A Late Summer Pie

When summer starts to merge with fall in the South, we all begin craving comforting, cooler-weather types of dishes. And North Carolina-based author Ashley English’s new cookbook, A Year Of Pies: A Seasonal Tour of Home Baked Pies, offers much inspiration. Seasonally organized and brimming with both sweet and savory pies, the book gives step-by-step instructions on all the technical details of making pies, from tools, to crusts, to decorating. It’s packed with useful and good-looking photography, and a host of recipes for pies (and tarts, quiches, and galettes) made with both traditional and innovative flavor combinations.




The winter chapter features an orange curd tart with almond crust, along with a curried winter vegetable pie. For spring, there’s strawberry crumble pie with lemon verbena whipped cream, and a leek and potato tart. The summer chapter features a classic blueberry pie, a fried green tomato and pimento cheese tart, and a savory roasted corn and pepper pie that’s well suited for the bounty of late summer.

The roasted corn and pepper pie is a mixture of eggs and feta cheese, with roasted late summer vegetables. “Corn and peppers truly shine during the swelter of summer,” English says in the book. “Roasting the vegetables imparts a bit of smokiness. Equally delicious served warm or cold, this is the sort of pie you can eat morning, noon, or night."

Roasted Corn and Pepper Pie
You will need
½ recipe Basic Pie Dough  (see below)
9-inch pie pan

Filling
Peanut oil for grilling
6 ears corn, shucked
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 poblano pepper, seeded and diced
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely diced
5 large eggs
¼ cup sour cream
¼ cup half-and-half
2 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. chipotle powder or chili powder
4 oz. Mexican farmer’s cheese or feta cheese, crumbled

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Prepare the crust
Roll out the dough (recipe below) on a lightly floured surface and fit it into the 9-inch pie pan. Trim the crust overhang to 1 inch and crimp the edges decoratively. Place the crust in the refrigerator while you prepare the filling.

Prepare the filling
Over high heat, “grill” the corn ears in a skillet with a few tablespoons of peanut oil. Turn partially every minute or so for 10 minutes, until the corn is mostly browned and blackened in some spots. Alternatively, you can lightly blacken the corn on a barbecue grill.

Remove the corn to a platter to cool slightly. Add a bit more peanut oil to the skillet and similarly brown and blacken the diced peppers. Remove the peppers to a medium-size bowl.

Tip: If using a barbecue grill, cook the peppers whole first, then seed and dice. When cool enough to handle, cut the corn kernels off the cobs. Add to the peppers in the bowl.

In a separate bowl, combine the eggs, sour cream, half-and-half, salt, and chipotle powder. Whisk until thoroughly incorporated.

Assemble the pie
Fill the chilled crust with the corn and peppers, leveling the vegetables with a spatula. Pour the egg mixture over the vegetables and sprinkle with the cheese.

Set the pie pan on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes, until the filling is golden brown on top and the eggs are cooked and not wobbly in the center.

Cool at least 30 minutes before serving.

Variation: If you don’t care for the heat present in poblano and jalapeño peppers, simply substitute green bell peppers.

Basic Pie Dough
Makes: Dough for one double-crust pie

You will need
2½ cups all-purpose flour
1¼ tsp. sea salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
¾ cup ice water

Mix the flour and salt together in a medium-large bowl.

Using a pastry blender or two forks, incorporate the butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal (you should still have some rather large bits of butter and shortening when you’re done).

Slowly drizzle in the ice water. Stir with a large spoon until the dough begins to clump.

Transfer the dough onto a floured work surface and, using your hands, fold it into itself until all of the flour is incorporated into the fats. The dough should come together easily but should not feel overly sticky.

Divide the dough in half, shape it into two balls, and pat each ball into a ½-inch thick disk. Wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.


Adapted with permission from A Year of Pies © 2012 by Ashley English, Lark Books, an imprint of Sterling Publishing Co., Inc.