My friends, what is pie?
(Sidebar: one time I went to Germany to visit a friend, and while I was there I made a lemon meringue pie for a dinner party. One of the guests asked that same question: "What is pie?"
They don't know what pie is in Germany!
That will never cease to amaze me. I've mentioned it before.)
What is your mental image of a pie, those of you who know what one is? Close your eyes and imagine one. Dig, if you will, the picture.
Here's my idea of a pie: crust on top, some kind of filling, and crust on the bottom. Right? Right. Under no circumstances are the following two items pies:
On the left is a ramekin with filling and crust on top but not on the bottom. Probably delicious; not pie.
On the right is a baking dish with filling and let's say Grands!® biscuits on top. Probably okay; not pie.
Call those two things something else, but stop calling them pies, please, especially if you plan to serve them to guests. Don't say, "Hey, come over! I'm making chicken pot pie!"...
...and present something that has no top and bottom crust. The second you mention C.P.P., people (well, me) will visualize a true pie and spend the day thinking about how great it's going to be, and when you deliver some casserole topped with a biscuit, a part of me will hate you, and I'm sorry. I just really love pie.
Tuesday Melissa came out for supper, and I made a true chicken pot pie. I cut vent holes in the shape of an M on the top crust because who doesn't like a pie marked with their initial? All human beings who know about pie like that, but so few people ever receive a pie made in their honor. Bake a pie with a top crust and mark it with somebody's initial. Make one for yourself! HONOR PIES. It'll knock their socks off.
(Photo not available, but trust me, it was cute.)
So this pie is comfort food of the highest order. It's from The Pioneer Woman Cooks, and I've already made it twice since Christmas at Jeff's request. I love it too, and after Melissa returned to her apartment, she Facebooked the following: Now I just want endless amounts of chicken pot pie...*sigh*
The Pioneer Woman's recipe is for a top-crust-only-pie-that-is-not-a-pie, and she made it in a pie pan/casserole dish that's bigger than mine. The recipe made more filling than my pie could hold, something like two cups, but that was no big deal. I just kept it warm while the pie baked and spooned it alongside each piece (see extras in the top photo).
It's not the easiest thing in the world to make, but pie never is. You will not be a fan of the time-consuming fine chopping that's involved. Once you start making this pie, people will demand that you keep making it.
But come on. You've got to admit that my honor pie idea intrigues you.
(Unrelated: Bun is a stern taskmistress as she supervises the painting of Glass Gems 3.)
- Top and bottom pie crust <-- However you want to make it: if you go with my recipe here (scroll down), use the version with the 3 cups of flour that I've written in blue pen.
- 3 celery stalks
- 3 medium carrots, peeled
- 1/2 cup frozen peas
- 1 large onion
- 4 tbsp butter
- 2 cups chicken, cooked, diced or shredded <-- Lately I've been buying big packages of 8-9 bone-in chicken thighs, which taste chicken-ier than breasts and are cheaper. I remove the skin, top them with 1/4 cup olive oil, juice of one lemon, and salt/pepper, and roast I them in a glass baking dish at 400 for 45 minutes. We eat some and save the rest for stuff like this.
- 1/4 cup flour
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1 chicken bouillon cube (optional) <--used it
- 1/4 cup white wine (optional) <-- used it
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 tsp ground thyme <--used regular non-ground thyme
- 1 tsp kosher salt or more to taste
- black pepper to taste
PS It finally snowed! I made a celebratory crazy cake and, since I didn't have any powdered sugar, I made a quick mocha ganache topping:
- 8 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped or in chip form
- 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
- 5 ounces heavy cream
- tiny sprinkle of fleur de sel (decoration)
- handful of white chocolate chips (decoration)
Put chocolate and espresso powder in a smallish bowl. Heat cream in a small saucepan until simmering (small bubbles will appear along the edge of the pan). Do not boil. Pour the cream over the chocolate and wait for two minutes. Whisk the mixture until you have a thick, glossy ganache. I let mine cool and thicken for about ten minutes. Pour and smooth over your cake and decorate it (or not!).
Thanks to my sister in-law Shanna for my new cake stand. I love it so much!