Earl Grey Pie – Happy Pi Day! (Gluten-Free)

It’s March 14 – 3/14 – and first thing this morning, my husband rolled over and wished me a Happy Pi Day. You know, his favourite “holiday”.

Well, first thing that came to mind was a long string of expletives – for the first time since we’ve met (and I’m including the year following the tornado that destroyed – among other things – our kitchen!), I’ve completely forgotten about Pi Day. IN my defense, I’ve been swamped with development for More Than Poutine. This month has been ALL about developing recipes for Canadian junk food; most recently, that’s meant snack cakes. There is sugar everywhere, I can’t picture having added a pie in on top of everything.

… but I didn’t even post anything about Pi Day, leading up to today, on any of my social media. Not even so much as a share of my big “Pi Day is Coming, Are you Ready?” master list of Pi Day stuff. Kinda feeling like the worst wife AND worst nerdy blogger ever – I really dropped the 4/3Ď€r^3 on that one!

Thankfully, his workplace is taking care of his pi day needs that I so woefully neglected, but I still feel bad. So, as my mea culpa to the universe, I will share my Earl Grey Pie recipe now! This recipe is one of the many fabulous gluten-free recipes in Beyond Flour 2: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking & Baking, so if you’re gluten-free, or know someone who is, you should definitely check it out 🙂

If you don’t need this to be gluten-free, feel free to substitute a store bought pie crust, or one from of your favourite recipes. My go-to is my Great-Uncle Tom’s Pie Crust Recipe.

This is an elegant pie that isn’t cloyingly sweet – the Earl Grey flavour comes through well, and is really well suited for use in a pie!

We served it for some friends, and one of them – Derek – was almost in tears as he declared that “Everything is perfect with the world” after the first bite. When another friend joined us later, He told her that when she tries the pie, “The gates of heaven will open, and you will see everything”.

So. That happened.

I hope you enjoy this pie as much as Derek did! (And everyone else, really… his reaction was just amazing though! )

Gluten-Free Earl Grey Pie
Makes 1 pie

Crust:

1/2 cup Light buckwheat flour
1/4 cup Sorghum flour
1/4 cup Sweet rice flour
1/4 cup Corn starch
1 Tbsp Granulated sugar
1 tsp Xanthan gum
4 oz Cream cheese
1/4 cup Cold butter
Zest of 1 lemon
1 Large egg
1/4 cup Cold water

Filling:

2 Large eggs
1/2 cup Granulated sugar
1/3 cup Corn starch
1/4 tsp Salt
1 cup Milk
1 cup Heavy cream
3 Earl Grey tea bags
2 Tbsp Butter
Whipped cream, for serving

Measure flours, corn starch, sugar, and xanthan gum into the bowl of your food processor, blitz to combine. Add cream cheese, butter, lemon zest and egg, blitz a few times until mixture resembles gravel.

Stream in cold water as you run the food processor, just long enough to start to bring it together as a dough – you may need to use a little more or less water. Do NOT over-process it!

Remove dough from processor, knead lightly to bring it together as a ball. Wrap in plastic film, chill for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 450 F (230 C), lightly dust your work surface with extra corn starch. Roll your crust out to about 1/4″ thick. Line a pie pan with the crust, trim the edges of the crust to only slightly longer than the edge of the pie plate. Use your fingers to crimp/ruffle the edge of the pie.

Use a fork to prick some holes on the bottom of the crust. Chill in fridge for 15 minutes. Once chilled, bake pie crust for 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven, allow to cool to room temperature while you prepare the filling.

Whisk eggs together with sugar until fluffy and pale yellow. Add cornstarch and salt, whisk until incorporated and smooth. Set aside.

In a small saucepan, bring milk and cream just to the start of a boil. Remove from heat, add tea bags, steep for 5 minutes. Remove tea bags, squeezing out excess liquid back into the pot. Bring cream up JUST to a boil once again.

Measure about 1/4 cup of the hot cream mixture, and stream slowly into egg mixture while whisking. Continue streaming liquid and whisking until it is completely incorporated, and mixture is smooth. Repeat with another 1/4 cup of hot cream.

Remove saucepan from heat, pour remaining egg mixture into cream mixture, whisking constantly. Once fully incorporated and smooth, return to heat. Turn heat to medium-low. Continue whisking mixture constantly, cooking until mixture is very thick. Remove from heat, stir in butter until melted and smooth. Cool to room temperature.

Spoon filling into prepared crust, cover with plastic wrap. Chill until set, about 3 hours. To serve, top with whipped cream.

Interested in Gluten-free cooking and baking? You’ll LOVE Beyond Flour: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

How many times have you come across a gluten-free recipe claiming to be “just as good as the normal version!”, only to wind up with weird textures, aftertastes, etc? Most gluten-free recipes are developed by taking a “normal” recipe, and swapping in a simulated “all purpose” gluten-free flour… whether store bought, or a homemade version. “Beyond Flour” takes a different approach: developing the recipe from scratch. Rather than swapping out the flour for an “all purpose” mix, I use various alternative flours as individual ingredients – skillfully blending flavours, textures, and other properties unique to each flour. Supporting ingredients and different techniques are also utilized to achieve the perfect end goal … not just a “reasonable facsimile”. Order your copy here.

Looking for even MORE fantastic gluten-free recipes? Beyond Flour now has a sequel: Beyond Flour 2: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

Imagine gluten-free foods that are as good – or better! – than their traditional, gluten-filled counterparts. Imagine no longer settling for foods with bizarre after-tastes, gummy consistency, and/or cardboard texture. Imagine graham crackers that taste just like the real thing. Crisp, flaky crackers…without the sandy texture. Hybrid tortillas that: look and act like flour tortillas, with the taste of fresh roasted corn! Imagine chewy, delicious cookies that *everyone* will want to eat! Imagine BAGELS. If you’ve cooked from “Beyond Flour”, you already know that these fantasies can be reality – it’s all in the development of the recipes. Order your copy here.

Gluten-Free Chicken Mushroom Tourtière

Thanksgiving was a couple days ago… for Canadians like me!

My husband is always happy to celebrate both – twice the turkey! Twice the pumpkin pie! – but this year, he presented me with a challenge: He can’t handle eating pork or beef anymore. You know, the two main ingredients of my traditional tourtière!

There was NO way I was going to forgo a tourtière, so I decided to try for a workaround: I would develop a tourtière recipe that didn’t have the pork or beef, but still tasted proper.

Starting with the meat, I went with ground chicken: he prefers it to turkey. I decided to add a TON of mushrooms to it, both for taste and texture. I was originally going to get really weird with it and add a sweet potato, but decided against that at the last minute.

… it turned out amazing! I was actually a bit disappointed that it didn’t actually taste like mushrooms. I figured the mushrooms would be my consolation for not having beef or pork, and was actually looking forward to a mushroomy pie. In the end, though, it just tasted like my normal tourtière!

The mushrooms provided the right texture and umami that I would normally be getting from the pork and beef, while the use of the vegetables and seasonings worked together to camouflage what was actually in it. It’s hard to be too disappointed in the lack of mushroom flavour, when confronted with that kind of … sorcery … in accuracy.

Not only was it great fresh out of the oven (and, let’s get real here, with all of the filling that disappeared to “quality control” before making it into the pie), it reheats very well as leftovers.

So, yeah. Not going to stress out about dietary issues getting in the way of tradition again – super happy with how it turned out.

Enjoy!

Chicken-Mushroom Tourtière
Serves about 8 as meal, or more as a small part of Thanksgiving feast

Crust:
3/4 cup white rice flour
3/4 cup buckwheat flour
1/2 cup millet flour
1/4 cup sweet rice flour
1/4 cup corn starch
2 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 (8oz) brick cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup cold water
1 egg

Filling:
1 1/2 lbs sliced crimini / baby bella mushrooms
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 lb ground chicken
1 small onion, finely chopped
4 ribs celery, finely chopped
2 carrots, grated or finely chopped
2 large potatoes, peeled and cut into ~ 1/3″ cubes
1 1/2 Tbsp dried savory
2-3 tsp pepper
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cloves
2 cups milk
1 cup chicken broth

1 egg
1 Tbsp cold water

Measure flours, starches, and xanthan gum into the bowl of your food processor, blitz to combine. Add cream cheese, butter, and egg, blitz a few times until mixture resembles gravel. Stream in cold water as you run the food processor, just long enough to start to bring it together as a dough – you may need to use a little more or less water. Do NOT over-process it!

Remove dough from processor, knead lightly to bring it together as a ball. Wrap in plastic film, chill for 1 hour.

Finely chop mushrooms – I like to use a food processor, in batches. Combine mushrooms, olive oil, chicken, vegetables, and seasonings together in a large pan or pot. Break up ground chicken into, stir until everything is relatively uniform. Add the milk and the broth, stirring once again.

Bring mixture to a boil, then turn the heat down to medium and simmer – stirring often – until the liquid has cooked off, and the meat has broken down almost to a paste. This should take about an hour, give or take. Once it’s ready, remove from heat and cool to room temperature.

Preheat oven to 425 F

Divide dough into 2 parts – one slightly bigger than the other. Roll the bigger section out, use it to line a large and/or deep-dish pie pan – carefully working it into the corners. Fill pie pan with meat filling, spreading it into the corners and mounding it in the center, packing it down as you go.

Roll out the second part of dough, cover the pie filling. Crimp the edges as desired, poke a couple of slits in it. If desired, roll any extra dough very thin, cut into shapes, and apply to the crust for decoration.

Whisk the remaining egg together with water, use a pastry brush to coat the entire crust with a thin wash of this glaze.

Bake at 20 minutes, turn heat down to 375 and continue to bake for another 15 minutes, until crust is golden brown.

Serve warm or cold.

With 2017 being Canada’s 150th birthday, it’s about time I wrote the Canadian cookbook I’ve been planning for YEARS.

“More than Poutine” will be a Canadian cookbook like no other – written by a Canadian living away, it includes both traditional homecooking recipes, as well as homemade versions of many of the snacks, sauces, convenience foods, and other food items that are hard to come by outside of Canada!

High quality gluten-free versions of most recipes will be included.

The Kickstarter for “More Than Poutine is live, here. Please consider backing, and sharing the campaign with your friends!

Interested in Gluten-free cooking and baking? You’ll LOVE Beyond Flour: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

How many times have you come across a gluten-free recipe claiming to be “just as good as the normal version!”, only to wind up with weird textures, aftertastes, etc? Most gluten-free recipes are developed by taking a “normal” recipe, and swapping in a simulated “all purpose” gluten-free flour… whether store bought, or a homemade version. “Beyond Flour” takes a different approach: developing the recipe from scratch. Rather than swapping out the flour for an “all purpose” mix, I use various alternative flours as individual ingredients – skillfully blending flavours, textures, and other properties unique to each flour. Supporting ingredients and different techniques are also utilized to achieve the perfect end goal … not just a “reasonable facsimile”. Order your copy here.

Looking for even MORE fantastic gluten-free recipes? Beyond Flour now has a sequel: Beyond Flour 2: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

Imagine gluten-free foods that are as good – or better! – than their traditional, gluten-filled counterparts. Imagine no longer settling for foods with bizarre after-tastes, gummy consistency, and/or cardboard texture. Imagine graham crackers that taste just like the real thing. Crisp, flaky crackers…without the sandy texture. Hybrid tortillas that: look and act like flour tortillas, with the taste of fresh roasted corn! Imagine chewy, delicious cookies that *everyone* will want to eat! Imagine BAGELS. If you’ve cooked from “Beyond Flour”, you already know that these fantasies can be reality – it’s all in the development of the recipes. Order your copy here.

Square Root Tart with Horseradish Custard (Gluten-Free)

If you follow my blog, you probably already know about Pi Day.. but did you know about Square Root Day? It’s on April 4th this year – 4/4/16, of course!

Far from a yearly thing, square Root Day only comes around a few times in ones lifetime … so it’s fun to do something to acknowledge it. The next one won’t be til 2025, after all! As numbers nerds, it’s always fun to translate that into food, as an event. Things like this – and Pi Day – are fun. It’s a great way to bring people together without it being a BIG ordeal, like some of the larger holidays.

This square root day is especially fun for us, because it happens to fall on my husband’s birthday. So, I decided to make him a very special recipe to commemorate it. After much thought, I settled on this, a square root tart.

Roasted root veggies are one of my husband’s favourite foods, and I can’t blame him – LOVE them, myself. I decided that it needed to incorporate a “root” themed custard, so I went with horseradish. The slight bite of the creamy custard is a great foil for the texture and earthiness of the root veggies. Where I usually use cornstarch for certain things in crust recipes, I substituted potato starch… while potato is technically a tuber – not a “real” root – it’s closer to being on theme than corn starch is! 🙂

If you aren’t gluten-free (and won’t be serving this to someone who is!) you can substitute any single crust pie crust recipe, or a store bought one. We used a 9″ x 9″ square tart pan.

If you ARE gluten-free (or know someone who is)… you should be sure to check out my Kickstarter Campaign for Beyond Flour 2!

Enjoy!

Square Root Tart with Horseradish Custard

Crust:
1/2 cup buckwheat flour
1/4 cup white rice flour
1/4 cup millet flour
1/4 cup sweet rice flour
1/4 cup potato starch, plus extra for rolling
3/4 tsp xanthan gum
1/4 (4oz) brick cream cheese
1/4 cup cold butter
1 egg
2 Tbsp cold water

Veggies:
1 large carrot
1 medium parsnip
1 small rutabega
1 medium small turnip
1 small golden beet
1 small red beet
Pan spray
Salt and pepper

Custard:
2 Tbsp Butter
2 clove Garlic, pressed or minced
1 Tbsp horseradish
1/2 cup Dry white wine
1 Tbsp potato starch
4 Large egg yolks
1/2 cup milk
Salt and pepper

Measure flours, potato starch, and xanthan gum into the bowl of your food processor, blitz to combine. Add cream cheese, butter, and egg, blitz a few times until mixture resembles gravel. Stream in cold water as you run the food processor, just long enough to start to bring it together as a dough – you may need to use a little more or less water. Do NOT over-process it!

Remove dough from processor, knead lightly to bring it together as a ball. Wrap in plastic film, chill for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Generously dust work surface with potato starch, Roll chilled dough out to a rough square that’s slightly bigger than 11″ x 11″. Carefully transfer rolled dough to tart pan, smoothing the bottom and pressing the dough into the sides of the pan. Trim any excess dough that extends past the top of the pan, prick the flat (bottom) surface of the crust a few times with a fork.

Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Turn oven down to 350F.

While baking the crust, prepare your roasted roots.

Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper, spray with pan spray.

Peel all vegetables except for the beets. Carefully slice them into 1/4″ thick rounds – we use a mandoline slicer for this. Arrange onto one of the prepared pans, spray with pan spray.

Repeat with golden beets, arranging on one half of the second prepared pan. Repeat with red beets, arranging on the remaining space on the second pan. (Fussy, I know.. but beets “bleed” like crazy!). Sprinkle veggies on both pans with salt and pepper. Roast until tender, about 30 minutes.

As veggies are roasting, prepare your custard:

In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add garlic, horseradish, and white wine, whisk until smooth; gently bring to a simmer.

In a small bowl whisk together potato starch and egg yolks until smooth. Add milk, continue whisking until smooth. Add milk mixture to pot, simmer over medium heat until very thick. Once custard has thickened to your liking, remove from heat.

Spread hot custard in crust, top with roasted root veggies, serve immediately.

Interested in Gluten-free cooking and baking? You’ll LOVE Beyond Flour: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

How many times have you come across a gluten-free recipe claiming to be “just as good as the normal version!”, only to wind up with weird textures, aftertastes, etc? Most gluten-free recipes are developed by taking a “normal” recipe, and swapping in a simulated “all purpose” gluten-free flour… whether store bought, or a homemade version. “Beyond Flour” takes a different approach: developing the recipe from scratch. Rather than swapping out the flour for an “all purpose” mix, I use various alternative flours as individual ingredients – skillfully blending flavours, textures, and other properties unique to each flour. Supporting ingredients and different techniques are also utilized to achieve the perfect end goal … not just a “reasonable facsimile”. Order your copy here.

Looking for even MORE fantastic gluten-free recipes? Beyond Flour now has a sequel: Beyond Flour 2: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

Imagine gluten-free foods that are as good – or better! – than their traditional, gluten-filled counterparts. Imagine no longer settling for foods with bizarre after-tastes, gummy consistency, and/or cardboard texture. Imagine graham crackers that taste just like the real thing. Crisp, flaky crackers…without the sandy texture. Hybrid tortillas that: look and act like flour tortillas, with the taste of fresh roasted corn! Imagine chewy, delicious cookies that *everyone* will want to eat! Imagine BAGELS. If you’ve cooked from “Beyond Flour”, you already know that these fantasies can be reality – it’s all in the development of the recipes. Order your copy here.

Savoury Alligator Pie Recipe

A few weeks ago, my friend Charlotte posted something to the effect of “When I say ‘Alligator Pie’, you say what?” as a Facebook status. To me, the answer was obvious – “If I don’t get some, I think I’m going to die!”.

She ended up getting some weird responses, none seeming to know what she was talking about. I was kind of perplexed – Alligator Pie was SUCH a popular poem / book growing up, how could people not know what she – a fellow Canadian – was talking about? I had assumed the book to be British, on account of the style of artwork I remembered from it … and if it had been crazy popular back home, surely her American friends had heard of it, right?

Well, I guess I should have realized it from the hockey references… but as it turns out, the book is Canadian. I guess that explains the confusion! ANYWAY.

This time of year, I end up obsessed with Alligator meat. It finally cooled down enough for me to attend the Minnesota Renaissance Festival a couple weeks ago, and – in my mind – the alligator sausage there is the absolute best part of fest. (Aside from all my friends that work there, I mean!). Shortly after our day at fest, I happened across some frozen alligator meat in the grocery store, so I picked it up… thinking I’d make some sausage at home.

Well, having “Alligator Pie” stuck in my head, I ended up deciding that I should make some. I knew “Alligator Pie” existed in a few different incarnations as a dessert… some as a green coloured cream pie, others more like a pecan pie, with the nutty surface being representative of alligator skin. However, I had never heard of an ACTUAL alligator pie. As one of the most literal people ever (Seriously, Drax is my spirit animal)… it had to happen.

Because there wasn’t really something pre-existing, I could pretty much do whatever I want! I decided to start with a proper cajun trinity – onion, celery, and green peppers – as a nod to gator meat as a very southern thing. (Says the Canadian, making a pie about a beloeved Canadian poem!). I flavoured it with some of the same seasonings I could taste in the alligator sausage that I loved so much… but only as an accent. I didn’t want it to be a sausage pie, after all. I wanted it to be like the savoury pies I’d grown up with – some meat, some vegetables, a little gravy, and a ton of flavour.

This ended up a huge hit with both my husband and a couple other friends that happened to pop by the night I made it… including The Pink Dalek, who almost didn’t share with her mom! The meat was tender and juicy, and the flavours all worked very well together.

This recipe will work well with your favourite pie crust recipe, or even with store bought crust. Looking for a tasty gluten-free pie crust (the filling is inherently gf!)? You should buy a copy of my book, Beyond Flour – pie crust is only one of the many “as good or better than the gluteny original!” recipes in there.

Enjoy!

Alligator Pie

2 Tbsp butter
1 large onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
4 cloves garlic, pressed or finely minced
1 lb alligator meat, cut into small pieces
1 lb pork loin, cut into small pieces
1 tsp dried sage
1/4 dried oregano
Pinch dried thyme
pinch cayenne powder
1/2 cup chicken broth or dry white wine
2 tsp corn starch
Salt and pepper

1 double crust recipe of pie dough, prepared (or store bought)

1 egg, beaten
1 Tbsp water

Preheat oven to 425 F

In a large pan, melt butter. Add onion, peppers, and celery, cook until veggies start to soften. Add garlic, meats, and seasonings, continue cooking until meat is browned. For a finer texture filling (as pictured), I transferred the mixture to my food processor and blitzed it a few times, but this is optional.

Whisk together broth and corn starch until smooth. Add to pan, bring to a boil. Allow to cook until liquid becomes quite thick. Remove from heat, season with salt and pepper to taste.

Divide dough into 2 parts – one slightly bigger than the other. Roll the bigger section out , use it to line a deep-dish pie pan* – carefully working it into the corners. Fill pie pan with alligator filling, spreading it into the bottom edge and mounding it in the center.

Roll out the second part of dough, cover the pie filling. Crimp the edges as desired, poke a couple of slits in the top. If desired, roll any extra dough very thin, cut into shapes, and apply to the crust for decoration. Whisk together egg and water, brush over the entire top of pie.

Whisk the egg together with water, use a pastry brush to coat the entire crust with a thin wash of this glaze. Cut thin strips of aluminum foil, gently wrap over the outside edge of the crust to protect it from burning.

Bake for 30 minutes, remove foil, and continue baking for another 10 minutes, or until crust is golden brown. Serve hot!

* I couldn’t find my deep dish pie pan when actually making the pie, so I used a quiche pan – works just as well!

With 2017 being Canada’s 150th birthday, it’s about time I wrote the Canadian cookbook I’ve been planning for YEARS.

“More than Poutine” will be a Canadian cookbook like no other – written by a Canadian living away, it includes both traditional homecooking recipes, as well as homemade versions of many of the snacks, sauces, convenience foods, and other food items that are hard to come by outside of Canada!

High quality gluten-free versions of most recipes will be included.

The Kickstarter for “More Than Poutine is live, here. Please consider backing, and sharing the campaign with your friends!

Interested in Gluten-free cooking and baking? You’ll LOVE Beyond Flour: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

How many times have you come across a gluten-free recipe claiming to be “just as good as the normal version!”, only to wind up with weird textures, aftertastes, etc? Most gluten-free recipes are developed by taking a “normal” recipe, and swapping in a simulated “all purpose” gluten-free flour… whether store bought, or a homemade version. “Beyond Flour” takes a different approach: developing the recipe from scratch. Rather than swapping out the flour for an “all purpose” mix, I use various alternative flours as individual ingredients – skillfully blending flavours, textures, and other properties unique to each flour. Supporting ingredients and different techniques are also utilized to achieve the perfect end goal … not just a “reasonable facsimile”. Order your copy here.

Looking for even MORE fantastic gluten-free recipes? Beyond Flour now has a sequel: Beyond Flour 2: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

Imagine gluten-free foods that are as good – or better! – than their traditional, gluten-filled counterparts. Imagine no longer settling for foods with bizarre after-tastes, gummy consistency, and/or cardboard texture. Imagine graham crackers that taste just like the real thing. Crisp, flaky crackers…without the sandy texture. Hybrid tortillas that: look and act like flour tortillas, with the taste of fresh roasted corn! Imagine chewy, delicious cookies that *everyone* will want to eat! Imagine BAGELS. If you’ve cooked from “Beyond Flour”, you already know that these fantasies can be reality – it’s all in the development of the recipes. Order your copy here.

Geekery and my Partridgeberry Pie Recipe (AKA Lingonberry Pie)

Apologies for the silence on the blog lately – I’ve been hard at work on my upcoming gluten free cookbook, “Beyond Flour”. It hasn’t left me much time, drive, or inclination to post blogs! Whoops.

This weekend, I was inspired to post something… albeit in a roundabout way. The facts are these:

– Since making my husband’s Thranduil costume, we’ve been on a bit of a Lee Pace kick. TOTALLY fell in love with “Pushing Daisies” – posthumously (hah!) – as well as some of his other work. (There is a “Red Bandit” cosplay in the works..)

– A friend (Who you may recognize as “Legolas” in the movie premiere kiss photo of ours that went sort of viral last month) just completed a “Ned the Piemaker” cosplay last week, complete with “Pie Hole” box.

– This past weekend happened to be the weekend I had scheduled for developing a gluten free pie crust for the book.

– Late last week, I came upon this fan art, which I promptly fell in love with.

– We have 159 digits of Pi tiled into our awesomely geeky kitchen backsplash.

… I’m sure you can see where this is going, if you’ve been following this blog for any real amount of time. You should never underestimate how far I’m willing to run with a crazy idea!

So, at the prompting of another friend, we decided to do a mini shoot with Porter as “Thrandy the Piemaker”. We invited our friend over to join in, because… really. Thranduil, Ned, and pie? Awesome. Bonus: Legolas! I went ahead and made a the most ridiculous twee thing I’ve ever made in my whole life – the frilly apron from the fan art – and baked the pie.

The photos from that shoot turned out amazing – and so did the pie! Let me share a few photos, and the recipe for my partridgeberry pie filling. (The gluten free crust recipe will be in the book!):


(We have almost 50 photos from this shoot posted to my costuming page on Facebook. That album is here. So much ridiculousness.. I LOVE it!)

Remember my “Faux Lingonberry Wine” recipe? I think it’s the first time I mentioned my love of partridgeberries on my blog. LOVE them… and I’ve been missing them as a dessert ingredient for a long time now. It’s been almost 8 years… and this is my favourite kind of pie!

So, I splurged a bit and bought some frozen partridge/lingonberries from a local shop*, and here we are!

Partridgeberry Pie

3 cups Fresh or frozen partridgeberries (about 1 lb)*
1 1/2 cups Granulated sugar
2-3 tsp cornstarch
Zest of one orange
Pinch salt
2 pie crusts. See Uncle Tom’s Pie Crust for recipe!
1 egg, whisked
2 Tbsp granulated sugar

Place berries in a medium saucepan. Whisk together sugar and cornstarch (use 2 tsp for a slightly runnier filling, 3 for a thicker one. We used 3 for the pie pictured!), and add to the berries along with orange zest and salt.

Bring mixture to a boil, stirring frequently. The berries will break down a bit, and the mixture will thicken slightly. Allow to boil for 3 minutes before removing from heat. Allow to cool to room temperature – it will thicken more as it cools.

Preheat oven to 425F

If not using a prepared pie crust, roll your two crusts out to about 1/4″ thick. Line a pie pan with one crust, and cut the other into 1″ strips.

Transfer cooled filling into the pie shell, spreading to cover the bottom of the pie evenly.

Use the strips of pie crust to create a lattice on top. Where this filling is very dark and stains easily, I don’t usually do a properly woven lattice – that involves placing and folding back strips to weave other strips through… and can get pie filling all over the place!

I lay one of the longest strips right across the middle of the pie, vertically. Then I cross it with another of the longest strips, horizontally. The next longest strip gets laid aside the first strip laid, then the next one beside the second strip laid. I alternate directions and sides, working from the longest strips down to the shortest.

Once your lattice is laid, trim the edges of the crust to only slightly longer than the edge of the pie plate. Fold the bottom crust edge over the lattice edge, and pinch well to seal. Use your fingers to crimp/ruffle the edge of the pie.

Carefully brush lattice and crust with whisked egg, and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake pie for 15 minutes at 425 F. Without opening the door, turn the temperature down to 400 and continue to bake for another 15 minutes or so.. until crust is golden.

Serve warm or cold – this pie is especially great with some rich vanilla ice cream on top.

Enjoy!

* If you don’t live somewhere that partridgeberries grow, you can ask around any Scandinavian shops and see if they know where you can find some. Alternatively, they can be purchased frozen online from some specialty retailers, and I’m told that IKEA sells them in their frozen section as well. (I just can’t find anything on their site about it!)

With 2017 being Canada’s 150th birthday, it’s about time I wrote the Canadian cookbook I’ve been planning for YEARS.

“More than Poutine” will be a Canadian cookbook like no other – written by a Canadian living away, it includes both traditional homecooking recipes, as well as homemade versions of many of the snacks, sauces, convenience foods, and other food items that are hard to come by outside of Canada!

High quality gluten-free versions of most recipes will be included.

The Kickstarter for “More Than Poutine is live, here. Please consider backing, and sharing the campaign with your friends!

Gluten Free Tourtiere.

So… I have a functional kitchen now! The cabinets are built, the countertops installed, backsplash set, everything grouted, and the sink, dishwasher, and stove are all hooked up! *CANNOT* tell you how god it feels to have some culinary autonomy back.

We haven’t had the use of the dishwasher since May’s tornado – it’s been used to store the glassware ever since! We’ve been living off takeout. While my access to the kitchen has been sporadic at best, my brain hasn’t taken a break, so I’ve had this LONG list of ideas and theoretical recipes brewing, with no ability to do anything about it, short of write them down. I tell you, working through those ideas on paper, while being stuck with months crappy fast food? Torture.

One of the things I wanted to make this whole time was a proper tourtiere (“tortiere”, for some). It’s a French Canadian meat pie, and it’s soooo good when made properly. Also, as part of the planning process, I worked on a gluten free pastry crust that wouldn’t make me grieve for my inability to eat wheat.

I did it!

Yesterday was my first day with the new kitchen, so I rolled out of bed and almost immediately went to buy groceries. With 3 items I wanted to make, Tourtiere was to be made in the afternoon, closer to suppertime. Couldn’t handle it, dug in to the preparation right away!

I tell ya, the filling, as it’s cooking, smells amazing on the best of days. All those fresh veggies, herbs… yum. To someone who’s eaten more Wendy’s takeout in the past few months than anyone should have to in a lifetime? Absolutely amazing.

Gluten Free Tourtiere

The crust also turned out extremely well – you’d never peg it as being a gluten free crust. Very rich and flaky! Oh, so good. I just had some leftovers for breakfast – this recipe is definitely a winner!

Oh, and if you want to make a regular, non-gluten free version? Just swap out the crust for your favorite double-crust recipe, or premade dough.
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Jamaican Beef Patties Recipe

When I was in my early teens, I developed a wicked fondness for Jamaican Beef patties. They were my standard “forgot to eat lunch, stop by a gas station” go-to food, they were the perfect accompaniment for the traditional daily Slurpee (Winnipeggers know what I mean!), and they were just… my perfect comfort food.

At some points in the year, I was able to get my hands on a fresher, more authentic version of my beloved gas station food – during Folklorma, for instance. Man, Folklorama was the best festival ever – haven’t gone in several years, and I STILL think it’s the best I’ve been to / heard of! All of the different cultural organizations set up a “pavilion” – usually a community center or curling rink – to be just this mecca of all-things-that-culture.

Attendees buy “passports”, and visit the various pavilions, experiencing all kinds of wonderful food, art, and performances from that culture. It’s just this big multicultural smorgasbord, and I loved it. Folklorama is also responsible for my love of Haggis… ah, I loved the Scottish Pavilion!

Anyway. Beef Patties. I was pretty disappointed when I realized that beef patties were NOWHERE to be found in Minnesota.

When I went on my pie making rampage the other week, I decided to try making my own beef patties. I looked online to see if there were any existing recipes for what *I* knew as beef patties, and ended up pretty disappointed. Overall, I could tell that none of the recipes I found would result in the right texture – kind of a creamy, pasty meat filling, NOT just regular ground beef texture – or the right spice profile.

So, of course, I created a recipe from scratch. Well, it’s more of a frankenrecipe – I bastardized my uncle’s pie crust recipe, converting it to a savory recipe with the light taste / brilliant yellow hue that I expect from a Jamaican beef patty crust. Then, for the filling, I used the basic ideas from making Cretons (A recipe I’ll post eventually) – a French Canadian meat spread.

Oooh boy was it ever good. In particular, the filling was so ridiculously accurate, I’m amazed that any of it actually made it as far as being married with the crusts. I could have just eaten it all with a spoon.

This recipe is a bit of work, but so very worth it. Enjoy! (more…)

Creamy Blueberry Amaretto Pie Recipe

Today is the 3rd “monthiversary” of the North Minneapolis Tornado.

I don’t know why this one is harder to deal with than the past two, but I’ve been really down and sort of morbid today. I actually looked at my tweets from the day of the tornado – the first time since tweeting them. If that wasn’t bad enough, I actually called up the alarm company and asked about getting the audio of the calls they made to us that day, which they’ll be emailing to me within 48 hours. I was on the phone with them as we drove into the area, and started seeing the damage. I’m sure it was nothing but a bunch of incoherent screaming … but curiosity has taken over.

I’ve just been in a really weird place all day, my apologies if you’ve been putting up with my tornado nonsense on Twitter and Facebook (and now here!) today!

So, trying to brighten the day a little, I’d like to share a new recipe: Creamy blueberry amaretto pie. This is the recipe that I worked out in a dream, as mentioned in my recipe for Southern Comfort Peach Pie. Lucid dreaming comes in handy sometimes! I tend to do a lot of problem solving and creative prep work while fast asleep.

This isn’t a traditional blueberry pie for two reasons:

– The introduction of amaretto adds a new level of complexity to the filling.

– The addition of cream cheese makes the filling almost a cross between a blueberry pie and a cheesecake.

The creaminess works well with the amaretto and blueberries, and this results in a well-structured pie that doesn’t ooze all over the plate. (Once cooled, anyway!) It’s delicious warm or cold, and is easy to make.

As always, if you like dessert recipes that gain a little extra something by flavoring with liqueurs… check out my first cookbook, The Spirited Baker.

Enjoy!

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Southern Comfort Peach Pie

Yesterday, I went on a pie making binge. I was inspired by Canadian Living‘s tweets the day before, about the first-ever pie making attempt by their web food editor (who is adorable, btw). Yesterday morning, I woke up from a dream in which I had conceptualized a new pie recipe, and was craving a pie-type snack food from back home. I decided to take them all as a sign that I should bake pies, and so I did.

Two of my friends came over to work on our deck for the afternoon, while I stayed inside and baked for them. 3 different pies, and Jamaican beef patties for supper – it was a productive day! As we were all eating supper at the end of the day, I realized that I had turned into a green haired “Barefoot Contessa”. “Oh, my friend so and so came over to work on my garden, so I prepared a lovely meal for him in the meantime…”. Had to snicker.

Anyway, all of those recipes will be posted over the next week or so.

This recipe is a slight variation of one in my first cookbook, The Spirited Baker. I love the combination of peaches and Southern Comfort liqueur. The peaches are so tasty this time of year, and this easy to make recipe turns out a really pretty pie. If you leave the skins on (I do!), the sauce turns a pretty pink color, surrounding the chunks of peaches.

And it’s delicious. Oh yes.

If you’ve never made a pie before, and find the idea daunting at all – feel free to “cheat” a little and buy store bought pre-rolled pie dough in the refrigerator section. Homemade pie filling blows anything canned completely out of the water, and it’s easier than people think. Just try it, you won’t regret it! (more…)

Great-Uncle Tom’s Pie Crust Recipe

In preparation for the next few days, I’d like to share my favorite pie crust recipe. Unlike every other recipe on this site… this one is not even my own recipe!

Nope, I’m not all that big on making pies, so I asked for my great-uncle Tom’s permission to publish his special pie crust recipe. He’s renowned for his pies, which are reportedly scooped out of his hands on sight!

This recipe is enough to make 3 double crust pies (or 6 single crust pies, obviously!). If you’re not intending to make that much pie, no worries – just tightly wrap the dough in foil and freeze it. It’ll keep for 3 months in the freezer. (more…)