Ina Garten Vegetable Pot Pie (Barefoot Contessa)


Ina Garten’s Vegetable Pot Pie is great (of course it is!) but the effort is more than a 45 minute prep session.  I have made a few changes to her original recipe.  I added some parsnips.  I skipped asparagus tips and instead added shiitake mushrooms.  I did not use Pernod (it is expensive, not something I keep on hand) and I don’t think the recipes suffers without it.   She recommends making this dish in four individual oven proof dishes.  For simplicity, I used one deep 8 x 8 rectangle baking dish.  I think a normal pyrex will work but you may not have room for all the filling.   If only serving this dish and your guests are hungry, the pie should feed around 4-5 people.

Ina says:   Prep: 45 minutes, Cook 1 hr 35 Minutes, Total Time 2 Hours 45 Minutes

Dishthistoday:  Impossible.  You will need more time for sure.

Prep: @ 85 minutes until the dish went into the oven and I work fast.  With slightly more efficiency, I believe I could have saved an additional 5-10 minutes mostly when cooking the potatoes.  Note I bought pre-prepped fresh squash.  This saved probably 10-15 minutes off the prep time.

In terms of difficulty, the non-pastry piece is time consuming but easy to follow and the filling is delicious.  The pastry portion is also not that difficult assuming you have a LARGE food processor and are used to making dough.


Pot Pie Filling

  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks)
  • 2 cups sliced yellow onions (1 1/2 medium/large onions)
  • 1 fennel bulb
    • Remove a small top part of bulb like you would for an onion
    • Remove the stalk portions (not edible)
    • Cut bulb in half and remove the core
    • Slice up the rest of the bulb in thin small pieces
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 cups good chicken stock (use good boxed version)
  • 1 tablespoon Pernod (ok to skip)
  • Pinch saffron threads (best price Trader Joes or Costco Kirkland Brand)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 cups large-diced potatoes (1/2 pound)
  • 1 1/2 cups shiitake mushrooms (vs her asparagus tips)
  • 1 1/2 cups peeled, 3/4-inch-diced carrots (3 carrots)
  • 1 1/2 cups peeled, 3/4 – inch – diced parsnips (2-3 parsnips)
  • 1 1/2 cups peeled, 3/4-inch-diced butternut squash (recommend buying already prepped)
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen small whole onions (1/2 pound)
  • Some frozen peas might make a good addition
  • 1/2 cup minced flat-leaf parsley

For the pastry:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening  (half hour prior to making dough – cut into small pieces and put in freezer with butter)
  • 1/4 pound cold unsalted butter, diced (half hour prior to making dough – cut into small pieces and put in freezer with shortening)
  • 1/2 to 2/3 cup ice water
  • 1 egg yolk (she includes the whites) beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash
  • Flaked sea salt and cracked black pepper


Pre-Prep the dough so it can be ready when your filling is ready

  • Measuring the dry dough portions and set aside until ready
  • Fill a large glass of water and ice and let the cubes melt so the water is cold.  You can measure the right amount of water later
  • Cut the butter and margarine for the dough and set in a plastic bag and place in the freezer to get cold.

Begin the filling:

  • Fill a large pot of water with salt and start boiling it on medium so it is ready early. This is for potatoes, carrots, and parsnips.  If you have a pot with a fitted insert for things like pasta – use it when cooking these vegetables.  It is faster than fishing out the potato pieces once finished cooking.  I wasted a good five to ten minutes fishing out the potatoes.
  • Prep the potatoes, carrots, parsnips, squash (if you need to) and mushrooms (if using)
  • Cook the potatoes in boiling salted water for 10 minutes. Lift out potatoes and drain
  • NOTE YOU ARE USING THE SAME WATER FOR POTATOES FOR carrots, parsnips and squash (see a few steps lower)
  • Once the potatoes start cooking –
  • Use a very large pan with high straight sides or another large pot for the filling
    • Melt the butter.
    • Add the onions and fennel and saute until translucent, 8 to 13 minutes.  Add mushrooms for 2-4 minutes.
    • Now begin making your pastry dough * *  (you have ten minutes while the potatoes finish and the onions and fennel are cooking.  Make sure to occasionally stir the onions and fennel and add the mushrooms near the end while making the dough)
    • Add the flour, reduce the heat to low, and cook for 3 more minutes, stirring occasionally.
    • Slowly add the stock, Pernod (if using), saffron, salt, and pepper, and bring to a boil. Simmer for 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally.
    • Add the heavy cream and season to taste. The sauce should be highly seasoned.
    • Continuing cooking your vegetables in the water you used for the potatoes as needed
      • Carrots, parsnips, and squash together for five to seven minutes
      • Drain well.
    • Add the potatoes, mixed vegetables, frozen pearl onions, (peas if using) and parsley to the sauce and mix well.

** Making the Pastry Dough

  •  For the pastry, mix the flour, salt, and baking powder in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Add the VERY COLD shortening and butter and mix quickly with your fingers until each piece is coated with flour.
  • Pulse 10-20 times, or until the fat is the size of peas.
  • With the motor running, add the ice water; process only enough to moisten the dough and have it just come together.   This took less than 2 minutes for the ball to form
  • Dump the dough out onto a floured board and knead quickly into a ball.
  • Wrap the dough in plastic and allow it to rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Putting it all together …

  • Move the filling to your cooking dish.
  • Brush the outside edges of cooking dish with the egg wash
  • Place the dough on top.
  • Trim 1/2-inch larger
  • Crimp the dough to fold over the sides, pressing it to make it stick with fork
  • Brush the dough with egg wash and make several thin slits in the top (7-10 slits).
  • Sprinkle with sea salt and cracked pepper.

Place on a baking sheet and bake for 1 hour (60 minutes), or until the top is golden brown and the filling is bubbling hot.

Getting ready

Leek Prep (whole leek, slice off top and bottom, slice in half and remove rough core, then diced)

Making the filling

Dough before adding water; dough ball, dough rolled out

Drained cooked vegetables

Pie before oven and after being cooked

Piece up close



Original Recipe:





Aunt Norsey’s Light as a Cloud Lemon Meringue Pie Recipe and a Bonus Meringue Cookie Recipe

This is my Aunt Norsey’s Recipe that I have now been making for years thanks to her excellent coaching.  The pie is a bit of effort (I can’t lie), but the taste is a unique combination for lemon meringue pie that is worth experiencing.   Please post any questions or comments.  I tried to elaborate as much as possible for each major step.

Norsey’s Lemon Meringue Pie – Last Updated 10/5/2014

Use 10 inch high sided pie plate

Lemon Meringue Crust Ingredients

  • 8 Egg Whites *
    • Make sure eggs are room temperature before starting and no shells
    • Have a few extra on hand if an egg does not separate properly
  • Pinch of Salt
  • Half of Teaspoon Cream of Tartar
  • 2 Cups of Sugar
  • Butter (for buttering pie plate)

Lemon Meringue Crust Preparation

Preheat oven to 275

  • Using whisk beater, beat eggs whites alone (around 3 minutes) with a pinch of salt and cream of tarter until approaching “stiff peaks.” (moving speed up gradually to level 6 on kitchen-aid mixer).
  • Add 2 cups of sugar to egg whites, a little at a time and continue beating until mixture is glossy and sugar is dissolved . Beat this stage at least 4-5 minutes moving from level 6 to 8 (medium high to high speed).
  • Remove from mixer stand and spread meringue in a well buttered 10 inch pie plate with deep sides. Carry out the meringue out until the rim (but not over the edge). Should have an inch on bottom of plate and then on the sides create a high outside ring of meringue.   There will be a fair amount of meringue left over to bake cookies separately! See a suggested recipe at end.
  • Lay pie pan on cookie sheet and bake the crust 275 heat for about 50 minutes or until very faint tinge has appeared. Crust should feel hard.
  • Remove from oven. Allow to cool. Store shell in a cool place with clean dish towel over it.   Crust can sit overnight and rest of pie can be prepared early next day.  If so, just cover the egg yolks and place in fridge until ready to use.

Lemon Filling Ingredients

  • 8 Egg Yolks
  • 1 Cup of Sugar
  • ½ Cup lemon juice (around 3 lemons)
  • Rind of 2 lemons grated
  • 2 pints of heavy cream (can do with only 3 cups if need be)
    • One pint for lemon filling below; other pint for whip-cream step
  • 2 tsp unflavored gelatin (about 1 packet of Knox brand)

Lemon Filling Preparation

  • Beat egg yolks until thick using flat mixer beater (up to a medium speed).
  • Add sugar and lemon juice until blended. Remove bowl from mixer.
  • Add rind by hand.
  • Stir and cook in double boiler until the mixture thickens some. Use a whisk or spoon for this.   Want to do this over low to low/medium heat, not boiling. Usually takes around 10-20 minutes for mixture to become thick. Remove from stove.
  • While mixture is heating above drop some ice cubes into cold water.   Measure a ¼ cup of ice cold water and add the gelatin as your lemon mixture is near completion on stove.
  • Add gelatin water to cooked filling.
  • Put mixture into fridge COVERED to cool for 60 minutes. At the same time put the bowl you are mixing the whip cream and the whisk beater in the fridge to get cold. Stir with whisk the lemon mixture when you remove from fridge. If too thick reheat some on stove. You do not want the mixture warm or watery before adding cream.
  • Whip 2 cups heavy cream with whisk beater. Fold into cooled lemon filling . Fold in a quarter (1/4th) at a time.
  • Spoon into meringue crust.

Whip Cream Pie Topping: Ingredients and Preparation

  • Whip second pint (or less if you want to go light on the whip cream). Add:
    • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
    • 1 -2 teaspoons of sugar
    • Whip some more
  • Spread whip cream around the edges of the pie and in the middle to decorate.
  • Put pie in fridge overnight if possible.

Recommend waiting at least a few hours to add the whip cream and cut the pie. The more time in the fridge the better. Less than 3-4 hours, the pie will be difficult to cut.


* Separating Eggs

  • Tip set out 2 bowls one to collect yolks, one to collect whites
  • Crack and separate each egg white separately into third bowl and only add to whites bowl one at a time assuring no yolks or shells get into the egg white bowl.


8 egg whites and egg yolks separated (above)


Pictures for making the crust (below)


Texture of whites before adding sugar (above)


Texture of whites when finished and ready for pie plate (above)


Pie plate (above)


Meringue spread into pie plate.  Notice crust is a good inch plus above the center of the pie (above)


Sense of amount of leftover meringue (above)


Cooked crust (above). Notice tinge.


Pictures for making the lemon filling (below):


Grated lemon rind (above)


Mixture just set on double boiler on stove (above)


Texture of mixture after 15 minutes (above). Notice thicker consistency.


Texture of whip cream to be folded into lemon mixture (above)


Cooked lemon waiting for whip cream to be folded into it (above)


Filling with whip cream folded in (above)


Crust with filling added.  Now ready for fridge for a few hours (above)





Meringue Cookie Recipe

Preheat oven to 350, making sure the oven is nice and hot

Add chocolate chips to cookies if desired

Scoop leftover meringue on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper

Use a finger to push the meringue off the spoon

Turn off the oven

Place the cookies into the off oven and leave for 8-12 hours

Seal in a airtight container or zip lock bag



Uncooked (above)


Cooked (above).  Hard to see but cookies are now crisp.



Fresh Homemade Cherry Pie From Scratch

I am sorry I don’t have a great photo but this pie is worth every bit of effort to make it.  Crust recipe is incredibly forgiving even for a novice.  I got it from a friend of mine and use it for all my pies.  The cherry filling piece of the recipe came from another friend.  Lastly I credit Mark Bittman for general baking instructions.

Double Crust 9-Inch Pie Crust

Will work with a deep dish 9 or low 10 inch

Make in Cuisinart with regular dough blade

Key is to keep all the ingredients cold. Even put the dry ingredients in the freezer for a few minutes before starting…but especially important that the butter and shortening are chilled.   (cut butter and then chill, measure Crisco).  For me keeping cold was about 20-30 minutes.

Crust Ingredients

–       2 1/2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the work surface

–       1 tsp salt

–       2 tbsp sugar  (will also need a little sugar to sprinkle on top pie crust)

–       1/2 cup vegetable shortening, chilled

–       12 tbsp (1 1/2 sticks) cold, unsalted butter cut into 1/4 inch pieces

–       6-8 tbsp ice water

–       note need a little milk for top of second pie crust

Directions for Pie Crust

Mix dry ingredients in a food processor, then add shortening (about ten seconds). Then cut the butter into the flour mixture until pale yellow, coarse crumbs. Pulse the processor to do this. Then add ice water until dough sticks together. Add little bit of ice water as needed to make dough stick. Divide the dough into two even balls and flatten into 4 inch disks. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least an hour (up to two days) before rolling. Roll out on well dusted surface to prepare the crusts.

Ingredients Cherry Filling

–       5 cups pitted cherries (slice the larger ones in half) – try to drain and keep as dry as possible.  William Sonoma sells a Cherrymat Cherry Pitter for $29.95.  I have a seen a similar one for slightly less.  This gadget works incredibly well and if you plan to make this pie a few times a year, suck it up and buy it.  It will save you oodles of time.  Freeze any unneeded cherries and consider making a fruit topping for waffles/pancakes.

–       little less than 3/4th cup sugar

–       1/3 cup flour

–       1 generous tablespoon of cornstarch

–       2 tablespoons of butter cut into small pieces

Directions for Filling

Toss lightly all but the butter

When ready to make pie – preheat oven to 450

1)   Roll out first dough (if from fridge, let sit for 10-15 minutes max) from center out

2)   When close to 10“ check diameter large enough with upset down pie plate

3)   Transfer first crust – fold in quarters, move, then unfold

4)   When dough is in place, press firmly in the bottom, sides and junction of bottom and sides

5)   Trim excess dough to about ½ inch all around, then tuck under edge of plate

6)   Fill the pie with the cherry mixture – little heavier in the center of pie

7)   Dot with the 2 tablespoons of butter throughout.

8)   Place second crust on top of pie dish (using quarter method above)

9)   Trim if necessary

10)  Decorate edges of pie crust with fork

11)  Place pie on a baking sheet and brush top lightly with milk.  This step saves your oven from becoming messy.

12)  Sprinkle with sugar throughout lightly

13)  Use sharp paring knife cut to to three 2 inch long vent holes in top crust for steam escape

14)  Place in oven 450 for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 for 40-50 minutes (mine was ready at 40 minutes exactly).  Pie should be golden brown.  Do not underbake

15)  Cool on rack before serving warm.

 Fresh Whip Cream Ingredients and Directions

–       Put  mixer bowl and whipping beater in freezer for 20-30 minutes

–       1 cup heavy whipping cream (do not pull out of fridge until ready to make)

–       1 tablespoon + of sugar to taste

–       Slowly bring heavy whipping cream (no sugar) up to high speed for a few minutes

–       Before starting to near the consistency of peaks you should add 1 tablespoon of sugar and keep beating

I serve the whip cream on the side versus placing directly on the pie.