Few things in life bring me more joy than pie. Plus it's an easy zero-waste recipe.
With summer just around the corner and baseball season starting up, I get a feeling of excitement. Summer joy, ripening fruit, and fireflies all remind me of vintage adds and classic Americana. I've always loved the image of pin-ups, classic coke bottles, and pies cooling on the window sill. Pie can be so versatile, but you're dead in the water without a killer crust. I love strawberry pie, peach pie, apple pie, pecan pie, sweet potato pie, pumpkin pie, and one of my favorite dinners of all time - pot pie. This crust recipe hasn't failed since 1916. You can thank great granny for passing it down all these years.
2 3/4 Cups of Flour (plus more for dusting and kneading)
1 1/2 Sticks of Butter
1/2 Cup of Ice Water
This makes two crusts. I don't like to use a bottom crust for my pot pie, which always leaves me with an extra for a dessert pie! But, it also freezes very well. You can do this by hand or with a food processor. If you're doing this by hand, chop your butter into small cubes, and mix with the flour until crumbly. If you're using a food processor, place the flour and butter in the bowl and pulse until crumbly. Slowly stream the ice water into the mixture and pulse or stir until it comes together. Dust your workspace with flour, knead for 45 seconds to a minute, and roll the dough to an 1/8" thick.
The second most important step is the gravy. Making a roux is my go to step for thickening cheese dip, curry, alfredo, mac & cheese, and of course gumbo.
3 Tablespoons of Butter
1/3 Cup of Flour
2 1/3 Cups of Milk
1 Teaspoon Salt & Pepper
Melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour until crumbly like the picture above. Stir often over medium heat until the crumbles start to darken around 5 - 10 minutes. This will cook out any raw flour taste and bring a rich flavor profile to your gravy. Add the first cup of milk and stir constantly to break the crumbles into a thick cream. Turn the heat on high and add the second cup of milk; stir constantly and bring to a boil. Once incorporated, turn off the heat. As the mixture cools, it will thicken. Add the 1/3 of a cup of milk and salt and pepper at the end.
1 Cup of Mixed Veggies
3/4 Cup of Shredded Chicken
I love the simplicity of this dish. You can use any leftover veggies or meat, or you could easily make this a vegetarian dish. I alway have carrots on hand and peas are in season. I like to roast a whole bunch of veggies and prepare a protein at the beggining of the week. It makes it so easy to assemble weeknight meals. Mix your veggies and meat into your gravy and pour in the bottom of a pie dish, or any dish roughly 9" x 9". I like to set my dish on top of my dough and cut a 1/4" larger. It will leaver you the perfect amount of edge for stellar crimping.
Crimping takes some patience, but you can do it. Dust your fingers with flour and then pinch. You'll want to make slits in your pie crust to let steam escape during baking. You'll also want to apply an egg wash or melted butter to get a nice golden brown finish. I personally like to add butter or an extra flaky finish.
Does pie make you think of classic Americana? Do you prefer sweet or savory?