Sunday, November 16, 2008

Leftover bonanza: (RICH CHEESE CRUST)

I can't take it anymore. I am officially finished with the meat from our party. I am sick. Do you hear me. Sick of ham. The beef wasn't so bad and actually we finished the last of it in a beef pie. I wish I knew how to make decent "gravy" out of stock. I mean, I really wish I knew how. Nothing ruins a pot pie worse than a yucky gravy for the top. And we slather our pie's in gravy. I usually never have roast drippings when I have leftover meat. The gravy I made for the beef pie came from an experiment using au jus mix and beef stock. It was mediocre. I think I'm going to just reduce the stock next time and leave out the au jus. I added 2 tablespoons of tomato paste and about an 1/2 cup of red wine to the mix. I'm nixing the wine next time too. I thickened the broth with a slurry of corn starch and water. I think that's where it went really wrong. Now that I've researched gravy I see where it really went wrong. Corn starch is great in other areas but not as a gravy thickener. It's sorta a "blah" or "raw" taste to me. But it's what I've always known and I'm breaking that habit now. Here's a way I think I'm going to try next time (from

Melt butter in a saucepan then add flour. Blend together until no lumps are visible. Add salt and pepper. Cook and stir over medium heat for 5-10 minutes or until mixture starts to brown. Turn heat to low and slowly add warmed broth, stirring constantly. (note: use equal parts butter and flour).

The crust recipe was for a single crust. I borrowed the recipe from a new/old cookbook I found while going through an antique shop in Flint Hill Virginia. A great place by the way. Okay. So, I found a recipe for Chicken Pie in my The Cordon Blue Cookbook and loved the idea of a cheese crust for my beef pie. It's a rich crust with 3 egg yolks.

Rich Cheese Crust


1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
4 tablespoons fat (Crisco)
3 egg yolks
2 tablespoons water
3 tablespoons grated sharp cheese ( I love Cracker Barrel extra sharp)
1/2 teaspoon smoky paprika


1. Put flour on a large board, make a well in the center and put in the fat, egg yolks, water, grated cheese, paprika, and a pinch of salt.

2. Work the center ingredients into a smooth paste, and gradually move the side walls of the flour well in towards the center into a crumbly dough.

3. Gather the dough into a ball as well as you can without manipulating the dough excessively. Wrap the dough into plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. You'll be pleasantly surprised how the flour in the dough will be hydrated and pull together most of the loose bits.

4. After 30 minutes pull the dough from the refrigerator and remove from the wrap. On a floured board roll out "not too thin" and enough to cover the top of the pie nicely.

5. Trim the pie, brush with beaten egg, and bake as called for in the recipe.

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