Sunday, February 25, 2007

Waiter, there's something in my ... pie!

Thurs 22 Feb 2007

"Waiter there's something in my ... " is a new blogging event for 2007. I missed the inaugural one for January (stew), but have managed to get organised for February. The theme being "pie".

Given Andy rates pie as just about the pinnacle of culinary achievement (I know ... how northern is that?) it's quite a miracle that pies have only featured the once on Eating Leeds.

For this event I headed to the The Women's Institute Book of 650 Favourite Recipes. My previous foray into this book, Yarmouth Biscuits, was pretty successful, so I was interested to see what else it would come up with.

I opted for the strangely named 'savoury onion pasty'. This is a bit of an odd one - I can't really imagine a sweet onion pasty, it was more a pie (the recipe specified baking it in a pie dish) and ... it didn't have onions in the list of ingredients! The real selling point was, however, the oatmeal pastry. I love oatmeal. Too much. So I had to try it.

It was very simple to put together. The pastry was 75g of self raising flour, 75g of oatmeal (I used medium ground oatmeal, but I think next time I'd opt for finely ground), 25g unsalted butter, 25g of lard (the original recipe said 50g combined of lard and margarine) with enough water to bind. Letting the food processor to do the hard work I gave the pastry a quick knead, wrapped it in clingfilm and let it rest for a bit in the fridge.

Now, I know that Andrew over at Spittoon made a game pie and used lard in the pastry and voiced concerns about the 'health police'. Frankly, if you look at this pastry, the mere 50g of fat (the pie ultimately did four servings) is totally outweighed by the remaining healthy ingredients ... starting with the oatmeal! That fat just isn't going to sit in your arteries with the oatmeal on the case!

Anyway, little rant over, time to make the pie. A quick grease of the pie dish and I was ready to roll out the pastry ... The recipe calls for an 18cm pie dish and I was pretty concerned about the amount of pastry I had. I had to be very disciplined about dividing the pastry in half and rolling it out very thinly. If I'm feeling lazy next time I make this, I'll up the pastry by 50% - even though it's not strictly necessary.

Finely slice a whole leek and tip into the pastry lined pie dish. Finely chop a couple of rashers of bacon (original recipe said one) and sprinkle over the top before finally adding 25g (or so ...) of finely grated cheddar cheese. Season with pepper.

Beat 1 egg with 150mL of milk and pour over your leek/bacon/cheese mixture. Finally, top with the remaining pastry and ensure you make a good seal between the top and bottom. Brush with egg and milk wash and you're ready for the oven.

Start the pie off at 220C for 10 minutes, before turning the oven down to 180C and finishing the pie off for about 40 minutes.

It smelt fantastic when it came out of the oven! I actually had to wait until Friday night to eat it and I can report that the pie reheats well. It was delicious! The long cooking time meant the leek was soft, and the milk and egg gave the pie a good consistency. I really enjoyed the pastry (it even tastes healthy!) although Andy thought that the fine oatmeal would have been a better choice ('a bit gritty'). I'd been a bit lazy and only used a milk wash, so the top of my pie was not as glossy as it could have been. Apparently, had I used egg and milk and produced a glossy pie it would have been perfect!

We had the remainder of the pie cold for lunch the next day - and it was just as good.

This pie would make fanstastic picnic food as well as Sunday supper, and because it reheats well, it would be perfect to take round to a friend's or to make on the weekend for a midweek meal.

Well done to the Women's Institute!

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ey, just found your blog and looks great. I'm also living in Leeds and we share the taste for good food, will keep reading you :)

I've add a link to your site on my weblog,


4:11 pm  
Blogger Jeanne said...

Ooh, this sounds absolutely marvellous! And I always like stuff that also tastes good cold the next day ;-) and as you say, the health police should be reasonably happy with the oaty crust. Thanks for participating in WTSIM and see you next month :)

8:13 pm  
Blogger Alex said...

Thanks Tony - the photos on your blog, esp the ones of York Minster, are gorgeous!

And Jeanne - I'm looking forward to the round up!

7:48 pm  

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