Category Archives: Pies

Chicken Pot Pie with Buttermilk Crust

This pot pie uses the chicken thigh meat I cooked in my recent chicken fest. I thought about just making a chicken and biscuits casserole, but I haven’t made a pot pie in a long time and settled on that instead. My pot pies must have a double crust, not like those pseudo pies with just a top crust. I can see why you’d use just a top crust if using a deep casserole dish, but it’s just not a pie to me without a bottom crust. It’s more of a chicken cobbler, if there is such a thing.

The star of this pie is the buttermilk crust, which is pretty much a butter crust that uses buttermilk for the water that brings the dough together. I’ve seen some buttermilk crust recipes that don’t use butter, and some that riff on vinegar pie crusts, but I’m just doing a regular butter crust with the addition of whole buttermilk. It will be a little sticky and shaggy, like my favorite biscuit dough, but in the end, I find the moist doughs handle well. This one was easy to roll, came out crisp and flaky, and the egg wash made it gorgeous to look at.

Buttermilk Pie Crust

  • Servings: makes one double crust
  • Difficulty: easy if you're used to making pie crust
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2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon salt

Optional: 1-2 tablespoons sugar (better in a dessert pie)

1 cup cold butter (2 sticks) cut in small cubes

1/2-3/4 cup whole buttermilk, depending on your humidity

1 egg, beaten for egg wash

  1. Mix together the flour, salt, and sugar if using.
  2. Cut in cold butter. I like to use my fingers to do this, which leaves little shards of flattened butter cubes and flour, but you can use a pastry cutter or food processor.
  3. Stir in buttermilk until the dough holds together but is not overly sticky. I had to use a little more than the 1/2 cup, but not quite as much as 3/4 cup.
  4. Knead the dough lightly into a fairly smooth ball, cut in half, and shape each half into an 8 inch disc. Wrap each disc in plastic and refrigerate for about an hour.
  5. This dough handles well after refrigeration, not turning into a hard block that you can’t roll out easily. I have no trouble with cracks or tears in this dough, and it rolls out easily to a large circle.
  6. Roll each disc to a circle about 2 inches bigger than your pie dish. My dish was one of the old Pyrex® 9.5 inch dishes.
  7. Fit one crust into your dish, leaving the overhang. I prefer to trim the overhang of the bottom and top crusts together.
  8. Fill the crust, then add the top crust. You can see in one image that I folded the top crust in quarters and then unfolded it on top of the pie. The dough really handled well for folding.
  9. Trim the overhang evenly and to your liking, and crimp as you desire. For a savory pie, I don’t really want the fancy crimped edge, but prefer to roll under the overhang into high, fat edge.
    1. Forgot to say to brush the crust with egg wash!
  10. I baked my pie at 400° for about 45 minutes until the crust was browned and the interior was hot and bubbly. If your crusts are still very cold, and/or your filling is cold, yours might take longer, in which case you might lower the temperature to 375° after the first 15 minutes.

Chicken Pot Pie Filling

  • Servings: for one pie
  • Difficulty: easy
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Let’s just assume that you have precooked some chicken to use in such a pie. Poached chicken breasts would work as well as the thigh meat I used.

*Note that I made 3 cups of gravy, but I only used 2 cups in the pie. The remaining gravy can be served at the table.

3-4 cups cooked chicken, roughly cut in bite-sized pieces

2 cups carrots, cut in small dice, simmered for 5 minutes in the chicken stock

1 medium onion, cut in small dice

1 cup frozen peas

2 cups chicken stock

1 cup whole milk or half and half

6 tablespoons butter

6 tablespoons all purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika

  1. Combine the cooked chicken, carrots (note instruction to cook carrots above), and frozen peas in a large bowl.
  2. In a saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add onions and saute until translucent.
  3. Stir flour and seasonings into butter/onion mixture, stirring until all lumps are removed. Continue stirring for 1-2 minutes to cook out raw flour taste.
  4. Slowly pour in chicken stock and milk, stirring continuously. Stir over medium heat until thickened.
  5. Add gravy to filling mixture, one cup at a time, until you feel the filling is at the right consistency, without being soupy. As noted, I used 2 cups of the gravy.
    1. If your chicken mixture was made ahead and has been refrigerated, you might need to warm it in the gravy a little before adding the frozen peas. You don’t want to add a super hot filling to the crust, nor a very cold one.
  6. Follow the crust directions above to fill and bake the pie.

Coconut Cream Pie

So, I asked, “Do you want some kind of a dessert for the Fourth, something with fruit, berries, maybe whipped cream or cream cheese?” And he says, “Yeah. Coconut cream pie.” What? Not the kind of fruity, easy to throw together dessert I was imagining, but coconut cream pie it is. Next time I won’t ask if I’d rather make something else.

I really like this recipe for “Classic Toasted Coconut Cream Pie,” because it uses all coconut milk as the filling liquid, where others usually use a combination of coconut milk and cream or half and half, and some don’t use coconut milk at all, which I do not understand. I also like that it calls for unsweetened dried coconut, so you know exactly how much sugar goes into the dessert. It’s a wonderfully creamy pie that is sweet enough, but not cloyingly sweet. This time around I even made her pie crust, a butter crust, and the whole thing turned out great, even if two of my pie shell sides tried to collapse.

Follow the link above for the recipe, but here’s what I did differently.

  • I did not toast the coconut, which is Bob’s Red Mill® Unsweetened Flaked Coconut. Sometimes, I’m just not in the mood for the toasted flavor. I did, however, soak the large flakes in some warm water until softer, and then drained it and let it dry a bit.
  • I did not follow the direction to fold part of the whipped cream into the pastry cream filling, so my pie has what appears to be more whipped cream on top than the original picture. The pastry cream is so good and fluffy that it doesn’t need the addition of any whipped cream.

Here’s that link to the recipe again: “Classic Toasted Coconut Cream Pie

Sausage and Three Pepper Pie

Just a few posts ago, I traveled back to the 70s to bring you a crazy crust pie. Today, I only go back to the 80s to bring you another meal in a crust, “Sausage and Three Pepper Pie,” from a March 1987 article in Redbook magazine—do they still publish Redbook? The article showed 12 different pies that used either hot roll mix or frozen puff pastry (sheets or shells) for the crusts. The whole idea of a one meal dish with a crust is obviously related to the pizza and even the sandwich, but some of these pies seem a little fancier. Whatever the motivation to invention, it’s both convenient and impressive to serve these creations in a crust.

The pie I made uses hot roll mix for the crust, but I imagine you could use a homemade roll dough instead. I made only a few changes to the original recipe and I’ll give you both versions below.

My Version: Sausage and Three Pepper Pie

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
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Preheat oven to 425°

Grease a 13″ x 9″ baking dish

1 pound fully cooked smoked sausage, sliced into bite size rounds (mine was a beef sausage)

1 15oz can diced tomatoes, drained

2 cloves garlic, minced or grated

1 large red bell pepper, cored, seeded and cut into thin strips, about 1 1/4 cups

1 large orange bell pepper, cored, seeded and cut into thin strips, about 1 1/4 cups

1 large yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded and cut into thin strips, about 1 1/4 cups

1 medium-size onion, sliced, about 3/4 cup

salt and pepper, to taste

1 16-ounce package hot-roll mix (requires 2 tablespoons soft butter and 1 large egg)

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 cup (or more) grated mozzarella cheese

Prepare filling ingredients first, so they cool a little while you make the dough:

  • Heat 1-2 tablespoons olive oil in each of two large skillets over medium-high heat. In one skillet, cook peppers and onion until they begin to soften, about five minutes. In the other skillet, brown the sausage, then add the tomatoes and garlic, stirring to heat through. Set both aside, stirring half the Parmesan into each mixture.

Prepare dough for crust:

  • Prepare dough according to package directions, using the butter and egg in the directions. I still can’t figure out why the original recipe leaves those out. Add a little extra flour if the dough is too sticky. You need to be able to press it in the pan and up the sides. I added about 1/4 cup extra and it was still a soft dough.
  • Let dough rest, covered for 5 minutes.
  • Press dough into bottom of greased dish and up sides at least an inch. Flour your hands if the dough is sticky.
  • Bake the unfilled dough for five minutes.
  • Remove the dish and add filling. I add the peppers and onion first, and then the sausage and tomatoes, so the juices run over the peppers. Cover with mozzarella.
  • Bake for 20 more minutes, until cheese is melted and crust is browned. Let cool and cut in squares.

Original: Sausage and Three Pepper Pie

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy
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“A hearty, colorful Italian main dish.” Redbook, March 1987

Preheat oven to 425°

Grease a 13″ x 9″ baking dish

1 pound sweet Italian sausages

1 large green bell pepper, cored, seeded and cut into thin strips, about 1 1/4 cups

1 large red bell pepper, cored, seeded and cut into thin strips, about 1 1/4 cups

1 large yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded and cut into thin strips, about 1 1/4 cups

1 medium-size onion, sliced, about 3/4 cup

1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds

salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1 16-ounce package hot-roll mix

1 cup grated mozzarella cheese

Prepare filling: Using fork, prick each sausage in several places. In 12-inch skillet over medium heat, cook sausages about 20 minutes, turning frequently until well browned on all sides. Using slotted spoon, remove sausages to paper towels to drain. when cool enough to handle, cut into 1/2 inch diagonal slices, set aside. To drippings remaining in skillet add green, red and yellow peppers and onion; cook over medium-high heat about 5 minutes, stirring frequently until crisp-tender. Remove from heat; stir in fennel seeds, salt, black pepper and reserved sausages. set aside.

Prepare crust: Prepare hot-roll mix according to package directions, using 1 1/4 cups hot water and omitting margarine and egg. After dough rests 5 minutes, pat into prepared baking dish, making thick, high border around sides. Bake 5 minutes. remove baking dish from oven; maintain oven temperature. Spoon sausage mixture into crust; sprinkle with cheese. Bake 20 minutes until cheese melts and crust is golden brown.

70s Flashback: Crazy Crust Taco Pie

Feeling like getting your groove on this weekend? Then ease on down the road to this one dish (sort of) meal in a pie pan, the Crazy Crust Taco Pie. If you never made one before, don’t worry, because thanks to the Internet, the past is at your fingertips. Not into taco flavoring? There are endless filling possibilities from the past or you can invent your own. Most of the ones I see use ground beef, but I’d like to see some with chicken, too. The crust is kind of a loose biscuit dough with egg and sour cream that rises around your filling, and the result is a very soft and tender crust.

Can you dig it?

Crazy Crust Taco Pie

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Preheat oven to 425°

Grease and flour a 10 inch pie pan.

Crazy Crust

1/2 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 cup solid shortening (like Crisco®)

1/2 cup sour cream

1 egg

  1. Mix all ingredients until mostly smooth. I recommend a hand mixer to help incorporate the solid shortening.
  2. Pour batter into prepared pie dish and spread out to edges and up sides. The batter is a little thicker than pancake batter and will not go very far up the sides, so spread it thin on the bottom and use the back of your spoon to press it up the sides about an inch.

My Taco Filling

1 lb ground beef, browned

1 onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, finely diced

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1 cup Pace® Picante Sauce, or your favorite salsa

2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, finely chopped

  1. Brown ground beef and drain off fat. Add onion, garlic, and dry seasonings, continuing to cook until the onions are soft. Add salsa and chipotle peppers and cook for about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool a little while making the batter.
  2. Spoon filling into center of battered dish, leaving the edges of the batter uncovered. Try to place the filling around in spoonfuls and not press it into the batter or do a lot of spreading.
  3. Bake at 425° for about 20 minutes or until browned. If you want to top with cheese, you can add that after it comes out of the oven or you can put in on during the last 5 minutes of baking.
  4. Cut in wedges and serve with your favorite taco toppings—grated cheese, lettuce, guacamole, sour cream, more salsa.