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A&E >  Food

‘Magpie’ cookbook celebrates sweet, savory

Butterscotch Bourbon Pie from “Magpie.”
Butterscotch Bourbon Pie from “Magpie.”

Quick look: Add to your holiday baking arsenal with this celebration of pie from the boutique bakeshop that bears the same name as this charming book.

What’s inside: “It’s been said that anything can be turned into a pie. Call me biased, but I’d say that’s a truth to live by – especially when it comes to savory pies,” Holly Ricciardi writes in the fourth chapter of her new pie-baking book.

It emphasizes seasonal fillings and flaky crusts and honors her Dutch-German roots – just like her popular Philadelphia pie shop, where whole pies typically cost from $30 to $38. Ricciardi opened it in September 2012. Since then, it’s been featured in Conde Nast Traveler, Travel + Leisure, Zagat and more.

Ricciardi shares her secrets in pie-baking classes at the shop as well as the 256-page hardcover book with more than 90 recipes. A graphic designer turned pastry chef, she grew up surrounded by extended family in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, where her great-grandmother sold pies and cakes at the Carlisle Country Market and her grandfather owned and ran a grocery store and butcher shop.

She devotes the first chapter entirely to pie crust, sharing tips and tricks such as weighing out all ingredients, using Crisco and keeping ice-cold the water, butter and shortening. Particularly helpful are step-by-step photos illustrating the processes for mixing, rolling and fluting edges or weaving a lattice.

Chapter 2 offers recipes for no fewer than 32 fruit pies, and Chapter 3 provides 22 recipes for (mostly) creamy pies. Sweet selections include Pear Chocolate Pie, Cranberry Curd Mini Meringue Pies, Blueberry Rhuby Rose Pie, and Roasted Sweet Potato Pie.

Savories include Quiche Lorraine, Croque Monsieur Pie, Tomato Chedder Corn Pie, and Cheeseburger Pie.

Additional offerings sprinkled throughout the book include sides and toppings such as marshmallow puff, meringue, vanilla marshmallows, caramel sauce, buttermilk ice cream, ginger ice cream and a pie milkshake.

What’s not: Not every recipe is accompanied by a photo.

Butterscotch Bourbon Pie

From “Magpie” by Holly Ricciardi and Miriam Harris

This pie, Magpie’s specialty, is based on a recipe from Ricciardi’s maternal great-grandmother; her handwritten recipe is framed on the wall near the front door of the shop. Her version was straight butterscotch; this one has bourbon, which deepens the butterscotch flavor. It’s important to follow the instructions closely to get the filling to bake up just right – thick, rich custard below, thin sponge cake up top.

Pie dough for 1 (9-inch) crust, chilled overnight, see note

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 1/2 cups (288 grams) packed dark brown sugar

3 large eggs, separated, at room temperature

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon fine salt

1 tablespoon bourbon

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk

Lightly sweetened freshly whipped cream, for serving

Roll, pan, and flute the dough. Transfer the pan to the refrigerator and chill the shell while you prepare the filling.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees with a rack in the center. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Combine the butter, brown sugar, and egg yolks in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Run the machine on low speed for several minutes to cream the mixture together until it is very light and creamy, pausing occasionally to scrape down the bowl.

Add the flour and salt and mix until no streaks of white are visible, 1 to 2 minutes. The mixture will be heavy and thick, like wet sand.

Add the bourbon, vanilla, and lemon juice and continue mixing on low until well combined, about 2 minutes, at which point it will be even heavier and thicker, like really wet sand.

With the mixer running at low speed, add the evaporated milk and mix until smooth and liquidy, stopping often to scrape down the sides, about 2 minutes.

In a separate clean, dry bowl, whip the egg whites to medium-soft peaks. Gently fold one-third of the egg whites into the filling (which will now become clumpy), using a whisk to lift the whites up and over from the bottom of the bowl to incorporate without deflating. Use a rubber spatula to slowly and gently fold in the remaining two-thirds of the egg whites, incorporating just to the point that no white clumps or very white streaks remain. Don’t over-mix; the mixture should be a pale cappuccino color, not uniform from top to bottom (foamier on the top).

Retrieve the prepared pie shell from the refrigerator and set the pan on the parchment-lined baking sheet. Pour the filling into the pie shell. Carefully (the filling is very sloshy; try to keep the tray steady) transfer the baking sheet to the oven and bake the pie 45 minutes, or until the top is deeply browned and puffed and the center is still ever-so-slightly loose (it should give a bit of a wiggle when you tap the edge of the baking sheet).

Carefully transfer the tray from the oven to a wire rack. Let cool completely to room temperature (it sinks as it cools, going from puffed-up and pillowy at the edges to level with the rim of the pan; at the center it will crinkle as it cools and sets), then chill overnight (at least 12 hours and up to 3 days) before slicing and serving. Serve with whipped cream.

Makes: 1 (9-inch) pie

Note: This pie calls for a 1/2 recipe of Magpie Dough for Flaky Pie Crust. The dough recipe is online at the Too Many Cooks blog at blogs/too-many-cooks.

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