Corn Pie

This pie could be confusing to some. Confusing because some people may not consider corn a proper flavor for dessert, but to them I say, why not? Why carrots but not corn?

I once was confused about corn for dessert. But one summer day in Bangkok, I think it was 2004, I spotted the corn pie at McDonald’s and was fascinated. And after tasting it, I was hooked. It was sweet and creamy, corn as dessert made perfect sense!

For my church’s annual Thanksgiving potluck this past Sunday, I thought back to those pies, and I decided to make a big corn pie. In picking out the filling base, I wanted something custard-y, something sweet, so I went with a buttermilk pie base.

It doesn’t happen every time, but it’s great when the recipes I imagine come out as expected. The only thing I would change when making future corn pies would be to make a creamier filling with less flour (or more egg/milk?).

If you’re still looking for pie ideas for Thanksgiving, I highly recommend trying this one out. And when your pie flavor comes into question, you argue that corn is a traditional Thanksgiving food. Not only that, but if we let bacon find its place in sweets, how much more fitting is it to use corn in dessert?

Corn Pie

1 pound frozen corn (I was very happy with Trader Joe’s frozen cut white corn)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 Tablespoon flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
pinch of salt
pre-baked pie shell

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. In a medium saucepan on medium heat, melt the butter. Add in frozen corn and sugar and salt; stir until sugar melts and sugar/butter mixture evenly coats corn, about 5 minutes.
3. In a small bowl, beat eggs for about a minute. Pour in buttermilk and vanilla and continue to beat until well mixed.
4. On low heat, pour egg/milk mixture into saucepan with corn/butter, stirring gently and constantly for about two minutes.
5. Turn off heat and fold in baking soda and flour into custard.
6. Pour corn mixture into pre-baked pie shell and bake for about 40 minutes or until top is lightly browned and center is set.

Pear Hand Pies

Today I’m interrupting the matcha cake posts with this seasonal post about a fall pie. Rectangular pear hand pies, to be specific. And the pie story goes like this:

Last week I came home to a 1/2 peck of pears. I am very lucky to have a husband that not only helps with the grocery shopping, but loves buying fresh produce. (Thank you Baba and Mama for raising him so well!) This time we had an overabundance of produce, and something had to be done with the pears.

Some kind of pear compote was the only thing on my mind, so that’s what I made.

Now that we’re well into fall, pie was a very fitting choice of container for the pear filling. As for my choice of making hand pies over traditional pie, it just felt right. Hand pies are typically made from circular cutouts of dough folded over, but since my feelings were largely guiding this recipe, I went with rectangles.

It is really something to enjoy a warm pear pie (in any form) on a brisk fall day like today. Now my mind is racing with all sorts of hand pie fillings. And I’m curious what y’all think, what would you put (or like to eat) in a hand pie?

Pear Hand Pies

1/4 cup flour for dusting
Pate Brisee (recipe below)
1/4 cup unsalted butter
2 pounds fresh pears, peeled, cored, and cubed
2/3 cup brown sugar
pinch of salt
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 teaspoons sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. In a large pot or dutch oven, melt butter and brown sugar. Once melted, add in pears, salt and lemon juice.
3. Let cook for about 30 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and let cool for another 30 minutes.
4. Bring pate brisee to room temperature, and on a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to about 1/8 inch thickness. Cut dough into rectangles measuring 4″ x 8″. Dough recipe should make about 12 rectangles of this size.
5. Place couple spoonfuls of pear filling onto lower half of each rectangle.
6. Fold top half of rectangle over pear filling, and press sides to seal the pie.
7. Carefully place pies on Silpat-lined baking sheet and pop in refrigerator for about 10 minutes.
8. Use a fork to imprint marks all around sealed edges of pie dough. Cut a few slits across the folded part of the pie for vents. Sprinkle pies with granulated sugar.
9. Bake in preheated oven for about 30 minutes or until crust is golden, making sure not to burn the edges.
10. Let cool slightly before serving.

Pate Brisee (Pie Dough)
from Martha Stewart

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water

1. In the bowl of a food processor, combine flour, salt, and sugar. Add butter, and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal, 8 to 10 seconds.
2. With machine running, add ice water in a slow, steady stream through feed tube. Pulse until dough holds together without being wet or sticky; be careful not to process more than 30 seconds. To test, squeeze a small amount together: If it is crumbly, add more ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time.
3. Divide dough into two equal balls. Flatten each ball into a disc and wrap in plastic. Transfer to the refrigerator and chill at least 1 hour. Dough may be stored, frozen, up to 1 month.