A spelt flour high pie

A trea­sured find in a small English vil­lage inspires a de­li­cious high pie.

NZ Lifestyle Block - - Contents - JEAN MANS­FIELD

Rye, Kent, about 120km from Lon­don. The tem­per­a­ture is 35°C, boiling hot for an English sum­mer. The nar­row cob­bled streets are siz­zling and the kitchena­lia shop I have en­tered is sti­fling.

But among the trea­sured vintage kitchen items, I spy a Beatall loose-bot­tomed pork pie tin.

Se­lect­ing old, pre-used bake wear can be tricky. The heav­ier the pan, the bet­ter, and I find the darker the pan and the more wellsea­soned, the bet­ter still.

What a find. The dish was beau­ti­ful. To lovers of an­tique bak­ing tins, this kind of thing is a trea­sure, and I couldn’t wait to try it out.

Dave and I spent part of the New Zealand win­ter in Sur­rey with our daugh­ter. She is an ex­cel­lent cook and we went through her recipes – which are in fact my recipes, care­fully se­lected and made into a book for her when she left to set up her own home – to find one to try out with my new, old, pie dish.

Pies go in and out of fash­ion. I think they are in fash­ion again but re­gard­less, I do love a good short­crust pie, es­pe­cially in win­ter. Deep dish pies are great to slice in the sum­mer too as they hold their shape like a meat loaf. They are ro­bust, travel well for pic­nics and out­door eat­ing, and are great in school lunches.

Dave en­joys cold and hot pies. He of­ten asks if I will turn leftover casse­role or stew into a pie. Some­times I make a potato top, some­times a fish or chicken pie.

The se­cret to a good pie lies in a good pas­try, and I’ve been ex­per­i­ment­ing with dif­fer­ent flours. Spelt flour is my latest dis­cov­ery, great as a thick­en­ing in stews and sauces for a nutty flavour – it’s re­ally de­li­cious. It is an an­cient grain that is re­ally use­ful for any­one with wheat in­tol­er­ance, and now easily avail­able in su­per­mar­kets and health food stores.

It also makes a great pie pas­try, if you know one trick: don’t knead the mix­ture when us­ing spelt, and it is a bit moister too, so les­son the liq­uids in any recipe where you are re­plac­ing plain flour with spelt flour.

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