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Monday, January 31, 2011

Chicken Pie from scratch

When I was newly married and living on campus with my husband, I enjoyed wandering around the library when I had time in between classes.  In those days, the University library was in an older building filled with shelves of books dating back a long time.  I loved to pull out random books and spend some time perusing them.  One day I pulled out an old cookbook called The Tollhouse Cookbook.  It was full of comfort food recipes from the the tollhouse restaurant which invented the famous cookies.  When I saw this recipe for chicken pie I immediately wanted to make it for my new husband, so I pulled out my notebook and wrote it down.  It was a hit the first time I made it - maybe it's because of this chicken pie that he has stayed with me for another 30 years.

While my chicken was simmering this afternoon, I wondered if it would be possible to find that old cookbook again.  So I searched on Amazon, and lo and behold there it was! Of course I couldn't resist ordering it.  I'm guessing it will have more recipes that I will want to share.  I changed the original recipe a bit to suit our tastes (added the carrots and seasoning).  My family loves this.  I bet yours will too!

Chicken Pie

Pastry for double crust pie
1 whole chicken
3 stalks celery
1/2 onion
4 carrots
4 Tablespoons butter, melted
4 Tablespoons flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon marjoram
  • Disjoint the chicken and place in a pan with 3 cups of water, the celery and onion, and a couple of carrots.  Cover and cook until the meat is ready to drop from the bones.
  • Remove the chicken from the liquid, saving the stock but straining out the vegetables. Remove the skin and bones and cut chicken into good-sized pieces. Set aside.
  • Cut up remaining carrots and cook them until tender. Set aside.
  • Line deep dish pie pan with pastry, roll out top crust and set aside in readiness.
  • Blend together the butter, flour, salt, pepper and marjoram. Add the hot chicken stock that the chicken was cooked in (2 cups).  Cook until thickened - this will only take a couple of minutes.  Add the cooked carrots.
  • Arrange the chicken on the pastry in the pie pan.  Pour sauce over chicken, then cover with top crust.  Flute edges and cut steam vents in top crust.
  • Bake at 450 degrees until the crust is brown and the sauce bubbles.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

A few months ago I took a coconut cream pie to work to share with co-workers.  Unfortunately, the prosecutor I work with is allergic to coconut so he didn't  have any of the pie.  He's a big peanut butter cup fan so I've been thinking about a pie that he could get excited about.  I got an idea for a pie that would be along the lines of a peanut butter cup and tried it out today. Two of my grown sons came over to test it, along with my husband and son and daughter who live at home.  The vote was unanimous that this pie is a keeper!  This week I'll make it again to take to work.  Hopefully everybody there will like it also.

Here's the recipe - it's an original!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

1 baked deep dish pie shell

2/3 cup powdered sugar
1 cup peanut butter
3/4 cup softened butter
1 cup sugar
2 oz unsweetened chocolate, melted and slightly cooled
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 eggs
Sweetened whipped cream

  • Beat together the powdered sugar and peanut butter.  Spread over the bottom of the pie shell, then place in refrigerator.
  • Beat together the butter and sugar until fluffy.  Mix in the chocolate and vanilla.
  • Add one egg, then beat on high for 4 minutes.  Add second egg, then beat on high for 4 minutes.  Add the third egg, and beat for another 4 minutes.
  • Spread the chocolate mixture over the peanut butter filling in the pie shell.  Refrigerate for at least 3 hours.
  • Top with sweetened whipped cream.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Celebrating National Pie Day with Pear Pie

Last week I got a bag of Bosc pears.  By this week they were beautifully ripened and juicy.  But there were more of them than my family would likely eat before they got over ripe.  So naturally they needed to go into a pie.

I found a recipe in the cookbook Pie by Ken Haedrich, and made it last night with  a few changes.  We invited my friend Laurie over to share the pie and an evening of conversation.  She brought Butter Pecan ice cream which was wonderful with this pie. I then celebrated National Pie Day this morning by having another piece of this pie for breakfast.  I definitely give this pie 5 stars, it is delightful!

Pear Pie with Streusel Topping

Pastry for single crust pie, in deep pie dish

5 cups peeled and sliced ripe pears
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (I was out of lemons, so used the juice of one lime - turned out great)
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
pinch of salt

Streusel topping:
1 cup flour
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons cold butter cut into chunks
1 tablespoon milk
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Put pears in large bowl and add other filling ingredients.  Stir lightly to coat pears with the sugar and spices.
  • Pour pear filling into prepared pastry lined pie pan and smooth them down with your hands.  Place in the center of the preheated oven and bake for 35 minutes.
  • In the meantime, prepare the streusel topping.  Cut the butter into the dry ingredients, then stir in the milk.  (You can also pulse in a food processor).  Rub the mixture between  your fingers to make large crumbs.  Refrigerate until ready to use.
  • Remove the pie from the oven and reduce the temperature to 375 degrees.  Carefully dump the streusel crumbs onto the center of the pie, then spread evenly over the top of the pie with your hands.  Return the pie to the oven and bake for another 30 minutes.
  • Let cook for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Partially back in business....

When my friend Tani came for New Year's Eve she brought this to me to borrow:

It's a small convection oven.  I've never used anything like this before, but I'm excited that it will allow me to bake again until my "real" oven is working again!  Tani even made sure a pie pan will fit comfortable inside this oven, and she doesn't even like pie.  Now that's true friendship!