Sunday, March 18, 2012

Erin Go Braugh Paraguaygua! - Now with more Pie.

I'm never totally sure which day is actually St. Paddy's since I usually celebrate over a two separate weekends, but Julia came over last night feeling pretty confident it was the day. So what else was there to do except dye some beer green, put on Boon Dock Saints and eat pie.

How 'bout a pint? Or a medio-litro. We're not really sure. 
It may seem odd to celebrate this tiny North Atlantic island while in a Latin American country, BUT there is at least one Paraguayan of Irish decent. His name was Juan O'Leary, (Pronounced: O-Lee-aar-ree) and he's actually pretty famous. He even has a town named after him just 20 minutes away from mine. What he did? I have no idea. But hell, that's what St. Paddy's is about, very thin or outright false claims to Irish heritage. Right? Even this guy likes to brag about his Irish-ness.

So Happy St. Paddy's from this 1/8th (I think) Irish girl. I hope you all are recovering appropriately.

By request, Pie recipe after the jump.

Just barely green.
I had a request to put up a photo of the pie we ate, since it too had been dyed green.

I've made a lot of pie here in Paraguay and it's always a big hit. Ingredients are usually available in almost any town, so I included a Paraguay-ized recipe. A real recipe with measurements and the pretense of temperature control is here.

1 stick butter or manteca vegital (chilled if you can.)
3-4 handfuls flour
2 "palmitos*" or Tbsp sugar
*Cup your and hand fill the well you make.
Pinch of salt
2-3Tbsp water (again, bien frio if you can.)

4-5 Pears peeled and sliced.
   Really could be any fruit, just maybe use different spices depending.
Some Cinnamon (optional)
2 Tbsp Sugar
A splash or two of Caña (optional)
1 Tbsp flour or cornstarch.

How to:
Mix flour, sugar and salt. Have some more flour on reserve if needed. Cut the butter in to small pieces and add to flour. If it is warm just dump it in. (Warm butter makes a different texture, but you'll still get a dough you can work with.) "Cut" the butter into the flour. That means keep making the butter pieces smaller and smaller as you mix it with the flour. Like this. Use a fork, or two knives. It should look like Mbeju dough. If your dough is already coming together, then you A) don't have enough flour and B) your butter is warm. If this happens, add more flour and chill if you can. Once it's the consistency of Mbeju add a splash of water at a time. You want the dough to just come together to make a ball. Let it rest for 10-30 minutes. Preferably in a refrigerator.

In a separate bowl mix all filling ingredients. Let sit. Each slice should be covered with a little sugar and a little cinnamon. This will draw out the juice and mix with the flour or cornstarch to make the pie filling goo. The caña just makes it a little more interesting.

Preheat oven to 450F/230C . My oven doesn't have temperatures. At least not ones I believe, so for me this is the second highest setting on my gas oven.

Take an empty wine bottle or caña bottle to roll out your dough. If you have a rolling pin you're the first volunteer I've heard to have such a thing. Any bottle works so long as it's got some weight to it.

Flour a surface and roll out the dough to a rough circle. Make sure to flour your rolling pin too. To get a circle, regularly turn the dough a 1/4 turn. It should be about an 1/8th of an inch think when you're done. If you don't have a refrigerator and your dough is really warm you can probably just push this into a pan with your hands.

Grease and flour a pan. If you have a real pie pan, awesome. Use that. I do not. I use a square pan that serves as a base for my free form pie. Transfer the dough from the board to the pan. If you have a real pie pan then just add the filling. Crimp the edges, cut off the extra and put it in the oven. Bake 30 minutes.

If you are doing a free form pie then put on your fancy pants because you get to say this is French and call it a Gallete. On your flat dough pile the fruit leaving an inch to an inch and a half on all sides of the dough. Then carefully fold up the edges to seal in the filling. Just use your fingers to pinch this together. Put in oven and bake 30 min.

Crust should be golden brown and fruit cooked down and gooey. Serve warm. I've had Paraguayans dumbfounded at the concept of a warm dessert. To doubly freak them out, add ice cream on top. I also love eating the left overs for breakfast the next day.

Hope you enjoyed. You can find a billion pie recipes online. I just wanted to try and translate for a place with no measuring cups and no air conditioning. Just have fun with it, and remember that if you put enough butter in sugar in anything it will taste good.