Category Archives: Pies and pastry

Butternut squash, apple and stilton galette.

squash apple and stilton galette

This recipe came about while making apple pie and soup at the same time. Once I find the time for a spot of baking I tend to go all out! I had some spare shortcrust pastry from the pie, and I decided I could use a few of the vegetables that were being roasted for the soup in order to make this. So it’s only a small individual portion, but you could easily scale this up to feed more mouths.

Method (ingredients listed in bold):

Preheat the oven to 200ºc. You need about a fist sized ball of pastry dough for a single portion galette, which at a guess would be around 100g flour rubbed into 50g butter with a splash of water to bring it all together. Chill in the fridge for 20 mins before you roll it out into a circle. Then add some chopped apple, onion, and squash. I used the apple raw, but the onion and squash had roasted for around 20 mins in the oven. You could also just cook them slightly in a pan with some butter instead. Top with a few chunks of stilton or other blue cheese, then brush the edges of the pastry with a little beaten egg. Bring the edges up and overlap slightly, try to avoid creating any holes where juices could escape. Brush the outside edges with more egg and then put onto a roasting tray and bake for around 30 mins.

Caramelised onion, courgette and feta pies

onion & courgette pies1

 

These rustic style pies are basically the same as the onion and herb tart I made a while ago, except I divided the pastry into 4 to make smaller, individual portion ones. They would make perfect picnic fodder, or for taking with you to the allotment for a tools down break time.

To make the pastry (this is my tried and trusted method): rub 100g butter into 200g plain flour (with an added pinch of salt) until it resembles breadcrumbs. Break in 1 egg, fill half an eggshell with water and add. Bring together into a dough, place onto a sheet of clingfilm, wrap and place in the fridge for 30 mins.

Slice 1 large or a couple of smaller onions. Slice a couple of small courgettes (or a regular sized one) into rounds. Heat some oil in a pan and gently sauté the onions until soft and starting to colour. Remove and set aside. Add the courgettes to the pan and fry until just coloured (these won’t take as long as the onions).

Take your ball of pastry dough and divide into four. Roll a piece out into a rough circle, about saucer sized. Add a couple of large spoonfuls of the onion mix to the middle of the pastry, top with a few slices of courgette and finally a few cubes of feta cheese. Bring the sides of the circle up, overlapping slightly as you do. Do the same with the other 3 pieces.

Beat 1 egg and add a heaped tablespoon of crème fraîche, or roughly the same of double cream. Mix together and pour the mixture into each pie. Brush the outside of each pie with a little milk. Bake in a moderate oven for around 25-30 mins.

onion & courgette pie2

Free-form onion and herb tart

onion tart 1I love making tarts and quiches, but sometimes the effort involved in preparing the pastry, lining the tin, blind baking, cooking the ingredients, filling, baking, blah blah, puts me off slightly. It’s fine when you have all afternoon and nothing better to do, but not when time is short.

So when I spotted one of these on Pinterest I thought – of course, why didn’t I think of that? I’ve made a fruit version of this lots of times before, it’s what I usually call a ‘one crust pie’. You roll out the pastry, dump the fruit in the middle and bring up the sides, bake, ta-dah! Not the prettiest looking pie/tart, but tastes just as good, so if you’re not out to impress anyone with aesthetics, it’s a huge time-saver. But I’d oddly never considered making a savoury version.

Okay, you still need some time on this to slice a couple of onions, and then gently, slowly cook the onions down, but it’s not a great effort. I also confess I bought a block of pastry, which I never normally do, just to save a bit more time. I won’t lose any sleep over it.

This uses the first of our onions that were planted as sets back in the autumn and have been growing over winter. They weren’t left to dry out, so were used ‘wet’ or ‘green’ as they’re called. This means they are slightly milder in flavour, but they still managed to make my eyes water! We had this with pork and leek sausages and asparagus (sadly not my own – next year) and some of my homemade apple jelly.

Ingredients are listed in bold. My own recipe.

  1. If making your own shortcrust pastry, follow the link here for my standard shortcrust pastry recipe, and place in the fridge to chill.
  2. Slice 2 largish onions as thinly as you can.
  3. Strip the leaves from a few stalks of thyme, and/or chop some chives.
  4. Heat a shallow pan and add a splash of oil and a knob of butter.
  5. Turn the heat down and cook the onions for around 30 mins until soft and slightly caramelised.
  6. Add 2 tablespoons of creme fraîche (or double cream) the herbs and if you like a bit of cheese (I had some stilton to use up so threw that in) season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook for a few more minutes.
  7. Roll out the pastry into a large circle. I found it helpful to use a plate as a guide to the size I wanted the tart, and then you’ll need roughly a 2 inch border. Transfer to a parchment lined baking tray.
  8. Spread the onions over the central circle, then bring the sides up, overlapping as you go.
  9. Brush with a little beaten egg and bake (around 180ºc) for about 40 mins or until golden.

onions and garlic onion tart raw onion tart 2

Tuna, leek and mushroom plait

tuna leek plait

Apologies for the terrible quality of the photos on this one, I made it a while ago now, it was late in the day and my phone struggled to cope with the lack of light. Also hunger meant I failed to create interesting and artistic arrangements for the final shot. You’ll have to take my word for it that the smell was so good that the instinct to eat overtook everything else, and this photo was a bit of an ‘oops’ after thought. Just keeping it real!

I have made this recipe a few times now, and it is a winner. Tuna and leeks wrapped in puff pastry, a good comforting, homely dish. And pretty easy and forgiving, even if the pastry isn’t wrapped that well, it still turns out fine once baked.

Instructions:

Take 1 large leek, or a couple of smaller ones and slice a knife vertically down the shaft. Wash thoroughly under a running tap to remove any dirt between the layers. Slice into thick rounds and then sauté gently in a pan with a little butter and oil. Slice a handful of mushrooms, add these to the leeks and continue to cook over a gentle heat until soft. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a bowl and stir in one tin of drained tuna.

puff pastry sheet

Take 1 sheet of puff pastry, or if using a block, roll it out into a rectangle. Measure the width of the pastry and divide it into 3, then with a knife gently score lines down the width to make 3 sections. It helps to be fairly accurate with this bit.

plait in progress

Place the leek mixture onto the middle section of the pastry, leaving an inch or so at the top and bottom. Then cut diagonal lines from the middle outwards on the outside sections, as shown. The top and bottom diagonals can be cut off altogether. Brush the outside areas of pastry with a little beaten egg.

Fold the top and bottom bits over the leek mixture, and then fold over a strip from one side and then a strip from the other side, alternately, tucking the final ones underneath if there’s excess. You can ease the pastry into place here and there to cover any gaps. This process is a little bit trial and error. I managed it perfectly the first time I did it, and then this time it went slightly awry, but don’t worry too much, like I say it still looks great once baked.

plait pre-baked

Finally brush the whole thing with more beaten egg, transfer to a baking tray (sometimes easier to start it off on one) and bake in a moderate oven for around 40 mins or until golden brown.

You can adapt the ingredients of this to pretty much whatever you fancy, or just needs using up in the fridge. Always worth keeping some puff pastry in the freezer!

Mini leek, bacon and stilton love-heart tarts

mini leek tarts

I made tarts a lot when I was a child, but they were always of the sweet jammy variety. It’s possibly the first thing I remember making in the kitchen with my mum as a youngster, and one that I always wanted to make again. I’m pretty sure mum did most of the work making the pastry, and my contribution mainly involved spooning the jam into their cases, while getting it all over my fingers, wiped over my corduroy dungarees, smeared over the side of my face while I attempted to push my hair back, in fact everywhere except where it was supposed to go, and then spending a lot of time licking the spoon. I still passed them off to the rest of the family as ‘mine’.

As an adult, a marginally less messy one, I have made lots of savoury tarts and quiches (my mother is a pastry queen and she has taught me well) but for some reason I’d never considered combining the two and making mini savoury tarts until I spotted some on Pinterest. Ah ha! The perfect mouthful of a snack for popping into the allotment basket, along with a flask of something hot, for that half time break.

I couldn’t resist adding a little heart shaped lid to these, my valentines gift to you. Should make around 12-15 tarts, maybe more if you don’t add the lids.

mini leek tarts in progress

For the pastry weigh out 200g of plain flour, add a pinch of salt and either 100g butter or (as I do) a 50/50 mix of butter and lard. Rub the fat into the flour using your hands or a mixer until it resembles breadcrumbs and then add 1 egg and a splash of water. Combine until you have a nice smooth dough, but don’t overwork it. Shape it into a ball and wrap in cling film, place in the fridge for around 20-30 mins to chill.

For the filling, finely chop 1 large or 2 thinner/smaller leeks, gently sauté these in a little butter in a pan until soft, then remove from the heat and leave to one side. In the meantime place 4 rashers of bacon under a hot grill until cooked, remove and allow to cool before chopping into small pieces.

Once the pastry has chilled, unwrap and roll out to around 5mm or 1/4inch thick. Use a large pastry cutter to cut out circles, and line the craters of a greased cupcake tin. You don’t have to add lids, but if you do cut these and put to one side. Fill the pastry cases with some of the cooked leek, a little bit of bacon and a few crumblings of stilton or other strong cheese.

In a separate bowl, combine 1 large beaten egg with around 150ml of double cream or I used créme fraiche loosened with a splash of milk. Grate in a bit of nutmeg (optional) and season with a little salt and pepper. Pour this carefully into the filled cases until just up to the edges. Place a heart or other shaped lid on top and brush with a little milk or beaten egg.

Bake in a moderately hot oven for around 15-20 minutes, or until just turning golden brown on top.

Of course, you could also make these with a jam or curd filling, just be careful with those sticky fingers!

Salmon, leek and potato pie

salmon, leek, potatoe pie

Okay, I have to confess this was supposed to be a much simpler leek and potato pie with blue cheese, but I decided last minute to add a tin of salmon from the store cupboard. I do have a habit of changing my mind and a recipe halfway through. I like to think it’s just part of the creative process. I do love it on the Great British Bake Off when they suddenly change their direction with something mid bake, or sometimes ‘wing it’ by not really making any firm decisions until they start, and get scorned at by Hollywood! But I often feel like that with cooking and baking. My other half will plan a recipe down to the final gram, while I like to make it up as I go along, and often throw in a bit of this and a bit of that as the whim takes me. I think you should be allowed to go with the flow and do what suits you!

If you’re not a fan of blue cheese, then grated cheddar will be fine, and maybe add a bit of wholegrain mustard too.

Ingredients:

  • 1 packet of puff pastry, or 1 ready rolled sheet.
  • 2 leeks, sliced into rounds
  • a knob of butter and olive oil
  • 3 medium or 2 largish potaotes, sliced fairly thinly
  • 1 dessert sp plain flour
  • 3 tbsp créme fraîche (you could use normal cream)
  • a splash of cider or white wine
  • 1 tin of salmon (skinned and boned if not already)
  • a good chunk of blue cheese (we had some Roquefort for Christmas which is quite strong, but use whatever you like)
  • salt and pepper to season, and optional thyme or parsley
  • 1 egg, beaten

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to around 160ºC (non fan).
  2. Slowly and gently sauté the leeks in the olive oil and add a knob of butter to the pan. Cook over a lowish heat until the leeks have softened.
  3. Meanwhile, bring a pan of salted water to the boil and boil the potatoes for about 5 minutes.
  4. Drain, and add the potatoes to the leeks.
  5. Sprinkle over the flour and then add a good splash of white wine (I just happened to have cider closer to hand).
  6. Stir in the créme fraîche, and then add the cheese. Season, add herbs if desired and then put a lid on and leave to simmer gently while you prepare the pastry.
  7. If you’re using a block of pastry, cut it in half and roll out one half, or if using a sheet, cut it in half, or enough to cover your pie dish.
  8. Line the base of your pie dish, gently pushing the edges down on the rim to seal. Leave the excess pastry to hang over the edge. Brush beaten egg around the rim.
  9. Spoon the mixture in and use the 2nd half of the pastry to make the lid and place on top.
  10. Seal the edges (I like to use the prongs of a fork, but a thumb press should do it) and poke a hole in the top to allow steam to escape. Trim off the edges with a knife.
  11. If you like, if you’re feeling creative, score a pattern on the top of the pastry (I went for a classic diamond effect) or you can use some of the cut offs to make a little leaf or fish or whatever the fancy takes you, to add on top. Use a little beaten egg to seal it on. Then brush beaten egg over the whole pie.
  12. Pop your pie in the oven and bake for about 40 mins, checking it after half an hour to see if it needs turning. Allow to cool and enjoy. Great with fresh or mushy peas or some onion gravy.

Inspiration for the basis of this recipe came from here.

Leeks in basket

I think there may be a few more leek recipes to come, there’s still masses of them on the plot. They are the one vegetable that have done consistently well for us every year. All grown from my own saved seeds too. So far, so good with avoiding the dreaded leek moth. Touch wood.

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