Recipe courtesy of Helen Nugent

Cat Lady Quilt Pie

  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 5 hr 45 min (includes chilling and cooling times)
  • Active: 1 hr 30 min
  • Yield: 10 to 12 servings
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Ingredients

3 pounds fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced into quarters (approximately 6 cups)

4 ounces dark chocolate (70% cacao), roughly chopped, or 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

3/4 cup sugar 

6 tablespoons cornstarch 

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

All-purpose flour, for dusting

2 batches Butter Pie Dough, recipe follows (see Cook's Note)

1 batch Chocolate Pie Dough, recipe follows

Butter Pie Dough (makes 1 batch; you will need 2 batches):

3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

1 tablespoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon fine salt 

1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) very cold unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes

1/4 cup very cold or frozen vegetable shortening, cut into 1-inch cubes 

6 to 8 tablespoons ice cold water 

Chocolate Pie Dough:

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

1/4 cup sugar 

3 tablespoons cocoa powder

1 1/4 sticks (10 tablespoons) very cold unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes 

3 to 4 tablespoons ice water 

Directions

Special equipment:
a 9-by-12-by-1-inch rectangular sheet pan; an 18-inch ruler; a crimped edge pastry wheel; a 1-inch crisscross pie cutter, a 1-inch flower cutter, a 1-inch heart cutter, 1-inch M, E, O and W letter cutters, a 1-inch triangle cutter; a doily; Cat Lady Quilt Pie Template (link below)
  1. Place the strawberries, chocolate, sugar, cornstarch and lemon zest in a large bowl and gently combine until the ingredients are evenly distributed. Set aside.
  2. Line a large work surface with parchment paper and lightly flour the paper. Roll out one ball of the Butter Pie Dough into an 11-by-14-inch rectangle. Gently roll the dough up around your rolling pin and transfer it to a 9-by-12-by-1-inch rectangular sheet pan. Unroll the pastry over the sheet pan. Alternatively, fold the pastry in half and then again in quarters, transfer to the sheet pan and unfold. Gently fit the pastry into the pan and up the sides. Tuck the edges under the side of the pan lip and trim. Transfer the strawberry-chocolate filling to the lined pan and distribute evenly. Place the filled sheet pan in the fridge while you complete the next step. 
  3. For the decorations: To make the plain quilt squares, cut a ball of Butter Pie Dough in half and roll one half out to a 7-by-11-inch rectangle. Use a ruler and a crimped pastry wheel (see Cook's Note) to cut six 3-inch squares.  
  4. To make the embossed quilt squares: Use the other half of the ball of dough to roll out a 5-by-9-inch rectangle. Place a doily (see Cook's Note) over the pastry and continue to roll the pastry until it is a 7-by-11-inch rectangle. Remove the doily. Use a ruler and the crimped pastry wheel to cut six 3-inch squares. Put the plain and embossed squares carefully on a sheet pan and return to the fridge while you create the other decorations. 
  5. To make the cat and mouse decorations: Print the Cat Lady Quilt Pie Template (link below) and cut out the shapes with scissors. 
  6. Roll out the Chocolate Pie Dough. Lay the front-view cat stencil on the dough and use a sharp knife to cut out a front-view cat; repeat to make 2 front-view cats. Lay the side-view cat stencil on the dough and use a sharp knife to cut out a side-view cat; repeat to make 2 side-view cats. Lay the 2-part mouse stencil on the dough and use a sharp knife to cut out 1 front-end mouse piece and 1 back-end mouse piece.
  7. To make the heart, flower, crisscross and letter decorations: Roll out one ball of Butter Pie Dough to a 12-inch circle. Cut out 12 hearts with a 1-inch heart cutter, 11 flowers with a 1-inch flower cutter and 20 crisscrosses with a 1-inch crisscross cutter. Use 1-inch M, E, O and W letter cutters to make 2 Ms, 2 Es, 2 Os and 2 Ws. 
  8. To make the fishbone and dream bubble decorations: Using leftover Chocolate Pie Dough, cut a narrow strip of dough for the spine, approximately 1 inch long. Cut 2 narrow strips 1/2 inch long for the cross bones. Cut a triangle for the head of the fish with a 1-inch triangle cutter. Cut a 1/2-inch V shape for the tail.  
  9. Use any leftover Butter Pie Dough to freehand a dream bubble that is approximately 2 inches wide and 1 inch high. Dampen the dream bubble lightly with a wet finger and assemble the fish on the dream bubble. 
  10. Gently place the quilt squares on the filled pie one at a time, alternating the embossed and plain pieces.  
  11. To assemble the decorations: Dampen the back of each decoration right before you place it on a quilt square. The decorations can be arranged in any order that you find appealing, but should be spaced so that patterns are not repeated directly beside each other. Leave one quilt square above a front-view cat quilt square open for the fishbone/dream bubble decoration. 
  12. For the cat (side view): On a quilt square, place one side-view cat. Roll 2 small pieces of Butter Pie Dough to form the eyes and place on the face. Repeat on a second quilt square.  
  13. For the cat (front view): On a quilt square, place one front-view cat. Roll 2 small pieces of Butter Pie Dough to form the eyes and place on the face. Repeat on a second quilt square.  
  14. For the mouse: On a quilt square, place the front end of the mouse. Roll 1 small piece of Butter Pie Dough to form the eye and place on the face. Roll 1 small piece of Chocolate Pie Dough and place on the nose. Put the back end of the mouse on a second quilt square.  
  15. For the heart pattern: On a quilt square, form 6 hearts into a circle. Place a flower in the middle. Repeat on a second quilt square. 
  16. For the letters: On a quilt square, place one set of letters to spell out MEOW. Repeat on a second quilt square. 
  17. For the flowers: On a quilt square, place 9 flowers in 3 rows. 
  18. For the fishbone/dream bubble: On an empty quilt square above a front-view cat quilt square, place the assembled fishbone/dream bubble. Roll a few small pieces of Butter Pie Dough and place them above the cat's head leading up to the dream bubble. 
  19. Place one crisscross cut-out on each spot where 4 quilt squares meet and where 2 quilt squares meet the border. Use the tines of a fork to create a decorative pattern around the edge of the pie. Trim any excess away from the border. 
  20. To bake: Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. 
  21. Bake the pie for 12 minutes. Then, reduce the temperature to 350 degrees F and bake until the pie is golden and the filling bubbles thickly, another 50 to 60 minutes. Let cool for at least 2 hours before cutting to ensure that the filling is set. 

Butter Pie Dough (makes 1 batch; you will need 2 batches):

  1. For the butter pie dough: Pulse the flour, sugar and salt in a food processor fitted with a metal blade until combined, 2 to 3 times. Scatter the butter and shortening over the flour mixture. Pulse 4 to 5 times until the mixture resembles small pebbles with a few larger pieces.
  2. Sprinkle 6 tablespoons of the ice water over top. Pulse until the mixture starts to clump and comes together, 6 to 8 times. If the mixture does not clump, add more water 1 tablespoon at a time, pulsing 1 to 2 times between additions. 
  3. Turn the mixture out onto a lightly floured work surface. Cup your hands around the dough to bring together in a ball. Divide the dough into 2 balls, wrap each tightly in plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour. 

Chocolate Pie Dough:

  1. For the chocolate pie dough: Pulse the flour, sugar and cocoa powder in a food processor fitted with a metal blade until combined, 2 to 3 times. Scatter the butter over the flour mixture. Pulse 4 to 5 times until the mixture resembles small pebbles with a few larger pieces.
  2. Sprinkle 3 tablespoons of the ice water over top. Pulse until the mixture starts to clump and comes together, 6 to 8 times. If the mixture does not clump, add another tablespoon of water, pulsing 1 to 2 times. 
  3. Turn the mixture out onto a lightly floured work surface. Cup your hands around the dough to bring together in a ball. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour.

Cook’s Note

This recipe requires a double batch of the Butter Pie Dough. If you have a large food processor, you can double the supplied recipe. Otherwise, it is best to make 2 separate batches. You will have one ball of dough left over which can be used for another purpose (i.e. a tart shell). This dough can be refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen, wrapped tightly in wrap, for up to one month. If you do not have a crimped pastry wheel, you can use a sharp knife instead, but you will lose the sewn look to the pie. If you do not have a doily, you can substitute any material that has a raised impression (i.e. tea towel, non-skid material, etc.), or you can create your own pattern or design by lightly scoring with a knife or fork.

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