Saturday, April 4, 2020

Mom's Pizzagaina and Some Bread

I did not make my Mom's Meat Pies last Easter. I was to busy or whatever but I had to make them this year. I did not double her recipe and I still ended up with 3 regular pies and one small pie.
Again I used the Pate Brisee recipe and added Black Pepper. This crust never fails me.

Pate Brisee - (this recipe is for 2 pies, top, and bottom crusts)
6 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
22 Tbsp sweet butter, chilled

12 Tbsp vegetable shortening, chilled
1 cup of ice water

Sift the flour, salt, and pepper together into a bowl; add butter and shortening and cut them into dry ingredients with a pastry blender or 2 knives until the mixture is like a coarse meal.
Sprinkle on and blend in enough of the ice water to make a workable dough, mixing water in lightly with a fork.
Turn dough out onto your work surface and, using the heel of your hand, smear the dough away from you, about 1/4 cup at a time. Scrape up the smeared dough into a ball, wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Eleanor Lombardi's Pizzagaina
2 pounds baked ham, diced
1 pound pepperoni, skinned, diced and boiled, drained (boiling removes excess grease)
1 pound sweet sausage, fully cooked, drained
1 pound basket cheese, diced

Mix all ingredients. Roll out a quarter of the dough. Place the crust in a pie dish. Use a pie dish with handles if you have one. You will want to check the bottom of the pie to see if it is browned. Add half of the meat and cheese mixture to the dish. Break and mix 3 eggs (each pie requires 3 eggs) and pour over the top of the meat. Roll out another quarter of the dough. Place on top of the meat. Crimp edges. Cut 3 slits in crust. Bake 350 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes. (I baked mine for an hour and 15 minutes). Repeat this for the second pie.
With the meat recipe, you may end up with enough for more than the two pies. Let just say it is one of those Easter miracles. I usually make enough dough for 6 pies just in case.  The crust recipe above is only for 2 pies. I prefer to make the crust in small batches. Making enough for 6 pies at once is more than my kitchen or I can handle.  The crust can go in the freezer so it is "like money in the bank."

When the pies are in the oven keep an eye on overflow. The egg might spill out the slits. It may be a good idea to put some foil under the pie dishes on the lower rack. As long as the egg does not spill over your house will smell amazing.

The bread was my go-to recipe for Italian Bread. The dough is amazing to work with and the Crust and the crumb are always perfect.
Interestingly I got a text from my nephew today asking if I had my mom or my Aunt Marie's Spinach Bread recipe. Sadly I did not but I think this dough would probably work. 
The recipe is from Noshtalgia. The recipe is called No-Knead French Bread but we use it as Italian bread. I let the dough rise longer than the recipe calls for. That is usually, because I have other things going on than just making the bread. The dough is beautiful to work with. Click here for the original recipe.

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