As a send off for Arron & Amy, we decided on a feel-good home cooked meal. We baked up a tri-layered Shepherd’s Pie as the main dish and a batch of Pennsyltucky Half-Moon Pies for dessert.
The Shepherd’s Pie is based on my Mom’s recipe that used hamburger on the bottom. We happily substitute MorningStar Farms Ground Meatless because it won every category in our taste test, The Ground Meat(less) to Beat. I like adding a 1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder to that and spread it all evenly on the bottom of a casserole dish.
The second and middle layer is corn. We like to sauté the kernels from about 4 ears of fresh corn with a cayenne pepper to taste. That gets spread just as evenly over the bottom layer of ground meatless.
The final and top layer is mashed potatoes. We cut up and boil about 4 large potatoes (skins on) until they are soft and drain them. We then mash them with some buttermilk (vegan buttermilk option is rice milk with a tiny splash of apple cider vinegar) and spread them evenly to make the top layer. The whole thing gets baked at 350° for 30 minutes and a last minute or so in the broiler to give the top some character (thanks Mom!)
I try to make it with as much love as my Mom always did for me and my sister (we loved this dish) and my Dad (who always tried to separate out the 3 layers to eat them individually).
Pennsyltucky Half-Moon Pies
I had been waiting for a reason to make these and Amy & Arron’s farewell was the occasion. They donated the first main ingredient from their stores of Central PA goodies that they were packing up to go back to the big city. Does NYC even have…
Apple Schnitz! These dried little slices of apple are what make this a real Pennsyltucky Half-Moon Pie. We get them in bulk at many of the local Amish stores and if you are lucky you have a grandmother who ships them to you in the big city.
2 Cups Apple Schnitz
2 cups Water
pinch of Salt
2 Cups Sugar
2 Tablespoons Grated Orange Rind
Juice from above Orange
1 Tablespoon Cinnamon
1 teaspoon Apple Cider Vinegar
1 Double Pie Crust (your favorite pastry recipe, instill the ice water with liquid smoke)
Cook the apple schnitz in a pan with water and the salt. When apples are really soft pulp them up with an immmersion blender. Add the sugar, orange stuffs, vingear and cinnamon. Carefully simmer until the water is cooked away and mixture is blorping happily. Divide the pastry into 6 pieces (keep them in the fridge until you need them) and roll them into 7″ circles. Place healthy portions of the filling on half of the rounds; fold the crust pastry over, pinch the edges together tightly and then press edge with fork. Transfer pies to a baking sheet and carefully score 3 holes in the top of each pie. Bake in 450° oven for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350° and bake about 40 minutes longer or until they are golden brown.