April 9, 2012
We had a truly wonderful Easter celebration, but admittedly I’m completely hung over from more than just drinking. My muscles are sore from moving patio furniture and umbrellas, my face is dry and chapped from the sunshine and my belly is still full because I couldn’t step away from the buffet. Even though this Monday morning finds me tired and groggy, it was completely worth it. I hope all of you had a great weekend, too.
Our fridge is full of a rainbow of hardboiled eggs. You probably see a similarly colored landscape in your fridge. Here’s my family favorite recipe that uses some of those eggs. It’s a crowd pleaser, totally forgiving and easy to make. This deep-dish savory pie has a caloric intake high enough to kill a cow, yet I can’t think of anything I want to scarf down more today. If you have leftover ham, you can dice it up (approximatley two cups) and substitue that for the sausage.
Normally, I make this for Easter brunch but I’m making it tonight for dinner using Elizabeth’s piecrust and a green simple salad.
Sausage and Egg Pie
1 recipe pie crust of your choice, divided*
16 eggs; 6 hardboiled and 10 raw
1-pound Italian sausage
12 ounces mozzarella (log)
½ cup milk
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
Some days I make my piecrust from scratch, but there are days where it’s a premade crust or it just isn’t gonna happen. If you’re going the premade route, try the one from Trader Joe’s. In my opinion, it’s the best offering of pre-made pie dough on the market. It comes in rolls so you can roll it out to fit your dish and then chill it while you get your ingredients ready.
Assembling the Pie
While your crust is chilling, preheat oven 350 F.
Prepare the hard boiled eggs. The best way I’ve found is to place the eggs in a pot, then cover them with cold water. Bring the water to a boil, and then turn the heat to low and let them simmer for 6 minutes. Pour out the hot water and fill the pot with ice and cold water to stop the cooking process. After the eggs are completely cool, I dump out the water (but keep the ice) and vigorously shake the pot from side to side. The eggs collide with each other, the ice, and the side of the pan, which cracks the shells to make them easy to peel. Trust me, your kids will love the bashing and smashing this technique requires, and it easily takes the shells off even the freshest eggs. Have you noticed that fresh eggs are harder to peel?
After the eggs are cooked, cooled, and peeled, slice them thinly and set aside.
Remove the sausage from its casing and sauté in a large pan on medium heat with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Cook for 5-8 minutes until the sausage is cooked through. I break up the pieces while they cook with a wooden spoon. After they cook, let them cool on a plate covered with a few sheets of paper towels.
Thinly slice your mozzarella (I usually use about ¾ of the log) and place the slices on a plate. Grate your Parmesan cheese into a bowl (or into your grater if you have this handy thing). Now you have your assembly line of ingredients ready to go: sausage, hard-boiled eggs, and cheese.
Crack the raw eggs into a large bowl and mix with a whisk. Add the milk, salt and cayenne pepper. Brush a bit of the egg mixture on the fluted piecrust and then begin assembling.
First, start with a layer of half your sausage, then cover the sausage with half of the boiled egg slices (this does not have to be pretty, just make sure you cover the sausage completely before moving on to the next layer), then add half of the mozzarella. Repeat with the rest of your sausage, boiled eggs, and mozzarella.
After all of the layers are in place, pour the raw egg mixture over the layers and top with Parmesan cheese.
Place the pie on a baking sheet and bake for an hour and a half. After about 30 minutes, check on your piecrust to see if it’s getting too brown. If it is, then cover the edges of the crust with tin foil strips to keep it from burning (they also sell “pie protectors” at kitchen supply stores that do this, but I like to keep it simple and use foil). Cook for an additional 15-25 minutes or until it’s cooked completely. It should puff up and be completely set in the center. Serve warm.