Local Hawaii ingredients used with an international flair
Sunday, March 13, 2011
In honor of Pi Day, a rustic chard & feta pie
By Nanette Geller
March 14 is Pi Day (3.14…) so I thought I’d demonstrate an easy technique for making a rustic pie.
Whoever coined the phrase “easy as pie” must have meant it ironically. Pie (at least the crust) is anything but easy for a beginner! First comes the dough, which can turn out tough if it’s handled too much. Then rolling it to the right size. Then getting the top on without tearing it.
I find this style less intimidating, and we love the results. You could actually make it with any pie dough, but I really like this Whole Wheat Yeasted Olive Oil Pastry from the New York Times. It’s easy to make, very forgiving, easy to handle and tastes great. The photos are of a savory chard & feta pie, but I’ve used the same dough and technique for a delicious apple pie. Since there are just two of us, I used 1/4 of the dough and made it on a 9 inch pizza pan. Leftover dough freezes well.
The filling is chopped cooked chard, sautéed chopped onion and feta cheese, seasoned with fresh-ground black pepper and freshly grated Big Island nutmeg, and bound with an egg.
This dough is easy to roll thin. I used a Silpat, so it needed very little flour. No need to keep it round.
Unlike regular pie dough, which can be tricky to transfer, it was a cinch to pick it up and place it on a lightly oiled 9” pizza pan.
The filling is centered on the dough and smoothed out with damp hands, leaving plenty of room at the edges.
Start folding the dough towards the center, overlapping as you go. Size is whatever it turns out to be. No need to keep it symmetrical.
Ready to go in the oven: 375 degrees for about 30-40 minutes.
Let it cool a bit, so the filling settles. We actually prefer it room temp.
A small wedge (1/6th of the pie) made a lovely lunch. For dinner, I serve 1/4 pie if it’s the main course.
You can use any filling as long as it’s solid enough to stay together without pan walls to hold it in.
By the way, this kind of free-form pie is often called a galette. You may also see it called a crostata. Whatever you call it, it’s delicious, versatile, and easy as pie!
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