Maybe you remember Gluten-Free Girl’s virtual pie party back over the summer. Something like a thousand bloggers from around the world all wrote about pie on the same day — July 5. Lots of pie, but none to eat besides your own. Then my buddies Jackie and Ken got to thinking… What about a real-life pie event, in New York City, with as many people as you could pack into a big room, and Pie Party Live was born.
I’m not sure what the final count was on Saturday, easily 50 or 60 pies — it was an event to remember. Sweet, savory, hand pies, tarts, rustic open pies, you name it. I made Chocolate-Butterscotch Pie and Bacon & Corn Pie, but more about those in a minute. I lost track of how many pies I tasted. But what I love best about events like these are the people of course, friends old and new — Jackie, Ken, Jen, Margaret, Mitch, Melissa, Yvo, Louisa, Emily, Gail, Serena, Pam, Kamran, Abby, Winnie, Veronica, Emily, Lillian, Alexandra and too many more to list.
There were some great give-aways though. Big thanks go out to sponsors like Cuisinart and KitchenAid, plus all the cookbook authors who donated books. I had no idea Jarlsberg was a give-away sponsor when I used their cheese in one of my pies (see below). But the biggest thanks go to Rodeo Bar on 3rd Avenue for the space. They were great hosts and even sent out some eats from the menu for us to try.
So what did I bake for the event? First was this Chocolate-Butterscotch Pie from The Glory of Southern Cooking by James Villas, which is a book I worked on a few years ago. That’s a meringue topping, which is kind of funny because Jen heard me ranting about how much I don’t like meringue last week. I’ve never been a fan, but this pie converted me.
And the one everyone unexpectedly kept asking me about was Bacon and Corn Pie with Cornmeal Crust from the award-winning Pig: King of the Southern Table, also by James Villas, which I’m proud to say I also worked on. So for everyone who wanted to know more about it, here is the recipe (slightly abbreviated and adapted).
Bacon and Corn Pie with Cornmeal Crust
From Pig: King of the Southern Table by James Villas
Makes 6 (very hearty) servings
For the Filling:
8 to 10 slices bacon (more if you love it), diced
1 medium green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
12 ounces frozen corn kernels, thawed
1 1/2 cups half-and-half
2 large eggs, beaten
1 cup grated Jarlsberg cheese (or maybe a pinch more)
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
For the Crust:
1 cup stoneground yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons vegetable shortening, chilled
1/4 cup milk
1. To make the filling, fry the bacon in a large, deep skillet over moderate heat till crispy; drain on paper towels. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the grease, then add the onion and bell pepper and cook, stirring, till softened, about 8 minutes. Add the corn and cook, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes longer. Remove from the heat to cool for 5 minutes. Add the half-and-half, eggs, cheese, nutmeg, salt and pepper and set aside.
2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Grease a 9-inch pie dish with butter and set aside.
3. To make the crust, combine the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, salt, and shortening in a bowl and work the mixture with your fingers till well blended. Add the milk and stir with a wooden spoon till the dough gathers into a clump. (You might need a pinch more milk to do this.) On a lightly floured surface, pat the dough (do not roll it out) into a manageable circle, fit it into the prepared pie dish, and press it firmly on the bottom and up the sides. Fold any excess dough under and crimp the edges as desired.
4. Sprinkle the bacon over the bottom of the crust, scrape the filling evenly into the dish. I suggest you place the pie plate on a baking sheet, to be safe. Bake till golden, about 50 minutes. Let the pie cool for about 20 minutes before serving in wedges. It’s just as yummy or maybe even better at room temperature.