Pretty Perfect Pies

As the days grow shorter and the temperatures cooler, our thoughts turn naturally to pie. We asked the folks at Baltimore’s Dangerously Delicious Pies and Clementine restaurant to share some of their favorite recipes. Both are perfect for a Thanksgiving dessert, fall entertaining or just a happy night at home. – Carrie McFadden

MOBTOWN BROWN
from Baltimore’s Dangerously Delicious Pies
(recipe card)

Crust:
2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 cup vegetable shortening
1/2 cup water

1. Combine flour, salt and sugar. Add shortening until the flour mixture makes coarse crumbles. Stir in the water a little at a time until you can form a ball. Divide in half and shape into balls. Roll out the dough with flour to keep from sticking, then put pie crust in pie tin and crimp the edges. (Note: recipe makes two crusts, but you will only use one.)

Pecan filling:
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 cup corn syrup
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups pecans

1. Whisk eggs until well beaten. Whisk sugar into eggs until dissolved. Mix remainder of the ingredients until well mixed. Fold in pecans. Pour into pie shell. Bake at 350 degrees for 60-70 minutes. Cool for about 20 to 30 minutes.

2. Topping: Melt ¼ cup dark Swiss chocolate and ¼ cup heavy cream together in saucepan over low heat to make the Chocolate Ganache. Then melt about 10 to 12  caramel cubes with a tablespoon or two of cream over low heat. Cover pecan pie with Chocolate Ganache. Drizzle on caramel. Allow chocolate and caramel to set.

CARDAMOM CREAM PIE WITH SMASHED SEA-SALTED PISTACHIO BRITTLE
from Baltimore’s Clementine restauran
(recipe card)

Start with your favorite flaky pie dough recipe. Roll it out into a 8 or 9 inch pie plate, place in the freezer for about 20 minutes then bake until golden brown. Cool completely.

Pistachio Brittle Topping:
Adapted from Food & Wine’s Best-Ever Nut Brittle

2 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
1 stick unsalted butter
1/3 cup light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
12 ounces (roughly 2 heaping cups) shelled pistachios
Nice quality sea salt, such as Maldon

1. In a large saucepan combine the sugar, water, butter and corn syrup and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir occasionally at first, just until the sugar dissolves, then allow to boil without stirring until the caramel is amber in color and just begins to have a burnt aroma (about 10 minutes). Do not leave unattended, as caramel will go from perfect to burned very quickly!

2. Remove from heat and carefully stir in the baking soda as the mixture vigorously boils. Quickly stir in the pistachios and immediately pour the brittle onto a large rimmed non-stick baking sheet. Using the back of a wooden spoon carefully spread the brittle into a thin, even layer.

3. Sprinkle the sea salt onto the hot brittle and allow to cool completely (about 30 minutes).  Using a sharp chef’s knife cut the brittle into small broken pieces, exposing the beautiful stained-glass colors of the pistachios.

Cardamom Cream Filling:
Adapted from Baking Illustrated’s Vanilla Cream Pie

2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup half and half
1- 3” piece of vanilla bean, split lengthwise
15 to 20 green cardamom pods, cracked
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon of salt
5 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 teaspoons brandy or cognac

1. In a saucepan combine the milk, half and half, vanilla bean and cardamom pods and heat over medium-high heat. Stir occasionally to be sure that the milk solids do not burn on the bottom of the pan. Heat until the mixture begins to steam and bubble around the edges.

2. Remove from the heat and cover with foil for 15 to 30 minutes to allow spices to infuse the cream. Then remove the vanilla bean and strain the cream mixture through a fine mesh sieve. Scrape the seeds from the pod into the cream mixture and discard the cardamom pods.

3. Whisk the sugar, cornstarch and salt together in a medium saucepan. Add the yolks and immediately but slowly whisk in the cream mixture. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently at first, then constantly as the mixture begins to thicken and simmer, about 5-6 minutes. Once the mixture begins to simmer, continue to stir and cook for about 1 minute longer. Remove from heat and whisk in the butter and brandy or cognac.

4. Pour the filling into the prepared pie shell and put plastic wrap directly onto the cream filling to prevent a skin from forming.  Refrigerate until completely chilled and the cream is set.

5. When ready to serve, sprinkle the crushed pistachio brittle over the top of individual pie pieces and serve with lightly whipped, unsweetened whipped cream.

[ WHERE TO BUY ]
Clementine

5402 Harford Road, Baltimore
410-444-1497 or bmoreclementine.com

Dangerously Delicious Pies
2839 O’Donnell St., Baltimore
410-522-7437 or dangerouspies.com