This past Saturday, with Easter approaching, I attempted to make another family recipe. This particular recipe is new to my culinary resume as this would be my first time making sausage pie unsupervised. This was a defining moment. If I couldn’t make sausage pie, I would bring shame to my family. Spoiler Alert! I did not bring shame to my family. Let’s discuss…
I had been debating for the last two weeks whether or not I had enough time, energy, skill or money to take on such a significant food challenge. And what would I make? Easter in my family consists of sausage pie, Easter bread, spaghetti pie, anchovy pie and Italian cheesecake. I was torn! I didn’t want to let this holiday pass by unacknowledged [in the kitchen] but it just snuck up on me this year. Yet I decided to spend what would be the next 7 hours “celebrating Easter” by making sausage pie.
I mustered up the energy to get off the couch and begin this sacred process. As I gathered the ingredients for the dough, I came to terms with my decision. My abruptness and lack of planning meant I would need to hop on the J and pick up cheese and meat in Little Italy while the dough was rising.
Once inside Alleva Dairy, I perused the two aisles in search of ricotta and sausage. Ironically, they were placed in a cooler right next to…sausage pie! “No,” I said to myself. “I won’t cheat.” After all, it’s the making I enjoy, not the eating. Oh, who am I kidding? I love the eating.
I picked up 4 pounds of fresh ricotta at $5 a pound and I wondered if the cow this cheese came from was fed organic…or gold.
One hour and $50 later, I headed back to the apartment. I kneaded the dough and returned it to the bowl for a second round of rising. I had an hour to prepare the filling. Yes, it took the whole hour. Slicing, peeling and dicing the different meats took the majority of the time. I must have looked ridiculous peeling each little slice of sausage. Is this how grandma does it? I couldn’t remember… Only one thing to do. Take a break to play with the food (this is a regular occurrence in my kitchen). Yes, this must be how grandma does it.
The filling was ready to go. I rolled out the dough for the bottom of the pie. Due to my poor planning (which is strangely unlike me), I only made 2 pounds of dough, rather than the recommended 3. “We got this,” I said to the dough as I used all my strength to roll it out to the appropriate size.
Once the cheese and meat mixture was generously shoveled into the bed of dough, the top of the pie was rolled out and gracefully placed over the filling. I did it, almost there. All that remained was the egg-wash and baking. “Piece of pie…sausage pie,” I laughed before patting myself on the back for being so clever.
After 2 hours of waiting and a little panic attack (was this really supposed to bake for 2 HOURS?!), I peeked in the oven and was pleasantly surprised to find grandma’s sausage pie waiting for me. I sliced a piece, placed it on a plate and, after admiring it for what seemed like forever, I devoured it, thoroughly enjoying each bite of fluffy, salty goodness. Yeah, we got this.