I entered the annual apple pie bake-off at my local farmer’s market.
After that, everything went wrong.
I decided that I would prep all my pie components on Saturday and then assemble and bake the pie on Sunday, the day of the competition. I’m pretty bad about following that age-old rule of never making something for someone that you haven’t made before–so the pie was basically an experiment.
I started with a pecan crust. Having never made a nut crust, I figured I would just cut some of the flour from my usual pie crust and sub in pecan meal. It all seemed to go fine & after chilling it rolled out well. I left the rolled crust in the fridge to rest overnight.
I made a bourbon-brown sugar apple compote. It tasted awesome. I chilled it and put it too in the fridge.
On Sunday morning I awoke, padded up to the kitchen, noticed my refrigerator had been left ajar, proceeded to freak out, and resolved my mind to make it work. However, my crust was far too warm/soft to roll up or fold up or transfer in any way and fell apart. Thus I proceeded to pat and patch it into the pan–I’d planned to do a rustic edge anyway, so thought this fine. I assembled the rest of the pie–crises mostly averted, I went to rest while my crust set in a 425 oven for 10 minutes.
My fire alarm went off.
Back in the kitchen there was smoke billowing from my oven. No actual fire, thank goodness–I assume something must have spilled onto the oven floor. Convinced my wayward crust and once great compote would now taste like barbecue, I turned the oven down to 350 to finish baking. The smoke stopped.
Upon removal, I let the pie rest. I’d made it in a spring form, so took off the sides, allowing it to cool a little faster. Ready to go, I tried to transfer it from baking dish to serving dish: the crust caved in.
I proceeded to freak out.
Oh well, it’s only one quadrant.
I took the pie anyway since I had a friend coming to enter the contest as well. And I didn’t want to let my market manager down, as she knows me by name…
And then I won.
It just goes to show you: figuring out the world is impossible.
280 grams baby romaine
8 fresh water chestnuts, peeled and sliced
8 halves deviled eggs
200 grams bacon
150 grams Parmesan Cheese, cut into ½” shards
300 grams green peas
200 grams celery, macedoine
Chives, for garnish
For the Dressing
1 egg yolk
1 T Dijon
¼ t salt
½ t sherry vinegar
½ t lemon juice
1 t granular sugar
Cayenne pepper, to taste
150 g neutral oil
Celery Leaves, hacher
Water, as needed
For the Deviled Eggs
4 hard boiled eggs
bacon fat from the lardon
½ teaspoons Dijon mustard
½ t cayenne
30 g sweet pickles, brunoise
2 t chives, minced, plus more for garnish
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Combine egg yolk, mustard, salt, vinegar, lemon juice, sugar and pepper in a bowl.
- Whisk the oil in gradually to create an emulsion and until you’ve reached the desired consistency (adding water to loosen if necessary). Add celery leaves.
For the Bacon:
- Remove the rind and cut the bacon into strips ½” long
- Cut the bacon strips into lardons, approximately ½” wide.
- Sauté the lardon until they render out most of their fat.
- Set aside and reserve bacon fat.
For the Peas & Celery:
- Prepare each, separately, à l’anglaise, refresh in ice water, and then combine and set aside.
For the Deviled Eggs:
- Put the eggs in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil and then let simmer for 10 minutes.
- Refresh Eggs in ice water for several minutes and then peel.
- Slice eggs in half. Set the whites aside and put the yolks into a bowl with mayonnaise, mustard, cayenne and salt. Mash the yolks into a paste and then add rendered bacon fat until it reaches the desired consistency.
- Stir in the pickles and 2 t chives.
- Put the yolk mixture into a piping bag and pipe into the egg white cavities.
- Garnish each egg with paprika and a 1 inch piece of chive.
For the Water Chestnuts:
- Rinse well and peel with a vegetable peeler.
- Slice into ¼” rounds.
- Rinse again & set aside, in cold water.
- Lightly dress lettuce and place a layer on each plate.
- Dress the pea and celery mixture and fill a 2” ring mold.
- Set 1 egg half atop each mound. And remove ring mold.
- Drain water chestnuts & dress. Place 3 slices on each plate.
- Place 3 pieces each of the bacon lardons & Parmesan shards around the plate.
- Garnish with minced chives.
Each course require a beverage pairing, for this one I chose a Rose Spritzer. More on why here.
Yield: 8 drinks
1 bottle Château Tassin Rosé from Wineberry
4 oz. Cherry Heering Liqueur
Seltzer Water, to taste
8 Maraschino cherries
For the Maraschino Cherries
1 pint sour cherries
1 cup unrefined sugar
1 cup water
1 cup Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
3 black peppercorns
1 sprig thyme
For the Maraschino Cherries
- Put sugar, water, peppercorns, thyme and a pinch of salt into a saucepan. Bring to a boil.
- Add cherries (they can be pitted, but leaving the pits in does lend additional flavor). Return to a boil until they’ve turned bright red.
- Pour into a holding vessel and add liqueur. Let rest until they’ve reached room temperature. Chill.
For the Cocktail
- Fill cocktail glasses half-way with ice.
- Slice both the lemon and the lime thinly. Lightly twist one round of each over 8 glasses to release the essential oils & then drop the round into the glass.
- Pour 2 ounces of wine into each glass.
- Pour 0.5 ounce of cherry liqueur into each glass.
- Top with seltzer, stir gently, garnish with cherry & serve.