October 26, 2005

Pie: A Day in the Life

Sometimes, I go to almost ridiculous lengths to use up something in the fridge, or even just to use a particular condiment or treasured ingredient. On this particular occasion, I had a jar of Jamaican Tomato Relish, redolent with allspice and feisty with fresh habanero chiles in the fridge. It had just reached the stage where it had finished curing and was ready for eating.

Now, it so happens that I'm quite fond of meat pies with chutneys and relishes, so that decided dinner for me. I ventured into the slightly labour-intensive world of pie-making, just so that I could use my relish. I decided on a simple beef and onion pie, moistened ever so slightly with a couple of tablespoons of tomato paste, and seasoned with a touch of curry powder, some fresh ginger, ground allspice, thyme, and garlic - to compliment and sometimes echo - the flavours in the relish.
During the above stage, the top-crust was partially rolled out and resting in the freezer. After I got the filling in and smoothed out, I took the top-crust out, let it sit on the counter for a moment, and then finished rolling it out.
I am a compulsive pie-crimper. I know no other way. I cannot bear to do the fork-pressed edges, because I can feel my mother's laziness-accusing gaze from the heavens. So, I crimp all pies. Even lattice-tops.
A teensy bit of egg-wash on the top of the pie gives it a lovely golden colour. I start my filled pies at 450 F for ten minutes, then reduce to 350 F to finish baking - 30 - 40 minutes, usually.

Coleslaw is one of my favourite accompaniments to meat pie. Its cool, raw veggie flavours and creamy sauce contrast beautifully with the hot, meaty filling and the flaky crust.

I have long been an advocate of pie-making. They freeze (whole) quite well, and they reheat (whole or by the slice) in the oven rather well, too. In a household of two, a meat pie will last for two or three meals, depending on what else is served or how much restraint we're manage to summon. And the relish? Delicious.


LisaSD said...

That is a beautiful pie; it's obvious you took a lot of care with it and have great skill. I usually throw mine together.

Joe said...

It looks so perfect!

Randi said...

The pie looks great, I'll have to try it with ground turkey. Last year, Robin and I made about 50 turkey pot pies( small ones) to give away for xmas gifts. They went over well.

Dawna said...

Lisa SD - thanks! I have a lot to live up to, in the pie-making department. My mom never had to trim the edges of her bottom-crust to make them look that tidy, but I do. I don't mind, though, because I put the trimmings on a baking sheet, sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar, and bake them up as little cookies.

Joe - thanks. I was really happy with the even edge on the crimping!

Randi - Xmas pot pies! What a terrific idea. I'm a big fan of food-for-gifts myself - cornbread mixes, spice blends, etc. Last year I did Oatmeal Cranberry Cookies-in-a-jar, which was quite a pretty mix, with the layers of ingredients.

Michele said...

This pie sounds delicious! Beautiful pastry.

Dawna said...

Thanks, Michele!