May 062011
 

Head over to the Great American Bake Sale at The Butcher and Larder tomorrow. Thirty area food bloggers and over thirty local businesses are donating time, auction packages, sugar and flour in support of Share our Strength’s mission to fight childhood hunger in America.

If you can’t make it out, there are other ways to support your local bakers. Visit the Dash of Stash team page to make a direct donation, bid on auction packages, or help spread the word via the #GourmetStash hashtag.

100% of funds raised go directly towards Share our Strength.

To entice you even more, Dash of Stash team baker and gourmand Tatiana Abramova shares one of the recipes she’s making for Saturday and the wonderful story behind it:

The Story

Growing up, every family gathering I remember was scented by my Grandma Katherine’s baking. She would start making doughs and fillings three days in advance. Then on the day of the celebration, she would rise up early to roll out, fill, and bake a vast variety of delicious treats. By the time all the kids would arrive, there would be a fragrant pile of piroshkies and pastries on a doily lined platter for us to help ourselves. Talk about spoiling your dinner. I used to love to sit in her kitchen, enveloped in perfumed heat, listening to her sing as she worked.

The baked goods were varied, but no matter what, one pie was always present. To me it symbolizes the whole family gathering together in celebration — my Grandma Katherine’s cabbage pie. The filling of cabbage (or sauerkraut) perfumed with spices, wrapped in puff pastry is an integral part of my family’s food history.

I am not sure that Grandma Katherine made the filling the same way twice, but it was always delicious. In lean Soviet years it would be simply cabbage or sauerkraut braised in sunflower oil and a little broth. In years when food was more abundant, she would add hard boiled eggs, bacon drippings, or even some bacon bits to the pot for a more luxurious dish. The years we were successful at foraging for mushrooms, various forms of them would find their way into the mix. That was probably my favorite. I’ve always been a mushroom fiend.

Grandma Katherine passed six years ago, and I miss the smell of her kitchen, and her singing while she worked. But her legacy lives on when I serve a version of her cabbage pie at my holiday table. I make it my own by adding twists here and there, though I do usually use store bought puff pastry because mine just never quite comes out. I keep practicing, and I now sing as I work. Just like Grandma.

The Recipe

Cabbage Pie

Cabbage Pie, Photo courtesy of Tatiana Abramova

Ingredients
Filling:
1 lb good sauerkraut, soaked for an hour in water, then drained well
1 lb sliced mushrooms, wild preferred, but crimini do fine
2 oz dried porchini, reconstituted in hot water, chopped, liquid reserved
2 medium onions, chopped
2/3 cup of dry white wine, I use Riesling
2-3 hard boiled eggs
2 tbsp duck fat*
2 tpsp bacon drippings*
Plain breadcrumbs about 1/3 cup

*You can use olive oil instead here to make this vegetarian.

Spice Sachet:**
5-6 juniper berries
5-6 peppercorns
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp caraway seeds
3-4 cloves
Large clove of garlic, whole
2 bay leaves
2-3 sprigs fresh thyme
Wrap all the spices in cheese cloth, and tie it together with twine. Reserve.

**These are the herbs and spices I use. But you could add your own flavors. Juniper berries and thyme I find essential.

Puff Pastry: Use your favorite recipe, or buy really good frozen puff pastry dough.

Procedure:
To make filling, sautee onions in a heavy bottomed pot in combo duck/bacon fat over low heat till translucent. Add sliced mushrooms and a pinch of salt. Turn up heat to medium high, and sautee till mushrooms are soft. Add saukraut, chopped porcini, mix the ingredients together well. Bury the spice sachet in the pot. Add wine and about a cup of reserved porcini liquid. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover. Braise for at least an hour. Remove cover and let the liquid evaporate. Cool the filling in a large bowl, add chopped eggs, mix, season as needed with salt & pepper. Cool completely before filling the pastry.

On a floured surface gently roll out the defrosted puff pastry (has to be cold, if it warms up, place back in the fridge to chill). You will need two sheets of dough, about 8 by 10 inches. Place a sheet of dough on a greased baking sheet, sprinkle with breadcrumbs. Top with filling evenly. Sprinkle breadcrumbs on top of the filling, cover with the second sheet of dough. Pinch to seal. Brush with eggwash (beaten egg with tsp of water). Chill in the fridge for 30 min.

Preheat oven to 375°. Bake the pie in the middle of the oven about 40 min, or until nicely browned and shiny on the outside. Do not underbake, or the puff pastry will collapse once out of the oven.

Slice and serve with a fresh green salad on the side, or any way you prefer.

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