Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Sunburst pie

The weekend before last, W***** mowed our big pasture again. She actually apologized for not having gotten around to it in the past few weeks. This past weekend, as a Thank You, I made her Sunburst Pie.

Sunburst pie is not my original recipe. It is based on a favorite quiche recipe from my favorite cookbook from a restaurant that will never be again. The changes I have made are not to the ingredients (I use more or less the same ones in the same proportion) but to the preparation.

It started by accident because I have access to real farm-fresh, still-warm-from-the-chicken eggs. These eggs are bigger & have more moisture (not just because they are big but also they have not been bleached, oiled, shipped & stored). Unlike other eggs, it takes just the littlest bit of wrist action to fluff them high.

With these eggs, my quiches began to have a souffle quality. The secret to a souffle is easier than you think: eggs that have never been refrigerated (as in the coolest temperature they reach is the one on your kitchen counter) & spotlessly clean cookware. Everything else is optional. I say my pie has 'souffle quality' because that whole SPOTLESS thing still hangs me up (they look clean, they ARE clean, but there might be a little hard-water residue & that is all it takes to keep the souffle from scaling up the sides).

Then I started taking the broccoli stalks, peeling them, chopping the soft centers & adding it to the eggs.

Shredded cheese just was not fine enough. I grated a large block & then chopped that & added it to the egg&broccoli glop.

As a result, I could layer the vegetables in the pie shell & then pour the mix over them. Instead of sitting on top as another layer, it filled all the gaps. & when it cooked, it rose up above the edge of the pan & hung there.

& finally one day I was feeling snazzy. I made the pie & saved some of the ungrated cheese, cut into long rectangles. After I had mixed the dried herbs & waved them over the top, I put the rectangles on the surface & so they baked a sunburst into the top.

When I left the pie for W***** I did not go into the whole story, but I hope she thinks this pie at the end of a long line of lesser pies is equal to one days hard labor. Maybe I should have made more pies.

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