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Sour Cream on Pie: Apple & Pizza

November 16, 2015

Yesterday, I finally made that stupid easy apple pie recipe. It may actually be the first and only pie I’ve made myself from scratch and enjoyed. Sure, the crust was more sandy than flaky, but it had a rich toasted wheat flavor, and a delightful crispness. Plus it required no rolling, made no mess, and barely took any measuring at all. The Golden Delicious apples picked from Indian Ladder Farms, which have lost the little crunch they once had, worked beautifully.

As we’re coming up on the Thanksgiving season, I’d strongly encourage anyone who may be freaked out about making pie to give this a try. It’s not going to be as good as one purchased from a great local bakery, but it will be decidedly better from what you would pick up from a grocery store.

Today I want to talk a little bit more about what we put on top of our pies. Mostly because this weekend was sour cream centric. Not only did I get to have it on the apple pie at home, but Jon in Albany put some on one of the pizza pies he made in an epic pizza parade.

When it comes to ingredient combinations, there are two schools of thought. You can combine likes with likes, or you can play two contrasting elements against each other. This works with wine pairings in addition to recipes.

There’s the bacon wrapped hot dog, which wraps fatty smoky meat in fatty smoky meat. And on the flip side, putting sauerkraut and mustard on a hot dog are intended to add contrasting acidity to cut through some of that fat.

Or you could look at salty pretzels. They can be dipped in salty molten cheese to double down on the savory side of the snack. Or they can be dipped in chocolate for an addictive sweet and salty combination.

It’s no secret that I have more of a fat tooth than a sweet tooth. My first slice of apple pie last night was served unadorned. In part because I wanted to better evaluate the pie itself. But also because we had no sour cream in the house.

I actually ran out to the store and picked up some sour cream after dinner, and that second slice was even better. I really do see many desserts as sour cream delivery devices. Sweets are the perfect foil for the richness and acidity of sour cream. Both of these components really help to keep the dish in balance, and add another layer of complexity.

Maybe it sounds a little strange to you, but I urge you to give it a shot.

Saturday was the epic day that I got to have sour cream on pizza. Jon in Albany invited the AOA pizza and burger judges over to his place to eat a batch of pizza dough. His dough recipe makes enough for a dozen pies, which is an impossible quantity for a small family. So Jon thought it would be a great time to get some serious eaters over to his place.

Wow. It was a total pizza parade. And I wasn’t the only one who coveted his tricked-out super-hot propane powered pizza oven. But Jon makes it look easier than it is, I’m sure. He’s also put an incredible amount of research and development into every part of the pizza process.

One of the favorite pies had no tomato-based sauce on it at all. And that was the one which was spread with crème fraîche, and topped with cheese and sauteed mushrooms. Holy cow was that good. So rich and so deep with flavor. Perhaps, crème fraîche isn’t technically sour cream, but I’m putting it in the same category.

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It’s great stuff, and both my fat tooth and my pizza belly totally approved.

Now, I’m not advocating for sour cream on all pizzas. But it’s good to know that there are some examples of the form, where it can really add to the experience.

As long as I’m sharing a bit about Jon’s pizzas, I should also tell you about the excellent Rossa one, which is modeled off the salami of the same name and contains parmesan, red onions, pistachios, and olive oil. The picture of this one is a bit dark. But man. That simple pie was unexpectedly delicious.

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As for the traditional pies, his pepperoni onion was incredible. The pepperoni comes from Vermont Smoke & Cure and was fantastic. Apparently, it’s hard to find locally, so Jon drives up to Saratoga Springs to buy it.

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Albany Jane wasn’t alone in gushing about the meatballs on the meatball bacon pie, which Jon gets from Pellegrino’s. They were remarkably tender and moist, for sure

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Right now, the only way to get pizza this good in Albany is to be friends with Jon. Or you could begin your own obsessive compulsive journey down the rabbit hole of pizza geekdom. I’m sure if you’re interested, Jon could send you a few links to get you started.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. November 16, 2015 3:35 pm

    Mom made a recipe that was printed on the backs of raisin boxes for a really long time called sour cream raisin pie. Many people couldn’t get past the name, but it was a divine pie. Sour cream and pie are wonderful together.

  2. November 16, 2015 3:38 pm

    I had a blast pretending the garage was a pizza shop. I look forward to doing it again.

    The Rosa is a specialty of Pizzeria Bianco in Phoenix. I misspoke and it was actually inspired by a foccacia. Here’s a piece on how the pie came to be. There’s something about it that makes it hard to stop eating.

    http://www.eater.com/2013/8/28/6383483/eater-elements-chris-bianco-on-his-pizza-rosa

    • November 16, 2015 5:54 pm

      Wow, I’m insanely jealous. These pies look amazing.

      I skipped the Rosa when I was at Pizzeria Bianco. I was aware of it, but it just didn’t sound that good to me. Next time.

  3. Ryan H permalink
    November 16, 2015 8:02 pm

    Oh my god. So when is the Tour De Jon’s House?

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