Mustachio Pie and a Sausage Torte Celebration

September 2010

That first day, in the sunny park, when we shared Greek food and laziness, neither of us had foreseen a one-year anniversary.  We had long been saying we’d been “hanging out” for “two weeks,” but the one year  moment was nigh!  When had “two weeks” really turned into one year?  When had we first spent that sunny afternoon together?  When had we both altered our schedules so our work shifts would align?  I found an email I sent to a friend when I was in that gushing state of mind:  August 19, 2009.

For most of those “two weeks,” the dashing carpenter had complied with my mustache request.  He referred to the “caterpillar” on his lip as “your mustache.”  He’d spend his evenings in his armchair, watching the news and combing his mustache with the tip of a metal, mechanical pencil, saving his facial hair frustration and complaints for me.

The month of August was beyond busy with Hothouse preparations, so our official anniversary came and went before I had time to properly commemorate.  This was my first one-year anniversary ever, so I wasn’t about to let it slip away completely unnoticed.  Following the “belated equals bigger surprise” school of thought, I pushed my plans to September.  I had just the present in mind for my gentleman friend and my mustache:  Mustachio Pie and a Mustache Grooming Kit!

Pie Dough Ingredients

2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
2 tablespoons pure cane sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 Tablespoons cocoa, preferably Dutch-processed
1 tsp instant coffee powder
1 1/2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract

For the Chocolate Pie Dough

Stir together flour, sugar, salt, and cocoa in a large bowl.

Use a pastry blender or a fork to cut in butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal with pea-size bits of butter throughout. (Or combine dry ingredients in a food processor, then pulse in butter.)

Drizzle in 1 to 2 tablespoons of ice water at a time (up to 6 tablespoons total), tossing after each addition, and using only enough water to make dough clump together when squeezed. Add vanilla (if using).

Pat dough into a disc, tightly cover with plastic wrap or parchment, and chill for 30 minutes or up to 2 days (or freeze for up to 3 months).

To Make Pie: Preheat oven to 400°F. Use a rolling pin to press the disc of dough into a circle large enough to cover a 9inch pie plate. Press dough into bottom, sides, and along the rim of pan to uniform thickness. Trim excess dough; embellish edges. Chill 20 minutes.

Cover the edges of the pie with tin foil to avoid crisping or burning. Bake 18-20 minutes until the crust is baked through.  Cool on a rack.

Pie Filling Ingredients

1 1/2 cup(s) half-and-half
3 large egg yolks
3/4 cup(s) pure cane sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
4 ounces bakers chocolate
3 tablespoons local amish butter
2 teaspoon(s) vanilla extract
3/4 cup heavy cream
zest of one organic orange
pistachios, finely chopped

For the Pie Filling

Whisk half-and-half, yolks, brown sugar, cornstarch, cocoa, and salt in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until it thickens and bubbles.

Cook 1 minute more and remove from heat.  Stir in the bakers chocolate, butter, and vanilla.

Stir in the orange zest.

Pour into pie shell.

Cool partially and garnish with a pistachio mustache.

Cool completely. Transfer to refrigerator to set, at least 2 hours or up to 2 days.

The Mustachio Pie was my top priority for the evening celebration, but a couple cannot live on pie alone (though, the dashing carpenter might argue otherwise).

Two very important parts of the dinner were ready:  the dessert and the wine.  It was time to add the main course before the arrival of the man.

Sausage Torte

1 yellow onion, chopped
1/2 cup grated asiago cheese
1 tablespoons whole-wheat pastry flour
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2-3 large organic red potatoes, cleaned and thinly sliced
2 small organic summer squash, cleaned and thinly sliced
2 links Italian sausage, crumbled and sautéed in olive oil
2 teaspoons olive oil

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Butter rectangular baking dish.

Layer half the potatoes in rows in bottom of 1 prepared pan, overlapping slightly.

Toss cheese, flour, thyme, salt and pepper in medium bowl to blend.

Layer half the squash in rows atop potatoes.

Drizzle with 1 teaspoon oil.

Sprinkle with half the cheese mixture.

Add all the sausage and repeat potato, squash and cheese layer.

Sprinkle onions over top and cover with foil.

Bake about 40 minutes.

Remove foil; bake uncovered until tortes begin to brown and potatoes are tender, about 25 minutes longer.

Add to the anniversary table!

Happy Anniversary Carpenter!

I wonder what the next “two weeks” has in store?!?!


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