I love pies, both savory and sweet, and they are so simple an undertaking that I know where the old saying “Easy as pie” comes from. About 20 years ago I bought a Cuisinart food processor just to make quiche crusts. It is a breeze! Just put all the dry ingredients into the processor, press the ON button and drizzle in the liquid. Click OFF as it begins to form a ball, and refrigerate. Roll out when needed. It’s that simple! I make extras batches once the processor is dirty anyway, and freeze them for later use.
Rolling out and cutting the dough is a
satisfying and fast exercise. Nearly as fast as opening a package of store-bought pie crusts, except you can pronounce all the ingredients in the home-made ones. It should have been the decade of pies, not the Year of Pies.
I kinda knew pies were “hot” before I read it in this month’s Saveur Magazine, and this week’s Time Magazine. Before Christmas I saw a Williams Sonoma catalogue with a pie making machine featured. I just had to have it. Everyone I mentioned it to was fascinated by the idea, or had also seen it and lusted after it.
Well, Santa was kind, but a bit late. Apparently my “lost” pie machine was misdirected by some envious elves, because it didn’t arrive until New Years eve. I’ve used it many times since then.
The Breville Personal Pie Maker is basically a waffle iron or a pannini maker, but with permanent inserts for four 4 inch pies. No pans, no washing – just lay in the bottom crust, add 1/3 cup filling and a top crust. Voila! Four perfectly formed pies will be ready in minutes. To clean, just wipe out when the pies are done. And it’s fast! Most cooking cycles take 8 to 14 minutes. That’s four pies cooked and browned to perfection in . . . no time!
So far I’ve made eight chicken pot pies, four cherry pies and eight empanadas. Yup! Pasties, empanadas, any kind of filling and crust can be used. Granted, they will all look like mini-pies, but it’s the taste that matters, right? These are as good as the ingredients you use.
I froze four empanadas for a fast dinner at a later date. Just because I’m committed to serving homemade, from-scratch dinners doesn’t mean I have to spend hours at it every night. There are meetings to attend, chores to complete, and evenings when I just don’t have the energy to cook. Those frozen pies, thawed and warmed in the oven at 325 for 5 or 10 minutes, are the perfect solution. Add a salad and there’s a complete, wholesome meal in less than 30 minutes!
For entrees, desserts and appetizers, four inch pies – cooked to perfection – will be the most talked about course, and the most asked for! It’s official – 2011 – the year of the pie!
Breville’s Personal Pie Maker http://www.brevilleusa.com/the-personal-pie.html