As a three-time winner of the Food Network's Cupcake Wars, Orlando's Hollis Wilder is the indisputable queen of cupcakes. Now her first cookbook, "Savory Bites: Meals You Can Make in Your Cupcake Pan," has arrived in bookstores. The book's premise is about "living life in portions," and she is determined to use her success to help fight obesity one portion at a time using the classic American cupcake pan. I love the book because it suits any lifestyle or household. It's a great addition to a home library for teaching children how to cook and it has enough panache to keep the gourmand in the house well-fed.
"I wanted to have a long-lasting relationship with the classic American cupcake pan but shake things up a bit at the same time," says Wilder.
Her turn on savory cupcakes redefines mealtimes, including festive brunches and tailgates. I can see these small bites inspiring creative cooks to rethink how they pack lunches for school and work.
A former private chef to an impressive roster of celebrities including Jay Leno and Kevin Costner, Wilder now is a star in her own right. And her cupcake empire is expanding. She recently opened a Sweet! By Good Golly Miss Holly in Jacksonville.
Vermont Chicken Pot Pies
Yield 24 little pies
4 carrots, peeled
1 large stewing chicken, about 8 pounds
12 cups or more of water
3 medium onions, peeled and quartered
2 ribs celery, including the leaves and white bottoms of the stalks
4 sprigs fresh parsley
3 sprigs fresh sage, including stems
3 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons white pepper, divided
1 cup whole milk
1/2 all-purpose flour
5 cups chicken broth, preferably from cooking the chicken
1/2 cup frozen peas
Nonstick cooking spray
3 (15-ounce) packages ready-made pie dough, at room temperature
1. Boil carrots until crisp tender. When cool enough to handle, cut into 1/4-inch dice.
2. Rinse chicken and clean cavity. Put chicken in a large pot. Cover chicken with water. Add onions, celery, parsley, sage, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon white pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer until leg easily pulls away from breast, about 2 hours. Remove the chicken and set aside on a rimmed baking sheet. Cover the pot with the remaining cooking broth and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook until the broth develops a rich color, about 2 or more hours. You should have 5 cups of broth when done. (If you don't, you can add water to the pan liquid or use canned broth.)
3. Place a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth-lined strainer over a medium-size plastic container. Pour the broth into the strainer. Use a spatula to push the solids against the strainer to squeeze out all of the juices. Discard remaining solids. Refrigerate the broth for 2 hours or overnight. Skim off the fat before using.
4. Wearing food-service gloves, use your fingers to remove the white and dark meat from the chicken bones. Discard the skin, fat and bones. Transfer meat to a cutting board and chop into 1/2-inch pieces. Place chicken in a bowl and set aside.
5. In a large stockpot set over a cold burner, whisk milk and flour until smooth. Whisk in the broth and cook on medium until the sauce has thickened, about 15 minutes. Season mixture with the remaining salt and pepper. Stir in the peas, chopped chicken and diced carrots.
6. Heat oven to 350F. Spray 2 (12-well) cupcake pans with nonstick spray.
7. Unroll pie dough rounds onto a flat surface. Cut each into quarters, for a total of 24 pieces. Place 1 piece of dough in each well of the prepared pans, creating a cup that overhangs the edges of the wells. Distribute the chicken filling among the wells. Fold the overhanging dough into the center of each well and pinch the edges to seal, but leaving a small hole in the top of each for steam to escape.
8. Bake until the crusts are golden brown, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Let potpies rest in pan 15 minutes. Loosen sides with a knife and gently remove using two forks or a spoon to lift out.
Recipe note: Adapted from Savory Bites: Meals You Can Make in Your Cupcake PanCopyright © 2015, CT Now