This year, as they have for the past few, Easter and Passover overlapped. I actually grew up celebrating Easter more than Passover; my Dad always took me through the Exodus story, but never got around to staging a full-on seder – egg hunt and chocolate bunnies, however, were an annual occurrence. So, I decided to continue my Easter tradition, and to look back to my Italian roots to do so. I made a classic Neapolitan Easter dish – a ricotta pie called a pastiera – and then decided to give a nod to Passover as well by throwing together a matzo kugel. And what did I do with all this food? Brunch, of course!
Enough with newfangled recipes: in advance of Thanksgiving, I decided to try an old Kentucky recipe for cottage cheese pie. This Southern pie echoes the flavors and ingredients of the Italian torta di ricotta with which I’m more familiar – and is similarly delicious.
I’m starting this new year out with an old recipe. Well, to be clear, this recipe is old to me, since I made it for my pie party in October, but new to the world, since it’s an original concoction. Again, though, that’s not quite accurate – it’s actually a brand new combination of two very traditional recipes: raised pork pie and scrapple. I tossed a few apples into the mix…and came up with scrapple-apple pie.
Most of the recipes on this blog are here because they caught my eye in some way – they had a funny name, interesting ingredient combos, a cool twist on a classic dish. This particular recipe – for black bottom pie – is rather special to me; it leaped out from the pages of The Southern Cook Book before I ever started to blog. The recipe was set out in a dauntingly rambling manner, with vague measurements, so I know adaptation would take work and I kept putting it off. Boy am I glad I got over that…
Well…I seem to have broken my regular-posting promises. I promise I have good reasons, one happy, one not-so-much: first, I got really wrapped up in pies – you’ll see the fruits of this obsession below. Second reason: my grandma passed away this past Monday; I’ll be paying her proper tribute soon…but in the meantime, let’s celebrate life and new beginnings. With pie.
As I mentioned earlier, I got a new apartment this month. And Foodbuzz was kind enough to help me christen my new kitchen by hosting a 24 x 24 there – a pie-centric one. Yep, I had a Pie-tober Housewarming. The oven was going for 2 days, so my house definitely got pretty warm. All that baking yielded nine pies in total – in six flavors. Three of those were pies I’d done before, and three were experiments; thankfully, I had plenty of friends willing to taste test.
Yesterday, I picked some blueberries up at the grocery, and came home to hunt through the books I have here in Boston for a pie recipe. I was expecting to find some variation on the classic “sugar + lemon + cornstarch” formula – maybe to get crazy and do a lattice crust. Instead, I found The Best Blueberry Pie – I didn’t say it first; it’s titled that way in the Dallas Junior League Cookbook.
This is one of those recipes that reminds me why I continue my cookbook archaeology efforts: it’s completely different from any blueberry pie I’ve encountered before, and though it doesn’t photograph well, it is utterly delicious. In lieu of true food porn, I give you a visual testimonial. Before:
This recipe is completely non-vintage; I came up with it while musing on a Horseradish Challenge over at Food 52. If you’re still looking for a Seder dessert for Monday, here’s one that’s Passover-inspired, Passover-friendly, and totally new…