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All PIE Menu: a Fantasy, but Can it Become a Reality?

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First of all, I totally adore pies. I like fruit pies, tarts, quiches etc etc. For at least a year, I've been playing around with the idea of a meal to entertain some friends consisting of pies. To be served buffet style, I think.
Can this be done do you think? What are your suggestions?
My preliminary ideas so far: I thought that salad greens could be served in Parmesan cups (a 'nod' to pies), with the dressing on the side (?). The main course could be a pastry-covered meat (beef, pork or fish); I could have a vegetable tart, and, yay, desserts, reg. & crumb crusts, etc.! Probably need something else for side dishes/appetizers etc etc. And I don't have a set menu yet.
What ideas do you have on a possible menu?! How can I maximize variety, color, nutritional content?
It's a crazy fantasy, I know, but I can't help thinking that it can be done.
If you think that I should forget it & just go for dessert pies only, I will accept that (sigh!).

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  1. i don't think it sounds crazy at all. it sounds like fun, actually! i think you might want to vary the type of crusts you use, so guests don't have crust overload by the end of the meal; maybe do a starter with a cornmeal or polenta crust, a main with a traditional crust, and a dessert with a graham cracker crust. i think you might want to ditch the crust on the salad; the parmesan crisps sound good, but kind of superflous and i don't think a pie-free side dish would be a bad thing.

    also, consider things like shepherd's pie, cottage pie, and fish pie if you want to add more variety and get some taters in there.

    funkymonkey
    thebestbite.blogspot.com

    3 Replies
    1. re: funkymonkey

      You're right, a nice bright, fresh salad would be nice on its own; thanks for your suggestions!

      1. re: morebubbles

        What fun! Please post photos when you host this party!
        - taco salads served in fried tortilla cups
        - fattoush in pita cups
        - toasted bread cups with marinated mushrooms, green beans or olive tapanade; trim crusts from bread slice, butter and place in muffin pan cups, bake to toast.

        1. re: morebubbles

          do a pizza pie..... cook a thin crust garlic oli parm pizza and chill to room temp and cut - serve your lightly tossed salad on it. The "croutons on the bottom and its still a pie - sort of. this is some place I actually like to use the overused mixed greens and a bright oil and vinegar dressing. trick is to not over dress salad and to put on pie with tongs , don't dump - because you don't want excess liquid.

      2. I think it's a fun idea, but possibly overwhelming to have so much crust in one meal.

        I was thinking you could do an onion/goat cheese tart as an appetizer and then serve a small salad as a "palate cleanser". Pot pie or individual beef wellingtons could be a main with a light vegetable side (I think a vegetable pie might be too heavy). Then, go nuts with dessert! Cream pies, fruit tarts, custard pie... Boston Cream "Pie" for cake lovers!

        http://threedogkitchen.com

        1. Instead of a salad, how about a savory appetizer pie? In THE GIFT OF SOUTHERN COOKING by Edna Lewis and Scott Peacock there is an Asparagus and Scallion Pie I have served as an appetizer a number of times. It is excellent and you can add many things to it if desired.

          The cookbook is well worth getting, it is terrific. But I am sure you can find similar things online. You just blanch the asparagus and scallions, make a cream sauce, fit a pie pan with dough on the bottom, arrange the vegetables, pour in the cream sauce and lay another layer of dough over the top. It was wonderful.

          1. Do you know tourtiere, the Quebecois spiced ground pork pie? It would be a fantastic addition. It's a traditional Christmas Eve dinner in Quebec.
            http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/French-C...

            2 Replies
            1. re: hoagy294

              'Nother Canuck here - I second the tourtiere motion - it is often not just pork but a mixture of pork beef and lamb - delish! Another Canadian pie to try is Rapee (grated) pie (or Pate a la rapure) which is an Acadian (French Canadian local to the Atlantic Coast, not Quebecois) which is made of grated potates carrots and onions simmered in chicken stock layered then baked 'till golden, or use Veg. stock for a great vegetarian option.

              http://www.acadian.org/recipes.html

              (scroll down at least half way for the recipie

              )

              A bon gout!

              1. re: eastcoastgirl_westcoastlife

                ooh-I love rapee pie. I have some clients who are originally from Canada, and they bring this treat to the office a few times a year. SO good- and they use a box grater to grate the ingredients. I think I would have no knuckles if I did that!

            2. I LOVE baking pies. I could totally get into a menu like that.

              Why not have some kind of vegetable tartlet for an appetizer with a hearty meat pie for an entree?

              1. You guys rock! Thanks for the feedback, I'm getting the idea, a bit of moderation.
                (That book looks good, and so does the fattoush in pita cups, the pizza and the tourtieres! Montrealer here, so I'm definitely into that! There's a Saguenay tourtiere that has chunks of diff. types of meat in it.)

                1. This is a great idea! You could also serve a roasted or baked dish in a pie pan if you really wanted to cheat. I don't have any other ingredient advice for you, other than a really good, simple pie recipe if you want it.

                  Oh, if you're not particular about doing this soon (or want to do it again) you should do it on Pi(e) Day! To honor the number Pi, Pi(e) Day is celebrated on 3/14, and it is requisite to eat lots of pie. I may copy your idea this year on March 14th.

                  seattledebs
                  www.gofrolic.org

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: seattledebs

                    Ohhh that is so clever! I love it!

                    (Which makes me think - could you eat mole on Mole Day?)

                  2. I love this idea. What about chicken pot pie? And mini quiches could be appetizers. I like the idea of alternating different kinds of crusts too.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: JasmineG

                      hmmm...
                      mushroom crust, oatmeal crust, cornmeal crust, polenta...
                      chocolate cookie crust... praline crust...
                      oh, I jes' can't wait for 3/14

                      1. re: Cynsa

                        You can start with a French onion tarte or another kind of savory tart (ricotta, roasted tomatoes and olives sounds awfully nice.)

                        A flatbread pizza with arugula, prosciutto and strips of parmesan would be a snap for a salad. Or you could do soup in individual pie plates (I have some from Emile Henry that are very cute.)

                        Then you could have big casserole dishes with chicken and salmon pot pie. And to go with it, quiche or a Spanish omelette baked in a pie dish, or even a frittata.

                        Wind it up with a couple of selections of actual pies of your choosing and you've got your menu.

                    2. Butternut Squash Flan with Parmesan Sage Sauce:
                      http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                      This way, you can serve another pie-like dish without the heaviness of another crust. Plus, it's very seasonal.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Agent Orange

                        have you made this? it's been in my epicurious recipe box for absolute ages, and i haven't gotten around to it yet. it sounds divine.

                      2. Great idea, I love pies too, so I share in your fantasy. I like the idea of different doughs. If you can find a copy of "Edible Pockets for Every Meal: Dumplings, Turnovers and Pasties" there are several mix-match filing and dough combos. All the recipes I tried have been great and would lend themselves well to small pies.

                        http://www.amazon.com/Edible-Pockets-...

                        1. East of San Diego in a small gold rush town called Julian it's pie day, every day. The highest concentration of pie shops and pie eateries known to man. Known for apple festivals that produce amazing apple pies shipped around the globe, the shop owners do all types of fruit pies. Here's one:

                          http://dailybreadjournal.blogspot.com...

                          1. What about spanakopita (Greek spinach "pie") as one of the sides? That has a phyllo crust.

                            1. I think this is a fabulous idea. Make veggie tarts with a few different kinds of vegetables. A spinach or mushroom or broccoli quiche, a carrot and parsnip tart, etc. And maybe a shepard's pie? That'd give a nice filling portion of potatoes, as well as vegetables and meat. It'd be easy to leave the meat out, too, if you wanted a vegetarian option for someone.

                              I bet with a little work, you could turn a recipe for a sweet potato pie into a savory dish instead of a dessert. That'd make a lovely side.

                              1. One more suggestion for a pie without a traditional crust: Mile High Lasagna Pie I found it in a BH&G Simply Perfect Italian magazine back in 2005 but I saw a reprint just recently in the grocery store checkout stands. Looks beeeeautiful and it's easy to modify for vege/meat eaters.

                                1. I think it's a truly great idea, but actually I'd be MORE interested if it were dessert pies only.

                                  It would be easy to overdo the fat factor, and feel overly full too quickly, so I think you need to try to pick pies that aren't super heavy. Spanikopita, for example, "feels" very heavy and so do shepherd's pie, so maybe try to find some light tasting dessert pies, and the freshness of, say, citrus to not bog down your guests.

                                  I'd also definitely vary the crusts. I once made a quiche type thing with a potato (and onion?) crust. It was kind of interesting.

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: willownt

                                    That potato crust sounds interesting - where did you get that recipe?

                                    1. re: morebubbles

                                      Er, I think from a cookbook called something like 365 Pies. I made it when I was a teenager and I no longer have the book. I remember grating potatoes and mixing with onions. Along the lines of this:
                                      http://www.cooks.com/rec/doc/0,1950,1...

                                      1. re: morebubbles

                                        You can make a kind of upside-down shepherd's pie with a potato "crust". You take a pile of leftover mashed potatoes and pat it down into a pie dish to make a crust. You might want to pre-bake it a bit. Then you put the meat filling in it.

                                        Yes, you can also make quiche with the mashed potato crust, which will not be as sturdy as a regular flour crust, but it's quite tasty.

                                        1. re: morebubbles

                                          While I don't have a recipe, you may want to look for a recipe for a knish dough. The one time I made knishes, I made a dough out of flour, cooked potato, and sauteed onions. It came out thin, layered, and delicious. It wouldn't be a hefty crust, but it would be tasty.

                                          A brief look online reveals some pretty bad looking knish doughs (frozen puff pastry dough?! feh!) but this one has flour, potatoes, and sauteed onions: http://www.cooks.com/rec/doc/0,1838,1... . I'd recommend using butter or chicken fat.

                                          seattledebs
                                          www.gofrolic.org

                                      2. In the summer, my mother makes a chicken pot pie with a layered filo/phyllo top crust. If you need a lighter option to balance out all the other crusts, that's a nice way to go.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: Gooseberry

                                          Everybody's got great ideas, I may just have to go ahead and do it after all! willownt, thanks for the link.
                                          Gooseberry, something with a light top crust only is a very good idea, thanks.

                                        2. Empanadas savory and sweet. And fried lemon pies!
                                          So many lovely pies doughs to choose from such as a pate brisee or a light mix of cornmeal with flour. Mushroom Croustade. Rustic pear and apple, and miniature wellingtons. Too many!

                                          1. I just checked out Nigella Lawson's domestic goddess book which is mostly about sweet baking BUT there are some savory pies in that book, as well as in King Arthur baking. Try those if you are still looking for yummy ideas. Things like pizza rustica and onion tarts.

                                            1. My church does a pie Sunday each year - we serve lots of different pies (mostly sweet) after our main service. It's very very popular and I bet your party would be too.

                                              I think since you are talking about having a buffet that you shouldn't worry as much about how heavy the overall menu will be. People will take small amounts of things and skip what they don't like.