Friday, April 4, 2008

Dark Days Challenge addendum: the joy of leftovers

One thing that local eating has taught me is that sometimes, in fact a lot of the time, making food from scratch is both completely worth it and not that difficult. My cooking skills and repertoire have certainly expanded over the last year!

Tonight I conquered my fear of pie crust. I had leftovers from a roast chicken and some assorted veggies on hand, along with a bit of gravy - and what could be better than a chicken pot pie?

I confess that I stopped at the store and looked at ready-made pie crusts. The ingredient lists were... daunting. I held onto a box for a little while, then decided that making a small pie crust couldn't be too hard... and I was right!

I used the most basic of short crust recipes, cut in half - 1/4 c. butter, 1/2 c. flour (half all-purpose, half local soft wheat) and as much ice water as it takes to bring it under control (a couple of tablespoons.) It wasn't the easiest thing I've done, and the rolling of the pie dough looked like a bad sitcom, but by gum I managed a successful pie crust! I only used a top crust, since I like the flaky top part the best.

I was a little concerned at how the soft whole wheat flour would behave, but I needn't have worried. The crust browned nicely and was flaky beyond belief. I had a small ball of dough left, so I rolled it out into a vaguely oval shape and spooned on some jam for a tiny but tasty jam tart (it did leak all over the pan, but I ate it concealed the evidence.)

So thus ends the final Dark Days meal. Huge thanks to Laura at Urban Hennery for throwing down the gauntlet and doing the wrap-ups, and to all my fellow Dark Days challengers (whose menus were a constant source of inspiration.)


valereee said...

Anne, next time make the whole recipe, or even double it. Pie crust dough freezes BEAUTIFULLY. Cut them the prepared dough into single-crust amounts, form them into a flat disk, and double-wrap them to prevent freezer burn. When you need a pie crust, pull out and thaw a disk and you're good to go!

Here's what my dad used to do with the scraps from the rolling out: collect, reroll, sprinkle heavily with cinnamon and sugar. Dot with small pieces of butter. Starting at one edge, roll up like a jelly roll. Bake until browned and flaky and cut into inch-wide pieces. OMG.

Anne said...

I will definitely do that next time! I wasn't sure if the 50% soft wheat flour would make a decent pie crust, and I'm glad to find that it did.

Now I want to make more pie crust just so I can make the cinnamon-sugar treats! That sounds SO good! :-)