Sometimes, an idea is so crazy it works. Sometimes, it doesn’t quite work but is so delicious, it doesn’t matter. A porky, cheesy Dijon bechamel filled pie inspired by a yummy sandwich? Um. Okay. Top the pie with a few runny-yolked fried eggs, now inspired by the utterly scrumptious partner to the last sandwich? Well you’re just getting ridiculous here.
But that amount of ridiculous is exactly what was needed at the Daisy Flour Savory Pie Competition at The Brooklyn Kitchen. Or so it seemed. Considering that the last event I participated in at BK Kitchen, a deliriously awesome hamburger casserole won the evening, trends were emerging. Fine, I’ll hop on that bandwagon, considering that it’s a tasty one. Might I say that this bandwagon of insanity landed me third place at yesterday’s competition, too! [Edited to add: And go check my friend Eryn’s pie from Saturday’s competition. She won like a boss.]
So we have the Croque Madame Pie. It’s salty. It’s cheesy. It has a mustard bite that is perfect. It’s runny and messy and it will NOT slice up “pretty.” You’re going to dip more bread, biscuits, English Muffins, your crust into the Dijon bechamel. And you’re going to be very, very happy while eating it. It’s not health food, it’s party food. Make it for brunch, it’ll feed an army in the midst of a larger meal.
There are a few factors that are flexible in this pie. The roux is built on milk – a high fat milk or heavy cream must be used. I used 50-50 heavy cream and 2% milk to much success, but play around and see what works for you. The Dijon mustard is a necessity for a yummy pie, but what sort of Dijon used it up to you! I used two parts smooth Dijon to one part seeded, for a little added texture. Ham and Swiss can be substituted for pancetta and Gruyere, depending on the budget. [But boy oh boy is Gruyere fantastic.] If you use ham, no need to cook, just use two ounces of cubed meat.
Also, about Daisy Flour. It’s organic and fairly local to NYC, and all that. But it’s also just really lovely product. For a whole wheat pastry flour, it is incredibly soft. Pie crust normally scares me, they really do. But this crust rolled out so well, it was seriously the easiest pie crust I’ve rolled. And it patches well, because it’s a soft, tender flour. If you can track it down, give it a try. Yes, they DID give me the flour used in this recipe, but I will be buying it in the future.
croque madame pie
for the whole wheat pie crust
This recipe makes one crust - feel free to double it for a double crusted pie!
Adapted from heavenly homemakers.
- 1/2 cup Daisy whole wheat pastry flour
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 4 tablespoons [1/2 stick] butter, cubed and very cold [or frozen]
- 2 tablespoons shortening
- 1.5 tablespoons vodka, ice cold
- 1.5 tablespoons water, ice cold
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9" pie pan. In a food processor, place the flours and salt. Pulse together for 20 seconds.
- Add the butter and shortening and pulse until the dough is crumbly. Pea-sized chunks of fat are a-ok.
- Slowly drip in the ice water and vodka. If your food processor plunger has small holes in the bottom, use that. Pulse together until the dough begins to clump together.
- Remove the dough from the processor and knead a time or two. Form into a ball and wrap with plastic wrap. Flatten the disk (in the wrap). Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or up to a day.
- Remove from the refrigerator and place on a floured surface. [I like to put parchment down, and flour the parchment.] Roll out with a well-floured rolling pin. You want the crust to be at least 11" wide, so that the crust will fully cover your pie pan.
- Fold the crust in half, and then in quarters. Lift and gently place into the center of the pie pan, and unfold. Pat into place, fitting the crust into the edges of the pan. If there are any tears, don't freak out, just use trimmed dough to patch it up.
- Trim and shape the pie edges - crimp or use a fork to add crimped edges or whatever works best for you. I'm not really an expert at it!
- Parbake the pie crust for 20 minutes. Cover the pie with a big sheet of parchment paper, fill with rice, beans or pie weights and bake.
for the filling
Adapted from Food52.
- 3.5 ounces pancetta, diced into 1/4" cubes
- 1 yellow onions, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 2 cups milk or heavy cream
- 3 tablespoons strong Dijon mustard
- 1 pinch nutmeg
- kosher salt, to taste
- 7 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated
- 4 large eggs
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a medium skillet, add the pancetta. Turn the heat to medium high and cook for 10-15 minutes, letting the fat render and the pancetta crisp up a bit. Once cooked, scoop out the pancetta only and place in a bowl.
- Add the sliced onions to the pan with the fat still in it. Cook at medium, caramelizing the onions. Let them cook for 30-45 minutes, or as long as your patience allows you.
- With the onions still cooking, melt the butter in a medium saucepan on medium heat. Slowly add the flour and stir until smooth. Cook for three to five minutes, or until the flour has lost the raw flavor to it.
- Add the milk and stir constantly, scraping the bottom of the pan to get all bits of the flour-butter mixture combined. Bring to a boil, letting the mixture thicken. Stir in the Dijon and nutmeg, and add salt. Taste and salt the cream until it seems almost salted enough. The pancetta and cheese will add salinity, so be cautious not to oversalt.
- In your pie crust, layer 2 ounces of the grated Gruyere [a generous handful] over the bottom of the crust. Top with an even layer of the pancetta and then the caramelized onions. Pour the Dijon bechamel over the whole thing. Top with the remaining Gruyere.
- Lightly beat one of your eggs. Brush the pie crust with the egg wash. Bake for 35-45 minutes. The filling will still be jiggly.
- Once the pie is out of the oven, fry the last three eggs. In a large non-stick skillet on medium high, add oil or butter. Once hot, crack the eggs into the pan. You can use biscuit cutters or jar rings to attempt to hold the eggs into a circle. Fry until the white is set but the yolk is still runny.
- Carefully remove each egg from the pan with a wide spatula and place onto the pie, spaced out so each third of the pie gets its fair share of egg. Let the pie sit for another ten to twenty minutes, and serve. It's best when it's still warm, but not boiling hot.
- Serve with additional bread or other bechamel-sopping carbohydrate. You're going to need it.