For several years now I have been blessed to have the closest expert on hand - my mom who had to master the art in order to capture the heart of her husband (through the approval of Grand-mere!) Every year was a ritualistic "does it need more sage?" "how 'bout more allspice?" questioning of my father, who would dutifully taste and critique until it was just like his mother's. I have no doubt mom outdid her in one area: pie crust.
She's one who needs no recipe, goes totally by feel (she always tells me that's my problem, I'm afraid to touch the dough!) and always her pie crusts hold together and often outshine the filling they enclose.
Mom, remember when your pie crusts would mysteriously lose their fluted edge - it was I who would sneakily break off pieces to eat, leaving unfluted pies! And, while we all love the meat pie, our favorite was her turning the leftover dough into the pastry delight of "puppy dog tails...."
|Note the puppy dog tails on the tray!|
This year, many were traveling elsewhere for Christmas, so it was just us - mom and me. Mom wore the appropriate "Canada, Eh?" t-shirt in honor of this French Canadian recipe and her boys Lou. I think my hubby was so delighted that we were still going to make pies, he jumped at the chance to help us turn out a few. Eight altogether. One eaten Christmas morning, topped with eggs, coupled with coffee. No other morning like it.
CHRISTMAS MEAT PIE
|Definitely a YUM!|
1/2 stick butter
1 tsp. roast meat seasoning
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 tsp. sage
1 whole fresh picnic ham*, ground coarse (not your usual grocery store grind)
1 tsp. allspice
1/2 loaf bread, torn into tiny pieces
salt & pepper
In large kettle, melt butter, sauté onion. Add ham. Add water to cover meat. Cook and simmer about 10 minutes. Add torn bread pieces and seasonings. Stir and put cover on top. Let cook together, stirring occasionally. Cook until meat is browned completely. Spoon into pie.
*Can also use 8 lbs. pork butt.
3 cups flour
1 1/2 c. shortening
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda (cuts richness of filling)
1 tsp cream of tartar
Add 1/2 cup cold water to above ingredients and mix. Roll out for pies. Repeat dough process for amount of pies necessary.