I am thrilled to be participating in Burwell General Store’s Recipe Swap for the first time this month. I’ve seen many creative dishes come out of this group in the past and I’m honored to be able to join in!
The original recipe from All-Day Singin’ and Dinner on the Ground
For the swap, everyone had to start with the above recipe for Hot Slaw and make their own version, that is, one that changed/added/deleted some ingredients or maybe tweaked the technique. When I first saw the recipe I thought it sounded oddly appealing. I guess it helps that I like cabbage. It reminded me of a Mexican restaurant’s not-quite-cooked cabbage slaw that my mom and I have always loved. The sweet and sour elements of the dressing were familiar but cooking it into a custard was not.
I’ve never actually made custard on the stovetop before. I know, I know, I should really do something about that but this didn’t seem like the right recipe for testing my whisking skills. Instead, I thought, why not make a custard with which I’m familiar: a pie. Pumpkin pie is custard, right? That’s how my chain of logic went, anyway.
It helped that the recipe gave cooks an option to add cream, which, in my mind, was essential to turning this slaw into a pie. The most difficult thing to decide was how much vinegar to retain in my baked custard. I wasn’t sure if too much vinegar would keep the pie from setting or make it too bitter. I also had a tough time deciding on a crust. I don’t make a lot of pies and mostly steer clear of buttery pie shells. I opted for a crust from a tofu quiche recipe I once made. It uses cooked bulgar and made a very nice crust for the quiche. It didn’t turn out quite as well with this pie, however. I think I needed to bake it longer or just go for a regular-old, traditional crust.
I could go on about how skeptical my mom, who visited last week, was about turning a slaw into a pie. I reiterate that my husband tries not to eat dairy but tell you that he made an exception in the that department for the sake of pie experimentation. Someone had to help me eat this thing! You get the picture. There’s a lot to say about this pie but I’m going to stop myself and present the recipe before I go on and on.
1/2 a small to medium-sized head of green cabbage, finely chopped
1 apple, chopped except for a few slices for the top of the pie
1 can evaporated milk (I used 2%)
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/3 cup white or apple cider vinegar
For the crust:
1/2 cup bulgar
1 cup water
Bring water for bulgar to a boil in a small saucepan.
Add grains and cook, covered, on low for 15 minutes, or until all the water is absorbed.
Towards the end of the cooking time, preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
When bulgar is cooked, pour it into an oiled pie plate and press it down with your fingers and/or the back of a spoon to for a crust over the bottom and up the edges of the pan. It’s okay if you can’t get it all the way up the edges.
Place pie plate in oven and bake for 10-15 minutes, or until the crust is crisp and slightly brown.
Meanwhile, add chopped cabbage to a large skillet or saucepan over medium-high heat. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the cabbage is tender.
Add chopped apple and nutmeg to cabbage, cook for another couple of minutes, then remove from heat and set aside to cool.
In a bowl, beat eggs and add milk, sugar, and vinegar, beating everything together well.
Your crust should be out of the oven at this point – pour the cabbage into the pie crust, spreading it evenly throughout the pan.
Pour milk mixture over cabbage, distributing it evenly.
Place 6-8 apple slices on top of the pie before placing it in the oven.
Bake at 375 degrees F for about 45 minutes, or until the center of the pie is set and the top is golden brown.
Slice and serve!
To be honest, I had no idea how this would taste. If it was completely inedible I was going to change some things and make it again. Happily, the pie was more than edible – it was good! The pie was surprisingly sweet, which makes me think more vinegar would be a good idea. The texture and flavor was fantastic, though. It really tasted like slaw in a pie! The apple was a nice addition and I’m glad I added nutmeg, a spice that always pairs well with greens.
You may encounter skepticism if you serve this pie to friends and family. Don’t let them deter you! Cabbage pie is a novel, healthy, vegetarian main dish that is perfect for a chilly fall night.