Pi(e) Day Eve: Pie Preparations

March 13, 2011

Though less baking work than Pi(e) Day 2010 (just perhaps), there were still lots of pies to be made:  a sweet potato version for Lili Coffeeshop, our gracious Pi(e) Day host and apple pi(e)s for the more geeked out minds of my day job.

Whole Wheat + Unbleached Flour from Saint Vincent Gristmill

Amish Butter from Minerva, Ohio (about 78 miles from PGH)

Maple Syrup from Milroy Farms in Salisbury, PA.  Honey was a reserve supply purchased at the Farmers at the Firehouse fall farmer’s market.

Goat milk chevre and farm fresh eggs

Heavy Whipping Cream from Turner Dairy

Sweet potatoes from Clarion River Organics

For the Crust

16 Tbs Amish butter, cold
1 cup + 3 Tbs Saint Vincent’s Unbleached Flour
1 cup Saint Vincent’s Whole Wheat Flour
1 package goat milk chevre, cold
4 Tbs honey
3 Tbs Apple Cider, ice cold

Whisk together the flours in a medium sized bowl.  Use a pastry blender to cut in the cold butter until dough resembles small peas.  Cut in the cold goat cheese until the mixture resembles coarse sand.  Add and incorporate the honey.  Add the ice cold apple cider.  Use a pastry blender to mix until the dough sticks together.  Use your hands as necessary, but do not overwork the dough.  Form into 2 discs and cover them with foil.  Set aside in the freezer for about 10 minutes or in a refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350°F

Remove the discs.  On a well floured surface, use a rolling pin to shape the first disc into a rectangle.  Press it into the pan.  Remove overhanging dough.  Roll out the second disc.  Press it into the pan.  Use water to seal the overlapping seam.  Bake for 10 minutes until slightly golden.

For the Sweet Potato Filling

2 cups mashed sweet potatoes
1/2 cup maple sugar
2 eggs

Peel the sweet potatoes and cut into 1 in cubes.  Boil until soft.  Use a mixer to puree.  Blend all the ingredients and pour into the pie crust.

For the Sweet Goat Cheese Swirl

2 goat milk chevre packages
1/2 cup maple sugar
2 eggs

Beat the goat cheese and maple syrup until well blended.  Add the eggs one at a time.  Stir to incorporate.

Spoon dollops of the cream cheese mixture into the sweet potato filling.  Use a chopstick of knife to swirl the two fillings.

Bake for 40-50 minutes until center is set.

Gala apples and Apple Cider from Dawson’s Orchards

All the apple pies started with a base of apple chunks boiled in apple cider and water.  Once the apples were soft, I drained off the water and added a steady flow of honey and stirred to incorporate.  The applesauce was the base, followed by my fancy and then drizzles of maple syrup and buttery flour crumbs.

A special handpie for the little miss coffeeshop namesake!

All packed and ready to transport to work on Pi(e) Day!

Pi(e) Day Eve: Trip to the Market

Pittsburgh Public Market & Wholey’s Market
March 13, 2011

Farm fresh, free-range eggs, Amish butter and chicken (not pictured bc how good would raw chicken look in this spread?!?) from Wholey’s Market

Sweet potatoes, goat milk chevre, maple syrup, kombucha, onions, turnips and fresh greens from Pittsburgh Public Market, specifically from Clarion River Organics

Meat sticks!  Toulouse and Hungarian Paprika (smoked and ready to eat) from the Pittsburgh Public Market, specifically from the Crested Duck Charcuterie

Some of those ingredients became QT Pi(e)s!  Can you guess which ones?   I had a different pie plan in mind, but inspiration hit me on the spot.

We Found A Grain Source!

March 2010

We took it for granted while scheming that we would be able to find a local wheat source.  The places we had in mind turned out only to be mills who did not grind their own grains.  The prospects of an ALL local pie were beginning to look bleak just about the time an internet search led us to Saint Vincent Gristmill.  What a relief and what a lovely hiatus from the city to the wintry fields.  Quelcy and her gentlemen friend made the journey on March 6…so close to Pi(e) Day!  Part of the excitement of sourcing local foods is the adventure in finding them.  The trip to Saint Vincent was not only beautifully scenic, but it led to some great antiquing opportunities as well!