Friday, 20 December 2013

Vegetable pie

First, make either shortcrust pastry, or puff pastry:

Shortcrust pastry:

  • 8 oz / 200g plain flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 oz / 100 g margarine
  • 2-3 tbsp cold water
  1. Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl. Chop the margarine up into small pieces, add them to the bowl and rub in carefully using your fingertips, until you obtain breadcrumb consistency.
  2.  Make a well in the mixture and pour in 2 tbsp cold water. Mix with a knife and then your hands, to form a firm dough. Add more water if needed. 
  3. Cover in cling film and place in fridge until ready to roll out.

Easy puff pastry (enough for 2 pies!):

  • 250g strong plain flour
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • 250g butter, at room temperature, but not soft
  • about 150ml cold water
  1. Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl. Break the butter up into fairly small pieces, add them to the bowl and rub them in loosely and briefly using your fingertips. Stop while you can still see bits of butter.
  2. Make a well in the mixture and pour two-thirds of the cold water, then mix until you have a firm dough, adding extra water if needed. Cover with cling film and place in the fridge for 20 mins.
  3. Turn out onto a floured surface, knead gently and form into a smooth rectangle. Roll *in one direction only*, keeping the edges straight, until 3 times the width, so about 20 x 50cm. You should still see the butter in streaks.
  4. Fold the top third down to the centre, then the bottom third up and over that. Give the dough a quarter turn (to the left or right) and roll out again in the same way, to three times the length. Fold again as before, cover with cling film and place in the fridge for at least 20 mins before rolling to use.

Next, once you have the pastry, make a white sauce:

  1. melt 1 1/2 oz / 40 g butter or margarine over a low heat, then add the same quantity of plain flour and stir for a couple of minutes. 
  2. Next, very gradually add not-quite-a-pint / 500 ml milk, stirring continually. Keep stirring until the sauce boils and thickens. Simmer gently for 2 minutes and add salt and pepper to taste. 

Next, in a reasonably deep pie dish, place chopped vegetables (examples: carrot, celeriac, broccoli, leek, celery, parsnip, peppers...)

Cover the vegetables with the white sauce. Add herbs or other seasoning if you like.

Roll out the pastry thinly (5 mm / 1/4 in) and form a round slightly bigger than your pie dish. Trim the edges off it, and stick the bits you have cut off onto the edge of your pie dish, which you have dampeed with a little water. Brush the strip with water, and cover the pie with the remaining pastry. Pressthe edges together, knock up (bash the edges with the back of a knife) and flute (make the edges pretty by pinching with your fingertips). Brush the pie top with beaten egg and decorate with any scraps of pastry that are left, made into a nice shape.

Bake at 190 ºC for 40-50 minutes.

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