Tuesday, November 3, 2009

salmon pie

Better late than never right?

Let's see. I first made these to piggyback on the success of the peach hand pies. Basically I used a standard pate brisee (pie crust) recipe, and made up a filling involving salmon, cream cheese and basil. This follows my general philosophy with non-baking cooking, which I recently explained to David. It goes: put a lot of yummy things together, and something yummy will be produced. The nice thing about recipes like these is they are very forgiving, and there's much room for error.

I've made two versions of these pies. The original, which I will call 'regular sized', cut using the top of a four inch bowl, and 'minis', cut using a 2" round cookie cutter. For the regular sized, I had enough room to add a stack of fresh cut basil on top of the salmon filling. For the minis, I just topped with lots of dried basil.

I made these for the aforementioned brunch, and they were such a hit, poor Erin making french toast didn't even get one before they all disappeared. Now she can make them for herself. Or, if you live in San Francisco, you can make them, and bring them to her.

Salmon Hand Pies

This recipe isn't hard if you do some planning ahead. I like to make both the dough and filling beforehand and just assemble/bake when I'm ready. It might be helpful to read the novel I wrote regarding peach hand pies. The risks, fears, and techniques are the same. The payoff may just be better.

Basic Martha Stewart Pate Brisee (pie crust dough)
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
2 sticks butter
ice water

Salmon Filling
4 ounces salmon (about 1 fillet)
4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
3 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup milk
fresh or dried basil to taste

Egg Wash
1 egg
2 tablespoons water

To make Pate Brisee
1. Cut butter into pieces, return to fridge to cool.
2. Sift flour, salt and sugar into bowl. If you are OCD, you can chill this bowl too.
3. Add cold butter to flour bowl (which should be a big, big bowl.) Use your dough blender (!) to cut butter into flour until pea (or nickel) sized pieces of butter are still visible.
4. Slowly add ice water (by tablespoons) to flour and continue until clumps of dough form. Begin working with hands to bring dough together.
(If you feel like the dough is not coming together, add more water. If you try a few times and it starts getting warm, take a breather and return the bowl to the fridge. Do not warm up that butter.)
5. After dough forms into a ball, split into two pieces and wrap in plastic wrap, form into discs and return to fridge to cool for at least 30 minutes.

To make salmon filling
1. Cut salmon into small cubes, about 1/4 inch dice. Set aside.
2. Add milk, cream cheese, and butter to a small saucepan. Heat over low heat until cheese and butter melt into milk.
3. Add salmon, basil, and salt and pepper to taste. Heat for about two minutes before removing. It is fine if the salmon is not cooked, since it will still be going in the oven.
4. Remove mixture to bowl, cool, cover and refrigerate. I usually do this overnight, but several hours should be fine. The mixture will be semi-solid.

To assemble
1. Remove one disc, and on a heavily floured counter, roll out to 1/8 inch thickness. If you want to be successful here, just add tons of dry flour to the top and bottom of your disc. It doesn't hurt your dough.
2. Use something with a four inch diameter to cut rounds out of your dough. I used a little cereal bowl. Or, you can cut squares and fold along the diagonal like turnovers. Transfer your rounds to prepared parchment lined cookie sheet and quickly return to fridge to chill 30 minutes.
3. Scoop salmon filling onto dough rounds, wet half of the edge with water and fold to seal. Indent edges with fork if you're into cute stuff like that. Chill.
4. Brush pies with egg wash. Cut a slit in each so they can breathe when baking.
5. Bake 20 minutes at 375 degrees.

Woo. This post everyday thing is hard. I need eaters to sign up! Who's free this week?

Nom nom,

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