Sunday, December 13, 2009

Hot Water Pastry Recipe

Yeah, my pie pretty much owns.

Hot water pastry was mentioned in this Leftover Pot-Pie recipe. Inspired by a discussion about baking ratios and receiving some leftover turkey and stock from Thanksgiving, I decided to refine the crust recipe and write it out more explicitly. This crust is more suited to hot savory pies than a regular flaky pie crust, and the hot water technique is much faster than cutting in cold butter. It's traditionally made from lard, but you can use shortening with some butter mixed in. I added a couple of tablespoons of bacon grease for flavor.

1 lb. all-purpose flour
1/2 lb. (scant) fat
1 c. half water, half milk
1 tsp. salt

The ratios are essentially 2 flour: 1 fat: 1 liquid, with salt. This recipe makes 1 very large double-crust pie. The dough will be cooked first at 450 for 15 minutes and then, when filled, at 350 for 1 hour.

Combine the milk, water, and fat in a saucepan and bring just to a boil. Allow to sit until the fat is fully melted. In a large bowl, combine the flour and salt.

Pour the hot liquid into the flour and salt and stir thoroughly with a wooden spoon until all ingredients are fully combined. Knead on a floured board a few times. Keep the dough warm as you're working so that it stays pliable.

Divide the dough into two parts, one slightly larger than the other. Roll out the larger piece to the desired thickness on parchment paper or a thick layer of flour. Place in your baking dish. Fill the crust with your filling and roll out the top layer. Add the top crust layer and crimp the edges with your fingers or a fork.

Let's see that from another angle. Mmmm.....

Pierce the top crust a few times and decorate, if desired. Brush with a beaten egg. Bake at 450 for 15 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 350 and bake for 45 more minutes. Remove the pie and brush with egg again, and return the pie to the oven for 15 more minutes. If any parts begin to get too brown while baking, cover those parts with foil.

Allow the pie to rest 5 minutes before slicing.

Oh yeah, cut me a piece!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Tonkatsu aka How to make a frozen cutlet into a nice meal

UPDATE! Here is an improved salad dressing recipe and a detailed description of making the cutlet from scratch. The dressing below is still good, but not quite as good as the miso style!

Technically tonkatsu is a breaded pork cutlet, but you can make chicken-katsu or veal-catsu or chickenmcnugget-katsu (as pictured). It's traditionally served as a full meal with rice, shredded cabbage, miso soup, and some pickles. The cutlet is generally sliced so that it can be eaten with chopsticks and dressed with Japanese-style Worcestershire sauce ('sosu').

I forgot to take a picture of rice, so don't forget to include it!

For the meal pictured I used salad with ginger vinaigrette instead of the cabbage. Here's how to put together the meal:

Make the Sosu:
1/2 c. catsup
1/4 c. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 c. rice wine
3 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. ginger, minced
1 Tbsp. garlic, minced

Combine all ingredients and simmer for 20 minutes.

Rice:
Make some short-grained white rice. Place in a bowl before serving.

Salad with Ginger Vinaigrette:
If making a salad, combine lettuce, tomatoes, carrots, red onions, and daikon. Dress with:

1/4 c. rice vinegar
3 Tbsp. salad oil
1 Tbsp. sesame oil
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 Tbsp. light soy sauce
1 green onion, minced
1 Tbsp. ginger, minced
1/2 tsp white pepper

Tonkatsu:
Bread and fry the cutlet any way you like, or just cook up some frozen ones. Slice into bite sized pieces before serving. You can top these with the sosu or leave it on the side. Here's a tonkatsu recipe if you're making it from scratch.

Miso Soup:
Make some miso soup. Add tofu and wakame seaweed if you like. Place into bowls and garnish with fresh green onions.

Cabbage:
Slice a couple handfuls of cabbage very thin (if using individual leaves, roll them up tightly before slicing). Soak in cold water for 5 minutes, then drain well.

* * *

Arrange all the components attractively, or heck just put them on a plate. Cut up some pickles (such as the daikon takuan pictured) and put them on the side. Dig in!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Brats and Kraut in the Slow-cooker

This recipe isn't much different from Porky Kraut, but I thought I'd post it anyway, since it's a little faster (you don't have to cut up the meat) and more colorful, and it reminds us all to use our beloved slow-cookers.

~6 raw bratwurst
2 lbs. sauerkraut
1 large carrot
1 large turnip (optional)
1/4 c. white wine
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. thyme
1 tsp. white pepper
1 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. sugar
1 pinch cayenne
2 bay leaves
water

Brown the brats in a pan. Place them in the slow-cooker. Use some water or broth to deglaze the pan and add that to the cooker.

Drain and rinse the kraut. If you like it zingy, only rinse it a little. Add to the cooker.

Grate the carrot and turnip (if using) and add to the cooker.

Stir in the spices and wine and add water so that the contents are 3/4 submerged. Cook all day. Serve with mashed or roasted potatoes.

***

Feel free to experiment with the spices. I add a mix I got from Penzey's called Krakow Nights. You can go the caraway route if you like that kind of thing.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Not Just Pumpkin Pie

This is a very simple variation on Pumpkin Pie, and it turns it into another fabulous Dessert for Breakfast item.

Preheat oven to 450. Using your favorite pumpkin pie recipe, substitute for the pumpkin a mixture of cooked yellow squash, sweet potatoes, and turnips. I increased the eggs by 2 as the mixture seemed a little watery.

I use Lillian's most fabulous pie crust recipe, which is around here somewhere I'm sure. Assemble pie and bake at 450 for 10 minutes, then at 350 for 45-50 minutes. It should be non-wiggly when you take it out. The surface will probably split when cooled. Mine made an interesting 4 pointed star shape. Delicious warm or cooled and a totally guilt-free snack or dessert.