National baking champ and author Francine Bryson chats with Fox New's Lilian Huang Woo about baking competition secrets, squirrel pot pie and other offerings in Country Cooking from a Redneck Kitchen.



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photo credit: Sara Remingtonn
photo credit: Sara Remingtonn

Cheeseburger Pie

Yes, I put cheeseburgers in a pie shell. Well, my aunt Thelma did it first; I'm just carrying on the family tradition. Or maybe it was a recipe from a church lady--I'm not exactly sure, but it's good enough to make today, I can tell you that. I spent the first eleven years of my life on a mill hill, in Greenville, South Carolina, the textile capital of the world, where we still had soda jerks and mom-and-pop stores with in-house charge accounts. After school I would cook with my nana or grandma or hang out at my papa's store, listening to the old men tell fishing stories while drinking Coke out of glass bottles with peanuts in them. When those memories flood back, I think of the food we were making and this dish ranks right up there. SERVES 8


1 unbaked 9-inch deep-dish pie crust, homemade or store-bought (I use Pillsbury)

1 pound 90% lean ground beef

1 teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon black pepper

½ teaspoon dried oregano

½ cup plain bread crumbs

½ cup tomato sauce

¼ cup chopped onion

¼ cup diced green bell pepper

1 teaspoon Montreal steak seasoning

½ teaspoon granulated garlic


1 large egg, lightly beaten

¼ cup whole milk

2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese (8 ounces)

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon dry mustard

½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

  1. Make the pie: Preheat the oven to 425°F.
  1. Fit the pie dough into a 9-inch deep-dish pie pan and flute the edges.
  1. In a medium skillet over medium heat, cook the meat, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, until browned, about 10 minutes.
  1. Drain off the fat from the meat and discard. Stir in the salt, black pepper, oregano, bread crumbs, tomato sauce, onion, bell pepper, Montreal steak seasoning, and granulated garlic. Scoop the mixture into the pastry-lined pie pan. Press it down evenly in the pan.
  1. Make the topping: In a bowl, combine the egg, milk, cheddar, salt, dry mustard, and Worcestershire sauce. Spread the topping over the filling.
  1. Bake the pie until the cheese on top is bubbling and browned, about 30 minutes. Serve hot.

Boston Cream Pie photo credit: Sara Remington
Boston Cream Pie
photo credit: Sara Remington

Boston Cream Pie
Most of us know that Boston cream pie is really not a pie at
all; it's a cake. Well, in the interest of making sure that the pie world is as
respected as it should be, I have put the pie back in Boston
cream pie.
Cooking spray
1 (16-ounce) box yellow cake mix
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 large egg
1½ cups heavy cream
1 ¹⁄³ cups whole milk
2 (3.4-ounce) boxes French vanilla pudding
1 (12-ounce) package bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1.  Preheat the oven to 350°F. Coat a 10-inch deep-dish pie pan with cooking spray. Coat the underside of a second pan with cooking spray.
2.  Don't read the cake box instructions. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cake mix, butter, and egg until combined. The texture will be thick.
3.  Press the cake mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan.
Top with the second pan and bake until set, 9 to 11 minutes.
Uncover andcool on a wire rack.
4.  Using an electric mixer, whip 1 cup of the cream until stiff.
5.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, mix the milk and pudding mix on the lowest speed for 2 minutes. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the whipped cream. Pour the mixture into the cooled crust, smooth the top, and chill to set, at least 2 hours and up to 4 hours.
6.  Put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl. In a small saucepan, bring the remaining ½ cup cream and the corn syrup to a simmer over medium heat. Pour over the chocolate, let sit for 2 minutes, and then stir until smooth.
7.  Pour the chocolate glaze over the top of the chilled pie
and smooth with an offset spatula. Serve immediately.

Pork Chop Casserole photo credit: Sara Remington
Pork Chop Casserole
photo credit: Sara Remington

Pork Chop Casserole

Oh, my daddy loved a pork chop. He could eat them every night, so Mama would have to come up with ways to change 'em up. That's what this is; It's "Blake, I don't want pork chops but I'll figure out a way to change it up so you can have a pork chop."

Soon enough Daddy wanted this recipe all the time.

6 medium russet (baking) potatoes
Salt and black pepper
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound button mushrooms, sliced
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus more for dredging
1 cup heavy cream
6 boneless center-cut pork chops, each about ½ inch thick
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9 -- 13-inch baking dish.
Peel the potatoes and cut into round slices about ½ inch thick.
Layer them in the bottom of the baking dish. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt the butter with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Cook the mushrooms until golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Sprinkle with the 3 tablespoons flour and cook, stirring, to make a golden brown roux, about 5 minutes. Stir in the heavy
cream and simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes longer.
In another large skillet over medium-high heat, heat the remaining 1 cup oil. Season the pork chops with salt and pepper and coat on both sides with flour, shaking off any excess. Fry the pork chops, in batches if necessary, until golden brown on each side, 6 to 8 minutes total.
Arrange the pork chops on top of the potatoes. Spoon the mushroom sauce over the pork chops and cover the dish with foil. Bake until the potatoes are fork tender, about 1 hour.

photo credit: Sara Remington
photo credit: Sara Remington

Upside-Down Apple Bacon Pie
This is a variation on the pecan upside-down pie in my first cookbook.
Instead of painstakingly placing
the pecans as for that pie, you get to weave bacon together to crown t
he pie. Yes, I said bacon. It's like serving applesauce with pork chops, only sweeter and better. And, as with the pecan pie, store-bought dough is the way to go here; it stands up better and gives the pie more structure. MAKES ONE 9-INCH
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1½ cups packed light brown sugar
1 (16-ounce) package thick-cut bacon
2 unbaked 9-inch refrigerated pie crusts (I use store-bought for this recipe)
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
½ cup granulated sugar
1¹⁄8 teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon apple pie spice
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
6 cups sliced, cored, peeled baking apples, such as Granny Smith
1. Preheat the oven to 450° F.
2. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9-inch deep-dish pie pan with the
entire stick of butter. Sprinkle and dust 1 cup of the brown sugar into the pan until the whole inside o
f the pan is covered, bottom and sides.
3. Weave the raw bacon tightly together to make a 12-inch lattice. (Remember the pot holders everyone
used to make? Well, this is kind of like that.) Press the bacon into the pan on top of the brown sugar. Put
one pie crust on top of the bacon and press on it until it mold
s to the bottom of the pan. Do not trim the edges just yet.
4. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, granulated sugar, remaining ½ cup brown sugar, the
cinnamon, nutmeg, apple pie spice, vanilla, and lemon juice. Add
the sliced apples and toss to coat.
Scoop the filling into the pie crust, spreading it out as evenly as you can. Cover with the second pie
crust. Press the edges of the two crusts together and crimp to seal. Don't worry about looks; this is the
bottom of your pie. Poke a dozen holes at random with a fork for steam.
5. Bake for 10 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F and bake until
the sides are bubbling, 45 minutes longer.
6. Remove from the oven and let sit just until the bubbling stops, about 5 minutes. Important: You must
flip this over onto a serving plate while it's still hot. Put a plate over the pie, grab the pie and plate with
two potholders, and invert. Remove the pie pan. Let cool on the plate before serving.

photo credit: Ben Fink
photo credit: Ben Fink

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