Each week this fall we’ll revisit a recipe from last year’s Joy the Baker Magazine with new tips, tricks and insights. The latest issue of my holiday magazine will hit grocery store shelves nationwide (and in Canada!) November 1st! This week, let’s make Louisiana Crawfish Pie which, since moving to the south, has become the meal that I make and take to friends who need a little extra love and comfort.
Crawfish Pie is the best example I have of the splendor that comes to saying YES to the generous city of New Orleans. This recipe comes from the family of Jessica Bride, my first very good friend in New Orleans. Jessica emailed me having read on my blog that I moved to town and invited me over specifically to teach me how to make this crawfish pie.
Jessica and I were strangers to each other, and this sort of blind invitation wasn’t something I was used to coming from keep-to-yourself California. I looked up from my computer, around my French Quarter apartment, and realized that if I was going to make a new friend in town I’d have to say YES to this very forward invitation and head into the unknown.
The ‘unknown’ was Jessica’s incredible Greek revival home in the Garden District where I was greeting by her three sweet children, husband, and big brown dog. The ‘unknown’ just so happened to be the warmest place in town where I sat on a stool watching Jessica bring together this pie as she told me about the amazing woman, her late stepmother, who brought the pie to the family.
I’ve since made this pie for family every time they come to visit. Once you know how to share the love of this pie and the warmth of this city, it’s your duty to do so.
Crawfish season runs from February to June in Louisiana. It’s usually not until spring that we dust off our boil pots for backyard crawfish parties. It’s the few and the dedicated who sit around the boil after everyone is full and peel the extra crawfish tails to freeze for etouffe or, as is my preference, PIE.
If we’re out of season or there’s no boil on the calendar, it’s totally reasonable to use frozen, already peeled crawfish tails. If you’re not in the south you’ll likely find them in the frozen section of a specialty food store or Walmart. I prefer the tails from Louisiana as opposed to China but you can choose your own adventure.
You can also try this pie with small or diced peeled and deveined shrimp. This recipe doesn’t translate well with chicken but I’ve got you covered here: Double Crust Chicken Pot Pie.
My hope is that you find some of New Orleans’ love and warmth right here in this pie. We all have Jessica to thank for it.
Other New Orleans recipes to love:
• Gumbo Poutine and yes I sure did put gumbo on french fries.
• Pull Apart Biscuit King Cake because I’ll find truly every single way to King Cake every Mardi Gras.
• Strawberry Pistachio Doberge Cake – New Orleans’ most classic birthday cake.Print
A classic New Orleans dinner pie made with crawfish tails and spice.
For the Crust:
- 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter, cold and diced
- ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon cold buttermilk
For the Filling:
- ½ cup unsalted butter
- 1 medium onion, diced (about 1 heaping cup)
- ½ cup diced green bell pepper
- 2 stalks celery, finely diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 ½ cups whole milk
- 1 pound package Louisiana crawfish, thawed (don’t drain, we’ll use the juice)
- ½ cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
- ½ cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
- 1 ½ teaspoon Tony Cachere’s (or Old Bay) seasoning
- Black pepper, kosher salt, red pepper flakes, white pepper to taste
- 1 large egg, beaten for egg wash
- To make the crust, in a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, and salt. Add cold, grated butter and, using your fingers, work the butter into the flour mixture. Quickly break the butter down into the flour mixture, some butter pieces will be the size of oat flakes.
- Create a well in the butter and flour mixture and pour in 1/2 cup cold buttermilk. Use a fork to bring to dough together. Try to moisten all of the flour bits. Add more water if necessary. On a lightly floured work surface, dump out the dough mixture. It will be moist and shaggy. That’s perfect. If you find the dough needs more moisture, add a tablespoon more. Press and knead the dough into a disk.
- Divide the dough in two and gently knead into two disks. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
- To make the filling, in a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onion, bell pepper, and celery and cook for 5 to 10 minutes until they start to soften. Add the garlic, give it a quick stir, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, being very careful not to let the garlic burn.
- Add the milk and crawfish tails (along with any liquid that came out of the bag). Give a gentle stir, being careful not to over mix the crawfish tails (as you risk breaking them up). Add the parsley, green onions, breadcrumbs, Tony Cachere’s or Old Bay seasoning, and salt and peppers to taste; bear in mind that the blend of all four is important to round out the seasoning
- Cook for 5 minutes until the entire mixture is warm. Taste for seasoning and adjust. Keep in mind the seasoning doesn’t change while the pie is cooking, so you want to have plenty of flavor at this point. Turn the heat off and cover the mixture while you start on the crust.
- Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 375° F. On a well-floured surface, roll one of the disks of dough to about 1/8-inch thick and about 12 inches in diameter. Transfer it to a 9-inch to 11-inch pie pan. Trim the edge almost even with the edge of the pan. Prick with the tines of a fork a few times all over.
- Spray one side of a piece of foil with nonstick cooking spray and place, greased side down, onto the bottom crust. Fill with dry beans or pie weights and bake for 15 minutes. Remove the weights and foil and bake for another 10 minutes, until just golden brown. Lower the heat to 350° F.
- Spoon filling into the pie crust. Roll out the other disk of dough in the same manner as the first and lay it carefully over the filling, crimping the edges with a fork to seal the top and bottom crusts. Prick pie with tines of a fork a few times so steam can escape while baking. Brush the top of the pie with the egg white and water mixture and bake until golden brown, about 45 minutes. If your crust starts to turn brown too quickly, remove it from the oven and cover with aluminum foil, then return it to the oven.
- Allow to rest for 10 minutes. Slice and serve with a green salad and crisp white wine.
• This recipe calls for a par baked bottom crust. If that feels very fussy to you, you can skip this step but you will have a softer crust bottom for your final pie.
• Par baking often creates a slightly sunken bottom crust no matter how hard you try to fight it. A tip: really fill the unbaked crust to the very brim with dried beans or pie weights. And if your crust still sags a bit, don’t worry much about it and place the top crust over the edge of the pie pan without connecting it to the bottom crust. This is one of those rustic but incredibly delicious pies.
Keywords: crawfish, pie, louisiana, southern, savory pie, joy the baker, new orleans,