Promises of Pie

Last week, I promised you a pie. Here are two.

I think I’ve said before that pie is my favorite type of dessert, and that my reason for eating pie is the crust. The very first pie crust I ever made made me sick – rendered tough by over handling, I forced myself to eat it (all), believing that the next bite would be better. I was forced to believe otherwise when I spent the whole night in the bathroom.

So I persisted and taught myself how to make a proper crust with butter for flavor and some shortening for flakiness. My secret: the food processor. Quick and gentle handling makes for an exceptional crust. There’s also the adage that when making pie, one needs “cold hands and a warm heart.” I’ve been told that my hands stay remarkably cool even when it’s hot, and thus when I’m in an air-conditioned room, my hands become absolutely glacial. So I try to avoid shaking people’s hands as much as possible. “Cold hands, cold heart,” I like to joke. Ah well, it works well for pie-making.

Chicken under cover

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This is my new pan, the Revol Plats Froissés Crumple pie dish*. Its aubergine hue stuns, its curves glint in the light. Its deep well allows for thick crusts and generous fillings, perfect for my chicken pie.

Also known as chicken pastel and chicken pot pie, this is fine comfort food. I add Vienna sausage because that’s how my mom made it plus plenty of potatoes. Now that I’m married, I have to give in to my Bin’s requests to add more carrots (eew!) and to add a bottom crust in addition to the top crust. I haven’t quite come around to this “crust (and carrot) compromise” yet.

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Some of the ingredients for chicken pie.

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Chicken Pie
Makes one 9-inch deep dish pie.
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  1. 1 ready-made pie crust made from your favorite recipe
  2. Olive oil
  3. 1 large white onion, finely chopped
  4. ¾ kilo boneless chicken thighs, chopped into sizable chunks
  5. 2 large carrots (or less, if you dislike carrots as I do), cubed and parboiled just til fork-tender
  6. 2 large potatoes, peeled, diced, then boiled
  7. 1 small can Vienna sausage
  8. 1 bay leaf
  9. ½ cup canned, sliced mushrooms (optional)
  10. Salt and pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Set aside a baking sheet.
  2. In a large saucepan set over medium heat, sauté onion in olive oil until translucent. Add the chicken thighs and cook, stirring occasionally until they are opaque (white) in color. Stir in the carrots, potatoes, Vienna sausage, and the bay leaf. Add the mushrooms if using. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  3. Roux
  4. 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  5. 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  6. 1 cup whole milk
  7. Get a smaller pan and over medium-low heat, melt the butter. Once it’s melted, whisk in the flour all at once. Once the mixture has incorporated and begins to brown around the edges, pour in the milk and stir until smooth and thickened.
  8. Stir the roux-milk mixture over the chicken, making sure it’s completely incorporated. Place the chicken mixture into the deep-dish pie pan and top with the pie crust. If desired, brush the crust with an egg wash of 1 egg + 1 tablespoon water. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and divine chicken juices have begun to sputter out from under the crust.
Dessert Comes First

Lemon Lover
When it comes to citrus desserts, you either love ‘em or leave them alone. I can’t get enough. I eat lemons raw, sometimes sprinkled with coarse salt. Of course a more pleasant way to enjoy lemons is in pie, and here’s one of the best lemon meringue pies I’ve ever made. Mine is adapted from this recipe.

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Lemon love ready to be made into a pie.

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Hot from the oven. If I could have it my way, I wouldn’t have meringue in my lemon meringue pie. I don’t like meringue but I make it because my Bin adores ADORES it. Though I don’t like to eat meringue, I like making it. I’m enchanted with its swirls and spreads.

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Light and love in a lemon meringue pie.

*Prop credit: The Revol Plats Froissés Crumple pie dish featured here will soon be available at Rustans and at exclusive delis. For inquiries, please email Garden Barn Inc. is the exclusive local importer and distributor of Revol.

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