This fall, I came down with pie fever. I started thinking about all the pies I could make for the holidays. And the list quickly grew out of hand. I ended up with a baker’s dozen of pies, savory and sweet, that could feed almost any crowd.
Then I made my friends vote on which recipes were the best and should be shared with the world (I know, I torture my friends). They did vote, and a few were rated higher than the rest, but only by a crumb. Amazingly, almost all of the pies on my list came out so good, the pie plates were practically licked clean. So I’ve decided to share all of recipes, so that you, dear readers, can suffer the same fate as my friends and eat them all.
Over the next few weeks, I’ll be posting the recipes for the following thirteen pies that would make any holiday table complete.
- Pecan Pie
- Pumpkin Pie
- Apple Pie
- Sour Cherry Pie
- Syrian-style Baklava
- Shoofly pie
- Lemon Curd Pie
- Braised Onion Tart Tatin
- Curried Yam Tart
- Syrian Spinach Frittata
- Scallion, Mushroom, Bacon Quiche
- Shepherd’s Pie
- Chedder, Corn and Roasted Tomato Pie
What’s a pie without a crust? This is a basic crust recipe that will work for most things. You could substitute any basic crust instead of this one for almost any of the pies, but this one is so easy I tend to stick with it.
Flaky Pastry Dough
Applicable for savory and sweet applications, makes 2 doughs
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons shortening
- 4 to 6 tablespoons cold water
- In medium bowl, mix 2 cups flour and 1 teaspoon salt. Cut in shortening, using pastry blender (or pulling 2 table knives through ingredients in opposite directions), until particles are size of small peas. Sprinkle with cold water, 1 tablespoon at a time, tossing with fork until all flour is moistened and pastry almost cleans side of bowl (1 to 2 teaspoons more water can be added if necessary). This process can also be achieved in a food processor; just follow the same steps and pulse the mixture together until dough-like, and remove from processor bowl.
- Gather pastry into a ball. Divide in half; shape into 2 flattened rounds on lightly floured surface. Wrap in plastic wrap; refrigerate about 45 minutes or until dough is firm and cold, yet pliable. This allows the shortening to become slightly firm, which helps make the baked pastry more flaky. If refrigerated longer, let pastry soften slightly before rolling.
- Roll the dough out between two greased pieces of waxed paper or two silicone baking mats. Always roll the dough into a shape that is a little bigger than you think you need so that you have edges to work with. When the dough is rolled out, place a greased pie pan upside down in the center of the dough, and use the waxed paper or baking sheet to guide the dough into the pan as you flip the dough and the plate over. Peel the dough away from the paper or sheet and press neatly into the plate. Remove excess or crimp the edges as you wish.
You can also make this dough and freeze it and it should keep well for several weeks. Defrost in the refrigerator a few days before you are ready to use it, and then allow it to come to room temperature before rolling.
About this author: I'm a New Yorker who would rather cook than go out to restaurants. Sometimes I think I may be in the wrong city for that. Then I remember the exotic ingredients I'd be hard-pressed to find if I lived somewhere else. My cooking style is an eclectic range of everyday-American, Italian, middle-eastern, with extensive forays into Japanese cuisine, and some pit-stops into Indian and African cuisines. I love to try my hand at recreating dishes I taste. While I enjoy most anything with a flavor, from high cuisine to instant junk food, I have a soft spot in my belly for home-style cooking no matter the geographic or ethnic origin. Read more from this author...