One of my contributions for Thanksgiving this year was my standard buttermilk pie, which is so yummy and easy that I make it whenever I have an excuse. I used the same pie crust recipe as last year: the NY Times’s all butter pie crust, which nicely expands to match a pound (four sticks) of butter with four cups of flour. I knew it’d give me extra pastry, even though I was using a double recipe of buttermilk pie to fill a rectangular cake tin, so I refrigerated the unbaked dough for later.
Today, I took the dough and pressed it out on a parchment paper-covered cookie sheet, shaping a rough circle with a rim around the edge. Meanwhile, I sliced a red onion into thin slivers, sauteed it in rendered turkey fat* until it was soft and starting to caramelize, and added thin slices of bell pepper to sautee until they were tender. I covered the crust with sliced sharp cheddar, piled the bell pepper and onion on top, and sprinkled it generously with salt, pepper, rosemary, and thyme. Then into a 400 degree oven it went, until the cheese was melted, the peppers were beginning to crisp and brown, and the crust had turned a lovely golden-brown.
The result: savory, flavorful, gooey, crumbly perfection. Butter pastry dough really is a lovely thing. Next time, I must remember to photograph it before it gets devoured . . .
* – I am perhaps old-fashioned in this, but I love saving animal fat, on the infrequent occasions when I cook meat. It can be substituted for oil or butter for sauteeing vegetables, making a roux, browning lean meats, etc. Bacon/sausage fat adds smokey richness, and poultry fat (chicken, turkey, duck) adds a tantalizing savory flavor to any dish. It saves money, and you can get a surprising amount of it from a whole bird. I tend to toss all the scraps from a roast bird (bones, skin, fat, drippings, etc.) into a big pot with some water and chunks of onion and celery, simmer it for a few hours to get a good rich stock, then save the fat that rises to the top of the stock when it’s chilled.