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Captain Bravo
Feb 16, 2011

An Emergency Shitpost
has been deployed...

...but experts warn it is
just a drop in the ocean.

Howdy everyone. In honor of Newbie Pie Month, I decided to bake a few pies for the Newbie Iron Chef Something Awful challenge.

Now, I wanted to keep the spirit of the contest alive, so even though I had to use my favorite pie recipe, I went ahead and made two other pies as well! One, from a recipe I've never used before, and another from the sick gutters of my twisted imagination. So without further ado, I present the Captain Bravo Tri-Pie-Athalon!



Pie #1
In this corner, the reigning champion for almost a decade. One of the first pies I learned how to bake, and definitely my favorite pie to eat:

The Apple-Berry Pie



Pie #2
In this corner, the venerated hand-me-down. A recipe from my grandmother which I'd never tried before, and a classic southern favorite:

The Chess Pie



Pie #3
And, in this corner, the wild card contest. The dark horse with a mysterious past, a spur-of-the-moment beautiful disaster:

The Tamale Pie



To start with, I'll walk you through the construction of an apple-berry pie. I decided to go with a very basic pie crust for two of my pies: two cups of flour, a little less than a cup of shortening, and a pinch of salt.



Mix it up, wrap it up, toss it in the fridge. For the filling, we start with all of this poo poo:



My spices are Cinnamon, Nutmeg, and Coriander. I usually like to go either/or with Nutmeg and Coriander, but they blend well in this particular pie. For the filling, we put a little bit of water in a pot, get it boiling, then cram in 8 oz. each of blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries.



Keep working the berries with a potato masher (Or spoon, if yours is dirty ) to ensure that the beautiful fruit soup melts evenly. Once the juice and water has risen up over the strawberries, and is boiling heavily, grab your stick blender and get to work.



Now that you've got a nice puree, you can take the coward's way out and strain it to remove the seeds. I, however, like the seeds so I just use it as-is. Now is the time to add your spices, and sliced granny smith apple pieces.



Normally, for an apple pie I would slice very thin and long, and layer. But we're going full rustic here, so I chop the apples into nice, big, unwieldy chunks that pop in your mouth when you take a bite and set off little bursts of flavor.

(Note: there was a minor snafu with my pie dough, which resulted in me having to use store-bought crusts for this pie and the chess pie, but I saved enough of the dough to use for covering)

Once you've got your base crust settled (Or, in my case, purchased and thawed. ) it's time to decide on your top crust. For this pie, I really like the look of a lattice, so roll out a portion of crust and slice strips to layer over your pie.



(You may notice the Blackberry Survivor on top. The only fruit to make it through the stick blender unscathed, I honored him with a penthouse suite on top of the crust.)

At this point, you're basically done. Slide that puppy in a 350 F oven for half an hour, have a nice tall glass of milk, (Or, in my case, continue preparing your two additional pies) and when the top of the crust starts to brown pull that bad boy out.



The tart berries and green apples give it a very sour flavor, which I love. It's still super-sweet, though. (And if you want it even sweeter, you can add sugar to the berries on the stove.) You can also give it some more firmness by adding in corn starch with your spices to thicken the fruit puree a bit more. Don't go overboard, though, since the fruit itself is already decreasing the viscosity. The bland crust was a bit disappointing, but it was still just about as good as it always is. This pie stands the test of time.

For the next pie, I pulled an old recipe of my grandmother's which I'd heard good things about but never got the chance to try myself. According to Wikipedia, Chess Pie is a southern favorite and is enjoyed by lots of people... but before I'd pulled this recipe card I had never even heard of it! Still, I was pleasantly surprised.

To begin with, you are going to need a LOT of ingredients. The pie is basically a take on a custard, which means two cups of sugar, four eggs, a dash of flour, some vanilla extract, and half a cup of (melted) butter. This pie is also southern as gently caress, so you need half a cup of buttermilk, a few tablespoons of cornmeal, and a splash of vinegar. And this pie is being baked by me, so I tossed in a pinch of Coriander because obviously I'm going to put in a pinch of coriander. (Please don't haunt me for loving with your recipe, grandma. )



Mix your powders first, then liquids, then eggs.



Whip it like Devo, then pour into a prepared pie crust and sling into the oven for 45 minutes at 350 F.



I'm going to be honest, I was not expecting much from this pie. Like I said, I'd never had a chess pie before, and I'm not a huge fan of custards and creams and such. Imagine my surprise when this pie blew me the gently caress away. It was light, fluffy, sweet but not overly so, with just the barest hint of cornbread sneaking around behind your taste buds. This definitely is going in my regular pie rotation. (AKA my pie-tation) A++ will definitely be making this pie again.



And for my final pie, I decided to go off-the-wall. I lost my steamer a few weeks ago, and so I've been sitting on some masa with no tamales to show for it. That makes me a sad panda. When I saw the NICSA thread, and specifically this:

Liquid Communism posted:

Warm chicken pot pie, fresh from the oven with bubbling gravy beneath a golden brown crust.

I got an idea. An awful idea. I got a wonderful, awful idea!



And thus, the tamale pie was born. I mixed up a basic masa dough to use for the crust. A few cups of masa harina, a couple tablespoons of butter and crisco, (I usually use lard, but I was out. ) a dash of baking powder and some chicken bouillon. Add the bouillon to two cups boiling water, mix until well dissolved, then pour over the flour, butter, and crisco. mix thoroughly.



Now, for the filling, I kind of kludged together a few different recipes rather than using my normal tamale mix. I wanted this to have a mouthfeel more like a shepherds or pot pie. So the filling is just BEEF, onion, and a few spices. (Oregano, liquid smoke, chili powder, cumin, and paprika, if you can't make out the names in the picture.) Also, I forgot to get it in the picture up top, but you'll also need two cups of beef broth.

Dice your onions, throw some oil (Olive, vegetable, whatever) in a pan, and get that to browning.



While it hisses on the stove, slice up your beef. Since I was planning on kind-of sort-of halfheartedly shredding it, I left my steak in big strips.



Once your onions start to go translucent, throw the beef in, and sear it pretty thoroughly. You can also throw on a light coat of chili powder and cumin at this point.



When the beef is looking about medium-rare, take it off the heat, and pop it in a casserole pot or dutch oven. Dust it thoroughly with oregano, chili powder, cumin, and paprika. Then mix two cups of beef broth with a tablespoon of liquid smoke, and pour it on top. That goes in the oven for an hour, until the meat is just shy of being able to tear apart with two forks.



At this point, you'll want to start preparing your crust. I had the bright idea of baking the base and the top at the same time. This is not a good idea, do not do it. Do not do what donny don't does. This will happen:



Just spread your masa onto a pie pan, and bake for 20 minutes or until it just barely starts to brown. Set it out, and let it cool. You have to be super careful with your masa, it's designed to be rolled up in a corn husk and steamed, not baked straight in an oven. It will go from wonderfully moist and fluffy to a cracker as soon as you take your eyes off of it. Keep your eyes on the prize at all times



At this point, you're going to want to remove the lid off your meat, and stick it back in the oven uncovered for an extra half an hour. This will evaporate out some of the liquid, reducing it down to a thick, not-quite-gravy-ish, consistancy. Once that's good, take a couple of forks and shred it into nice, big chunks



Then mix it well with the remaining liquid.



Pour into your masa crust, cover, and pop back in the oven for 20 minutes. (I would definitely recommend having saved a portion of your raw masa dough to cover it with at this point. My pre-baked top crust was just a failure on almost every level. Do as I say, not as I do!)

And you're done! Pull it out, carve a slice, and go to town. It doesn't really taste much like a tamale, but it doesn't taste bad at all! I ended up kind of portioning mine on my plate into "Filling with burnt crust" and "Filling with perfect crust" sections, but it was still really good. I don't know when, but I will probably be attempting this recipe again sometime in the future, if for nothing else than to prove that I can get it right when I'm not being a doofus.



So yeah, pies! For the NICSA entry, I'm actually going to do something crazy and enter my Tamale Pie. It doesn't taste like a tamale, it had massive crust problems, and it's arguably barely a pie... but considering I planned and executed this bad boy spur-of-the-moment I'm kind of strangely proud of my ugly little creation.

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Suspect Bucket
Jan 14, 2012

SHRIMPDOR WAS A MAN
I mean, HE WAS A SHRIMP MAN
er, maybe also A DRAGON
or possibly
A MINOR LEAGUE BASEBALL TEAM
BUT HE WAS STILL
SHRIMPDOR


Neat pies!

What sort of 'steak' did you use for the tamale pie? Was it an actual steak cut? If I was stewing like you seem to be for the pie filling, I'd use Chuck or bottom round.

(Actually, if I was doing it, I'd use pork shoulder)

Captain Bravo
Feb 16, 2011

An Emergency Shitpost
has been deployed...

...but experts warn it is
just a drop in the ocean.

Yeah, for mexican food I usually buy a pork loin, but I was just going with what I had on hand, so it was a couple cuts of round I had gotten yesterday.

Cavenagh
Oct 9, 2007

Grrrrrrrrr.

That Chess Pie is something I've heard of, but now I want to make one. Good stuff.

Brawnfire
Jul 13, 2004

Come play my CYOA!

Save your reality from the Constructors... then save all the rest of them.


Yum! Can't go wrong with MEAT PIE

Captain Bravo
Feb 16, 2011

An Emergency Shitpost
has been deployed...

...but experts warn it is
just a drop in the ocean.

So, I finally got a chance to get to the store today, and get a few replacement ingredients, which allowed me to make

Tamale Pie 2, electric porkaloo.



So this time I went with 1.5 pounds of pork, cut into medium-sized medallions. I coated some fresh Fresno peppers with oil, tossed 'em in the oven at 400 F for half an hour, then shucked out the gooey goodness from inside. (I actually prefer Guajillo for tamales, but I couldn't find any fresh.) Oil, onions, pork, then tossed it in my cast-iron with the broth and pepper goop.



1.5 hours at 350 F, covered with foil, then 30 minutes uncovered and shredded with two forks gives me my filling:



Same masa recipe for the crust, but this time I only prepped the bottom.



After 20 minutes in the oven, same heat as the meat, it was ready for filling.



Then I used my remaining masa to cover, which was pretty difficult. Due to the amount of liquid you have to use for good masa, it doesn't cling together quite the same way as pastry dough. Rolling out the masa and trying to put it on top in one piece was an exercise in frustration, I finally settled for just jigsawing all the pieces together on top, then poking a few holes in it.



But even if it was a hassle, you can't argue with results. After 30 minutes at 350 F, I pulled it out and had a slice. Miles better than my first attempt. Who would have thought that actually preparing and getting everything you need for a recipe gives better results than just winging it?



I feel confident, now, in declaring the Tamale Pie to be my NICSA entry.

Suspect Bucket
Jan 14, 2012

SHRIMPDOR WAS A MAN
I mean, HE WAS A SHRIMP MAN
er, maybe also A DRAGON
or possibly
A MINOR LEAGUE BASEBALL TEAM
BUT HE WAS STILL
SHRIMPDOR


Upvote for pork. But did you go with shoulder, or something else?

Captain Bravo
Feb 16, 2011

An Emergency Shitpost
has been deployed...

...but experts warn it is
just a drop in the ocean.

Kind of? I actually went with a pork brisket. It was on sale, the guy said it was a perfect braising meat, and I've never worked with it before so I thought it'd be an interesting experience. It was! I think I may have been better off with my original idea of a loin for this purpose. I ended up leaving so much fat and tendon behind after cutting off the chunks for the skillet, the next time I get a pork brisket I'll try a recipe that will actually make use of that.

Suspect Bucket
Jan 14, 2012

SHRIMPDOR WAS A MAN
I mean, HE WAS A SHRIMP MAN
er, maybe also A DRAGON
or possibly
A MINOR LEAGUE BASEBALL TEAM
BUT HE WAS STILL
SHRIMPDOR


Captain Bravo posted:

Kind of? I actually went with a pork brisket. It was on sale, the guy said it was a perfect braising meat, and I've never worked with it before so I thought it'd be an interesting experience. It was! I think I may have been better off with my original idea of a loin for this purpose. I ended up leaving so much fat and tendon behind after cutting off the chunks for the skillet, the next time I get a pork brisket I'll try a recipe that will actually make use of that.

Picnic shoulder! Perfect. You can do so much with that cut. Braise, stew, grill... I use it for pork kebobs. Makes a hell of a 'ham' too.

Pork part names are weird. The front shoulders of a pig can be made into shoulder cuts, butt cuts, picnic cuts...

Anyhoo, remove the external fat cap, but leave the interior marbling. Just cook it all down in the pan nice and slow on it's lonesome, no oil needed, then you can remove the meat and reserve the drippings. It's straight lard, put it in Mason jar and keep it in the fridge. Fry your eggs in it. Use it in baking.

I'd never really slow cook loin. Save it for the grill.

Suspect Bucket fucked around with this message at Oct 26, 2015 around 15:44

mich
Feb 28, 2003
I may be racist but I'm the good kind of racist! You better put down those chopsticks, you HITLER!


Mm, the tamale pie looks so good. This pie NICSA is a hard vote, but definitely considering the tamale pie.

Also as a note, if you have not discovered it, buttermilk chess pies are amazing cold, especially if it's a bit on the sweet side at room temp/warm. I love the texture cold with a hot cup of black coffee. A favorite breakfast of mine.

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Kenning
Jan 10, 2009

I really want to post goatse. I wish I had 10bux


Nice showing, that's some serious pie action.

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