It’s taken me a year to make this pie. A year, people. That’s twelve months of shuffling it around my to-make list as it kept getting bumped down. And you know what? I am ashamed because I’ve wasted twelve whole months not eating this pie. Just imagine the places I could’ve gone and things I could’ve done if only I had made this when I spotted the recipe in the November, 2008 issue of Gourmet.
Sadly, time is irreversible and the months I spent not eating this pie cannot be brought back. But what can be done is I can tell you about it and implore you to not make the same grave error I made. Because part of what I do here is help you avoid the mistakes that I make with disturbing regularity (like intending to make a recipe, only to find myself many months later with the task still unaccomplished!) It's rather embarrassing because I must come across as truly disorganized. But I've a good reason for being so tardy. You see, I have this thing I lovingly refer to as a job, but it’s more like a career, really, because who else makes crazy midnight calls to Asia and enjoys it? That’s right, midnight. And somehow, and don’t ask me how, I can’t seem to bring myself to write coherent,interesting prose at 1 o’clock in the morning. I know, I’m a total wuss.
But I'm getting around to posting about this pie finally, though I'm a bit sad that the magazine from which this recipe came, no longer exists. The idea of not getting Gourmet in the mail next month full of holiday cookies, makes me really sad. Not just because a great magazine is no more, but because how the whole thing went down. It felt rather unceremonious and lacked something human and sympathetic. And at the risk of being too bold and making a statement that will, indeed, create some enemies and friction, I am surprised that a business like Gourmet, with history and meaning to its customers (and it’s rare that such a strong emotional connection is forged), was allowed to deteriorate to a point where no one could save it (which I also find hard to believe). Something should’ve been done earlier to save the brand and its writers and continue the legacy.
Alas, what’s done is done and you cannot turn back the clock (much like my latency in making this pie), but what you and I can do is continue the Gourmet legacy as we know it. This pie is an example of it – a perfect side to your Thanksgiving table, one that will agree with vegetarians and meat lovers alike.
I couldn’t help but tweak the recipe a bit because I felt that caramelized onions, mushrooms and ricotta together were pretty much and unbeatable combo. I skipped the garlic, because I’m very weird about mushrooms and garlic together (it must be a childhood thing) and I omitted Madeira but added a touch of the red wine I was drinking while cooking. The smell of this while cooking is truly magnificent,and that first bite of the flaky dough combined with mushrooms, barley and ricotta - will truly astound you. I guarantee you'll want to make this again and again and again. And perhaps the magnificence of the Gourmet legacy is that we're left with not just recipes to play with,but keep for years and pass onto other generations to treasure and enjoy.
Mushroom and Farro Pie
3 cups water
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onions sliced thinly
1 lb cremini mushrooms, sliced
1 cup whole-milk ricotta (you can and should easily make your own; recipe here)
1 (1-lb) package frozen all-butter puff pastry, thawed
1 egg yolk, beaten with 1 tsp water and a pinch of salt
Recipe directions here.