Holiday Pies and Tarts | WYPR

Holiday Pies and Tarts

Dec 18, 2018

During the holidays I’m apt to forget about dessert discipline and indulge in the occasional cookies or pies.  This very natural inclination is far from rare and we’re going to do nothing to prevent you from enjoying the sweeter side of the holidays.  Chef Jerry Pellegrino loves this topic and has collected a lovely bunch of recipes for delicious savory and sweet pies and tarts that sound quite tempting.

First some basics.  Here are a number of terms that are associated with tarts.

Tart-a term that overlaps with flan, subsumes quiche and pizza, and is largely replaced in North America by pie.  It is a flat, baked item consisting of a base of pastry, or occasionally some other flour preparation, with a sweet or savory topping.

Tourtes or Tartes a l’anglaise-a covered tart often referred to in North America as a pie.

Flamiche-a Northern French tart made with a bread dough, vegetables and cheese, most likely the predecessor to the quiche.

Quiche-a deep tart filled with egg custard and assorted savory fillings.

Galette-a rustic tart of variable size and shape, baked without a tart mold or plate, often made with dark buckwheat flour, in the Normandy style.

Alsaciennes-a tart decorated with crisscross pastry strips.

It's also useful to have a working knowledge of basic pastry doughs.

Paté Brisée (Short Crust)-a basic crust recipe for almost any savory and some sweet fruit tarts.

Ingredients

1 ½  cups  all-purpose flour

8 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and chilled

½ teaspoon salt

4 Tablespoons ice water

Combine flour, butter and salt in a food processor.  Process using the pulse button for four or five short pulses.

Turn the processor on and pour the ice water into the dough just until it begins to form.  Stop processing immediately.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and work it together into a ball with your hands.

Place the dough onto a piece of plastic wrap and from it into a flat disc.

Cover the dough completely and chill in the refrigerator for at least one hour, or up to two or three days.

Paté Sablée-this is a rich sweet and crunchy pastry crust, very similar to sugar cookies.  It works best with simple fruit tarts.

Ingredients

12 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and chilled

1 cup confectioner’s sugar

2 large eggs, beaten

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

2 Tablespoons ground almonds (optional)

½ Teaspoon salt

2  cups  all-purpose flour

Combine the butter, confectioner’s sugar, eggs, vanilla, almonds and salt in a food processor.  Process using the pulse button for five or six short pulses or until well blended. Add the flour, ½ cup at a time, pulsing two or three times after each addition until all of the flour is blended and the dough comes together.  Do not let it form a ball.  The dough should be pliable, but not sticky.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and work it together into a ball with your hands. Place the dough onto a piece of plastic wrap and from it into a flat disc.

Cover the dough completely and chill in the refrigerator for at least one hour, or up to overnight.

Pate Sucrée-a sweet, sugary pastry with a touch of crunchiness from the egg.  This dough is often used in fresh fruit tarts where the shell is pre-baked, then filled.

Ingredients

1 ¾   cups  all-purpose flour

8 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and chilled

½ cup sugar

3 Tablespoons ground almonds (optional)

¼  teaspoon salt

2 large eggs, beaten

Combine the flour, butter, sugar,  almonds and salt in a food processor.  Process using the pulse button for five or six short pulses or until well blended.

Add the eggs and pulse 14 or 15 times until the dough comes together.  Do not let it form a ball.  The dough should be pliable, but not sticky. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and work it together into a ball with your hands. Place the dough onto a piece of plastic wrap and from it into a flat disc.

Cover the dough completely and chill in the refrigerator for at least one hour, or up to overnight.

Here are a few delicious recipes to try over the holidays and beyond.

Turkey & Cranberry Pot Pie with Sweet Potato Crust

Ingredients

4 cups Turkey meat, cooked and cubed

assorted cooked vegetables

½ cup dried cranberries rehydrated in chicken stock

8 Tablespoons butter

½ cup all-purpose flour

3 cups chicken stock

1 cup heavy cream

salt, pepper to taste

1 batch sweet potato pastry

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

Place chicken and vegetables in a 4 quart baking dish.

In a sauté pan set over medium heat, melt the butter and stir in the flour.  Cook for 3 minutes.

Whisk in the chicken stock and the cream. Season with salt and pepper.

Pour over the chicken and vegetables.

Roll out the pastry and fit it onto the top of the baking dish.  Crimp the edges and poke three steam vents in the top of the pastry.

Bake until golden brown.

Sweet Potato Pie with Chocolate Covered Bacon

Ingredients

1/3 cup butter, softened

½ cup sugar

2 eggs, lightly beaten

¾ cup evaporated milk

2 cups mashed sweet potatoes

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

¼ teaspoon salt

1 unbaked pastry shell (9 inches)

Sweet Potato Pie cont’d

In a bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs; mix well. Add milk, sweet potatoes, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt; mix well. Pour into pie shell. Bake at 425° for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350°; bake 35-40 minutes longer or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool. Store in refrigerator. Yield: 6-8 servings.

Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie

Ingredients

½ (15-ounce) package refrigerated piecrusts

1 ½ cups chopped pecans

1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate morsels

1 cup dark corn syrup

½ cup granulated sugar

½ cup firmly packed brown sugar

1/4 cup bourbon or water

4 large eggs

¼  cup butter or margarine, melted

2 teaspoons cornmeal

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

½  teaspoon salt

Fit piecrust into a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate according to package directions; fold edges under, and crimp.

Sprinkle pecans and chocolate evenly onto bottom of piecrust; set aside.

Combine corn syrup and next 3 ingredients in a large saucepan, and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, 3 minutes. Remove from heat.

Whisk together eggs and next 4 ingredients. Gradually whisk about one-fourth hot mixture into egg mixture; add to remaining hot mixture, whisking constantly. Pour filling into prepared piecrust.

Bake at 325° for 55 minutes or until set; cool on wire rack