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If you have known me for any amount of time you will probably not be surprised in the least that I baked a Chai Tea pie.

Chai is my favorite tea.  If Andrew died I would marry chai tea.

Also, I love pie.  So put it together and what have you got?

A happy snowman.

(A little Frozen humor to make you barf in your mouth).

In the beginning, was the New Year’s Resolution which stated that I would bake one pie every week.

Clearly, I am an insane person.

Life is pretty crammed with crazy every day so it is turning into a pie every third week.

 Unless, I go to Disneyland with four wild boys and a wild, bearded husband.  (Again, I am an insane person.)

Then I don’t bake a pie for quite a while, indeed.

In case you were waiting with bated breath for my next pie (and even if you didn’t even give a hoot) here is my latest confection.

It was so earthy and subtle yet spicy and fabulous and interesting and exotic and intellectual and creamy and zingy and wonderful.

No really.

It was.

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The following is the recipe that I followed from the book, First Prize Pies by Allison Kave

CHAI CHESS PIE

Classic Pie Crust (see bottom of recipe)

Filling:

4 Large Eggs

3/4 Cup Sugar

1/4 Cup chai tea mixture, ground in a spice mill or coffee grinder until fine

2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour

2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

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1/4 teaspoon salt

Topping:

Whipped cream and sliced candied ginger

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Roll out the dough into a circle about 11 inches in diameter.  Transfer it to a 9 inch pie plate.  Blind-bake the pie crust until partially baked; set aside to cool.  Leave the oven on.

Make the filling:

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar together until light and fluffy.  Whisk in the tea, flour, butter, and salt.  Put the par-baked crust on a baking sheet.  Pour the filling into the crust and bake for 25-30 minutes, until the filling has just set and is still slightly wobbly in the center.  Remove the pie to cool completely before serving.  This pie can be refrigerated for up to 1 week, covered well in plastic wrap.  Add topping, if using, just before serving.

 

 

Crust:

3/4 cup unsalted European-style cultured butter (I can rarely afford this, so I use regular unsalted sweet cream butter)

1/4 cup rendered leaf lard or additional butter

1/2 cup whole milk

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

12 ounces (approx 3 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon cornstarch

2 tablespoons sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

Prepare the butter and lard, if using.  Cut the butter into 1/2 inch cubes ( a bench scraper is perfect for this, but a sharp knife works well too), and cut the lard into small pieces.  Return them to the fridge or freezer to cool.

In a liquid measuring cup, stir together the mild and vinegar. Refrigerate the mixture until ready to use.

On a clean flat surface or in a large shallow bowl, toss the flour, cornstarch, sugar, and salt together lightly to blend.  Add the butter and lard (if using) to the dry ingredients and, using the tool of your choice, cut the fat into the flour with speed and patience until the fat has been reduced to small pea-sized chunks.  Try to use a straight up and down motion, avoiding twisting your wrists, as the more you press on the flour the more tough the gluten will develop in the dough.  Avoid using your fingers, as the hear=t from your hands will melt the fat and further encourage gluten development.  Unlike with pasta or bread, gluten is the enemy of pie dough, so be gentle, and be quick!

Once your fat has bee cut down to size, spread your mixture out gently to expose as much surface area as possible.  Gently drizzle about half of your milk mixture over the flour, trying to cover as wide an area as you can.  Using bench scrapers or a large spoon, toss the flour over the liquid (don’t stir:just toss lightly), spread everything out again, and repeat the process with the second half of the liquid.  You should now have a dough that will just hold together when pressed against the bowl, with visible little chunks of butter.  If you need to add more liquid to bind it, do so with more cold milk, adding a tablespoon at a time until you reach the right texture.  It’s not an exact science ], as everything from the humidity in the air to the dryness of your flour will affect the consistency of your dough. Once you’ve reached your gaol, cover the dough tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate it at least one hour. The dough can be refrigerated for up to 1 week, well wrapped, or in the freezer up to 2 months.



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See what I mean?  Just the bees knees.

God bless and happy baking.