Thursday, September 9, 2021

Ann Landers' Save Your Marriage Meat Pie! (Pieathalon 8!)

JUST when you thought life couldn't get any more exciting, along comes the highlight of the late Summer/early Autumn social calendar, Pieathalon! Pieathalon EIGHT if you can believe it. I am, as always, honored to be counted among the participants, especially considering my last post here was (*checks notes) Pieathalon SEVEN.  Thanks to my fellow food bloggers and especially Yinzerella at Dinner is Served 1972 for prompting me to get off my a** and make something for public consumption again.

Because apparently being stuck in the house for a year and a half with literally nothing else to do wasn't enough to get me motivated.

But enough about me, let's make a pie!

The excellent Jenny from Silver Screen Suppers sent me a recipe for "Ann Landers' Save Your Marriage Meat Pie." (Don't panic, my marriage doesn't need saving at the moment. THAT I KNOW OF.)

Being of a certain age, I remember a time when Ann Landers (née Esther Pauline "Eppie" Lederer) and her twin sister, Abigail Van Buren (née Pauline Esther "PoPo" Phillips), in their competing advice columns, dictated the social mores of middle America with their witty, no-nonsense advice. In my early formative years, I had the advantage of living in a home where we received TWO daily newspapers, and so I was doubly-indoctrinated into polite society. (Full disclosure: The morning paper, The Columbus Citizen-Journal, carried Dear Abby and also had a far superior comics' section, so if forced to choose sides I would have to lean towards PoPo).

Ann Landers (left) and Abigail Van Buren

The recipe seemed a bit intimidating at first glance. I'm not much of a baker (I usually recruit Dr. Husband to make my crusts for these things) and the idea of trying to manipulate a crust into a bundt pan made me perspire. (In fairness, my only bundt pan is a pliable silicone thing that makes for easy cleanup but doesn't tend to hold the shape of whatever's in it very well.)

So, my crack Googling skills led me to the idea of little mini-muffin pies.

With my new goal in mind, I made the following modifications:
I halved the recipe across the board (maybe a mistake – read on)
I used ground turkey in place of pork – I live in the middle of nowhere and only ever see ground pork as part of a "meatloaf mix" and YES, I could have gone to the butcher and asked for some special order, but everyone is masked and also I don't like talking to people
I did not use chervil - see above about the middle of nowhere and also I don't know what chervil is and YES, I could have Googled it, but I had already Googled that day and I am awfully lazy

The dough came together very easily and was not nearly as sticky as I was led to believe. 


The dough didn't seem to rise. AT ALL. Maybe something got mis-aligned in my halving of the amounts? I know the yeast activated before I mixed it in, and the dough retained a delicious buttery, yeasty aroma throughout, so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Likewise, the meat mixture was simple enough, my only regret being that I didn't have the Hamilton-Beach meat grinder that my mother received for Christmas, 1963. (Photo evidence below. If you can manage to keep your eyes from lingering on the fabulousness of the Christmas tree and the television.) 

As far as I remember, my mother used the meat grinder EXCLUSIVELY to grind up leftover ham for ham salad, and it sat in her kitchen well into my adulthood, and though she's no longer with us I'm pretty sure it still exists, intact and operational, somewhere in my own home or one of my siblings'.

Un-risen dough now rested, I shaped it into a muffin tin with varying degrees of success. Not only did it not noticeably rise, but it retained a very springy texture. By the time I had finished shaping one slot, the dough in the previously-completed slot had pulled back from the edges and begun to pull into itself. It was a race against time.

Once filled, I tried to get fancy with the remaining dough, again with varying degrees of success, as evidenced by the shot glass in the background.

I baked at 400 for just shy of 20 minutes, maybe that was even a little too long as they probably got a little too brown on the bottom.

So how did they taste? 

SPOILER ALERT my marriage is safe. FOR NOW

Check out my fellow Pieathletes' creations below, and stay tuned because KITSCHMAS IS COMING

Rum and Butterscotch Pie at Vintage Recipe Cards
Surprise Fudge Pie at Silver Screen Suppers
Tarte a l'Orange at Recipes for Rebels
Chocolate-Crusted Coffee Pie at Grannie Pantries
Osgood Pie at A Book of Cookrye
Tarte au Petite Suisse at The Nostalgic Cook
Dinner is Served 1972

ALSO: Did you know Dr. Husband and I have a podcast? And Dr. Husband even has another one all his own?

Monday, August 19, 2019

Pie Golly, it's Pieathalon VI!!

Pie golly (see what I did there?), I’m once again humbled and honored to be a part of the SIXTH annual Pieathalon, where eminent food bloggers whom I’m barely worthy enough to be counted among swap pie recipes with each other.  This year I was assigned the submission of the Crust Queen herself, Yinzerella of Dinner IsServed 1972 fame.
The recipe, for “A Whipped-Cream-Topped Macaroon Pie”, comes from McCall’s Cooking School (1985), which promises “Step-by-Step Directions for Mistake-Proof Recipes”.  Good, because I 
a) hate making pies, and, 
b) am an idiot.  

It helped that there was no baking involved, only a little separating of eggs and stirring up stuff, which I can generally handle. And one of the ingredients is Knox Gelatin, well within my wheelhouse!
Here is the recipe, in case the pictures below are hard to make out:
Crumb Crust:
2 cups fine almond-macaroon crumbs
¼ cup confectioner’s sugar
½ cup butter or margarine, melted

1 envelope unflavored gelatin
¼ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup unsifted all-purpose flour
Dash salt
2 egg yolks
1 Cup milk
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons dry sherry wine
1 cup course almond-macaroon crumbs
1 cup heavy cream
4 egg whites

Whipped-cream topping
1 cup heavy cream
¼ cup confectioner’s sugar
½ cup toasted slivered almonds

Now, let’s go over my challenges, which I will bring up and complain about as often as possible, to whomever will listen.
1)     I live in rural West Virginia, there is not an almond macaroon to be found. MAYBE I could have found some Manischewitz brand had it been Passover, but even that’s not a guarantee.  So I substituted Amaretto D’Italia cookies.  Which might be the same thing?

2)     Similarly, “Dry Sherry Wine” is a hard find in a town that rolls up at 9 pm.  I used Barefoot Pinot Grigio which seemed a reasonable enough swap as the advertised notes of lemon and apple would seem to lend themselves to the spirit of the recipe.

3)     I’m SUPER lazy, and a procrastinator, and as of this writing have yet to make the whipped-cream topping.  I predict that I will buy a can of Cool Whip on the way home and use that instead.  (prediction: FULFILLED!)

The crust was terribly easy to accomplish (nonetheless I would’ve used a pre-made one if I could’ve) and aside from swapping the necessary numbers of egg whites vs. yolks in my head before starting out, the filling wasn’t too hard to master either. 
The text indicated that I should be waiting for the filling to thicken as it heated, but mine was thick right from the get-go.  Only after I added in the egg whites and cream did it loosen up a little.

The finished product!

Now for the moment of truth – how does it taste?

Well...pretty darn good.  I was afraid the sugar added to the crust of already-sweet cookies would be overpowering, but I guess maybe the wine in the filling had a balancing effect?  I've never had sticky toffee pudding, but in my imagination that's what this pie tastes like. Only it's not sticky, it's light and lovely and creamy.  Like a Heath bar that doesn't get stuck in your teeth.  I would definitely whip this up again for company, especially since it doesn't involve baking and can be assembled the day before. (I'd suggest adding the whipped cream topping at the last minute, even if you're doing it the proper way.  Even my artificial spray-can whipped topping started melting the second I applied it.)

Be sure and check out all the other Pieathletes linked below!

Battenburgbelle's Betty Crocker Hawaiian Pie
Camilla's Flaming Peach Pie
Yinzerella's Dali Oasis Leek Pie
Greg @ Recipes 4 Rebels' Artichoke Pie
Jenny @ Silver Screen Suppers' Spaghetti Pie
The Homicidal Homemaker's Bamberry Turnovers
The Nostalgic Cook's Cheese Applesauce Pie
Kelly @ The Velveteen Lounge's Angel Pie
Surly @Vintage Recipe Card's Salmon Custard Pie
Peter @ Vincent Price Legacy's WW Cherrie Pies
Poppy at Granny Pantries' Banana Split Pie (This was my submission!)
A Book of Cookrye's Huntington Fidget Pie
Taryn at Retro Foods for Modern Times' Honey Cream Cheese Pie