Intro: California Condor Complete Meal in a Pie
The California Condor is the largest North American land bird. As of 2011 there were only 390 know, making them one of the rarest also. Thankfully my pie does not contain any condor meat or other meat for that matter. Instead, it uses a device called a pie bird to allow me to make two pies in the same dish. My particular pie bird was a christmas present and is named after the California Condor.
Extra fact: The California Condor was used as the model for the Skeksis in the Movie The Dark Crystal.
This Pie was a last minute one. I was originally planning on doing a half apple half blueberry pie but I found that I did not have enough blueberry filling left over from the EnterPi. I only had enough apples for half a pie so my girlfriend and I brainstormed filling for the other half. I had a small butternut squash all cubed and roasted that I was planning on adding to a Thai curry I had planned for dinner so we started with that. From other ingredients on had we came up with a plan.
Pie crust. I used some homemade gluten free that I had on hand. Any type will work.
Pie 1: Sweet
4 large Fuji apples. I use Fuji because they hold up well to baking. No mush!
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch. Flour will work too but I was keeping it GF.
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
Pie 2: Savory
1 small butternut squash, peeled and cubed. Roasted is nice but optional.
1 med carrot diced.
1 celery stalk diced.
1 cup choconut milk.
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup red onion diced.
salt and pepper to taste
Step 1: Making the Sweet
First peel and chop your apples nice and thin. I use a hand slicer and then my knife.
If you are making a whole pie or taking your sweet time you can sprinkle the sliced apple with lemon juice to keep them from browning.
In a mixing bowl mix the apples, sugar, cinnamon, salt, and cornstarch until apples are coated.
Let stand 15 minutes stirring a few more times during that time.
Step 2: Making the Savory
In a saucepan bring a tablespoon of oil to med heat.
Add chopped onion and cook until soft. 2-3 minutes.
Add the carrots and celery and cook for another minute. Note: Add the squash with the carrot if not roasted.
Add the squash now if roasted.
Add the choconut milk and then the peas.
Cook the entire mixture on medium heat until it thickens and is reduced. 3-5 minutes. You could also add flour or cornstarch to help thicken it more if needed.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Remove from heat and set aside.
Step 3: Making the Pie
I used some gluten free pie crust that I made last week. It is easy to roll out and easy to repair. I'll share the recipe for that next time.
Role out the pie dough so it will fill your pie plate.
Special note on pie plates: If you want to bake a pie with a nice crust invest in a good dish. I prefer ceramic but pyrex works well also. The thin disposable ones don't work well and I stay away from them. If you are making a pie you don't cook then this is not an issue.
Put the rolled out dough in your dish and stand your pie bird up in the middle.
I added some dough under the wings to keep the sides separated.
Carefully add your fillings to their repective sides.
Roll out the top crust and top the pie with it. Pinch the sides down and let the pie bird poke through. Clear the mouth of the pie bird so the pie can vent while cooking.
Now the crowning touch to making a nice looking and great tasting pie is to treat the top crust. Using a pastry brush I brushed the apple side with some of the apple/sugar/cinnamon juice left over in the bowl. This makes it look and taste great. Be generous with the juice. For the savory side I brushed it with leftover choconut milk and then added sea salt crystals to the top. This turned out so good.
Step 4: Bake That Pie
Put the pie in a pre heated oven at 450 degrees for 25 minutes.
After 25 minutes reduce temp to 350 degrees and bake for another 20-30 minutes. Put a cookie sheet on a lower oven rack to catch any drippings off the pie. I cook mine until the crust is golden brown and the insides are bubbly. Cover the crust with foil if it starts to burn.
When finished remove from oven and let stand for a half hour at least. You want the pie to set up before slicing.
Step 5: Cut and Serve
When you come home at 2:20am after a night of dancing cut into this pie for a complete meal.
I look forward to making more whole meal pies in the future, perhaps a curry side next time.
I will add the information on the Pie-bird divider I am using. It seems they don't have a large web presence so I am having trouble finding them.