15 March 2011

Ten on Tuesday

I got this idea from my friend Mary Kay, who got it from someone else. Although yesterday was officially Pi Day, which I missed because of the SNAP Challenge (and because the cheap leftover mini-pies I'd seen at the grocery on Saturday were GONE on Monday), the theme is one that is close to my stomach. Even though I cannot make a pie until the weekend, and I may not make one elaborate enough for the Pi Day Baking Challenge (although I'm tempted to borrow an idea from last year), here are my Top Ten Pies (subject to change with the seasons, of course):

1) Fresh peach. Only if you can't get fresh peaches to eat without wrapping in crust. It's a good thing to do with underripe peaches.
2) Fresh blueberry. OMG! Probably THE BEST pie ever, except maybe for.......
3) Fresh sour cherry. Yes, I have a theme here.
4) Spiced meat pie. I have had these with beef, lamb, and chicken. Some are based upon medieval or renaissance recipes and contain raisins or figs and other things you might not consider. A wedge is a really lovely meal, side of salad optional. Steak-and-kidney was a popular cheap meal when I was a student in Oxford, although the shop had a lovely mixed-veg that I liked as well. I suppose that Shepherd's Pie would also fit into this category, as does b'stilla.
5) Spanakopita. But only if it's well-made and doesn't have an oily, soggy bottom crust.
6) Pumpkin. My great-grandmother's recipe is a family tradition.
7) Apple. My mother's recipe, preferred. She adds crushed cornflakes to the bottom crust.
8) Citrus, usually with meringue. But the meringue should be well-done and not soft and gooey. This is very tricky. I've had these in the most-common lemon, and other times in orange, lime (NOT the same as Key Lime Pie, which is also good but too often very badly done and an excuse to carry whipped cream), and grapefruit.
9) Mixed fruits. Apples and pears, plus chopped dried fruits and spices. Another from my historical cooking background.
10) Italian Easter Torta. Meal in a crust! Very pretty layers of all kinds of things, vegetarian or with meat, simple or elaborate. Terrific to take on a picnic.

I realize that the generality of #4 and #8 could be considered insufficiently specific for this, but really for those it depends upon the type of pie. Plain old chicken pot pie doesn't do it for me, possibly because I had to eat too many of the cheap ones as a struggling student. But add a bit of wine or vinegar, and some crispy vegetables, and spices and chopped dried fruit and nuts - lovely!

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