Monday, March 8, 2010


I love my pug, Beatrix. She's my most willing food tester, and enjoys eating everything I make, edible and otherwise. :)
There are a lot of pocket-sized things these days. You can carry in an iPod touch a computer about a million times more powerful and about 1/1,000,000,000 times smaller than the Mark I. (or II. whatever.) But you know what isn't usually pocket-sided? Pie! The divine device known as the pasty or pocket pie was born out of the genius minds of American slaves, Chinese peasants, or Cornish housewives depending on who you ask. It uses a little bit of food, a little bit of filling, and a little bit of fuel, making it the perfect cheap, (seemingly) easy treat. Alton Brown came up with the best description: "As my gramma used to say, poor people workin' food."
Here's AB's recipe:
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoons salt
6 tablespoons cold cubed butter
3/4 cup milk
1 egg mixed with 1 to 2 tablespoons water
1. Sift together all dry ingredients, making sure to wear safety goggles to prevent projectile flour throwing. Cut in the butter with your fingers, and use a wooden spoon to mix in the milk. Looks familiar, huh? This is almost the same procedure we used for the biscuits. But there's a bit of a twist.
2. Roll and knead out the dough 15-20 times. This time, we want gluten to provide 2 seemingly contradictory traits: flexibility and strength. Roll out thin with a rolling pin, and cut into 2 1/2 inch rounds. Stack these rounds up, and then roll each one into a thin circle about 5-6 inches wide. While rolling their buddies, you can stack your newly formed discs in between layers of waxed paper.
3. Prepare filling. You can use anything from leftover beef stew to blueberry preserves here, so be creative. Just do not use anything excessively wet, or the dough will get soggy.
4. To fill: place 1-2 tablespoons of your filling in the approximate center or the round. Dab a little egg wash onto half of the circle, then fold the non-egg half over, and seal. Use a fork to crimp it closed, being careful to roll it onto the dough rather than slice through it. Take a clean pair of shears, and make 2 little snips on top to act as a steam vent. (there are no written records of exploding pie, but let's try not to change that)
5. Line the pies up on an ungreased baking pan, and cook for 25-30 min. at 350 degrees. They won't be very brown, but will puff up slightly and become firm.
6. Once they come out of the oven, move to a cooling rack, clean up your mess, and enjoy.
There are other ways to cook these (ie pan frying and deep frying) but I do not have enough oil to deep fry, and my pan fried ones burnt. Badly. Feeling adventerous? Here are Alton Brown's instructions for this recipe:
Alas! The monday curse continues today. But in a few hours it will be tuesday! Yay!

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