Saturday, January 22, 2011

A Day to Celebrate Pie

The American Pie Council® has declared January 23 National Pie Day! The APC’s web site proclaims a day “dedicated to the celebration of pie.”

According to the APC’s notes about pie history, “Pie has been around since the ancient Egyptians. The first pies were made by early Romans who may have learned about it through the Greeks.” So not only is pie A) delicious; but it B) has the power to transcend space/time and C) is not subject to the laws of cause and effect.

Hooray for Pie!

I brought this dish, based on a recipe from Marianna Olszewska Heberle’s German Cooking, to a Pie Day party. The original recipe called for bacon, but I (rightly) guessed there’d be vegetarians and left it out. Instead, I used repeated simmering to draw out and deepen the flavor. When people asked how to say this word, I explained it is pronounced “onion pie.”

½ cup butter
1 c flour
1 pinch sugar
1 pinch flour
2-3 T milk
1 T olive oil
3 large sweet onions, sliced
1 c vegetable broth
¼ c vodka
½ c sour cream
1 egg plus 1 egg white, lightly beaten
1 T chopped fresh chives
Salt and pepper to taste
1 egg yolk, beaten with ½ t water
¼ t caraway seeds

Mix flour, sugar and salt; cut in butter until mixture is like coarse meal. Sprinkle on the milk, mix with a fork, and form the dough into a ball. Roll out and line a greased 10" or 11" pie pan with the dough. Crimp or flute the edge and trim off the extra. If you have time, wrap loosely and let the crust rest from an hour up to overnight. This will keep fancy edges from puffing out of shape in the oven.

Heat the oven to 350°. Prick the crust all over with a fork, weight it, and bake until browned, perhaps 20 minutes. Remove the weights and set the crust aside.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a big sauté pan. Cook the onions gently until they begin to soften. Splash in half the stock and continue stirring until the liquid evaporates. Splash in the rest of the stock and repeat. Splash in the vodka and cook the onions down one more time. Set them aside.

Turn the oven up to 375°. Separate one of the eggs and set the yolk aside. Beat the white and the other egg, then mix with the chives, sour cream, and salt/pepper to taste. Mix this into the onions. Spread the onion mixture evenly in the bottom of the pie crust.

Beat the leftover yolk with the half teaspoon of water and brush all over the top of the pie. Sprinkle on the caraway seeds and dust the top with paprika. Bake until the pie is set and the top begins to brown, about 20 minutes.

Let cool slightly and serve warm.

Happy Pie Day!


Thanks for your comments - nothing scatological, please. If you wouldn't bring it in the kitchen, please don't say it here.