Monday, March 14, 2011

An Open Letter to Paula Deen



Dear Ms. Paula Deen,

My roommate, Maria, and I (pictured below) have wanted to write you for a long time now to thank you for being such a happy force in our lives.  As graduate students, we're too often over-worked, almost always under-paid, and constantly surviving on far too little sleep, but whenever we hear your cheerful voice come through the television and see your love of life and your healthy appreciation for cream and butter, we can't help but smile along.

Me + Maria, in Shanghai, China, June 2008
Our absolute favorite Paula Deen moment has to be when you made a hamburger out of two donuts, complete with a fried egg and bacon!  Sweet and savory together--that's something that I really like to do in my baking, too, often incorporating herbs or a sprinkling of salt into my dessert creations.  But the question that I've always had for you about your hamburger is... where was the cheese?!


To thank you for inspiring us to take time and appreciate the yummy things in life, Maria and I decided to make you a tribute pie in celebration of Pi Day 2011.  We wanted to do something that we thought you would appreciate the most, so this is what we came up with: a macaroni and cheese pie.  And not just any ol' mac'n'cheese pie!  We made sure to pack it full of cheesy and delicious goodness, from the homemade spicy cheddar cheese crust to the deep-fried mac'n'cheese balls buried inside the mac'n'cheese pie filling.  (Yes, that's double the mac'n'cheese.)  To top it off, Maria came up with the brilliant idea of making a lattice-top with bacon, which was so smart on her part because the bacon flavor seeped down into the mac'n'cheese, making it even awesome-er.  Finally, we made sure to serve it with maple syrup and hot sauce, because we had to have the sweet and savory combination there.  Seriously, Paula, this is probably one of the best pies I've ever made, and everyone at our school's Pi Day event loved it.

Oh-- and we named it the "Pie-la Deen." :-)


So I hope you enjoy our little token of thanks for helping make our lives brighter and buttery-er.  If you're ever in the Bay Area, you are always welcome to drop by here, and we'll make sure to whip up some Pie-la Deen for you!

❤ always,
Stephanie (and Maria)


Read on for recipe...


Epic Mac'n'cheese Pie-la Deen
makes one 9" deep pie or 10" regular pie

for pastry:
2 cups flour
1/4 tspn salt
6 oz. extra sharp cheddar cheese, coarsely grated
2/3 cup butter, cold and cut into cubes
1 Tbspn tabasco sauce
5 Tbspn ice water

1. Combine the flour and salt in a bowl.
2. Using a pastry cutter, cut in the grated cheddar cheese and cold butter into the flour until the size of small peas.
3. Gradually add the tabasco sauce and the ice water one tablespoon at a time until, when you press the dough between your fingers, it holds together. Do not overmix!
4. Wrap the dough in parchment paper or plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour.
5. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
6. Remove the dough from the refrigerator roll it out, about 1/8" thick. Place the dough into the pie plate and crimp the edge. Using a fork, pierce the bottom of the crust several times.
7. If the dough has become soft from rolling, place the prepared pie plate in the freezer for about 5-10 minutes.
9. Line the inside of the pie crust with parchment paper and fill with pie weights or dry beans.
10. Bake for 15-17 minutes, then remove from oven. Remove the beans and parchment paper and line the edge of the pie crust with foil. Return to the oven for 5-7 more minutes until the crust is golden. Remove. Keep the oven on.

for filling and topping:
mac'n'cheese*
seven deep-fried mac'n'cheese balls
bacon

11. Spread a layer of mac'n'cheese at the bottom of the pie. Top with the seven deep-fried mac'n'cheese balls and fill the pie with the remaining mac'n'cheese.
12. Create a lattice top with bacon, making sure to cut the bacon strips long, since they will shrink in the oven.
13. Return to the 425 degree oven for about 8-10 minutes until the bacon is cooked. Remove.
14. Serve with hot sauce and maple syrup.

*To make your own mac'n'cheese, use this recipe, without the lobster.



Enjoy!

73 comments:

  1. This is such a fitting tribute to Paula, I love it! The bacon lattice and cheddar cheese crust are genious!

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  2. Oh my lordy, this pie is epic indeed. It has Paula's name written all over it. Can I have a slice, pretty please?

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  3. I love it & am so trying this myself, thanks!

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  4. HANDS DOWN BEST PIE I've seen for Pi Day! You did Miss Paula proud!!

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  5. Pie-la Deen! Absolutely fantastic and sure to win over her butter & bacon lovin' heart!

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  6. I'll patiently wait for the episode with you two as guests!!

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  7. just found your blog, and I love it! Great tribute to Paula Deen...whenever I'm feeling down, I just turn on the food network, and bam- instant grandma with a plate of cookies :) Happy Pi day!

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  8. if any of the Deen family is on twitter, somebody should tweet this to one of them... Paula herself would probably love this

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  9. You KNOW Paula would LOVE this!!!:)

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  10. LOL... you guys rock!!! this is such a cool idea..

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  11. Wow! this is so creative! really awesome idea:)

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  12. This might very well be the best thing ever. What more could you need? I'm sure Paula Deen would be proud!

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  13. love the pie w the bacon lattice! must try that!!!

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  14. I think that this is the most amazing, heart attack inducing, wonderful thing I have ever seen. I am sure you've got Ms Paula's attention with this!

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  15. So creative - I just made dinner for breakfast this past Saturday and I love mixing sweet and salty as well. Great photos and great idea. Just please don't ever release the calorie or fat content for my viewing :-)

    Great job and great tribute to Paula.

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  16. I just want to say.. I know how you feel about being a grad student, part of that time I was married but the other half when I was in school I was struggling... I lived off of Ramen noodles. I love the exposure of this photo..looks fantastic.

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  17. You guys are awesome for coming up with such a creation. It's like a heart attack on a plate. Very Paula Deen worthy!!

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  18. Now I need to figure out how to make mac and cheese balls!!

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  19. Oh. My. Goodness. That is the most ridiculously awesome pie I have ever seen. I think I've clogged my arteries just looking at it. I applaud you.

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  20. That is one heck of a pie! U are making one of these when we meet :-)

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  21. ha ha I love this. This exactly why internet was created. And that pie? I'm sure Paula would be a happy woman. Great going you girls.

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  22. Oh wow, my husband is going to love this. I think Paula would love it too! Its perfect for her.

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  23. Has Paula contacted you, yet? This pie would make her cry, I'm sure of it!

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  24. Do you have a recipe for the deep fried mac-n-cheese balls? That pie looks amazing! The only thing missing is a drizzle of butter lol

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  25. the pictures hurt my eyes.

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  26. This looks so good. Getting a heart attack just looking at the picture!

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  27. wow...

    ever heard of "this is why you're fat"? this would fit perfectly on that website, before it got taken down.

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  28. Thank you guys all for your comments and responses! :-)

    Does anyone around here actually *know* Paula and can point her to this letter???

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  29. brilliant. masterful. extraordinary. this is probably the most inspired pie i've ever seen, and i'm always a sucker for a punny name--bravo!

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  30. Oh my yum. I so going to try and make this minus the spicy stuff.

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  31. I, too, would like a recipe for the deep-fried mac-n-cheese balls. They obviously have a coating of some sort.

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  32. OH. MY. GOODNESS. This is the most amazing pie I've ever seen! So so so delicious-sounding, and the photography is so beautiful! I may have to starve myself for a week to justify the calories but it'll be worth it!

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  33. Your blog was already #1 on my favorite blog list but this article just catapulted it to #1 on my list of favorite things in the world. You. Are. Awesome.

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  34. What a quirky combo! I think I just might like it.

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  35. Hi! I write a blog about pies and was sent this link - can I post a picture and link?
    I don't know Paula Deen, but my blog is read by some from Serious Eats...

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  36. To all those asking for a deep-fried mac'n'cheese ball recipe, I have to confess that we used the frozen ones available at Trader Joe's, which are actually really good. We totally cheated in that respect. :-P

    The beloved Paula Deen does have a recipe for deep-fried mac'n'cheese if you want to try your hand at making them from scratch. I've never tried this recipe, so I can't vouch for them, though.

    @Stacy: thanks for asking. You can post a picture, but please make sure it links back and is credited to this blog. :-)

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  37. You should send this to her twitter account!

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  38. Love the bacon and even more Paula. I have a newer blog http://bacontimewiththehungryhypo.blogspot.com/

    I am going to post your link and recipe pic soon. Hope you check it out. I just made Paula Deen a 3 piece apron set one for her and her two grandsons to wear. They are black with a pigs. Well thanks for the fun recipe.

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  39. I just saw your request. Please email me and let me know if it is ok to repost on my blog. mhilton05@yahoo.com. I won't post without your permission on my bacon time blog.

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  40. this sounds awesome, if it didn't have the bacon (but thats not hard to go around)
    the one problem I have: THERES NO STEP NUMBER 8!!!!
    it goes strait from 7 to 9. very suspicious....

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  41. Just came across your blog and now I'm pouring through... your photos are unbelievable!! And that pie... my boyfriend now wants me to make it. So thanks for that. Haha =)

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  42. This is too funny (and delicious)... You did Paula justice!

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  43. Awesome! I love Paula Deen too!

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  44. Nice idea gots to try this myself. Love this I love Mac n cheese!

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  45. WOW! I am drooling on my keyboard. Awesome!

    I was in Savannah a few weeks ago for a business trip and went to the Lady and Sons Restaurant (owned by Paula Deen). Unfortunately, she wasn't there, but I had the fried chicken, mac 'n' cheese, hoecakes, and lots more yummy food. If you're ever in the area, check it out.

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  46. What a wonderfully fantastic idea for April fools day!
    I think I will probably put my own spin on it...using Grandma's cheese straw recipe for the crust and deep fried cheddar cheese balls for a special surprise instead of fried mac & cheese.
    Thanks so much for the ideas!
    Phiz

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  47. Oh my gosh!! I so need to make this!!!

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  48. What a Great tribute to Miss Paula! She should be very proud to have a pie such as this made in her honor! Great going ladies looks delish.... I am definitely going to have to make this!!

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  49. Just want yall to know that I made this last night with some friends...and it was AWESOME! That crust was out of control! Thanks so much for sharing :)

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  50. Y'all, this is too cute and too yummy! Sinfully yummy! You know Paula would love it!

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  51. This absolutely looks like something she would make!

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  52. This absolutely looks like something she would make!

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  53. Just want yall to know that I made this last night with some friends...and it was AWESOME! That crust was out of control! Thanks so much for sharing :)

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  54. Oh my gosh!! I so need to make this!!!

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  55. WOW! I am drooling on my keyboard. Awesome!

    I was in Savannah a few weeks ago for a business trip and went to the Lady and Sons Restaurant (owned by Paula Deen). Unfortunately, she wasn't there, but I had the fried chicken, mac 'n' cheese, hoecakes, and lots more yummy food. If you're ever in the area, check it out.

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  56. To all those asking for a deep-fried mac'n'cheese ball recipe, I have to confess that we used the frozen ones available at Trader Joe's, which are actually really good. We totally cheated in that respect. :-P

    The beloved Paula Deen does have a recipe for deep-fried mac'n'cheese if you want to try your hand at making them from scratch. I've never tried this recipe, so I can't vouch for them, though.

    @Stacy: thanks for asking. You can post a picture, but please make sure it links back and is credited to this blog. :-)

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  57. I, too, would like a recipe for the deep-fried mac-n-cheese balls. They obviously have a coating of some sort.

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  58. Oh my yum. I so going to try and make this minus the spicy stuff.

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  59. This looks so good. Getting a heart attack just looking at the picture!

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  60. Do you have a recipe for the deep fried mac-n-cheese balls? That pie looks amazing! The only thing missing is a drizzle of butter lol

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  61. That is one heck of a pie! U are making one of these when we meet :-)

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  62. You guys are awesome for coming up with such a creation. It's like a heart attack on a plate. Very Paula Deen worthy!!

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  63. So creative - I just made dinner for breakfast this past Saturday and I love mixing sweet and salty as well. Great photos and great idea. Just please don't ever release the calorie or fat content for my viewing :-)

    Great job and great tribute to Paula.

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  64. This might very well be the best thing ever. What more could you need? I'm sure Paula Deen would be proud!

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  65. if any of the Deen family is on twitter, somebody should tweet this to one of them... Paula herself would probably love this

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  66. I'll patiently wait for the episode with you two as guests!!

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  67. Pie-la Deen! Absolutely fantastic and sure to win over her butter & bacon lovin' heart!

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  68. This is such a fitting tribute to Paula, I love it! The bacon lattice and cheddar cheese crust are genious!

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I love hearing from you and reading your comments! Thanks so much for stopping by the blog. Happy feasting!

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