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Pie Perfection: Five Sweet and Savory Pies To Add to Your Recipe Book

Pie Perfection: Five Sweet and Savory Pies To Add to Your Recipe Book

Pie. One word – endless possibilities. Sweet, savory, with or without crust, hot, cold, handheld or slab baked in a sheet pan. Pie is simply one of those dishes that has something for everyone, every mood, every season, and every meal. To streamline the process, here are five sweet and savory pie recipes including Easy as Apple Pie, Chicken Pot Pie with Seasonal Vegetables, Weeknight Shepherd’s Pie, Sugar Cream Pie, and Tasty Tomato Tart, all made using the same crust recipe (or no crust at all) that will likely become part of your personal recipe collection. 

Crust 

Crust recipes do range from simple to complex, and yes, if you prefer to skip this step and go with store bought (frozen, a roll out sheet, or fully prepared) – you are still making the pie. Do what works best for you!  

The recipe below will make two layers of crust and can be used as either a top and bottom or to create the base for two different single layer crust pies. The combination of vegetable shortening with butter creates a tender, flaky result. 

Ingredients  

  • ½ cups all-purpose flour  
  • ¼ teaspoons salt 
  • ¼ cup vegetable shortening 
  • 10 tablespoons of cold butter cut into cubes 
  • ¼ cup of ice water (this will be used by the tablespoonful) 

Directions 

  1. Blend flour and salt together in a large bowl. 
  2. Add the shortening and combine. 
  3. Place butter in the mixture and work together minimally until coarse crumbles can be seen. 
  4. Add 4 tablespoons of water to the dough and mix gently. 
  5. Once the dough seems to hold a shape when pressed together it can be shaped into a disk. If the dough still seems dry or too crumbly add another tablespoon of ice water as needed. 
  6. Divide mixture in half. 
  7. Create a disk out of each half and let each section rest, wrapped, and in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. 
  8. After chilling, roll out the dough with a rolling pin lightly dusted with flour until the crust is just slightly larger than the circumference of the pie pan. 
  9. Place dough in pie pan and assemble filling. 

Easy as Apple Pie 

The customizable part of this recipe lies in choosing the combination of apples you like best for the filling. While some apples are not as suitable for baking due to their texture when cooked, a list of options are here for you to pick your favorites. 

Apple Choices 

  • Braeburn 
  • Cortland 
  • Granny Smith 
  • McIntosh 

Filling Ingredients 

  • 6 – 8 medium apples, peeled and cut into same size chunks 
  • ¾ cup of sugar 
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour 
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon 
  • ¼ teaspoon salt 
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg 
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice 

Directions 

  1. Preheat oven to 400°. 
  2. Combine filling ingredients in a large bowl and make sure they are well combined. 
  3. Place first crust in bottom of pie pan. Cut off any edges that hang over the sides. 
  4. Add the filling to the pie pan. 
  5. Top with second crust. Crimp edges down with the tines of a fork. Cut slits or designs in top crust to allow steam to escape. 
  6. If desired, use a pastry brush to coat the top crust with an egg mixed with water, then sprinkle with sparkling or coarse sugar. 
  7. Place the pie pan on baking sheet and put it on the middle rack in the oven. 
  8. Bake for about 40 minutes until crust is golden brown and apples are tender.  

 

Chicken Pot Pie with Seasonal Vegetables 

Chicken pot pie has a traditional version with a creamy sauce, carrots, onions, peas, and oh yes, chicken. Guess what? You can change up the vegetables in the filling, so the pie is created with the freshest ingredients in your area – any month of the year. 

Filling Ingredients 

  • cups skinless roast chicken (I like leaving the meat in chunks or large strips but chop or shred if desired)
  • 3 cups of any combination of vegetables cut into similar size to ensure even cooking:  asparagus, broccoli, carrots, celery, corn, green beans, mushrooms, peas, peppers, squash, or zucchini 
  • ½ cup of diced mild onion or onion pearls 
  • 4 tablespoons of flour 
  • Salt and pepper to taste 
  • 2 ½ cups of chicken broth 
  • ½ stick of butter 
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

 Directions 

  1. Heat oven to 350°. 
  2. Mix chicken and vegetables in a large bowl, coat with flour, salt, and pepper. 
  3. Place first crust in bottom of pie pan. Cut off any edges that hang over the sides. 
  4. Add the chicken mixture and remaining filling ingredients to the pie. 
  5. Top with second crust. Crimp edges down with the tines of a fork. Cut slits or designs in top crust to allow steam to escape. 
  6. Place the pie pan on baking sheet and put it on the middle rack in the oven. 
  7. Bake for 45 minutes, until filling is bubbling, and crust is golden brown. 

Weeknight Shepherd’s Pie 

The Shepherd’s Pie recipe in vintage cookbooks may include lamb stew meat. Today, ground lamb, or ground beef, are the more commonly used proteinLocations around the globe may also refer to the use of beef as a Cottage Pie and the use of lamb as Shepherd’s Pie. Although this dish does not use a traditional pie crust, the mashed potato topping acts in a similar way as a pastry crust – the potatoes keep their soft, pillowy inner texture but develop a crisp crust and work bholding the heat in and letting the filling cook to create a craveable comfort dish.  

When I make this for my family, I double the recipe and cook it in a large baking dish instead of a pie pan. 

Filling Ingredients 

  • 3 – 4 large potatoes, peeled and cut into similar size chunks 
  • 1 stick of butter  
  • 1 pound of ground beef 
  • 2 cups of vegetables – carrots, celery, corn, peas 
  • 1 medium onion, chopped 
  • 2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce 
  • ½ cup of beef broth 
  • Salt and pepper to taste 

Directions 

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. 
  2. Boil the potatoes in salted water until tender. 
  3. Drain potatoes then mash them in the pot with half of the stick of butter. Leave the mashed potatoes in the pot until needed. 
  4. Brown ground beef in a large skillet until brown. Drain beef and set aside. 
  5. Place half of the stick of butter in the same skillet the beef was cooked in (ensure no grease remains in the pan). Add the onion and carrots. 
  6. Once the onion is soft, add celery if desired. 
  7. Combine beef, cooked vegetables, corn and peas, beef broth, salt and pepper, Worcestershire sauce in a pie dish. 
  8. Top mixture with a layer of mashed potatoes. 
  9. Use a fork to create stripes in the potatoes. 
  10. Place the Shepherd’s Pie in the oven on the middle rack and bake for approximately 30 minutes or until potato topping is golden brown. Broil for the last 2 – 3 minutes if desired for crispier potatoes. 

Sugar Cream Pie 

The history of Sugar Cream Pie seems to vary slightly depending on the sourceBut, whether this dessert came from France, Quebec, or the Quakers who settled in North Carolina in the 1800’sthe result is a silky, creamy pie, perfect for any occasion.  

One pie crust is needed for this pie. 

Filling Ingredients 

  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream 
  • 1 cup sugar 
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour 
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into cubes 
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg or ¼ teaspoon cinnamon 

Directions 

  1. Preheat the oven to 425° 
  2. Whisk the heavy whipping cream, sugar, flour, and vanilla in a bowl.  
  3. Place crust in bottom of pie pan. Cut off any edges that hang over the sides. 
  4. Put the pie pan on a baking sheet. 
  5. Pour the filling into the crust and sprinkle nutmeg or cinnamon on the top.  
  6. Reduce the oven temperature to 350° and place the baking sheet with the pie on the middle rack. Bake until the crust is golden, and the filling is bubbly in spots, just under one hour.   
  7. Transfer to a rack and let cool completely.  

Tasty Tomato Tart 

Is it a pie or a tart? The technical definition of a pie includes the use of two layers of crust, while a tart typically only has the bottom layer, and it is sometimes thicker than a standard pie crust. Technical information aside, this Tasty Tomato Tart was once made for me by a close friend and after getting the recipe from her, it has been a popular and requested dish in my house for years. It’s a great starter, brunch item, buffet dish, and can be served at room temperature.  

Store bought or pizzeria bought pizza dough can always work beautifully as a crust for Tasty Tomato Tart. 

Ingredients 

  • tablespoons of pesto 
  • 1/2 – 1 cup of grated Parmesan cheese 
  • large, sliced tomatoes  
  • Salt and pepper to taste 
  • cup of grated mozzarella cheese 
  • tablespoon of olive oil 
  • 1 teaspoon of chopped garlic chopped 
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh, sliced basil 

Directions 

  1. Preheat the oven to 425° 
  2. Place crust in bottom of pie pan. Pinch together any dough that reaches over the side to form an edge. 
  3. Put the pie pan on a baking sheet. 
  4. Spread the pesto over the dough. 
  5. Sprinkle ½ cup of grated Parmesan cheese on top of the pesto. 
  6. Layer sliced tomatoes on top, season with salt and pepper. 
  7. Cover with mozzarella cheese. 
  8. Drizzle olive oil over cheese. 
  9. Top with chopped garlic. 
  10. Bake for approximately 20 minutes or until the crust is browned and the cheese is melted. 
  11. Garnish with fresh basil. 

Pie. So versatile. So delicious. And now, so many more options at your fingertips for both sweet and savory pie recipes. Easy enough for a weeknight dinner and fancy enough to serve at a special occasion. Try variations on these recipes to create your own perfect pies!  

About The Author

Sharon MacGregor

Writing from her desk in New York, Sharon MacGregor is a contributing reporter, freelance writer, and blogger with a passion for human interest stories as well as meals shared with friends and family. Her blog, Fed Well includes recipes with upcoming tips to prepare foods for infants and toddlers, simple and seasonal cocktails, and easy modifications to create dishes respecting dietary restrictions including dairy and gluten intolerances. She loves entertaining for the ones she loves including her new grandbabies!

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