Blog of an aspiring foodie

Inspiration

Posted by beer_chris on 5-January-2009

So, there’s a ‘soup and pie smackdown’ coming up, and I’ve been considering participating, but not entirely sure I will be able to. This weekend I’ve watched a number of my ‘The French Chef’ DVDs. There’s been a number of discussions/posts on these interwebs about chess pie lately. Lastly, I’ve been thinking tons about the meat pies at Lasyone’s in Nachitotches, LA – not sure why, maybe because I’ve been using a plastic tumbler from that restaurant for my evening water cup.

All this came together this morning. I was watching an episode of ‘The French Chef’, and Julia Child was teaching cheese dishes to be served alongside a wine and cheese party. One of the items she was making was a little cheddar cheese tartlet. I was intrigued. It was a simple little recipe, with a creme fraiche and egg mixture poured over cubes of cheddar cheese on a pastry base – but it looked awesome.

So, I started thinking. Obviously the other inspirational things were bouncing around in my head – so I came up with this recipe:

Cheese pie – but with mexican cheeses. Oaxaca instead of cheddar, crema instead of creme fraiche, and some chorizo mixed in. So I went over to Mi Tienda in Pasadena (side note – this place is awesome, but most neighborhood Fiestas are not all that different) because I knew they had fresh crema and a big selection of Mexican style cheeses.

Came up with a recipe that includes:

  • A masa harina pastry – to give that corn flavor but maintain a pastry base.
  • A mixture of 3 parts oaxaca and 1 part swiss cheese – just to include some cheese with a little bite. 
  • I put cumin, a little cayenne, nutmeg and meyer lemon (zest and juice) into the crema mixture.

I’m pretty excited about it. I’ve posted the first pass recipe below. I’ve always struggled to blind bake pie crust without having it poof up and rise. No matter what I do – prick it with a fork, wiegh it down with pie weights, pinto beans, you name it, I cant get it right. This time I put small stones into the crust with cheesecloth – thinking I could easily pull them out this way. The cheesecloth stuck to the crust – pulled half of  the bottom of the pastry out. Ugh.

Ytee’s Cheese Pie/Tart

For the crust
About 1/2 cup of well done chorizo
1.5 cups all purpose flour
1 cup masa harina
.25 cup cornmeal
.75 tsp salt
3 tbsp sugar
.75 c butter
.25 c shortening
icewater

Mix all dry ingredients. Mix in the butter and shortening with a pastry blender. Put in a few tbsp of ice water at a time, mixing with a fork, until the dough just comes together. Split resulting dough ball in half, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate. Roll out between wax paper sheets. Makes a double crust.

Filling

1.66 cups crema
2 eggs (beaten)
6 drops hot pepper sauce
6 drops worcestershire sauce
10 turns of a pepper mill
2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp fresh nutmeg
pinch cayenne pepper
1/2 meyer lemon (zest and juice)
12 oz oaxaca cheese
4 oz swiss cheese
 
Blind bake crust for 35 minutes at 400
Bake filling for 40 minutes at 350

Note, I used an all-meat chorizo, but still picked one of the plastic wrapped kinds with lots of ‘pork parts’ listed as ingredients. I cooked it until the fat almost completely separated out and so the meat bits were basically deep fried in their own fat. The result was a dark, dark brown. DO NOT use the stuff with cereal mixed in, it will BURN if cooked this way.

(Yes, I know chess pie and cheese pie are two different things 🙂

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2 Responses to “Inspiration”

  1. Ricky said

    I like this idea, and I don’t want to adulterate it too much, but if you have struggled with blind baking a pastry crust, why not resort to a crumb crust instead? Instead of basing it off masa harina, crushed tortilla chips bound with some butter and flour can produce such a result? Should work well with the cheese filling.

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