Fruit pies, cream pies, cute little tarts. Love ‘em all.
But one does not live by sweets alone.
We love savory pies, too. Hand pies like empanadas and pasties. Phyllo pies filled with spinach. Flaky crusted pies packed with meats or vegetables or seafood. Cornmeal-crusted chili pies and shepherd’s pies with mashed potatoes handling top-crust duties.
It’s not surprising that pies — savory or sweet — resonate with us.
“It’s often the nostalgia and comforting thoughts they conjure up that make the pies seem to taste all the more delicious,” writes Angela Boggiano in “Pie” ($24.99).
“Pie” celebrates an array of savory pies, from beef to fish.
Savory sausage, apple and sage pie
13/4 cups flour
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) butter
1/4 cup lard or shortening
2-3 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium onions, finely sliced
1 pound good-quality sausage meat or ground pork (half standard grind, half coarse grind)
1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
2 small apples, peeled, cored, chopped
2 tablespoons sour cream
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 egg, lightly beaten
Sift flour and pinch of salt into a bowl. Cut fat into cubes; add to flour. Use your fingertips to rub fat into the flour until mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add water very gradually, stirring with a knife. When dough just starts to stick together, knead lightly until it forms a ball. (Or, pulse flour and salt in a food processor. Add cold butter; pulse until crumbly. Add lard and 2 tablespoons water; pulse. Add remaining tablespoon water; pulse again. Turn onto counter; shape into a ball.)
Wrap pastry ball in plastic wrap; let rest in refrigerator, at least 15 minutes. (Store for up to 2 days in the refrigerator; or freeze until ready to use.)
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Roll out a little less than half the pastry; use to line a shallow 9-inch pie plate. (The author suggests using a shallow metal pan “to ensure the base stays crispy.”) Roll out remaining pastry about 3/4-inch larger than the pie plate; set aside.
Heat oil in a large skillet. Add onions; cook gently until softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Add meat to onions. Cook until meat is browned, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon and breaking up meat, 5 minutes. Off the heat, stir in mustard, sage, apples and sour cream. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Mix well; allow to cool.
Pile cooled meat-apple mixture into pastry-lined pie plate. Brush edges of pastry with beaten egg. Top with remaining rolled-out pastry, sealing edges by pressing down well. Trim off excess pastry. Crimp edges with a fork or between your thumb and index finger. Brush top with remaining egg. Make a hole or several slashes in the top to release steam. Bake, 40 to 45 minutes.
Makes one 9-inch pie, 6 servings. Per serving: 508 calories, 37 g fat, 13 g saturated fat, 85 mg cholesterol, 39 g carbohydrates, 13 g protein, 539 mg sodium, 3 g fiber.
Adapted from Angela Boggiano’s “Pie.”