Hey, remember that time I casually mentioned my friend Celina Dean’s Perogi Pie? And then you facebook’d/messaged/screamed at me for the recipe? Well, I heard ya, loud and clear. I also heard the perfect opportunity to get Celina to whip up another one of these pies so I could taste it I mean photograph it for the blog. And I’m so glad she did, because this recipe is meant to be shared with the world!
Now, a little disclaimer before we start: Celina is one of those people who is humble almost to a fault (if she had any faults, which she bloody well doesn’t). Don’t be fooled by her novice-talk about anything, because she is a true genius in the kitchen in every sense of the word. Case in point being the dessert she brought for my last dinner party that transformed my very favorite after-dinner cocktail (a Pick-Me-Up: a shot of espresso with baileys and kahlua over ice) into the most fabulous dessert imaginable.. Baileys ice cream with kahlua whipped cream and espresso-chocolate chip cookies for dunking. How dare she?!
Anyway. Behold the most beautiful savory pie known to man. It’s bacony, it’s cheesy, it’s creamy, and it’s going to win you a lot of friends.
Bonus: click the link at the bottom to view Bluebird Cakes on Facebook. Duff Goldman, watch your back. Amanda Van Unen is no JOKE.
In 2006, I griped to my AMAZINGLY TALENTED pastry chef sister-in-law (and baking/cooking guru/phone-a-friend) Amanda Van Unen of Bluebird Cakes, that I found pie crusts to be the most daunting thing ever. For Christmas that year, she got me the Martha Stewart Baking Handbook, where everything is clearly explained in words and even with helpful handy dandy pictures (this cookbook is amazing. For reals, yo. It’s a helpful and necessary addition to your cookbook collection). But it wasn’t until I entered the First Annual KCRW Pie Contest that Amanda and Martha taught me how to make a proper pie crust. My pal Sarah and I signed up and baked our way through around 15 different pies in four days, enlisting the help of our friends to taste and sample our delicious mistakes and successes at our Pie for Dinner night. Our two submitted entries didn’t win, nor did they place, but the journey from pie virgin to beginner pie enthusiast was born, and the contest opened up my eyes to a world of pies that I hadn’t ever considered. (The winner made a simple and elegant apple pie, but secured the blue ribbon by using her own homemade butter in the crust. I know, what a total bee-atch/GENIUS). My husband, inspired by the lack of entries in the savory category, came up with an idea right then and there to submit the following year. I tested and tweaked and finally submitted during the 2nd Annual competition. Nope, I still didn’t win, I didn’t even place, but I did come up with my very own recipe that has received more requests to be made in my kitchen than anything I’ve ever cooked, and I even sold a few at the contest! So here it is, Perogi Pie. The only trouble here is that it’s never quite the same, so I’ll attempt to be as accurate as I can, but know that there’s just a ton of leeway to play around.
1 pkg. bacon (minus three or four slices: reserve those for the bacon lattice)
2 ½ cups flour
¼ tsp. salt
1 ½ sticks (¾ cup) very cold butter, cut into small dice-sized pieces
4 tbsp. rendered bacon grease
¾ cup ice cold water
1) Cook this package of bacon in your cast iron pan or whatever you use for bacon cookin’ in your house- you want to cook the bacon until it’s crisp enough to crumble or chop (with a food processor!) into bits. Collect the bacon grease and chill (I put it in the freezer to speed up the process).
2) Make sure the flour, butter, water and processor blade are cold (the freezer does a quick job of this). Add the crispy bacon, flour and salt to the bowl of the food processor and whiz for a couple of pulses to make sure they’re incorporated and the bacon is in bits. Add cold cubed butter and cold bacon grease and whiz for approximately 13 pulses- the crumbs should resemble peas and oatmeal, size-wise. Pour water through the feed tube and mix until a ball just barely forms (less is more- stop processing before the dough completely comes together- you want the butter to still be in visible little pebbles throughout).
3) On a piece of saran wrap, dump contents of bowl and handling as little as possible, form into a ball (I use the sides of the saran wrap to gather up all the crummy dough bits). Press into a disk and wrap tightly with saran. Refrigerate for a couple of hours or overnight.
Guys! My sweet fella came up with this concept, and it’s the bomb. I can’t wait to try it on a bourbon peach pie, oh my! *
*Note from Jewel: Why the frig haven’t I had this bourbon peach pie, Celina?!
1 pkg. bacon plus reserved pieces from crust recipe
1) Preheat oven to 375.
2) On a grill pan, weave a lattice with uncooked bacon the same as you would with dough for a pie. (To figure out how big to make it, trace your pie pan onto a piece of parchment paper to use as a guide. I use my super large pie plate for this recipe). If you have no idea what I’m talking about, go to here: http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/how_to_make_a_lattice_top_for_a_pie_crust/
If using the above link as a guide, know that I lay my bacon slices touching each other for a tighter basket weave. (I use the grill pan because I want the grease to drip down into the pan below and for my bacon to cook as flat as possible).
3) Cook for approximately 20 minutes- the bacon should be halfway done.
4) Blot with paper towels and flip onto a piece of parchment paper.
5) Reserve bacon drippings if you like.
*I actually normally cook bacon in the oven and guys, it’s the best! It’s much tidier and the bacon looks so flat and attractive, which is obviously just so important. I mean, who wants ugly bacon? Am I right? No? Well, listen, it’s worth it just to avoid the stovetop mess.
Lasagna noodles- maybe 6 (this is going to replicate the chew of perogi dough)
3 medium Russet Potatoes
1 large onion
4 tbsp. butter (or that reserved bacon grease from the lattice)
1 cup cottage cheese
I cup grated cheddar cheese
1 cup sour cream
1) Boil a large pot of well salted water and cook lasagna noodles according to package instructions. Drain and reserve.
3) Fry onions in butter or bacon grease until golden and reserve.
2) Peel russet potatoes and boil in a large pot of salted water until fork tender. Drain and mash (or rice! My sweet husband used our fine meshed sieve and pushed those potatoes through to yield the loveliest, most evenly textured fluffy clouds of potato).
3) To the mashed potato add slightly beaten egg, fried onions, cottage cheese and salt and pepper to taste (make sure it’s well seasoned- this is where most of the pie flavor comes from and too bland= too boring). Let this mixture come to room temperature, and roll out the piecrust into your pie plate while you wait.
7) Into rolled out pie crust layer ½ cup cheddar cheese, 1/3 potato mixture, a layer of lasagna noodles (cut them to fit inside the plate), 1/3 potato mixture, layer of noodles, 1/3 potato mixture and finish with ½ cup cheddar cheese. Flip the bacon lattice on top and trim with scissors as necessary to fit your pie. Trim edges of pastry and crimp.
8 ) Bake in oven at 375 for forty five minutes to an hour- the bacon lattice should look crisp and the pie crust golden.
9) Let cool slightly, then cut and serve with sour cream and a sprinkle of green onion. It’ll look kinda like apple pie a la mode!
Jewel and the gang came over and we destroyed the whole thing. Hey, there were 6 of us, so lay off. And we had some delightful raw beet salad for roughage. We’re practically heroes! Yeah, I might not want to incorporate this into the regular weeknight dinner rotation, but just like perogies, it’s perfect when you’re feeling a bit festive. Or when Jewel tells you to make it.
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