|Banoffee pie. (Courtesy of Robin Hood)
Nothing beats a slice of nice! And that's exactly what you're going to find in a piece of pie. If anything lifts the winter blues faster than the promise of spring is layers of flaky pastry enveloping your favourite sweet or savoury ingredients. Pies are the artist's palette of the food world — the sky's the limit of what you can do with a bit of crust and a sprinkle of love.
What's your favourite pie? I'd love to know — why don't you share your slice of nice on my table, Rita’s Table. All you have to do is share your favourite slice of pie photo by emailing email@example.com or by tweeting or instagramming your photo with the hashtag #ritastable. I’ll chose my favourite photos to appear in a future column.
In the meantime, enjoy the following!
You’ll love every bite of this classic layered pie. With ripe banana and sweet and sticky toffee, there’s nothing quite like a slice of banoffee. Recipe courtesy of Robin Hood.
- 1 1/3 cups (325 ml) all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp (2 ml) salt
- 1/2 cup (125 ml) all vegetable shortening, chilled and cubed
- 3-6 tbsp. (45-90 ml) ice cold water
- 1 can (300 ml) dulce de leche caramel flavoured sauce (Eagle Brand suggested)
- 3 large bananas1 ½ cups (375 ml) whipping cream
- 2 tbsp. (30 ml) icing sugar
- 1 tsp. (5 ml) pure vanilla extract
- Shaved good quality milk chocolate for garnish
Pie Crust: In a large bowl, blend flour and salt. Using a pastry blender or your fingers, work in shortening until coarse crumbs form. Sprinkle 2 tbsp. (30 ml) water over flour.
Using a fork, mix until dough is slightly moist. Add remaining water if needed. Shape dough into a 1/2 in. (1.3 cm) thick disc. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.
On a floured surface, using a floured rolling pin, roll dough into a circle measuring 11-in. (28 cm). Loosely roll dough around rolling pin, and then unroll, easing dough onto a 9-in. (23 cm) pie plate. Crimp edges. Refrigerate 20 minutes.
Preheat oven to 425F (220C). Remove pie shell from fridge and prick bottom with a fork. Bake 16-20 minutes, or until lightly golden. Remove from oven and cool completely, 20 minutes.
Filling: Bring caramel flavoured sauce to a boil over medium heat in a medium saucepan. Stir constantly, cook 5 minutes. Remove from heat and pour into baked pie shell. Refrigerate until cold, about 1 hour.Cut bananas into ¼-in. (0.6 cm) thick slices and place over caramel flavoured filling.Using an electric mixer, beat whipping cream with icing sugar and vanilla until soft peaks form. Place cream over bananas and garnish with shaved chocolate.
Note: Try substituting shaved chocolate with shaved toasted coconut.
Mini peach pie pockets
A can of peaches comes in mighty handy for this delicious pocket pie. Recipe and image courtesy of California Cling Peach Board.
- 1/2 cup (125ml) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into chunks
- 1/2 pkg. (8 oz./250g) cream cheese, room temperature
- 1/4 tsp. (1ml) salt
- 1 cup (250ml) all-purpose flour
- 1 28 oz. (796ml) can sliced peaches, in light syrup
- 2 tbsp. (30ml) cornstarch
- 2 tsp. (10ml) lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp. (2ml) cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. (1ml) nutmeg
- 1 egg yolk whisked with 1 tsp. (5 ml) water
- Granulated sugar, preferably coarse, for sprinkling
Place butter, cream cheese and salt in a large bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat until well blended. Gradually add flour, beating just until blended. Form into 6 equal-size balls. Wrap each with plastic wrap; refrigerate at least 1 hour.
Drain 1/4 cup (50 ml) peach syrup into a medium pot, then drain remaining peaches really well. Stir cornstarch into peach syrup until dissolved. Chop well-drained peaches, into pieces and add to pot along with lemon juice and spices. Stir well. Set over medium heat, stirring continuously until mixture thickens, about 3 minutes. Set aside to cool completely.
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 375F (190C). Dust counter with flour. Slice 3 balls in half. Roll each into a circle measuring about 5-inches (12.5 cm). Place about 2 Tbsp. (30 ml) peach mixture in centre of each. Brush egg mixture around edges of pastry. Fold pastry over filling to form a semi-circle. Press edges together well to seal.
Place on prepared baking sheet. Brush tops with egg mixture, cut a small slit in tops with knife, then sprinkle with sugar. Bake in centre of preheated oven until golden, about 20 minutes. Repeat with remaining dough.
Makes 12 pies.
Cheddary chicken pot pie
The comfort of the past with a ‘cheesy’ new twist for today. Recipe courtesy of Robin Hood.
- 1 1/2 cups (375 ml) all purpose flour
- 3/4 cup (175 mL) grated Ivanhoe Old Sharpe Cheddar, or favourite sharp cheddar
- 1/2 tsp. (2 ml) salt
- 1/3 cup (75 ml) all-vegetable shortening, cold
- 3-6 Tbsp. (45-90 ml) ice cold water, divided
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) butter
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 1/2 cups (375 ml) baby carrots, sliced in half lengthwise
- 3 tbsp. (45 ml) all purpose flour
- 2 cups (500 ml) prepared chicken broth
- 1 can (370 ml) regular, 2% or fat free evaporated milk
- 1 tbsp. (15 ml) grainy Dijon mustard
- 1 rotisserie chicken, about 2 1/2 lb (1.1 kg) meat removed and shredded, about 3 cups (750 mL) or leftover turkey
- 1 cup (250 ml) grated Ivanhoe Old Sharpe Cheddar or favourite sharp cheddar
Crust: In a large bowl, combine flour, cheese and salt. Cut in shortening with pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add cold water, 1 Tbsp. (15 ml) at a time, mixing until dough can be gathered in a ball. Flatten dough into 4-in. (10 cm) circle. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill 30 minutes.
Filling: In a large deep skillet, melt butter on medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook for 3 minutes until soft and fragrant. Add carrots, continue cooking 3 minutes. Add flour, stirring constantly about 3 minutes. Stir in broth, evaporated milk and mustard. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently until sauce thickens. Stir in chicken.
Preheat oven to 425F (220C). Pour filling into oven-proof bowls or ramekins. Sprinkle cheese over filling.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough. With a round cookie cutter (or using a small plate as a guide), cut out circles that are slightly wider than the bowls being used. Top filling with a dough round. Gently press the dough down on the top of the bowls. Cut a small X in the centre of each circle. Place the pot pies on a foil lined baking sheet.
Bake in preheated oven until the filling is bubbling and the crust is deep golden brown, about 40-45 minutes. Cool 10 minutes before serving.
Makes 12 appetizers or 4 dinner portions.
Note: Looking to add more vegetables? Try adding frozen peas or sautéed mushrooms.
Portion-wise, use 1/2 cup (125 ml) ramekins for appetizer or lunch portions and 11/2 cups (375 ml) ramekins or bowls for dinner.
Tortilla and black bean pie
This pie will have everyone lined up for seconds. Serve this with salsa and sour cream on the side. Recipe courtesy of Food Every Day (Potter).
- 4 (10-inch/26-cm) flour tortillas
- 1 tbsp. (15 ml) canola oil
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1 jalapeno pepper, minced (remove seeds and ribs for less heat)
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 tsp. (2 ml) ground cumin
- Coarse salt and ground pepper
- 2 cans (15-oz/470 ml) black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 1/2 cups (375 ml) water
- 1-18 oz. package (225 g) frozen corn
- 4 scallions, thinly sliced, plus more for garnish
- 2 cups (500 ml) shredded cheddar cheese
Preheat oven to 400F (200C). Trim tortillas to fit a 9-inch (26-cm) springform pan, using bottom of pan as a guide. Set aside.
Heat oil in skillet over medium heat. Add onion, jalapeno, garlic and cumin; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened, about 5 to 7 minutes.
Add beans and water to skillet and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium; simmer until liquid has almost evaporated, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in corn and scallions, and remove from heat. Season to taste.
Fit a trimmed tortilla in bottom of springform pan; layer with one quarter of beans and 1 1/2 cup (125 ml) cheese. Repeat three times, using 1 cup (250 mL) cheese on top layer. Bake until hot and cheese is melted, 20 to 25 minutes.
Unmold pie; sprinkle with scallions. Slice into wedges and serve immediately.