entertainingfoodFood & Drinkin the kitchen withkristina gillrecipes

in the kitchen with: the pie truck

by Grace Bonney

This recipe for Zucchini and Mushroom pies, by Bill from The Pie Truck, was prepared thanks to the fantastic work of food stylist Adam C. Pearson and photographer Matt Armendariz in their Long Beach studio. I really loved the time I spent learning in their studio because it has a million and one props to choose from when making and styling food to be photographed. For these images, I chose a vintage mini muffin tin that produced the perfect sized little pies. The empty muffin hole you see was home to a perfectly formed pie which was nicknamed The Hero. The Hero was set aside on his own little plate (kind of like his own little trailer) and for the duration of the shoot, only Adam was allowed to handle The Hero. The Hero is -not- the pie we cut into to take the pictures. The Hero is the uncut one you see. He remained in tact until after the shoot. Then I ate him. He tasted as flaky and good as he looks in the images!

The Pie Truck served its patrons in the Bay Area until 19 December when Bill and his friends and customers unfortunately bid it farewell. (You can read the Pie Truck’s story here). Fortunately, we have a recipe for one of the fantastic pies which were available from the truck. For those of you who knew the Pie Truck, this will let you keep the memory alive. For those of you who never had the chance to taste a pie, here’s what you missed!

*We are devastated at the earthquake crisis in Haiti and unfolding number of losses. One of the greatest needs in Haiti now is for meals ready to eat (MREs). There are a number of charitable organizations, NGOs, international NGOs, private companies and individuals who are mobilizing resources to assist. No matter how small, any contribution can help save a life.*

CLICK HERE for the full recipe for Zucchini & Mushroom pie after the jump!

Zucchini & Mushroom with sour cream Pie

servings 10 to 12 two-inch pies, depending on the depth of the tin

* 150g mushrooms (5.25 oz)
* 1 medium to large zucchini
* 1/2 onion (200g)
* 1/2 cup sour cream (150g)
* 2 tbsp capers ( 25g)
* 3 tbsp chopped fresh dill (1/10 bundle)
* salt and pepper to taste

– Chop up veggies pretty big

– Saute veggies, mushrooms and then capers.

– Add sour cream and dill after the filling cools.

– Mix



The dough we use is actually not so much a pie crust as it is a savory tart dough. It’s somewhere between a puff pastry and a pie crust. It’s kind of the classic ratio of 3-2-1. 3 parts flour to 2 parts butter to 1 part water. We cut the butter back to be slightly less than 2 parts but if you’re only making a few – go for the gusto.

To make enough for somewhere around 10 to 12 pies, with lids:

150ml water (0.6 cups)

455g flour (1.99 cups)

300g unsalted butter (1.3 cups)

1tsp salt

1. Dissolve salt in water.

2. In food processor, add flour. Cut butter into chunks and add to flour. Pulse until large crumbs form and chunks of butter are about the size of peas.

3. Add water and pulse for a few seconds until the dough begins to come together in a ball. There should still be chunks.

4. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 2 balls. Smash them into discs and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill for a couple hours before rolling out.

Assembling and baking the pie:

We use mini tart molds for our veggie pies and muffin tins for our meat pies. I prefer the muffin tins because they’re non-stick, easy to clean and easy to work with in one big piece. We use 2 sizes of round pastry cutters to cut the bottoms and tops of the pie. For the larger pies, I think the cutters we use are somewhere around 5″ for the large bottoms and 3″ for the smaller top pieces. (it’s not that big of a deal if they’re too big because the dough is so good you won’t mind having extra!

*When you roll out the dough, you don’t want it too thin, but also don’t want it too thick. Somewhere around 2-3mm is a good thickness.

Roll the dough, cut the bottom rounds, place them loosely in the tins and scoop in a heap of the filling.

Brush the rim with some egg wash and then place the top on. Crimp the edges with your fingers and then brush the top with egg yolk wash.

Bake at 350f for around 30 minutes. You may need more or less time, depending on your oven.


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  • That sounds delicious! I think I’m going to break down and buy a muffin tray just so I can make these. Thanks for sharing.

  • Yum!! As I sadly look at my LeanCuisine lunch.

    Perhaps this weekend, I will attempt to make these after my dog walk and long run, and thereby be the Perfect Woman.

  • If anyone is curious, this entire dish can be made vegan with a few substitutions:

    Instead of sour cream, use Tofutti or silken tofu that has been blended.

    Instead of butter (in the crust), use vegetable shortening.

    Instead of egg white to brush the tops, use egg replacer or brush with a little cooking oil.

    The recipe sounds marvelous! I can’t wait to make it (vegan) for my (vegan) husband. Thanks!

  • I know pastry crust is tricky business. Is there a non-food-processor technique for making the crust?
    Looks delish, but my kitchen is decidedly low-tech…

  • @Gina- Have a go at Gourmet Sleuth for conversions to get the units that you are most comfortable with. It will

    @Elana – you can do by hand all the steps mentioning the food processor. You may want to use a pastry cutter or two butter knives to cut the butter into the dough though so that the butter doesn’t melt.

  • @Gina that’s .6 or 60% of a cup, slightly more than 1/2 cup. Notice that the recipe was created using the metric system, which is by weight rather than volume, so there isn’t a standard conversion from mL to cups…. two different units of measure. Hence the wacky volume.

    @Elana you can do all of it with a spoon and some elbow grease, it just takes longer! A blender would work too.

  • oh my… I know what I’ll be mostly doing this afternoon – they look DIVINE! I love that old pastry tin; I’ll bet it’s baked many very happy little pies…

  • Would you please be able to format your recipes for printing so that it only prints the recipes?

  • How long would these keep? I’d love to make them for a week of lunches, but not sure how they would last without getting soggy. Could they be frozen?

  • Oh, these look so yummy! I’m going to use tofutti sour cream and earth balance butter to make them vegan! Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  • @Marina I didn’t expect it until we turned out the Hero, but they were surprisingly sturdy. Maybe because the filling is not very wet. I took some ‘home’ after the shoot and they stayed a couple days in the refrigerator until they were eaten.

    I’d say try it, supporting them as best you can when you put them in the freezer. The worst thing that can happen is they get a little soft, but still taste good.

  • After making these, will they be good enough to give to someone else the next day? I know puff pastry dough is tricky like that but since this dough is different . . .

    Also, how did you get the tops to shape like they did? It almost looks like a ring around the puffed up center.

  • @Nia – I think the flavor is as good the next day as the first.

    For the styling, Adam did the styling. He cut out the base and top according to the recipe. Given the size of the base with respect to the muffin cups we used, there was enough dough over hang for Adam to close the edge over the top disk and crimp the edges. With the dough available, we also made a bit larger pie (in a mini-tart pan) but it wasn’t crimped like these.

    If you opt for to use muffin tins, depending on the size/depth of the cups and the disks you cut out, you may or may not have enough overhang to do the same type of edge Adam did. This tin was actually deeper and narrower than muffin tins we are used to today.

    Just try a cutter and see what it yields and adjust according to your preferences for the remaining cups.

  • @Marina & @Nia, the pies will keep fine for a few days in the fridge and they actually do freeze pretty well. The best way to re-heat is in the oven or a toaster oven but a microwave works if it’s all you’ve got!

    When we were baking them for the truck I microwaved the leftovers all the time at work and they were still great.

  • How can I print this recipe out? There is no link and I do not want all the extra pictures.

    Thank you,