KUGEL MEETS LATKE MEETS SKILLET PIE
(tweaked from The Upper Crust)
baked in an 8” cast iron skillet, six generous servings
1 medium onion, peeled, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon butter
2 sweet potatoes, (about 16 oz. total weight) peeled/shredded to equal 4 generous cups
½ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup white whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
⅛ teaspoon hot paprika
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
1 large egg
1½ cups whole milk
2 teaspoons olive oil for the skillet
Adjust the oven racks to accommodate the cast iron skillet on the bottom and middle racks. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a small sauté pan, melt the butter. Add the sliced onion and cook over low heat until caramelized. Set aside to cool. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cayenne, paprika and fresh herbs. In a large bowl, toss together the shredded sweet potatoes, cheese, cooled onions and the dry ingredients. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and milk and pour this over the potatoes/cheese/onions/dry ingredients. Use a rubber spatula to combine the mixture.
Heat the olive oil in the cast iron skillet until it sizzles, then add the potato mixture to the pan, smoothing the top with an offset spatula. Using oven mitts, set the skillet on a baking sheet and place on the bottom rack of the preheated oven. After 20 minutes, move the baking sheet with the skillet to the middle rack and continue baking for an additional 20-25 minutes. The potatoes should be golden and slightly crispy around the edges; total baking time is about 45 minutes. Serve hot with a generous dollop of cranberry sauce or pear sauce.
Drew's Classic Cranberry Sauce
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
2 cups whole cranberries, rinsed and picked over for stems
Place the water and sugar in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook until the sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes. Add the cranberries and simmer for 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the cranberries to a heatproof bowl. Simmer the cranberry syrup until reduced and slightly thickened, an additional 5-10 minutes, then pour the syrup over the berries and set aside to cool. Serve with the skillet pie, refrigerating any leftovers.
Fresh Pear Sauce
4 firm, ripe Bosc pears, peeled, cored, cut into large chunks
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon honey
In a medium non-reactive saucepan, combine all ingredients. Simmer over low heat until thick. Transfer to a heatproof bowl and serve with the skillet pie. Cover and refrigerate any leftovers.
HOLIDAY FRENCH SILK PIE
Holiday French Silk Pie makes one 9” pie
Pie Pastry for 9” single crust
1¼ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon brown sugar
½ teaspoon ground ginger
4 oz. (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
4-6 tablespoons ice cold water
In a large bowl, combine flour, salt, sugar, and ginger. Add the butter pieces and use a bench scraper to cut the butter into the flour mixture. Add 4 tablespoons of water and use your fingers to incorporate the liquid into the flour/butter mixture. If the mixture feels dry, add an additional 1 or 2 tablespoons of water until the mixture comes together. Shape into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour before rolling out. Roll out the dough on lightly floured parchment paper into a 12” circle. Transfer to a 9” pie plate without stretching the dough and trim the excess dough so you have about ½” overhang. Roll and crimp the edges. Refrigerate the pie shell for at least an hour before blind baking. When ready to blind bake, line the pie crust with a full sheet of parchment paper or aluminum foil and fill with pie weights or beans. Bake in a pre-heated 375 degree oven for about 25-30 minutes. Remove pie weights and parchment (or foil) and bake crust an additional 10 minutes until golden. Cool crust on a rack completely before filling.
French Silk filling (adapted from Cooks Country and 250 Superb Pies)
1 cup heavy cream
2 Tablespoons fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated (about a 2” piece of gingerroot)
3 large eggs
¾ cup sugar, (quick spin in the food processor so it’s fine)
2 tablespoons water
8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled (I use Trader Joe’s 72% dark)
1 tablespoon vanilla
8 tablespoons (1 stick) room temperature butter, cut into ½” pieces
Combine ¼ cup of heavy cream and the freshly grated ginger in a saucepan; bring to just a simmer, (do not let it boil) remove from the heat and let it steep for 20 minutes. Cool in the refrigerator until it is completely cold. Strain the cooled cream in a large mixing bowl, pressing on the ginger pieces to extract the juice. Add the remaining ¾ cup of heavy cream to the bowl. Whip cream on medium until very thick, then finish whisking it by hand until stiff. Cover and refrigerate.
In a large heatproof bowl set over barely simmering water, whisk together eggs, sugar and water. Beat with a handheld electric mixer until mixture registers 160 degrees; this will take a good 8-10 minutes. Remove bowl from over the simmering water and beat until thick and cooled to room temperature, about 8 minutes. Beat in melted/cooled chocolate and vanilla. Scrape down the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add soft butter a few pieces at a time making sure they are incorporated. Using a rubber spatula, fold in whipped cream until no streaks remain. Turn the filling into the cooled pie shell, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 3 hours. Garnish with Ginger Whipped Cream and additional candied ginger.
Ginger Whipped Cream
1½ cups well chilled heavy cream
3 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ cup finely chopped candied ginger + 2 tablespoons to garnish
In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the cream until it just holds stiff peaks, add the sugar and ground ginger, and beat until thick.
Fold in the candied ginger and finish whisking by hand until the cream is fairly stiff. Cover and refrigerate until serving. Decorate the pie with the whipped cream and sprinkle a little additional candied ginger as a garnish.