Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Hubig's Pies and Mini Pie Zoos

The Note: A love letter to Hubig’s Pies
High hopes for a full recovery … high apple pie, in the sky hopes

For those of you living outside Louisiana, I must first explain what a Hubig’s Pie is.   It is a grocery store checkout pastry, bona fide New Orleans made. The pies are shaped more like empanadas and are packaged in a sleeve printed with the brand’s logo, a jolly chef named “Savory Simon.” (Simon Hubig founded the company.)  They come in a whole host of fruity flavors from apple to sweet potato to coconut. 

Photo found online

But these New Orleans Style Pies, are in trouble. On July 27, the bakery was destroyed in a fire.  This is the same Faubourg Marigny location that has been home to Hubig’s Pies since 1922. 

After the fire was put out, Louisianans were posting social media statuses like “I’m buying all the strawberry I can find. If you see any, buy all of them for me and I’ll pay you later.” I felt like it was the scene in “It’s a Wonderful Life” where there’s a run on the bank.

And people were scrambling and anxious because New Orleanians know what it means to lose something.

Hubig’s plans on a full recovery.  A statement on their website goes as following: “Rebuild, Restore, ReHubig’s, we will not lose our flavor!”

To support this local favorite in their time of need, one can buy a t-shirt or other merchandise in the online store.

The Pie: Animal Shaped Mini Pies! 
A mini Audubon Zoo, that you can eat too!  

With pie on the brain, I decided to try something new: animal shaped mini pies.  

Yes, that's right, I made a sweet, edible zoo from scratch using my cheesecake pie crust recipe and lemon filling!

Photo by Robert Giglio

 Ingredients and Recipe for Crust:
-       3 cups all-purpose flour
-       ¾ cup sugar
-       3 egg yokes
-       1 ½ sticks unsalted butter
-       1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
-       1 ½ teaspoon lemon zest
       Preheat oven to 400 degrees F, grease baking pan.  Set it aside.  In a medium size bowl, combine the flour, sugar, and lemon peel.   Form a well in the center of the dry ingredients, and cut the butter into small pieces and into the well.  Add the egg yolks (set the whites aside for later) and vanilla to the well.  Quickly mix all ingredients with fingertips until it holds together and you have a smooth ball of dough. 

 Lemon Filling:

-       1 tablespoon unsalted butter
-       1/3 cup granulated sugar
-       1 large egg
-       1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
-       1 teaspoon lemon zest
-       1 teaspoon vanilla

Use a double boiler (or use a stainless steel bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water):  melt the butter in the top bowl. Whisk together the eggs, sugar, and lemon juice until blended and pour into the top bowl. Cook and whisk constantly (to prevent  the egg from curdling)over the simmering water. Keep whisking until the mixture becomes pale in color and thickens to the consistency of sour cream (160 degrees F  on a candy thermometer).  This will take 10 minutes of steady whisking!  Remove from heat and immediately pour through a fine strainer if there are any lumps. Keep the cooked lemon mixture off the heat, and stir in the lemon zest and vanilla extract.  Chill in refrigerator for 4 to 6 hours (Can be a lot less).


Now that the dough is done. And so is your filling.  Find your favorite cookie cutters. I chose my zoo collection. Now, cut out shapes. 
Lay down one shape. 
Drop a dollop of filling in the center (maybe in a thumb print).
Place like cut out shape atop and pinch edges together.
Use those egg whites you set aside. Brush a light coat of egg over the dough to crisp.
Sprinkle a smidge of sugar over the mini pies.
Bake 6-8 minutes on greased sheets.

If you want a Hubig's pie, you should buy one now and help support the rebuilding effort!

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