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Pie for Martha Shoffner 

You'll need lots of dough.

click to enlarge Martha Shoffner pie recipes image

Arkansas Times readers rightly selected former state Treasurer Martha Shoffner, currently awaiting trial on charges she steered state bond business to a bond broker who paid her more than $36,000, as the person who exemplifies the Best Misuse of Taypayer Funds. (She was also chosen runner-up for Worst Arkansan — because, really, no one is worse than winner Jason Rapert.)

Shoffner is of course innocent until proven guilty, but the FBI did catch her on tape accepting a pie box containing an apple pie and $6,000. Which made the Times wonder, what's a $6,000 pie look like? For the answer we turned to Monica and Stephanos Mylonas, proprietors of the much-beloved Mylo Coffee Co., a roving bakery and coffee shop that sells (and often sells out) at the Hillcrest and Bernice Garden farmers' markets and takes special orders during the week (they also say they have some "exciting news to share soon," hopefully about a forthcoming brick-and-mortar space); and Autumn Hall, who's responsible for the delectable pies and desserts at Big Orange and Local Lime.

6,000-Clam Pot Pie

By Mylo Coffee Co.

Requires 3' x 5' baking tray and approx. 40 lbs. of puff pastry — now that's a lot of dough! This is a rich dish; serve with plenty of lettuce.

Poor man's version: Serves 6-8. Use a deep pie dish or quart-sized casserole.

"Rough puff" pastry:

2 cups organic unbleached plain flour

½ tsp. sea salt

½ cup cold water

1 cup (2 sticks) cold, unsalted butter

1 tsp. vinegar

Filling:

60 clams, or about 6 pounds with shells on

½ onion, roughly chopped

½ bell pepper, roughly chopped

1-2 stalks celery, roughly chopped

6 slices of bacon

2 tbsp. unsalted butter

1 small onion, finely chopped

2 small potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes

3 tbsp. organic plain flour

1 cup heavy cream

1 cup milk

1/4 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

2 tbsp. chopped parsley

1/4 tsp. dried thyme

1 tsp. fresh lemon juice

Egg wash:

1 egg yolk

2 tbsp. milk

pinch of salt

To make the pastry:

Combine the flour and salt in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Add the butter and mix to partly combine. Mix the water with the vinegar and gradually add this to the floury mixture. As soon as the pastry comes together, turn it out onto a floured surface. Roll out into a rectangle and fold in thirds like a letter. You will see streaks of butter marbled through the pastry. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for one hour.

Remove from fridge and roll out (but don't stretch). Repeat the letter-fold and rolling process until the pastry reaches a uniform thickness. Wrap and chill until ready for use.

Preparing the clams and stock:

Rinse the clams, place in a large pot, and cover with two inches of water. Roughly chop and add half an onion, half a bell pepper, and 1-2 stalks celery. Bring to a boil, then give the pot a good shake and reduce to a simmer for an additional minute. Remove from heat. Pull meat from open shells and chop; discard unopened shells. Strain the stock and reserve.

Preparing the filling:

In another pot, cook the bacon over medium heat until crisp; transfer to a lined plate to dry. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the fat and add the butter. Add the onion and potatoes and cook until tender. Then add the 3 tbsp. of flour and cook the roux, stirring, for 3 minutes. Add 2 cups of the reserved stock (or clam juice) and simmer for 15-20 minutes (until the potatoes are cooked). Add the cream, milk, and Worcestershire sauce and cook the mixture, stirring, for 5 minutes, or until it is thickened. Finally, add the chopped clams, crumbled bacon, parsley, and thyme. Finish with salt, pepper, and lemon juice to taste.

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