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Stewed Pork Pie

One of the most fun parts of celebrating National Pie Month this way is that we’ve been able to share the pie love with our friends.  This Saturday we had friends over to help us eat this stewed pork pie and a winter banana pudding, so I had the opportunity to get creative.  The coolest thing for me about doing such a focused month o’ pie has been the challenge offered by creating and photographing very similar recipes.  The challenge has been really great for getting my creative juices flowing.  That, and we’ve been eating a lot of pie.

I knew that I wanted the style and feel of these pork pies to be very different from the Smokey Chicken Pie we had last weekend.  Even though the flavor and ingredients were so different, it was important for the pies to be visually different because a savory pie always sort of looks like a savory pie.  So instead of a traditional pie format I opted for cup pies.  Cup pies are personal pies baked in a cup cake pan.  The end result was both fun and delicious.

Stewed Pork Pie

1 lb pork loin roast

2 red potatoes, diced

3 medium sized carrots, peeled and diced

1 large can diced tomatoes

1 tbsp herbs de provance

1 tbsp butter

1 tsp red pepper flakes

1 tsp sea salt

1 tsp pepper

3 garlic cloves

1 medium sized red onion

1 egg, whisked

In a crock pot or dutch oven combine all ingredients except the red onion.  Cook under medium heat for 4 hours.

Start your pie dough. Sift dry ingredients. Using your hands, work in shortening. Cube butter and work it in. Continue to blend until the consistency is that of course cornmeal. Stir in the water, a little at a time until your dough forms a ball. Divide in half. Wrap each half in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

After 4 hours, check the temperature of the pork.  It should be between 160 and 170.  Put the temperature to warm.  Slice your onions and stir in.  Using two forks, gently pull the pork apart so that it shreds.  Allow to simmer in the juices for another 30 minutes.

Remove the dough from the fridge. Roll it out on a floured, non-stick surface (like a sil-pat). Roll it out so it is 1/4″ thick.  Cut in 4 x 4 squares.  Oil a cupcake pan and place a square in each hole.  Fill with the pork mixture.  Pinch the edges together and fold over.

Brush each pie with egg wash.  Bake at 375 for 25 minutes or until golden brown.  Let cool slightly and remove from pan.  Serve.

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Black Bottom Pie

Usually, Valentine’s Day isn’t a big deal. I try and make a nice dinner, maybe something special. It’s usually grits. I said it. I think grits are sexy. Anyway, I’ve never made a big deal about it. I’m pretty sure last year we ended up watching this show about two guys who should have died on an island after they got shipwrecked. But this year I wanted to do something a little different. This has been a particularly hard winter, I’ve been in a funk and the idea of doing something special just because was really appealing.

So today I worked from home and planned a really sweet night in. I made a nice dinner, complete with both chocolate dipped strawberries and black bottom pie. I chilled a bottle of cava. I put on a fancy dress. I built a fire on a night not remotely cold enough to warrant one. I shaped twizzlers into letters saying things like “I love you” and “D <3 E.” I cut out paper hearts. And I built a fort in our living room.

And I have to say, I’m so glad I did. I needed this. I know Dan loves me every day. I know that everyday I’m incredibly lucky and that everyday I have someone special and kind to come home to, someone that loves me. I celebrate that every day. But it was so refreshing to carve out a little extra special time for us. No, I don’t need an excuse to bake my husband a pie and lie around and snuggle him. But I won’t turn down the opportunity.

Black Bottom Pie

Dough:

2 1/2 cups flour

2 tbsp sugar

1 tsp salt

1/4 cup shortening

1 stick butter

1/2 cup water

Filling:

2 cups milk

1 tbsp flavorless gelatin

1/4 cup cold water

1/2 cup sugar

1 tbsp corn starch

1 tsp salt

4 egg yolks

Chocolate layer:

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups chocolate

Custard Layer:

4 egg whites

1 tsp cream of tartar

1/4 cup sugar

1 tsp almond extract

Topping:

1 cup heavy whipping cream

1/2 cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla

Chocolate for shaving

Start with your pie dough. Sift dry ingredients. Using your hands, work in shortening. Cube butter and work it in. Continue to blend until the consistency is that of course cornmeal. Stir in the water, a little at a time until your dough forms a ball. Divide in half. Wrap each half in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Remove half of the dough from the fridge. Roll it out on a floured, non-stick surface (like a sil-pat). Roll it out so it is 1 foot x 1 foot wide and 1/4″ thick. Drape the crust over the rolling pin and transfer it to the pie dish. Press into the pie dish. Bake at 375 for 25 minutes.

Combine gelatin and cold water. Set aside. Scald milk. Set aside. Combine egg yolks, sugar, salt, and corn starch. Stir in yolks, fully incorporating. Spoon a ladle-full of milk into egg mixture. Stir it in completely. Stir in a second ladle-full. Pour egg/milk mixture into the remaining milk. Over medium heat, stir constantly until it thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon (5-7 minutes). Stir in gelatin. Set aside.

Melt chocolate in a medium size bowl. Stir half of egg/milk mixture into the chocolate. Stir well so there are no lumps. Add vanilla. Pour into pie dish. Refrigerate.

Add almond extract to the remaining custard. In a mixer, whip egg whites, cream of tartar, and sugar until stiff. Fold into remaining custard. Spoon into pie dish on top of the chocolate.

Refrigerate at least 3 hours.

Whip cream, sugar, and vanilla until stiff. Spread onto pie. Shave chocolate on top for garnish. Chill for 1 hour before serving.

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Chocolate Chess Pie

Chocolate Chess Pie was my grandmother Bobbie’s signature fall and winter pie.  It made appearances on every holiday table and was the one pie that made it onto everyone’s dessert plate, along with a dollop of fresh whipped cream. Chess pie is a very southern concoction, the basic chess is sugar, eggs, and butter, with different additions changing the pie.  Chess pies can range from tart lemon chess to rich and heavenly chocolate.  Can you tell which one is my preference?

I’ve written about Tar Heel Pie before, a chocolate chess pie with pecans in it.  Apparently Tar Heel Pie is a product of a North Carolina marketing push in the 1980s, a way to assign a signature pie to the Tar Heel state.  And as much as I love that pecany addition, there is something to be said about the basic, original pie.  Rich. Dreamy. Wonderful.

Chocolate Chess Pie

Pie Dough:

2 1/2 cups flour

2 tbsp sugar

1 tsp salt

1/4 cup shortening

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup ice water

Filling:

1 cup chocolate chips

1 stick melted butter

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup flour

1/2 cup white sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

2 eggs, beaten

Whipped Cream:

1 cup heavy whipping cream

1/4 cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla

1 tsp ginger

Start with your pie dough.  Sift dry ingredients.  Using your hands, work in shortening.  Cube butter and work it in.  Continue to blend until the consistency is that of course cornmeal.  Stir in the water, a little at a time until your dough forms a ball.  Divide in half.  Wrap each half in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Pour hot butter over chocolate chips and stir until fully incorporated.  Whisk together remaining ingredients and add to chocolate.

Remove half of the dough from the fridge.  Roll it out on a floured, non-stick surface (like a sil-pat).  Roll it out so it is 1 foot x 1 foot wide and 1/4″ thick.  Drape the crust over the rolling pin and transfer it to the pie dish.  Press into the pie dish.  Scoop filling into the pie dish.

Bake at 350* for 30-40 minutes.

Let cool completely.  Whip together cream, sugar, vanilla, and ginger.  Serve pie topped with whipped cream.

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