The buttery crust and Cajun spice might just have you baking instead of boiling
I have an unpopular confession to make. I’m not a huge fan of boiled crawfish. Don’t get me wrong, I’m smitten with the lip-tingling spice, I’ll hunt down every last button mushroom in the batch and I’ll eat more than my fair share of potatoes. But I’m just plain lazy when it comes to peeling mudbugs. Pure and simple.
If you’re like me, there are plenty of other ways to get your crawfish fix, but this particular pie is my go-to. Rich, with a delicate buttery crust surrounding a filling flush with Cajun spice, this pie is transcendent. After devouring a slice, you might consider scrapping your next boil and opting for a bake instead.
For the crust:
21⁄2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted, diced cold butter
1⁄2 cup, plus 1-2 tablespoons cold buttermilk
For the filling:
8 tablespoons salted butter
1 large onion, diced
1⁄2 red bell pepper, diced
3 stalks celery, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
11⁄4 cups half and half
1 pound pack frozen Louisiana crawfish tails, defrosted (do not rinse, preserve all liquid)
1⁄2 cup Italian parsley, chopped
2 green onions, chopped, green and white parts
1⁄2 cup Italian seasoned panko breadcrumbs
11⁄2 teaspoons Old Bay Seasoning
1⁄2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1⁄2 teaspoon red pepper
3⁄4 teaspoon white pepper
1 egg white whisked with 1 tablespoon of water
For the crust: Whisk together flour, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. Add the butter and use a dough blender or your fingers to work it into the dry ingredients quickly. The pieces of butter should be the size of peas.
Create a well in the mixture and pour in the 1⁄2 cup and 1 tablespoon of buttermilk. Use a fork to bring the dough together. Try to moisten all of the flour bits. Add a second tablespoon of buttermilk, if necessary. Lightly flour a work surface and dump out the dough mixture. It will be moist and shaggy.
Divide the dough in two pieces and gently knead into two disks. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
For the filling: Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and celery and cook until they start to soften. Add the garlic, stir, and carefully cook for 2 to 3 minutes.
Add the half and half and crawfish tails, including any liquid from the bag. Gently stir to mix, being careful not to break up the crawfish tails. Add the parsley, green onions, breadcrumbs, Old Bay Seasoning, salt and peppers.
Cook for 5 minutes until the entire mixture is warm. Taste for seasoning and adjust. Remove from heat.
Meanwhile, place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 375 F.
Flour a surface and remove 1 disk of dough from the refrigerator. Roll the dough to about 1⁄8-inch thick and about 12 inches in diameter. Transfer it to a 9-inch pie plate. Trim the edge almost even with the outer edge of the plate. Prick the dough with the tines of a fork a few times all over.
Cut a piece of parchment and lay it inside the pie dish on top of the dough. Fill with dry beans or pie weights and bake for 15-18 minutes. Remove the weights and paper and bake for another 10 minutes, until just golden brown. Remove from the oven and lower the heat to 350 F.
Spoon filling into the pie crust.
Roll out the other disk of dough in the same manner as the first and lay it carefully over the filling, sealing the top and bottom crusts with your fingers. Cut vents into the upper crust so steam can escape while baking.
Brush the top of the pie with the egg white and water mixture and bake until golden brown, about 45 minutes. If your crust starts to brown too quickly, remove it from the oven and cover with aluminum foil, then return it to the oven.
Let pie cool for at least 10 minutes. Slice and serve immediately.