Did you eat pie today? I went to a Geek school, so I’ve been celebrating Pi day ever since first year, though rarely with a piece of actual pie. Actually, my celebration usually only goes as far as talking about how it’s Pi day. I guess that means I don’t really celebrate it at all.
This year, however, I latched on to the excuse to make one of my favourite bad-for-you foods, not that I usually need an excuse. Mmm… meatpie.
There is a bakery in my home town that makes the most delightful meat and veggie packed meat pies, absolutely nothing like the runny ones you get in the grocery store. Oh, how I miss those meatpies. So, I sent M an email halfway through the day with a short list of groceries: ground beef, frozen veggies, flour, and a box of pie shells. When M arrived, he sheepishly handed me the pie shells and said, “I think I got the wrong ones.”
How was I supposed to make a savoury pie with graham pie crust? I eyed the bag of flour. Really? Was I going to have to do this?
I have never made a pie crust. Ever.
Thank to M’s mistake, I can’t say that anymore. And you know? It wasn’t so bad. Yes, the pie took double the time it would otherwise have taken. And yes, my hands are very dry from the flour worked deep into my skin. But I love recipes that let me get my hands dirty, that pull me in to the very essence of the food.
My pies are not exactly pretty. Eventually, perhaps, when I’ve made as many perfect pies as my grandmother has, they’ll be a little more photo worthy.
From my own head, with the assistance of the Joy of Cooking pie reference section
1 lb ground beef
1 medium sized onion
2 cups mixed frozen veggies or the equivalent chopped fresh veggies
1 tbs corn starch
1 cup water
1 heaping tsp beef bouillion, or to taste
a medley of your choice of seasonings
(I used basil, oregano leaves, ground pepper, Montreal steak spice and a dash of cumin)
1 double crust pie shell
Brown the beef with the onion until beef is no longer pink and the onion is translucent. Add the frozen veggies and mix in well. Over the mixture, sprinkle the cornstarch and beef bouillion powder. (If you’re using a cube, just add it after you add the water instead.) Mix the powders in a bit so there is not cornstarch clumped together. Add the water and mix well to combine everything. Sprinkle the spices in and mix together. Allow to simmer on the stove while you get your pie pan ready or, if you’re nervous about taking too long, just remove it from the heat. It’s going to get heated up in the stove anyway.
Pie dough! Like this: take 2.5 cup flour and cut into it 3/4 cup chilled shortening. Mix it all together until it’s crumbly, kind of the size of peas. Then, add 6 tbsp of chilled water. Mix it all together. Add a little more water if you need it to get the dough to hold together, but you don’t want it to be too sticky.
Yes, friends, that is all pie dough is: flour, fat, water.
Separate the dough into two equal parts. Sprinkle a little flour on your counter top, and roll out the first part as thin as you can. You need space for this unfortunately… I had to remove my coffeemaker from the counter and put it on the floor until I was done…
Place the flattened dough in a greased 9-inch pie pan. Press it gently into the corners. Take a knife and cut the excess around the pan, leaving a decent sized crust. If at any point you tear the dough, wet your fingers and press the dough back together. It’s amazing how fixable this stuff is.
Repeat the rolling process for the second half of the dough and set it aside.
Dump the filling into the base shell, the pie dough in your pie pan. With bit of cold water on your finger, wet down the edge of the base pie dough. Carefully place the top piece of pie dough over the filling and pinch into the edge of the base pie dough. I use a fork for this – makes it much easier. And, there you go! You’re done the hard part.
Pop the whole thing in the oven at 350*for 30 minutes or until lightly golden on top. Try not to think about how much time you’ve already spent on it and how hungry you are since it’s now at least two hours after your normal dinner time.