One of my good friends has a birthday on the 4th of July that he rarely gets to fully celebrate, what with all the barbecues and fireworks and loud people. He's a pretty low-key dude and he loves food, and since him and his lady are awesome and our kids are basically bffs, we had them over for a delicious festival of grazing.
We had really epic snacks, lots of fresh fruit and berries and amazing salami and bread and some kind of gooey cheese that I don't remember what it was called, and olives, and what else- oh yeah, PIEEE.
Y'all, this is my first pie ever. I know you're thinking, WTF DUMB FOOD BLOGGER, YOU HAVE MADE ABOUT A MILLION PIES. I'VE SEEN PICTURES. Those pies were all made by Summer at her house! I know that at least ONE of you lovely readers took umbrage with me calling people dummies for skimming posts and ignoring facts but man, it's pretty funny how many people used to completely ignore which post was made by which person when Summer and I were blogging together. I've gotten a lot of emails asking for specific baking advice that I cannot really give, I'm not really a baker. I've even made whole posts explaining the whole Summer/Alice dynamic- i.e., I am a photographer, she likes to bake. BUT, that's beside the point.
The point is I MADE MY FIRST PIE. I just took the epic pate brisee recipe by Martha Stewart and subbed out 1 1/2 cups of whole wheat pastry flour, and used all lard instead of butter. Now, I'm not going to go off on some tangent about shit I've been reading about lard, but I think most people know at this point (I hope?) that lard isn't actually all that bad for you. HYDROGENATED stuff, which a lot of lard is, is terrible for you, but if you go to a butcher and buy freshly rendered lard, nutritionally it's not a whole lot different from olive oil. The calories are the same, and it's over half monounsaturated fats, so a lard crust isn't going to give you an instant heart attack and it tastes really good.
I wanted a savory pie and I wasn't 100% sure how I wanted to do it, but I mentioned it to one of my bosses at work and she told me about the savory pies they used to make, with a ricotta/egg type filling, and I was like, SOLD! I'm picking up ricotta on the way home. I caramelized onions and fennel bulb together in a pan, mixed up a bowl with a tub of ricotta, the (cooled! they were cooled first!) onions & fennel, some fresh basil and some chopped fennel fronds, and 3 eggs, and a little bit of parmesan. Spooned into the middle of a rolled out crust and then folded up around, baked on a sheet pan for what, like 40 minutes? This was definitely a "just keep an eye on it" sort of thing because I had no idea what I was doing.
Anyway if you use the Martha Recipe, and hippiefy it if you want to or don't, it's a perfect recipe all by itself, and then use one of those little pint tubs of ricotta, 3 caramelized onions (and a fennel bulb), 2 whole eggs and one egg yolk (reserve the white to brush on the crust) this will make you 2 large savory pies. Add anchovies if you want. I was going to but I gave mine up for the potato salad, which actually might warrant its own post, if my husband will give up his recipe. Potato salad secrets: tarragon and anchovy.