Monday, November 15, 2010

Pie Making Class and Quiche!

My husband (also known as The Best Husband Ever) bought me a dream come true for our anniversary: A class on pie-making with local food celebrity Kira O'Donnell of Real Pies. She formerly worked at Chez Panisse in Berkeley and her pies are divine. I couldn't wait to see what she was like in real life and pick up some pointers on how to perfect my own pies. Pie is, after all, my favorite food in the world.

The class was held at a room adjoining the Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op:
While we waited for the class to start, we met new friends and snacked on olives, hummus, baba ganoush and crackers...
And checked out the set up, while trying to figure out which one was Kira herself.
Turns out she's the surprisingly down-to-earth, unpretentious and nice blond. We started by discussing how to make crust, the foundation of any pie.

Kira gave us some simple tips, such as cooking pie on a pre-heated pizza stone to achieve a flaky bottom crust; keeping everything cold, even if you have to dip your own hands in ice water; and letting the dough rest at least 1 hour before working with it, or even overnight. She uses an all-butter pastry herself but was surprisingly not picky about the type of pan, flour, recipe, etc.
Her sample dough was generously dotted with chunks of butter and very sturdy yet pliable.
She made a sample pie with strawberry rhubarb filling she had frozen in July. How gorgeous those colors were,
and then look how cute her stars are!
The best part was sampling 3 varieties of her pies, starting with a vegetarian quiche. I am serious about this quiche. It is deadly good. At first I was like, "Alright, let's get this quiche over with so we can get to the sweet stuff." The quiche turned out to be my favorite.
Apple Blackberry Galette - delicious and warm, flaky and cozy.
Chocolate Cream pie, not too sweet. The crust was made from homemade cookie crumbs. (Overachiever.) :-)
I don't want to give away all of Kira's secrets, but I will share her killer recipe for quiche. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Vegetarian Quiche

Partially pre-baked pie shell (375 for 8-10 minutes until light brown)
1 c. grated cheese of your choice (Swiss, cheddar, Jack)
1/3 c. crumbled goat cheese (opt)
1/2 red bell pepper, julienned and sauteed until soft
1 bunch spinach, washed/chopped and sauteed until soft
1 head broccoli, separated into small clumps and blanched until just tender
1/2 small yellow onion, sauteed until soft
6-7 mushrooms, sliced and sauteed until soft
3 eggs
1 c. low-fat milk or soy milk
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
Pinch salt
Pinch herbs de Provence

Preheat the oven to 350.

Put the partially pre-baked pie shell on a sheet pan. Press grated cheese and goat cheese on bottom of shell. Add all cooked veggies on top of cheese, distributing evenly. In a bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, mustard, and spices. Pour the milk mixture carefully over the veggies, then place the quiche in the oven. Bake until the custard is completely firm. (Jiggle it slightly - if it seems liquidy in the center, it's not done yet!) It may take over an hour. Don't worry if the top browns. It will taste great! Serve 4 hungry people, with an accompaniment such as soup or salad.


  1. What a lovely gift from your husband, and a great way to spend the day.
    I love the tip of cooking the pies on a pizza stone. I will be sure to try that for my Thanksgiving pumpkin pie. : )

  2. the pies look delicious!! someone is ready for thanksgiving!

  3. oooo i can't wait to try this recipe! thanks!


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