Sprouts Pie Class Fills Our Bellies and Warms Our Hearts
Thank you to everyone who joined us this Sunday to officially break-in Sprouts’ new space in West Oakland! Can you think of a better way to do so than with fresh outta’ the oven sweet and savory pies and wine to pair? We began the afternoon affair with a pie-making class where 15 young Sprouts chefs and two Chef-in-Training interns covered the tables with flour and butter and produce–oh my! As a beautiful culmination, Sprouts parents, partners, and friends gathered around the table to enjoy delicious pies and great company.
The event was in celebration of Sprouts’ Chef-in-Training Program gearing up to bring on 24 interns to the program in the upcoming year! With proceeds from the event, plus an incredibly generous donation from Sprouts volunteer, David, we raised $1,300!!! This is enough to sponsor the stipend of a Chef-in-Training intern in 2018!
Two current Chef-in-Training interns, Chris and JaLaeila, were a HUGE help in leading the pie class. They were able to share their learned cooking skills from their internships at Hillside Supper Club and Dobbs Ferry Restaurant. With their internships finishing up this month, Chris will be hired on at Hillside and JaLaeila will continue at Old Skool Cafe. These two interns confidently led the kiddos in pie prep, using their new skills to guide the next generation!
We also were thrilled to host some very special guests that make Sprouts programming possible! Wendy of Girls Inc. – who provides us space for our subsidized weekend cooking class series, John Stokes of Alameny Farms – manager of one of the main locations for our summer camp in SF this year, Garbis of Cafe La Med – our oldest chef partner, Lisa from Old Skool Cafe – a partner referring at-risk youth to the Chef-in-Training program, and Taylor of T Berkley Wines – our new favorite winemaker (seriously, if you didn’t get to come for the wine tasting, check out his website for their current offerings!)!
Gather your ingredients: Fill a one cup liquid measuring cup with water, and drop in a few ice cubes; set it aside. Dice two sticks (8 ounces or 1 cup) of very cold unsalted butter into 1/2-inch pieces, and put in the freezer. In a large bowl — I like to use a very wide one, so I can get my hands in — whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt. Get out your pastry blender.
Make your mix: Sprinkle the butter cubes over the flour and begin working them in with the pastry blender, using it to scoop and redistribute the mixture as needed so all parts are worked evenly. When all of the butter pieces are the size of tiny peas — this won’t take long — stop. Yes, even if it looks uneven; you’ll thank me later.
Glue it together: Start by drizzling 1/2 cup of the ice-cold water (but not the cubes, if there are any left!) over the butter and flour mixture. Using a rubber or silicon spatula, gather the dough together. You’ll probably need an additional 1/4 cup (60 ml) of cold water to bring it together, but add it a tablespoon as a time. Once you’re pulling large clumps with the spatula, take it out and get your hands in there (see how that big bowl comes in handy?). Gather the disparate damp clumps together into one mound, kneading them gently together.
Pack it up: Divide the dough in half, quickly shape into a disk about 2 inches tall, and place each half on a large piece of plastic wrap. Let the dough chill in the fridge for one hour, but preferably at least two, before rolling it out.
Do ahead: Dough will keep in the fridge for about a week, and in the freezer longer. If not using it that day, wrap it in additional layers of plastic wrap to protect it from fridge/freezer smells. To defrost your dough, move it to the fridge for one day before using it.
Apple Cranberry Hand Pies
- 2 pounds apples, cored and diced
- 1 heaping cup fresh cranberries (or dried cherries reconstituted in hot water)
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1 large egg, beaten for egg wash
- Granulated sugar, for topping
Add ingredients apples through>salt into a pot over medium heat. Stir together until the mixture is fragrant and the apples are beginning to soften, about 10 minutes. Stir in the butter. Make a slurry with the cornstarch, and add it to the pot. Let the mixture cool completely.
On a well-floured surface, roll one of the disks out to a 1/8′′-thickness. Use a 3-inch round cookie cutter to cut about 10 to 12 circles out of the rolled crust. Place the circles on a plate and place in the refrigerator while you roll out and cut circles from of the second pie crust disk.
You can re-roll the scraps of pie crust if you’d like. The more you work the crust the tougher it will become, but that’s ok for about two rerolls.
Place a rack in the center and upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
To fill the pies, remove the rounds from the refrigerator and working a few at a time, Lightly brush the edge of one side of the crust with egg wash. Place about 1 teaspoon of filling into the center of each circle. Fold the crust over. Press gently to seal the jam inside the crust, and use the tines of a fork to press the edges together, sealing well.
Use a small knife to cut a few vent slits in the top of each semi-circle. Place on the prepared baking sheets about 1-inch apart.
Repeat with all of the crust circles. Refrigerate for 30 minutes if your dough has warmed substantially. ( At this stage you can also freeze the pies on the baking sheet until frozen through, about 2 hours. Once frozen through place in an airtight bag and store in the freezer for up to 1 month. Pies can be egg washed and baked from the freezer by adding about 7 minutes to the baking time.)
Brush the tops of the pies lightly with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes until golden brown and bubbling.
Remove from the oven. Place on a wire baking sheet to cool.
Root Veg Pot Pies
For the filling:
- 5 tablespoons olive oil
- 4-5 large sweet onions
- 4 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black or white pepper, divided
- 12 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
- 14 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 1 tablespoon ground mustard
- 2 cups low sodium vegetable broth
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 medium parsnips, peeled and cut into 1″ pieces (or equal amount of butternut squash, cubed)
- 1 medium celery root, or 2-3 turnips, peeled and cut into 1/2″ pieces
- 7 small mixed potatoes, cut into 1/2″ pieces
- 3 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2″ pieces
- 1 (5.2oz) package cooked chestnuts, shelled and coarsely chopped
- 1 small bunch fresh sage, leaves finely chopped
- 1 small bunch fresh thyme, leaves finely chopped
- 1/2 small bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley, leaves finely chopped
- 6-8 scrapes on a grater from a whole nutmeg
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- Shredded chicken from 1/2 a chicken (optional)
- Cooking Spray
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 teaspoon water
- 1/2 recipe pie dough
Make the filling: Heat the oil in a deep, wide 4-quart saucepan or pot over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the onions, 1 teaspoon of the salt, and 1⁄2 teaspoon of the pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions become translucent and begin to brown on the edges, 5 to 7 minutes.
Reduce the heat to medium-low, add the garlic, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions and garlic are completely softened and caramel-brown in color, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and set aside. Reserve the pan.
Add the butter to the pan over medium-high heat and cook until melted and just beginning to foam. Add the flour and mustard, whisk to combine, and cook until golden-blond in color, about 2 minutes. (You want the roux, to be a tight, sandy mixture; not liquidy.)
Add the broth slowly, whisking to combine. Add the cream and whisk until fully combined and smooth. Continue whisking just until the mixture begins to thicken, 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce the heat to low.
Add the parsnips, celery root or turnips, potatoes, carrots, chestnuts, sage, thyme, parsley, nutmeg, soy sauce, remaining 3 teaspoons salt, remaining 1⁄2 teaspoon pepper, and reserved onion mixture, chicken if using, and stir to combine. Lower the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook until the vegetables are tender-crisp, stirring occasionally, 20 to 25 minutes.
Bake the pie: When you are ready to bake the pie, arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 400°F. Coat a 3-quart baking dish (oval preferred, but a 9×13-inch baking dish will also work), with cooking spray. Add the hot filling, spread into an even layer, and set aside.
Make an egg wash by combining the egg and water in a small bowl or cup and whisking well; set aside.
Dust a work surface lightly with flour and place the pie dough on it. With a rolling pin, roll it out to be 1 inch wider and 1 inch longer than your baking dish. Working as quickly as you can, transfer the dough over the top of the filling. Brush liberally with the egg wash.
Bake until the pie dough is a deep burnished brown, 12 to 16 minutes. Serve immediately.