Sunday, October 23, 2011

You See, Your Pie Bake-Off Was OK, but It Lacked Bacon.....Enter the Jacked Up Grill

So I baked a pie.........The King of All Pies, you might say. Well, it finished tied for 3rd, so "King" might be ambitious. It's the "Prince Harry" of Pies. I think he's the one who only gets the crown if like 7 other Royals die first. It was a joke......

Anyways, to tell you how I came to bake this pie at 1:30 am to enter in Cville Pie Fest 2011, I present to you the world's longest sentence:

Way back, I entered a multiple course dinner of Jack Daniels flavored food and drinks for a Grilling with Jack contest on GrillGrrrl Robyn's blog, and I wanted to have a whiskey flavored key lime pie, so I asked our local pie expert Marijean Jaggers, who has a blog about pie that I follow called Pie it Forward, which is a play on "Pay it Forward," which is the movie about people helping each other (the kid dies in the end) that should move me, but falls short, due to my stunted emotional range, for help finding key limes in Cville, and she was really nice and sent me to the only place in town that had them, and the pie was awesome, and I totally won, so I started following her on the Twitter, and recently I saw chatter (my Twitter term) about pies and some sort of contest, and you know how I love contests, and then I saw that it was this past weekend, and I had to work this past weekend, but then I saw that it was to support a good cause (the Haven, a local shelter), and that there were prizes including a gift certificate from Jean Theory, a local high end denim boutique (the DO NOT carry my size), so I said "What the hey, I don't need sleep," and I spent all day Thursday making test pies, and one tasted great and the other tasted like soapy feet, so I tweaked the original recipe I found online and made my final adjustments,  and then when I got home from work at 11pm friday night, I started work on my final product and at 1:30am I took it out of the oven, and my good buddy Jared took it to the Haven for the contest for me, and I didn't pay attention to any prescriptions I filled at work all day saturday because I was busy reading tweets about pies (sorry, customers), and I got a little disappointed when I saw that I didn't win (a handsome looking cherry almond beat me) but I did some fist pumping and cheering when I saw the bracket on the contest website that showed the judging was done in rounds of head to head competition (I beat three other pies), and that I had come in tied for third overall, even though third means you are a loser, and that there is someone better than you who is still a loser, which makes you a double loser....or a loser twice-removed anyway, but either way, we had some pie success, and my pie didn't suck, and it helped a good cause, so you could say i Pied It Forward.......and no kids died in the end.

World's longest sentence ended.

Here's how the pie was made: (Adapted from CamiHines recipe on www.instructables.com)
Crust:
1 1/4 cup All Purpose Flour
1 stick butter, chilled and cut into small cubes
1/2 tsp sugar
2-3 tbsp ice cold water
1/3 cup shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese

In a food processor, place the butter, and then add the flour, sugar and cheese.

 Pulse until uniformly crumbly. Then while the processor runs, add a little water at a time until the crumbles are thicker and stay together when pressed into a ball. Remove from processor and form into a disc. If it's too wet, you can add more flour, and if it's too crumbly, you can add more water, but use moderation for both!
(It's utterly ridiculous for someone making bacon cheese pie to tell you to use moderation).

Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

When ready to bake, let the dough sit out for about 30 minutes and then sprinkle a clean counter with flour. Place the dough on the flour and roll it out with a rolling pin until it is about 1/4 inch thick, and big enough to cover a pie pan. Roll it up on the pin and transfer it to the pan, pressing the dough down to conform to the pie pan.

Filling:
3 large Rome apples, peeled and diced into 1/2 inch cubes
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1 1/2 cup cinammon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
2/3 cup real maple syrup

After dicing apples, quickly before they brown, add all other ingredients and mix thoroughly. Do this before making crumble so apples can marinate.

Crumble:
6 strips maple bacon
6 strips applewood smoked bacon
1/2 cup light brown sugar
3 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1/2 cup shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 cup all purpose flour.

Crumble bacon, and then place in food processor with all other ingredients, except flour. Pulse until uniform, but not too fine, and then add flour, a little at a time, until it is coarse and crumbly.

Place the apple mixture into the pie crust. Pour liquid over apples at the most, half way up the height of the pie. Cover apples with crumble mixture. Cover crumble mixture with a thin layer of shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese.



Now comes the fun part, the bacon lattice. You will need some really meaty (not all fat) bacon that looks pretty and is thick enough to hold its shape. Pay for the good bacon for this part.
I tried to follow the www.instructables.com directions for making the lattice, but in the end I just wrestled with it for twenty minutes until it looked right. Don't look for answers here. But the bad boy looked good.

I then got fancy, by taking the excess dough around the edge and folding it up over the edge of the pie and crimping it. I'm a little girl.

To gild the pieverbial lily, I brused maple syrup over the bacon lattice and then sprinkled the whole top with Sugar in the Raw to give it some sweet crunch.

Place the pie on a cookie sheet and bake it at 350 degrees for about an hour. My bacon for the lattice was very thick, so I had to take the pie out, wrap some aluminum foil around the edges to protect the crust from burning, and then crank the oven up to 425 for about 15 minutes at the end to cook the bacon all the way through. It should look brown, bubbly, and the bacon should be pretty crispy.

Let it cool to room temperature before serving.

Be ready to be the most popular person you know at any party you bring this to. It has already been requested for a party this weekend, and the judges, contest organizers and even the Pie Queen, herself, Marijean, all raved about it, so it's bonafide.

Make it. Eat it. You'll thank me.

Pie it Forward.



The 9 lb 2 oz. Reason I Haven't Posted Lately: Grilled Food, Baking, and Cute Baby Pictures.......

Pregatron/Pregzilla/Pregpocalypse/Preggy Potter/Preglociraptor/Pregasaurus Rex/PregLeg/Preggy McPreggerpants/The Pregsident of the United States/Pregpolean Bonaparte/Preggy Poppins (I just made that last one up just now) has officially changed her callsign back to Amy (My Beautiful Wife whom I adore).
You might have noticed that I haven't been cooking/posting lately. Here's why. Jay Lucas, born September 28 at 12:45am......We don't sleep much. He is healthy, happy, fat, and awesome! With a Newborn and a 17 month old, the 4pm to 8pm time slot at our house is an atmosphere similar to what I imagine the Chernobyl incident to have been like. You know, lots of screaming, running for your lives, nuclear meltdowns, the whole works. Because that WAS my usual experimental grilling time, I haven't had much to write about, and when I have cooked, I haven't had time to write about it. It's been a whirlwind of diapers, crying (mostly me) and more diapers over here.
Luckily, nobody reads any of this, so I don't even feel bad.

I did cook some interesting things that are worth repeating, and in between that, there were lots of cute baby things happening over at our place, so I have prepared the following rapid fire montage of Jacked Up Grillery. Please enjoy.

On Tuesday, Amy said "My belly hurts!"
I said "I swear that chicken was sushi grade!"
She said "No, Stupid. We're having a baby!"
13 hours later, we had this dude


After a lovely three day stay at the new Martha Jefferson Hospital, (where they could use some serious pointers from this blog and others about what food is supposted to taste like) we packed up and headed to the house.


Madness ensued for the next several days, and I can only recall moments of clarity. Everything else was a haze......

After about a week, things calmed down enough to cook something. I went with this


It was Sriracha Shrimp & Smoked Gouda Cheese Grits. Here's the recipe in tiny little pictures.
The recipe in words will be at the end.







And there you have it. You'll never eat better shrimp & grits.

So then Lil Jay and Jack the Lil' Ripper did cute things.
One day, while rocking a baby.....or maybe cleaning up spit up......or maybe getting peed on while changing a diaper........I saw Paula Dean make Brie en Croute....Don't ask me, but it looked delicious.
So I made it.






Then, there were more cute baby things...



And finally, I give you one of my greatest creations.......
The Bacon Cheddar Apple Pie with Bacon Crumble
This one deserves a post of its own, so I stay tuned for it and my other Cville PieFest adventures.

So, in parting, here are some real winners from our session with Jamie Kay of JMK Photography.

I'm too tired to add recipes for the shrimp & grits and the Brie thing, so I'll add them later. Email me if you just can't wait!
I'll be funny next time.....