
Pour the puree into the cooled pie shell. Set the pie on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until the filling is set.
Cool at least 30 minutes before serving. Hint: it’s really tasty served chilled. And once it’s chilled, you can totally pick up a slice with your hands and eat it while walking around. I heard that from a friend…

Broccoli Cheddar Quiche

Broccoli Cheddar Quiche

Today will conclude the first Week Of… blog series, where I walked you through my efforts to like broccoli better. Last but certainly not least, we have the classic broccoli-cheddar combo, this time in quiche form. And yes, real men will eat it. Because it’s good. Real good.

making broccoli cheddar quiche

My plan for my Fridays when doing the Week Of… series is to accompany the recipe with a Recipe Round-Up of sorts. I’ll recap the week, plus post some other links, from my blog and others’, of recipes germane to the week’s theme.

Broccoli Cheddar Quiche

So without further ado, here is the week’s recap!

First, we pureed the broccoli in this delicious Broccoli Basil Soup, so that Julie cannot complain about the texture.

broccoli basil soup






Secondly, we (quickly!) deep-fried the broccoli florets to make this unbelievably amazing appetizer, Bang Bang Broccoli. Undoubtedly the least healthy broccoli on the menu this week, but it’s so delicious that you kind of forget about that.

bang bang broccoli






And yesterday we gave props to oft-forgotten broccoli stalks with Roasted Broccoli Stem Dip with Parmesan-Black Pepper Pita Chips. A light, healthy, lemony dip to satisfy dip cravings without expanding your waistline.

roasted broccoli stem dip with parmesan black pepper pita chips






And here are some more broccoli recipes for your perusal and enjoyment!

broccoli cheddar quiche

Broccoli Cheese Soup from The Texan New Yorker
Roasted Bagna Cauda Broccoli from Food 52
Broccoli Parmesan Fritters from Smitten Kitchen
Southwest Broccoli Queso Chowder from SoupAddict
Broccoli, Bacon, Mushroom and Red Onion Pizza from Farm Fresh Feasts
Cheesy Broccoli Orzo from See Aimee Cook
Roasted Broccoli with Lemon, Chili-Garlic Oil, and Parmesan from Simply Scratch

Broccoli cheddar quiche

Stay tuned for next week’s theme: WINTER STEW!!

{One year ago: Adobo Salmon Salad Tartines}

Source: adapted from A Year of Pies by Ashley English

1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
½ tsp kosher salt
1 stick (8 tbs) unsalted butter, very cold
6 tbs ice water

4 thick-cut slices bacon, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 medium head of broccoli, florets only, chopped into bite-size pieces
2 garlic cloves, minced
¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
7 large eggs
1 cup half-and-half
Kosher salt and black pepper
8 oz. sharp yellow cheddar cheese, shredded

First, make the crust. Add the flour and salt to a large bowl. Working quickly, cut the butter into small pats and add to the flour. Using a pastry cutter or two butter knives, work the butter into the flour until it resembles the size of small peas. Add the water and mix to combine with a rubber spatula until it has mostly come together. Knead lightly with your hands to get those last few scraggly crumbs. Shape the dough into a disc and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour.
Grease a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate.
Unwrap the chilled pie dough disc and place it on a lightly floured work surface. With a floured rolling pin, roll the dough out into a circle to fit your pie plate. Roll the dough over the rolling pin and transfer it to the prepared plate. Press the dough into the plate, then trim any overhang and crimp the edges decoratively. Stick the pie plate in the fridge while you prep the filling.
While the pie shell is chilling in the fridge, make the quiche filling. Preheat your oven to 350 F. Preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and sauté until the fat has rendered and the bacon is nice and crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel lined plate.
Pour out all but 1 tbs bacon fat. Return the skillet to medium heat. Add the onion and broccoli floret pieces; sauté until softened and the onions are translucent, about 3-5 minutes. Add the garlic and crushed pepper flakes and cook 1 minute more. Shut off the heat and set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and half-and-half. Add salt and pepper to taste.
To assemble the quiche: spoon the broccoli mixture over the bottom of the pie crust. Add half the cheese and spread in an even layer. Now pour the egg mixture carefully over the filling. Add the rest of the cheese on the top.
Place the pie plate on a baking sheet. Carefully slide into the oven and bake for 45-50 minutes, until the top is lightly browned and a knife inserted into the center of the pie comes out clean with no runny egg clinging to it.
Let rest about 10-15 minutes, then slice into wedges and serve hot.

Fried Green Tomato and Pimento Cheese Tart

fried green tomato and pimento cheese tart

I have no words for how much fun this dinner was. And I wanted to share it before green tomatoes are no more for the season. I can always find some somewhere up here in early fall.

assembling tart

So let’s dissect this tart. First of all, there’s impossibly flaky pie crust, blind baked and cooled. Then we have a layer of thick pimento cheese, creamy, sharp and slightly spicy. And top of that, we have perfect, double dipped, fried green tomatoes. You cut a bite with your fork and you get all three layers together in one bite. It’s so awesome. It’s basically taking two favorite classics from the Deep South and combining them into a savory pie. How could it not be delicious?!

Fried Green Tomato and Pimento Cheese Tart

The only downside is that leftovers do not work. The tomatoes will go soggy on you. So you’ll just have to eat the whole thing! Ohhh darn! Enjoy!

Fried Green Tomato and Pimento Cheese Tart

fried green tomato and pimento cheese tart

Not too much in the way of recipe notes, just make sure your crust is completely cooled, or obviously, you’ll melt the cheese, which is not the point of pimento cheese. I prefer pimento cheese by roasting my own red bell pepper, but a 4 oz. jar of chopped pimentos will do just fine.

Fried Green Tomato and Pimento Cheese Tart

{One year ago: Chipotle Collard Greens}

Source: slightly adapted from A Year of Pies by Ashley English

½ recipe of this pie dough, chilled

2 large eggs
2 tbs whole milk
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup cornmeal
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp sweet paprika
1 tsp kosher salt
2 medium green tomatoes, cut into 4 slices each
¼ cup canola oil

8 oz. sharp cheddar cheese
1 roasted red pepper, diced
3 tbs mayonnaise
1 tsp sweet paprika

2 to 3 large basil leaves, thinly sliced, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 400 F. Grease an 11-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom.
Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface and fit it into the pan. Trim the overhang to 1 inch, if necessary, and then fold it inside the tart pan, pressing it against the fluted sides, to reinforce the sides of the tart. Prick the bottom of the crust 6 or 7 times with the tines of a fork. Place the crust in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.
Line the crust with parchment paper and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Place the tart on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from the oven, lift the parchment off and inspect the color of your pie shell. If you’d like it cooked a little more or just browned, stick it back in the oven uncovered for another 2 to 3 minutes. Remove and let cool completely.
Prepare the tomatoes. Beat the eggs with the milk in a pie plate or other shallow bowl. On a large plate, mix together the flour, cornmeal, garlic powder, paprika and salt. Dip each tomato slice into the egg mixture, then the flour mixture, then the egg mixture again, and then the flour mixture again. Place the dredged tomato slices on a platter as they are completed.
Meanwhile, heat the canola oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the tomato slices and fry for about 5 minutes per side until lightly browned.
Remove the skillet from the heat and transfer the tomato slices with a spider or tongs to a paper towel lined plate. I found the spider to work much better than the tongs. If you don’t have a spider, I would use a slotted flat spatula.
Make the pimento cheese. Coarsely grate the cheese, then place it in the food processor along with the mayo and paprika. Process until smooth. Add the diced red pepper and pulse a few more times to combine.
Assemble the tart. Spoon the pimento cheese into the cooled tart shell, smoothing it level with a spatula.
Pick out the largest fried green tomato slice and set it aside. With a very sharp knife, cut the other tomato slices in half. Place the halved tomato slices all along the edges of the tart, then place the whole tomato slice in the center, as pictured. Sprinkle with the basil for garnish. Serve immediately.

Summer Corn and Roasted Pepper Pie

summer corn and roasted pepper pie

Whew… What a day! Thanks to a rescue kitten entering our lives (and taking over our bathroom), today was quite a long day. But, I say better late than never on a blog post. Especially when I have a delicious, summery, vegetarian, savory pie to share with you; a scrumptious, perfect, seasonal pie that I say you cannot live without.

grilled corn and peppers

Like any perfect summer dish, this one starts with the grill. Then it includes buttery, impossibly flaky pie crust. Summer produce. A delicate quiche-y filling. And topped off with grated Cotija cheese, which bakes up to form a crispy top layer, sort of like a savory crème brulee. Amazing!

filling the summer corn and pepper pie

Go now, and make this one before fresh sweet corn disappears from the farm stand. You will be soooo happy that you did.

slicing the pie

Summer Corn and Roasted Pepper Pie

Quick recipe notes: you could use a store-bought pie crust, but it will not be as flaky and amazing as this homemade crust, which is the one I used. And I would highly recommend using this crust. Secondly, there is some heat and spice to this dish, not so much to be overpowering, but definitely enough to be noticeable. If you don’t groove on the heat, sub in 1 large green bell pepper for the poblano and the jalapeno, and sub in ancho chile powder for the chipotle.

Summer Corn and Roasted Pepper Pie

{One year ago: Cheeseburger Egg Rolls with Russian Dressing Dipper}

Source: ever so slightly adapted from A Year of Pies by Ashley English

1 (9-inch) unbaked pie crust, store-bought or homemade, chilled
Canola oil for grilling
6 ears of corn, shucked
1 red bell pepper
1 poblano pepper
1 jalapeno
5 large eggs
¼ cup sour cream
¼ cup half-and-half
2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp chipotle chile powder
4 oz. Cotija cheese, grated on the fine holes of a box grater

Preheat your grill to high. Preheat your oven to 375 F.
Roll out your pie dough on a lightly floured surface and fit it into a regular 9-inch pie plate. Trim the crust overhang and press on the outer edge of the crust with the tines of a fork, to make a pretty edge. Place the crust in the refrigerator while you prepare the filling.
Brush the grill with canola oil, then place the corn, bell pepper, poblano, and jalapeno on the hot grill. Grill the corn until just cooked and lightly charred, about 5-7 minutes, turning a few times. Grill the peppers until the outsides are mostly blackened.
Remove the vegetables from the grill. Place the bell pepper, poblano, and jalapeno in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let steam for about 15 minutes. Let the corn cool a bit, and when cool enough to handle, cut the kernels off with a sharp knife.
When the peppers have steamed, remove the blackened skin. Then stem, seed, and dice them.
In a medium bowl, add the eggs, sour cream, half-and-half, salt, and chipotle chile powder. Whisk thoroughly to combine.
Assemble the pie. Fill the chilled pie crust with the corn and peppers. Level the vegetables with a spatula. Pour the egg mixture over the veggies and then sprinkle the top evenly with the Cotija cheese.
Set the pie plate on a rimmed baking sheet to prevent any spillover messing up your oven floor (and smelling horrible!). Bake for 45 minutes, until the filling is golden brown on top and the eggs are cooked and not wobbly in the center. Cool about 15 or so minutes before serving.

Peaches and Cream Crumble Topped Pie

Peaches and Cream Crumble Topped Pie

Happy August 1st everyone. Do you know what today signifies? Oh yes – it’s the first day of National Peach Month! Everyone except my brother-in-law, god bless his peach-averse soul, is celebrating.

assembling peach pie

What better way to celebrate peaches than with pie? And not just peach pie, but peaches and cream pie. And if that isn’t enough, we’re going to go and add an insane crumble topping of pecans, butter, and brown sugar. Oh, and just for good measure, let’s make it a deep dish pie.

making peaches and cream pie

I made this pie during our vacation about a month ago, in our lovely beach cottage that was lacking a rolling pin. So I executed Plan B, which meant buying one of those ready-rolled deep-dish pies from the freezer section. And I’ve come to the conclusion that those pie shells are smaller than homemade deep-dishes, because I followed the recipe amounts and had leftover peaches, leftover cream filling, and leftover crumble topping. So I made it again at home, with my own pie plate and homemade crust, and this time it worked perfectly. So I can say with confidence that you shouldn’t use a store-bought deep-dish pie crust, unless you want less pie overall. And why would you want that? That would be just crazy!

Peaches and Cream Crumble Topped Pie

This pie is fruity, creamy, luscious, and rich. The cream part isn’t too sweet, and the crunch from the topping is perfection. It’s addicting as all get out, and one of my favorite things from this summer thus far. Heads up, though: I (and others) found it tasted a tad better served chilled than at room temperature. Enjoy peach season everyone!

peaches and cream crumble topped pie

{One year ago: Blueberry Scones with Lemon Glaze}

Source: slightly adapted from A Year of Pies by Ashley English


1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp kosher salt
1 stick (8 tbs) unsalted butter, chilled
¼ cup plus 2 tbs ice water

½ cup pecans, toasted and chopped
½ cup packed brown sugar
½ cup all-purpose flour
4 tbs unsalted butter, somewhat softened
2 tsp ground cinnamon
Pinch of kosher salt

3 large eggs, plus 2 large egg yolks
½ cup sour cream
¼ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup granulated sugar
1 tsp almond extract
Pinch of kosher salt
2 lbs. peaches, peeled, pitted and sliced into ½-inch slices

Make the crust. Mix the flour and salt together in a large bowl. Using a pastry blender or two forks, incorporate the butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal (you’ll still have some rather large bits of butter when you’re done).
Slowly pour in the ice water. Stir with a large spoon until the dough begins to clump together.
Transfer the dough onto a floured work surface and use your hands to knead until the dough comes together and no crumbly bits are left. The dough should come together easily and should not feel overly sticky.
Shape the dough into a disc and wrap it in plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 1 hour.
Roll the dough on a lightly floured surface to about ¼ of an inch round. Transfer it to fit a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate. Trim the crust overhang and crimp the edges decoratively, if desired. Prick the bottom of the crust all over with the tines of a fork. Place the crust in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 400 F.
Line the crust with parchment paper and fill it with dried beans or pie weights. Bake 10 minutes. Remove from the oven. Reduce the oven temperature to 375 F.
Remove the dried beans or pie weights and parchment paper from the pie crust. Cool it completely before filling.
Make the crumble topping. Combine all the topping ingredients in a medium bowl. Using your hands, mix everything together until the butter is well incorporated and the mixture forms pea-size crumbles. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and place in the refrigerator to chill until ready to use.
Make the filling. Whisk together the eggs, egg yolks, sour cream, flour, sugar, almond extract, and salt in another medium bowl.
Assemble the pie. Arrange the peach slices over the bottom of the cooled crust. Pour the filling over the peaches. Set the pie on a rimmed baking sheet and bake in the 375 F oven for 35 minutes.
Remove the pie from the oven, leaving the oven on.
Sprinkle the chilled crumble topping evenly over the custard filling. Return the pie to the oven and bake an additional 15 minutes, until the crumble is golden brown.
Cool until it’s at room temperature, then chill before serving.

Double Crust Strawberry Pie

Double Crust Strawberry Pie

While our vacation was overall quite lovely, it did not get off to what you’d call a rockin’ good start. First off, bad traffic in Manhattan and on the New Jersey Turnpike made the trip take at least an extra two hours. Then, remember that head cold I kept whining about the week before last? Turns out it wasn’t a head cold – nope, it was a nasty double ear infection! I found this out in the ER at 2:30 am the first night of vacation, in near-screaming pain…

strawberry pie filling

But, a wonderful staff treated me quickly and gave me strong pain meds and antibiotics. I immediately felt better and was able to thoroughly enjoy the trip. Many thanks to the Nags Head ER!

Double Crust Strawberry Pie

Since our little cottage had a pretty well-stocked kitchen and a grill in the backyard, we did lots of cooking and baking. Of course I made yesterday’s cantaloupe sorbet; I also used my homemade Old Bay for some peel and eat shrimp; and we made these shrimp one night.


But one of the more delicious desserts I made was this strawberry pie! The strawberries came from a farmer’s market – they were insane. And I used brown sugar instead of the regular white granulated kind. It made for an earthier and more intense flavor. We shared this pie with Matt’s family who were staying about an hour away from us, and it was a big hit.


A few recipe notes: this pie as written has plenty of strawberries but it’s not a “piled high” pie. I’d recommend upping the strawberry portion of the recipe by one and a half if you want that effect. Also, I must confess here that I used store-bought pie crusts (the rolled, two-to-a-package kind from the refrigerated section of the grocery store). My well-stocked kitchen wasn’t quite stocked with a rolling pin. But were I making this at home, I’d probably use this pie dough recipe.

double crust strawberry pie

Source: heavily adapted from A Year of Pies by Ashley English

2 (9-inch) unbaked pie crusts, store-bought or homemade
2 ½ lbs. fresh strawberries
3 tbs cornstarch
2 tbs water
2 tbs vanilla extract
¼ cup packed brown sugar
Pinch of salt
1 large egg yolk
1 tbs whole milk

Fit 1 pie crust into a regular 9-inch pie plate. Trim the overhang if necessary. Chill in the refrigerator for a good 20 minutes.
Meanwhile make the filling. Wash the strawberries and drain well in a colander or blot dry with paper towels. Cut off the green tops and quarter the strawberries.
Mix the cornstarch and water in a small bowl; whisk to combine until the cornstarch is dissolved.
Toss the strawberries in a large bowl with the vanilla, sugar, salt, and the cornstarch mixture.
Remove the pie plate from the refrigerator and pour the strawberry mixture into the pie crust. Top with the second pie crust and crimp the edges together.
With a sharp paring knife, make 4 slits in the center of the pie, to allow steam to escape. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolk and milk. Brush the entire top of the pie with the egg wash.
Place the pie in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes.
While it’s chilling, preheat the oven to 375 F. Transfer the pie to a baking sheet (it will bubble over during baking). Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, until the crust is golden and the juices are bubbling in the center of the pie. Cool at least 3 hours before serving.

Salted Honey Pie


Until reading up on this recipe and deciding it had to be made just to sate my curiosity, I didn’t know much of anything about what honey pie was. The only real association I had with it is The Beatles’ song “Wild Honey Pie” on their White Album. You say the words “honey pie” to me and I’ll just think “Hun-ney Piiiiieeeeee!” followed by some discordant guitar chords, then somehow seamlessly transitioning to “The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill.”


Well. Now I will think differently. Because now I have made a real, actual honey pie, and I have tasted it too. And it is so freakin’ amazing.


I’ll be the first to admit, this pie looks a bit unassuming. The color is a tad nondescript and the crust looks burnt. Although I should hasten to note that it didn’t smell or taste that way; still, this pie prompted me to purchase a pie protector for the future.


And yet… this pie is so unbelievably delicious that you might want to make sure the kids are out of earshot when you take your first bite, because it’s entirely possible that an expletive will involuntarily fly out of your mouth – it’s that good.


Honey pie is basically a regular pie crust, blind baked, that is then filled with a custard, but the twist is that the custard uses honey instead of sugar. The honey gives is a more interesting and slightly floral flavor, and then big flecks of sea salt are lightly sprinkled on the finished product. The custard was perfectly cooked; its velvety softness contrasted beautifully with the flaky crunch of the pie crust. So amazing. Try it if you’ve never before had a piece of this deliciousness. And if you are already familiar, hopefully you’re now craving it again!


Source: slightly adapted from A Year of Pies by Ashley English

Pie dough to fit a regular 9-inch pie plate, unbaked (I used a half recipe of this delicious pie crust)
1 cup whole milk
4 large eggs, at room temperature
½ cup good quality honey
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/8 tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
3-4 pinches of Fleur de Sel, or other large-flake sea salt

Preheat oven to 400 F.
Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface and fit it into a 9” pie plate (not deep dish). Trim the crust overhang and crimp the edges decoratively, if desired. Prick the bottom of the crust 6 to 7 times with a fork, then place the shell in the fridge for 15 minutes.
Line the crust with parchment paper and fill with dried beans or pie weights. Bake 10 to 12 minutes, then remove from the oven, leaving the oven on at 400 F.
Remove the dried beans or pie weights and parchment paper from the crust. Cool it completely before filling.
Prepare the filling: warm the milk in a small saucepan over medium heat. Watch carefully and remove from the heat just before bubbles begin forming on the surface of the milk. Set aside.
Whisk the eggs, honey, vanilla, kosher salt, and nutmeg in a medium bowl. Add the warmed milk to the egg mixture slowly, whisking in a bit at a time before adding more. This will temper the eggs and not scramble them.
Once all the milk is added to the egg mixture, whisk thoroughly to make sure all ingredients are fully incorporated.
Pour the filling mixture into the prepared pie crust. Place the pie on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 30-35 minutes. The center should be jiggly but not liquidy. If desired, place a pie protector around the outside crust halfway through baking.
Remove the pie from the oven and sprinkle the fleur de sel all around the top. Cool at least 1 hour before serving.

Chicken Pot Pie


My darling husband is a pretty adventurous eater. He’ll try anything once, and fortunately he enjoys most things he eats. He doesn’t blink twice when I make something odd or new to him. And he’s such a great restaurant companion, especially in a foreign country, because often he’ll purposely order the most daring thing on the menu. I love it, he’s so great to cook for – such a good sport!


So you know where this is going, right? You’ve probably guessed by now that I’m about to launch into the one ingredient that he hates, with a passion, I might add: ENGLISH PEAS. He’s always hated them, and probably always will.


I used to fight this, partly because I do like peas, partly on sheer principles, and partly because it was a fun challenge I gave myself. I usually would make pea pesto. I put it on bruschetta once and he immediately noticed it. Another time I put the pea pesto on pasta, and he said he liked it, until I informed him of the secret ingredient, then he claimed he could taste the peas. Hmm… I also made a pea puree once, which was eaten with salmon, and he left most of the puree on his plate.


But my crowning glory has to be the time I put peas on a pepperoni pizza. Yep, I went there. It was a Ted Allen recipe, so simple to prepare. You simply drizzle olive oil and minced garlic on pizza dough, sprinkle the peas around, then top with cheese, then top the cheese with pepperoni, and bake off. You couldn’t even see the peas! He did eat a slice without complaining, but I noticed he left me all the leftovers, something he never does with pizza. He does enjoy telling people that story though, even if he didn’t enjoy the pizza.


So this is why my chicken pot pie, while pretty traditional in every other way, has asparagus and not peas in it. I chopped the asparagus to sort of resemble the size of peas, and so it would cook quickly. I wanted to make it the pie in the usual way with peas, but I didn’t think I could eat all the leftovers myself; so to avoid that, I knew I couldn’t put peas in there.  It was still quite delicious, especially for Matt. The things we do for love, huh? Please enjoy this one, with or without the peas.


Source: adapted from A Year of Pies by Ashley English

1 stick unsalted butter
1 medium onion, diced
3 small to medium carrots, peeled and diced
1 ½ cups sliced Cremini mushrooms
1 stalk celery, trimmed and diced
1 bundle of asparagus, tough ends snapped off, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ cup all-purpose flour
2 cups chicken stock
½ cup dry white wine
½ cup half-and-half
1 tsp dried thyme
1 lb. meat from a rotisserie chicken, shredded into bite-size pieces
1 9-inch unbaked pie crust, homemade (I used a half recipe of this pie dough) or the rolled-up store-bought kind
1 large egg yolk
1 tbs cold water

Grease a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate. Set aside.
Melt 2 tbs butter in a large, deep skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, mushrooms, and celery; sauté until softened and lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Add the asparagus and cook another 5 minutes, until softened. Add the garlic and cook 1 more minute. Remove from the heat and transfer to a medium sized bowl. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 375 F.
Melt the remaining 6 tbs butter in the same skillet, then add the flour. Whisk constantly for 2 minutes, until the mixture turns a sort of blond color. Gradually stir in the chicken stock, whisking constantly to create a creamy sauce. Now whisk in the wine, half-and-half, and thyme, then cook, stirring frequently, 10 minutes longer until thickened. Return the vegetable mixture to the skillet, along with the shredded chicken. Stir until everything is coated with the sauce.
Assemble the pie: pour the chicken and vegetable mixture into the greased pie plate. Cover evenly with the chilled crust. Fold the dough overhang over on the edges of the dish and crimp decoratively if desired. Work quickly though.
Whisk the egg yolk and water in a small bowl, then use a pastry brush to brush the egg wash over the crust. With a sharp paring knife, cut 4 to 6 2-inch slits in the center of the crust, to create steam vents. Again, work quickly – the heat from the chicken can melt the fat in the crust, which you don’t want.
Set the pie plate on a rimmed baking sheet and bake 30 to 35 minutes, until the crust is golden brown.
Cool for 20 minutes before serving. (Sorry.)

Sloppy Joe Pot Pie


I must confess, I do not like for my hands to get icky and messy. I am forever wiping them off whenever it happens. I rarely get through dinner without using less than three napkins. And it’s even worse when I’m cooking. Sometimes, when I am doing something where your hands must get messy, such as rolling meatballs, I will stop and wash my hands halfway through. You needn’t point out that it’s weird, Matt has done that for you; I can’t explain why, it just makes me feel better.


I think it’s genetic because my mom is the same way, and my dad is forever losing his dinner napkins to her. And it seems that even my two-year-old nephew has caught the gene. He often insists that his hands be wiped after each bite he takes at meal times. And that’s probably why I don’t make sloppy joes terribly often, even though I think they’re so delicious. They’re just so … messy…



That’s why I was so thrilled to see this recipe in one of my newer cookbooks, A Year of Pies. It’s a sloppy joe filling, but baked underneath a flaky pie crust instead of mounded on a hamburger bun. Basically, it’s a sloppy joe I can eat with a fork and not get my hands all icky. Exciting!!!


We really enjoyed this. It’s hearty and comforting, perfect for a cold night. The saucy meat is flavorful but not too spicy and the crust was amazingly flaky and wonderful. And it can feed a crowd if need be. Enjoy!


Source: adapted from A Year of Pies, by Ashley English

1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp kosher salt
3 tbs unsalted butter, chilled
6 tbs vegetable shortening or lard, chilled
6 tbs ice water

2 tbs olive oil
1/2 cup diced onion
1 medium carrot, peeled and diced (I should have diced mine a bit smaller)
2 stalks of celery, trimmed and diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 lbs. lean ground beef
1 cup beef stock
1 (14 oz.) can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup red wine
1 cup ketchup
1/2 cup sweet pickle relish
2 tbs brown sugar
2 tbs Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp hot sauce, or to taste
2 tbs unsalted butter
2 tbs flour

Make the pie crust. Mix the flour and salt together in a large bowl. Using a pastry blender or two forks, cut in the butter and shortening until the mixture resembles coarse meal. You should still have some rather large bits of butter and shortening when done.
Slowly drizzle in the ice water and stir with a large spoon or spatula until the dough begins to clump.
Transfer the dough to a floured surface and, using your hands, fold it into itself until the flour is fully incorporated into the fats. The dough should come together easily but should not be overly sticky.
Shape the dough into a ball and pat it down into a disc. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour.
Meanwhile, make the filling. Preheat the oven to 375 F. Grease a 9-inch deep dish pie plate.
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the beef and crumble with a potato masher or a sturdy spoon. Cook until no traces of pink remain. Add the onion, carrot, and celery, and saute for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook another minute or two.
Add the stock, tomatoes, red wine, ketchup, pickle relish, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, cumin, thyme, allspice, cloves, salt, black pepper and hot sauce. Stir to mix well and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until fragrant.
In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat and whisk in the flour to create a roux. Cook for about a minute, whisking constantly.
Stir the roux into the meat mixture and cook over medium-low heat for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.
Remove the pie dough from the refrigerator. On a well-floured surface, use a floured rolling pin to roll it out into an even 12-inch circle.
Spoon the meat mixture into the greased pie plate. Carefully transfer the pie dough on top. Crimp the edges. Use a small paring knife to make four to six slits in the center of the pie dough, to allow steam to escape.
Place the pie plate on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes, or until the crust is light golden-brown. Cool 15 minutes before serving.