Monday, August 20, 2012

Sourdough Surprises #5 - Pies


This month's Sourdough Surprises challenge was to make pie.

Other than requiring us to make a pie crust dough incorporating sourdough, this really didn't limit us. At all. Pie is so... varied! There are so many different kinds of pies - sweet, savory, single crust, double crust, fruit fillings, meat fillings, breakfasty fillings... seriously, you could probably eat pie for three meals a day without repeating varieties.

So the difficulty was deciding what kind of pie to make. Obviously, my first thought was dessert. Because, well, it's dessert. And I love dessert.

But then I had a hankering for chicken pot pie.  So decided to go with that. As this was a savory pie, I omitted the sugar from the recipe.

Otherwise, the dough comes together exactly like, well, regular pie dough. The try ingredients are combined, then butter is incorporated into it...

...and then liquid is mixed in to bind the whole thing. The difference here is that the liquid of choice is sourdough starter, rather than the "traditional" cold water.

And then just bring the dough together as usual. I left some of my butter pieces bigger, because I was trying very hard not to overwork my dough. Which resulted in some very visible butter spots when I went to wrap my dough and put it in the fridge.

While the dough chilled, I prepared the filling for my chicken pot pie. I try not to use "cream of" soups, and wanted to keep this version completely dairy free (to challenge myself. Yes, I know there was butter in the crust dough, so I can't claim that the whole thing was dairy free... but it was closer than usual...). I made the filling with oil and flour and chicken stock, creating a thick sauce, then mixed in diced leftover chicken from the precious night and a bag of mixed, frozen vegetables, as well as some diced mushrooms, just because we had them.

Once the filling was done, I poured it into a 9" x 13" baking dish, then rolled out my crust dough to fit over it.

A few vent holes, then into a nice hot oven for about half an hour.

The result was delicious, and the crust was flavorful and flaky. We could definitely taste the sourdough in this crust, but I felt that it went very well with the meal, so I was pleased.

But I still wanted to make a sweet pie.

Then my sister gave me two amazing gifts. The first was free-reign over her back-yard peach tree. I mean, how cool is that?  I peeled and diced the peaches and cooked them down with some sugar and cinnamon...

...until they turned into a sweet, delicious sauce.

The second gift was this adorable hand-pie press.

The bottom of the press serves as a cookie cutter, cutting out the correct sized rectangles to them place inside the press, add some filling, top with a second rectangle and, well, press!

I made these at night after the kids were in bed, so I don't have many pictures of the process (and those I have are really not great), but they came together pretty quickly! A half-batch of the pie crust dough (this time with the sugar added back into the recipe!) made seven hand pies.

So come morning, breakfast was all ready!

Both little miss and little man enjoyed these. Little miss actually didn't even realize that they were made with sourdough until halfway through her second. And continued to eat it anyway. (She's silly about sourdough these days...)

I can't wait to try an apple pie with this crust this fall when we go apple picking!!

So what kind of pie did you make? Link up and share!

Sourdough Pie Crust
(from The Bojon Gourmet)
(note - the original recipe was for a double-crust. Both times I made it, I halved it to meet the needs of what I was making. If you are making a double crust pie, simply double the recipe and divide the dough in half prior to refrigerating it.)

1 cup flour (you can use all purpose, whole wheat or a combination)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon sugar (variable, depending on your pie)
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, cold, cut into cubes
about 1/2 cup 100%-hydration sourdough starter

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour(s), salt and sugar. Add the butter and rub it in with your fingertips until the mixture looks like gravel, with some butter worked in and some 1/4" chunks remaining. Gradually add the starter, folding the mixture with a spoon or your hands until it just starts to come together into large clumps.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide roughly into 8 portions. Fraisage the dough: using the heel of your hand, scrape a portion of dough across the surface. Repeat with the remaining dough. Gather the dough into a ball. Flatten the ball into a disc and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill for at least 30 minutes, and up to a few days. (Or freeze for up to a couple months. Defrost before proceeding.)

When you are ready to proceed with your pie, remove the dough from the fridge. If it is very firm, you may need to let it soften at room temp for 15 minutes or so. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out into a 14" round. Fit into the pie pan leaving a slight overhang.  Chill the rolled dough while you prepare the pie filling.

Bake the pie according to the directions for the type of pie you are making.



  1. Hi Shelley, I'm so loving this sourdough challenge! As soon as I settle back home in Brazil and don't have to go half a world back and forth anymore (hopefully soon before the year is over), I want to join in, otherwise I would have to constantly "kill" my sourdough :/
    Love your peach pie and that pie press, had never seen a rectangular one, so cool!

  2. I made a double-crust apple pie and the sourdough pastry base was undercooked, but the top was very tasty. Must try a pot pie or make hand pies like you have. Love that press!

  3. Mm, chicken pie is my absolute favourite & yours looks so, so delicious. I love the peachy hand pies too. The filling looks amazing! Free reign of a peach tree sounds like a wonderful thing.
    Ahh, apple picking. :) I'm craving autumn weather now. I thought the sunlight had an autumnal quality today, but I might just be imagining it.

  4. Oh, your chicken pot pie looks DELICIOUS!!! The crust is absolutely perfect! The hand pies are really cute, too, I've never seen a rectangle press like that! So cute!

  5. If I were able to break out of my baking funk..I was going to make hand pies too! LOVE your peach hand pies - they look magnificent! I promise I will have a swirly bread for you :)

  6. Yum! I love the idea of a chicken pot pie baked in a sourdough crust... brilliance! :) I may have to create a vegetarian version of this.

  7. I bet this would be awesome in a savory capacity... My husband is not a pie for dinner sort - but I am, so I will make it for myself!

  8. Mmmmm, I love chicken pot pie. I am definitely in love with this pie crust in a sweet capacity, but now I totally have to try it with a savoury filling. The hand pies are adorable!

  9. Chicken pot pie is such wonderful comfort food. Perfect for cooler days that should be here soon (I hope!). :)


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