I have had several pretty boring ones, and one or two eating out ones, and then there were several days of pies, both newly cooked and reheated the following day to check how they keep. Essential Cuisine have a savoury pie competition on at the moment (if you haven't entered there is still time, it is open until the end of April) so I have been pie developing.
I have made two so far here is the first one - recipe too you lucky people!
The Mediterranean Vegetable Pie:
This is a vegetarian pie, ideal to use up extra marinated vegetables left over after a salad, or you can use bottled marinated vegetables or roast your own. The yoghurt and cheese adds lots of protein, and with the pastry and vegetables this makes a complete meal that just needs some salad on the side. It eats well cold, so would be ideal for a picnic.
The choice of vegetables can be varied according to what you have, or fancy that day. I like to use any leftover griddled vegetables that I make for salads. They keep for a week or so in the fridge, and this is ideal for using up the last bits and pieces. Herbs can also be varied, fresh thyme is my favourite, but fresh oregano also works well. Dried herbs can also be used instead if there are no fresh herbs around.
The Latvian cheese I used is a hard cheese, like a young parmesan. Any hard dry cheese would work fine, even gruyere, ementhal or Jarlsberg, although I wouldn't use a cheddar type cheese as this is too oily (the vegetables are quite oily already).
I make my own pastry as it is so easy with a processor, but bought shortcrust would work fine. A nice alternative to using shortcrust on the top would be to either use crumpled filo pastry or a lid of puff pastry. I think the base needs to be shortcrust as it is more substantial than filo and less greasy than puff pastry. The filling also works as a quiche filling without a top at all..
- 8 oz 200 g plain flour (00 for preference)
- 2 oz 50g lard or hard vegetable fat (Cookeen or Trex)
- 3 oz 70g unsalted butter
- one egg mixed with a little water
- roughly 10-14oz / 3-400g of mixture of marinated or roasted Mediterranean vegetables (a mixture of any of aubergines, peppers, courgettes, onions, tomatoes, garlic) cooled and cut into chunks
- 2 oz 50g hard Parmesan type cheese, I used Dziugas cheese from Latvia, grated
- 6 oz 150g Greek Yoghurt ( I like Total 0%)
- 2 eggs
- half tsp Paprika
- one tsp thyme leaves chopped
- salt & pepper
One 7 inch (c 170mm ) loose bottomed cake tin or springform tin
- Heat the oven to mk 6 400F 200C
- Blitz the flour and fats with the salt in a food processor, and drizzle the egg in until it forms a soft ball. You may not need all the egg. Reserve any egg left over.
- Remove and flatten into two discs, wrap in cling film and set somewhere cool (not the fridge) to rest for half an hour.
- Roll out one disc and line the cake tin leaving a little overlap on the sides.
- Mix the yoghurt, cheese, eggs, herbs and seasoning into a smooth mix, remove and reserve a tablespoonful, and fold in the chunks of vegetables.
- Fill into the lined cake tin, smoothing the top. Roll out the other half of pastry and trim to a disc about an inch wider than the circumference of the tin, place on the top and fold and crimp the edges to seal. Use any trimmings to make leaves to decorate the top of the pie.
- Mix the retained yoghurt with any left over egg and a little milk to form a glaze. Brush the top of the pie with this mixture and make a hole in the middle of the pie with a knife.
- There should be some glaze left, keep that on one side.
- Place on a baking sheet and bake for 25 mins at Mk 6 /400/200 and then turn the heat down to Mk 4 / 350/180 brush again with glaze, and bake for a further 15 minutes or until a knife slid into the pie through the central slit comes out clean.
- Allow the pie to cool slightly and then remove from the tin. Check the base of the pastry is brown and dry, if not fully cooked, then return to the cake tin UPSIDE DOWN, and bake for a further 5-8 minutes in a hot oven to dry and cook the base.
- Cool on a rack and serve warm rather than hot.
It is lovely eaten cold the following day, and would make an excellent pie to take on a picnic, either made as a large pie like this or in small individual pies or pasties.