|Mom's Vinegar Pastry Crust - for reaching Dessert Nirvana - Photo by Wasabi Prime|
I made an apple and pear pie recently, a nice treat after a cold weather dinner of the equally carbohydrate-laden roasted squash and fennel-topped risotto. I blame the chill of a rainy evening on the need to just go balls-out for the carbs, making a creamy batch of risotto while some fennel and kabocha pumpkin roasted away in the oven. Can you not hear the lyrics of Milli Vanilli's Blame it on the Rain right now? Maybe that's just in my head... I know doctors recommend medication for this sort of problem. Bah -- silly details!! The risotto was another CSA-inspired meal -- I like how fennel loses its strong licorice flavor and gains more sweetness after a good roast, and kabocha has such a pleasant natural sweetness to it already. After the oven had its way with them, I thought they would be a hearty topping to risotto and be a comfortable thing to tuck into one cold night. Especially when you have 1990's lip-synch pop stars singing in your head.
|Roasted Kabocha and Fennel over Risotto on a Cold Winter's Night - Photo by Wasabi Prime|
|Pie and Risotto, and much like Milli Vanilli, I Blame it on the Rain - Photos by Wasabi Prime|
Wasabi Mom's Vinegar Pastry Crust (makes two pie crusts)
1 1/4 cups cold shortening or butter, cut into cubes
3 cups sifted all purpose flour
1 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tbsp vinegar
Up to 5 tbsp cold ice water
In a mixing bowl or food processor, add all dry ingredients, sifted together. Cut shortening or butter in, until the mixture resembles small peas. Add the egg, vinegar and slowly add the ice water until the the pastry just holds together. You may end up using less water than the 5 tablespoons, it just depends on the weather and humidity of the air. Gather the dough together and form into a large disc, wrapping tightly with clear plastic. Place wrapped dough into the refrigerator and allow it to chill for at least 30 minutes before rolling into the shape of a pie crust.
When you're ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake until golden brown. To give it a more rich color, lightly brush with milk or cream before baking. Add a sprinkle of sugar to caramelize and add texture.