After reading the details of Fromage Homage’s January challenge, along with a particularly hilarious post about an attempt to make homemade cheddar cheese, I decided I had a recipe that was challenge worthy: my mac and cheese pot pie. (See rules of the challenge here.) I figured my recipe was a shoe-in because it’s two comfort foods combined into one!
I decided to go with a version of Warren Brown’s recipe for a cheese pie crust, having just received his cookbook, Pie Love, from my dad for Christmas. I adapted his recipe to make by hand instead of in a food processor. I tend to over-process pie crusts when using a food processor.
Then I went with a bunch of white cheeses for the mac and cheese part, because that’s what I had in my fridge. This recipe made four individual pot pies. I would dare anyone to eat one whole pie in one sitting. I estimate it makes about 8 servings. Plus I had an entire bowl full of leftover mac and cheese sans pot pie crust.
cheese pie crust ingredients.
- 2 ¾ c. flour
- 1 tsp. superfine sugar
- ½ c. hard aged cheese, finely grated (such as pecorino Romano or Parmesan), very cold
- ¼ tsp. salt
- ¾ c. very cold butter, cut into small pieces
- 6 to 8 T. ice water
cheese pie crust directions.
- In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients. Add butter to flour mixture and cut butter pieces with two knives until you get pea-sized bits of butter.
- Stir water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until dough comes together. Shape dough into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate, at least 30 minutes or overnight.
pot pie ingredients.
- cheese pie crust
- 16 oz. package of noodles (shells, elbow, penne, etc.)
- 1 c. heavy cream
- 3 c. whole milk
- 4 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
- 4 c. white cheese, finely shredded (I used a mixture of Pecorino Romano, Havarti, Monterrey Jack and Fontina)
- 1/2 c. butter
- 1 c. bread crumb mixture*
- salt and pepper, to taste
pot pie directions.
- Prepare pie dough a few hours or a day ahead of time. When ready to start cooking, divide dough into four equal parts. Then divide the four equal parts into halves for a total of 8 balls of dough. On a lightly floured surface, roll out each ball into ovals or rounds fitting the appropriate size of the dish your using. Line your pie plates with one round and pat dough into place. Roll out remaining pieces of dough in the same manner. Refrigerate the individual dishes and crust tops until ready to assemble.
- In a small pot, heat the cream, milk and cream cheese over low heat until cream cheese is melted. Use a wire whisk to incorporate. Meanwhile, boil noodles according to package directions. Drain the water.
- Reserve a small amount of the shredded cheese – about a cup or so.
- Mix noodles in a bowl with a stick of butter until butter is melted. Add cheeses and mix until they begin to melt. Stir in cream mixture. Pour into prepared pie dishes, and top with generous amounts of salt and pepper and additional cheese.
- Cover pie dishes with remaining rolled out rounds of dough, trim the edges and crimp to seal. (This is easiest to do by pressing the back of the tines of a fork around the edge of the crust.) Brush the top of the pie gently with the lightly beaten egg yolk and top with finely shaved Pecorino Romano cheese.
- Bake at 375 degrees for 30 to 45 minutes. Serve immediately. (Let cool for a few minutes if you can stand to do so.)
Per usual, the noodles soaked up all of the cheese sauce which means by the time I took the pies from the oven (45 or 50 minutes), the inside was slightly dried out. This can easily be remedied by adding some additional milk or cream to your noodles. Instead, I would recommend partially baking the bottom crust ahead of time (Mr. Brown actually recommends this, too, for his pies) and then reducing the total baking time down to anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes. You can “brown” your crust nicely using the egg yolk. Regardless of the slight dryness to the pot pie, the taste was still there. Comforting, cheesy goodness.
My dad had the remainder of his potpie today for lunch and said it was just as good reheated. If you’re going to reheat, I would do so in the oven. Or you can use my dad’s route: heat in a cast-iron pan on very low heat (covered) for 20 to 30 minutes. He says the crust gets nice and brown on the bottom and the rest of the pie will be heated through.