Friday, January 8, 2010

Pie Perfection

With record cold temperatures, you are in need for some homemade comfort food. Chances are, in this weather and economy, you're staying home. Whip out the Biltmore cookbook and find two pie recipes: one savory, the other sweet. Assemble, bake and snuggle up.

Chicken Potpie (pg. 150)

You have to love the simplicity of a one dish meal. What makes this recipe unique is the blend of herbs: fresh sage, dried oregano, thyme and basil. And you'll add a cup of Biltmore Chardonnay, which makes for a really nice flavor. The only vegetable in there is peas and I like using the tiny variety.

The greatest thing about this recipe is that it makes enough filling for two pies and usually frozen pie crust comes packaged as two. So you can eat one when you make it and then easily freeze the other filling for a rainy day when you are feeling lazy.

I took a few liberties with this one. It asks you to roast a chicken all day first, but I used the boil and shred method instead to save time. The recipe also has you making individual dishes and cutting the pie crusts to fit, which would certainly be a great option for restaurant style serving. I like the look of the whole pie. I substituted the heavy cream with evaporated milk to reduce the fat amount (but still plenty creamy).

This dish took about an hour, but you are essentially making two meals. And, don't forget that you'll need to add some time to let it cool before serving.

Apple Tart (pg. 120)

You will have to excuse me for flipping back to the fall recipes to make this dish, but I love this tart. This is the third one I have made and I change it a little every time. It is a great dessert for dinner parties because it looks harder than it is.

Break out the mixer that has been collecting dust for this one as you will make your own crust. Arranging the apples is the artistic part. The apples have been tossed with sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. You can skip the sugar, especially if you have in season, sweet fruit. The recipe calls for a streusel topping made from flour, brown sugar and melted butter. This is the part I experiment with every time. I left out the flour this time and I think the brown sugar stands alone just fine.

Once you have this crust down, there are so many possibilities. I can't wait to try this recipe with different fruits like berries or peaches. Mango tarts this summer, perhaps.

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ARH said...

Yum, both of those look very good. I'm not a big fan of chicken pot pie, but that one looks good, I'll have to try the recipe.

Cindy said...

I got the pleasure of getting to taste the apple tart and it was amazing, both cold and warm. I'm not a cook but she assured me it was a very easy recipe so I may have to try it one day. I love chicken pot pie too so I may have to look into that. Hmmm. This blog might just turn me into a cook.