Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Pie - An Eye Opening Dough Experience

Today was a second bid for foods eaten during our trip to New York.  Co. was that heavenly Pie joint in the Chelsea neighborhood.  A search on the trusty internet found this dough recipe by Jim Lahey, of Co.  So easy, so basic, yet so very brilliant.  


I made two types of pies.
The first was the Flambe, which was our favorite at Co.  Bechamel, parmesan, mozzarella, caramelized onions, lardons.
Bechamel - Approximately 1 cup
2 Tbsp Butter
2 1/2 Tbsp Flour
1 Cup Whole Milk
2 Tbsp Grated Fontina 
Tiny Pinch of Freshly Grated Nutmeg
Salt and White Pepper
Melt Butter over medium heat.  Add flour and whisk until smooth.  Stirring constantly, add milk and continue to whisk until the sauce is smooth.  Simmer until the sauce is thick and paste like.  I'd say a little thicker than normal bechamel.  Remove from heat and stir in fontina, nutmeg, salt and white pepper to taste.  If you do this ahead of time, like I did, it will harden when it cools down.  Just reheat slightly before using.  Spread on the dough with a knife or rubber spatula.


Caramelized Onions
1 Medium Onion, sliced
2 Tbsp Butter
1 Tsp Sugar
Melt butter over medium heat, toss in onions, a pinch of salt and pepper.  Stir constantly until softened.  Add in sugar and continue to cook, stirring frequently until golden brown.


Lardons
When we were at Co., I asked and was told Nueske's bacon was used on the Flambe pizza.    You can order the bacon online, but by coincidence, I found some at Uwajimaya.  The bacon on the Flambe was nice and thick.  The package I purchased was already sliced, but worked out fine.  The bacon is applewood smoked, nice and smoky, just a hint of sweetness, perfectly salty, not too fatty, perfect.  Cut the bacon into 1/2" wide pieces, fry until crispy.  It is a bacon to keep in your vault.  A bacon to barter with.  A get out of jail free bacon.  Yes, it's that good.


To assemble the pie, I followed the directions for preparing the dough, except, my timing did not match exactly as directed.  The last part is leaving the dough under a floured towel for 2 hours.  I left mine like that for the 2 hours, but then laid saran wrap over the towel to lest rest until cooking time so it wouldn't dry out.  It sat like that for several more hours.  The raw dough was light, airy, delicate and a challenge to handle because of its loose and sticky texture.  No kneading or rolling of the dough.  Just stretching and shaping into a kind of round.   I could barely pick it up without it stretching to a state of tracing paper thinness.  So, it worked best to stretch and press it out on a cutting board.
With only one pizza stone, I decided to slightly par bake the dough, except one of them to test out the difference.  I was afraid once the dough was loaded up with the fixin's, I would not be able to unstick them to the surface where I had prepared it, to slide onto the stone.


Spread some bechamel over the dough, followed by the caramelized onions, lardons, roughly grated parmesan and mozzarella cheese.
Bake on a hot pizza stone at 475f until bechamel and cheese are bubbling and browning on top.  


The second pie is an Emerton house favorite.  Prosciutto, caramelized onions, gruyere, and pecorino. 
To assemble, brush the dough with olive oil.  Lay a few pieces of prosciutto on top, followed by caramelized onions, grated guyere and grated pecorino.  And sure enough, an egg went on top on one side of the pie. 


The par baking of the dough was the right way to go.  With the home oven, and its limitations in heat as compared to the wood burning oven, the par baking helped the dough to get a better crisp on it.  About 3 minutes at 475f will do.  That dough was ethereal and cloud like.  Love at first bite.


I am alone in the love for beets in my house.  I made a little beet salad with grapefruit, spiced pecans, blue cheese, and a champagne vinaigrette dressing.  Why am I alone in this? 


The Flambe pie rocked our world.  A new favorite has taken its place in the house.  Stella said, once again, "a party in my mouth!"  Maggie added, "no, it's a DANCE party in my mouth!"  



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