I have a soft spot for Rose, our one and only Buff Orpington. If chickens had personalities, Rosie is the timid type. She’s a textbook introvert just like me. Quiet and reserved. Always careful, always curious.

Rosie is the sweetest among the girls but she isn’t quite as sharp as a tack. When we let the girls graze in the garden, Blanche and the two Reds outrun each other while Rosie falters behind. She gets easily flustered. She walks around in circles, bobbing her head nervously, before she finally gets what’s going on.

Rose One morning, not too long ago, we were woken up by a loud cry from the hen house. It was Rose. We found her standing helplessly confused in one corner of the coop. The amber feathers on the back of her neck were drenched in blood. Her comb was raw and bleeding. It was horrifying! The two Reds have been bullying her — pecking on her head until it bled. Yes, chickens can be mean. Viciously mean to boot. These birds bully when they sense weakness or rivalry in the flock and poor Rosie is, without a doubt, the weakest among the girls.

Rosie is doing much better now. Her wounds have all healed. She confidently sports a purple mohawk nowadays. It’s the antiseptic we used to dress her wounds, which left a purple streak at the back of her head. We’ve separated the girls into two makeshift pens — Blanche and the two Reds in one, Rosie in the other. The bullying drama is over. At least for now, it seems. We plan to slowly introduce Rosie back to the flock, hoping the Reds will have forgotten whatever it was that triggered their aggression to poor Rosie.

It’s been a while since Rosie laid an egg, which isn’t surprising after all she’s been through. I’m sure she’ll be fine but it breaks my heart that this cruel bullying has happened and can happen again. Chickens are chickens, I know. It’s part of their nature. We’ve grown so attached to our girls that all we want is to keep them away from harm and for them to be happy and to get along.

I’m making egg pie — a rich Filipino-style custard pie — in Rosie’s honor for Thanksgiving using the eggs her sisters laid. Every time we pick up their eggs from their laying boxes we say thank you to the girls. Thank you, Rosie. Thank you, Blanche. Okay, we’ve forgiven you — thank you, Dorothy and Sofia, too. Thank you, Golden Girls, for the eggs and for the immeasurable joy you give us.

 

Egg Pie Recipe
Recipe adapted from The Best of the Maya Kitchen: The Complete Guide to Baking, makes one 9-inch pie

For the crust, makes one 9-inch single pie crust

1-1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 large egg, beaten
cold water

For the filling

8 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon calamansi zest
1 cup evaporated milk
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup water

Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl. Cut the chilled butter into the flour mixture with a pastry blender or work it in lightly with the tips of your fingers until the consistency resembles coarse meal with visible bits of butter. Stir the egg into the flour mixture until fully incorporated.

Pinch off a small handful of dough. If it does not hold together, sprinkle the dough with cold water. Blend the water gently into the dough until it just holds together.

Place the dough out onto a clean lightly floured work surface and pat it into a disk about half an inch thick. Wrap the disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, at least an hour or up to two days.

Soften pie dough at room temperature. Roll out dough on a lightly floured work surface with a lightly floured rolling pin into a 12-inch circle. Line a 9-inch pie pan with the crust, pressing it into the sides and bottom of the pan. Refrigerate for at least one hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Beat eggs in a bowl. Add vanilla, calamansi zest, and milk.

Boil sugar and water in a saucepan until the syrup thickens and threads — when you drop a dribble of the syrup into cold water to cool, it forms a liquid thread that will not ball up. If you have a candy thermometer, use it to monitor the temperature of the syrup, which should thread at 230 degrees F. Be careful not to heat the syrup past this temperature.

Very slowly pour hot syrup in eggs while beating them continuously. Pouring them too quickly cooks the eggs.

Pour eggs and syrup mixture over the crust. Skim off the bubbles with a spoon. Bake until crust is browned and a knife inserted into custard comes out clean, about 40 to 50 minutes.

Serve with a dollop of freshly whipped cream.

 

Egg Pie

Egg Pie

 

Freshly whipped cream, adapted from Irma Rombauer’s the Joy of Cooking

1/2 pint heavy whipping cream
sugar
vanilla

Beat the whipped cream in a chilled bowl with chilled beaters at high or medium-high speed until thickened. Add sugar and vanilla and beat to the desired consistency.

  • http://www.mynappytales.com abigail

    Oh Jun gusto ko na tumira sa bahay nyo! I just spent hours searching for our Pinoy Egg Pie and viola you delivered it in my inbox. you somehow know what I crave for. :)

    Poor Rosie hope she feels better soon

  • http://twitter.com/GetJoliesse Grace Lapsys

    This is one of my fave Phil dessert – can’t wait to try! Thanks for posting the recipe. Beautiful photos!!! ;-)

  • Pru

    Thank you Jun for your blog, recipes, & filipino stories. It warms my heart each time I get to read them and especially appreciate your crisp photography. Your mother is most revered. I can only hope I am creating fond memories for my children, as your family has done for you. My family also has 6 “girls” and 2 ducks (in addition to our 4 kids) and they are the sweetest addition to our family….. such loyal and loving providers. They all have their own personalities, but our Barred Rocks have been our friendliest. Happy Thanksgiving to you, Dennis, your girls and family. PS I’m from Washington and voted YES on R-74! Hoping California will do the same!

  • http://www.confessionsofachocoholic.com/ Bianca Garcia

    Awww I didn’t know chickens bully each other. I haven’t had egg pie in so long!
    PS – Happy Thanksgiving!

  • http://blog.junbelen.com/ Jun Belen

    Pru — Happy Thanksgiving!! Your thoughtful note made my day! And I’m sure my mom would be delighted too when she gets to read it. She loves reading the comments here in the blog. Maraming salamat!

    Six chickens and two ducks (and four kids!) — that sounds wonderful! We’ve been dreaming of ducks, too. They make really good salted eggs for bibingka.

    Thank you so much for following the blog. I am so happy to hear you are enjoying it. And thank you also for supporting R-74!! I know it’ll happen in California (and fingers crossed in the entire US) soon.

    Stay in touch, Pru. And best to your family. Have a great Thanksgiving!!

  • Denise Woodward

    Poor Rose. Funny that chickens are the same as humans; picking on the weakest link. Hoping she recovers and starts laying soon. I love the use of evaporated milk in this pie – sinful. As well I need to find calamansi this year.

  • Ronda Kisner

    That looks very tasty. I had a friend that had to keep one of her chickens in the house to keep her from being bullied! I hope the bullying drama is over for Rosie.

  • http://www.delishiono.com/ Michelle | delishiono

    I am so amused that you named your girls after the Golden Girls! :) That egg pie brings back so many memories. It was always the pie that I looked for whenever I went with my mom to the Filipino bakery as a kid!

  • http://blog.junbelen.com/ Jun Belen

    Michelle, thank you for writing! I know, we had a bakery back home, many many years ago, that made really good egg pies, too!

  • http://blog.junbelen.com/ Jun Belen

    Thank you, Ronda. It’s a pity chicken can be bullies but chickens are chickens. Rosie is doing much better now. We’re hoping she can join the other girls soon.

  • Anonymous

    Gorgeous pie Jun! I’m glad that Rosie is doing better. Making a sugar syrup and adding it to the eggs sounds intriguing. Thank you(!) for Jun Blog!

  • http://twitter.com/mgmhar marly_ms

    I am looking for an egg pie recipe and bumped on your post. I am craving for this desert and will bake one today.

    Marms
    http://kutsownstyle.blogspot.com

  • rachel

    Whats the calamansi zest for? It wasnt mentioned in the steps

  • http://blog.junbelen.com/ Jun Belen

    Rachel, pardon me for the oversight and thank you for pointing it out. The citrus zest is added to the eggs along with the vanilla and milk. The citrus — calamansi, lemon, or lime — gives the pie another subtle layer of fragrance and flavor.

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  • http://debbieannecastro.blogspot.com/ Debbie

    I love the chicken story!

    We also have a loooot of chicken now. We started with a pair (which was a gift from relatives in the province. ) Who told me to cook them but we did not, then they started to grow in numbers. Eggpie! Soon!

    http://debbieannecastro.blogspot.com/

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  • http://www.alexisrodrigo.com/ Lexi-Web Copywriter

    I didn’t realize egg pie was so simple to make! This is my husband’s favorite. I may just surprise him with it on Father’s Day. Anyway, I just wanted to let you know this is my new favorite Pinoy cooking blog. I can’t wait to try the recipes. They all sound yummy and your food photography is gorgeous. I told hubby I never knew pan de sale could look this good, lol!

  • http://blog.junbelen.com/ Jun Belen

    Thank you, Debbie. How many chickens do you have now? Our four girls are adorable — they have their own personalities. We’re thinking of getting more next year.

  • http://blog.junbelen.com/ Jun Belen

    Thank you, Lexi, for the very kind compliments to the blog. I hope you come back often to try the recipes! Maraming salamat!

  • http://debbieannecastro.blogspot.com/ Debbie

    well… We have a pair. So they first laid down 6 eggs. Hatched. Then the mother Hen laid down another 12 eggs. And they all hatched! We we’re surprise because this is all happening in Baguio. *cold weather and all. We got 2 new rooster then we paired them with the ones from the original 6 chicks. So they are starting to lay down eggs too. Now Lola says, she’s cooking some of the eggs. And my tito built them a bigger house. :) And he studied more how to take care of them. Our chickens have funny personalities too. From happy energetic ones, from malambing to a chicken who walks like a penguin. haha. Maybe you can think about getting a rooster. :)

    debbieannecatro.blogspot.com

  • Gerru Gragera

    can cassava flour make do instead of all purpose flour, pandan juice instead of vanilla, fresh cow’s milk instead of canned milk, will they make good substitutes?