Nice as pie

Fab­u­lous fill­ings to keep you sat­is­fied

EADT Suffolk - - Inside -

OOH, I love a bit of pie. A flaky Greek spanako­pita brim­ming with salty feta and tan­nic spinach. Steak and ale pud­ding – its pil­lowy suet ex­te­rior col­laps­ing into gravy and fork-ten­der meat. And lemon meringue pie, bil­low­ing cloud-like at the ta­ble.

It’s not the health­i­est of food­stuffs, but there’s noth­ing bet­ter for a lazy week­end sup­per than a pas­try-laden dish of good­ness. The eas­i­est by far is made with short­crust pas­try, which I’ve used as a base for most of these pies. En­joy!

SLOW- BRAISED CHICKEN, TAR­RAGON AND LENTIL PIE Ser ves 4 - 6

This is a lux­u­ri­ous-tast­ing, deep-filled pie that re­quires a bit of time and work – but is so worth it. The chicken cooks down to a vel­vety con­sis­tency, the tar­ragon brings a hint of aniseed, and lentils add bite. Serve with a big pile of steam sea­sonal veg and a glass of chilled white.

In­gre­di­ents

For the fill­ing:

4 chicken legs with thighs at­tached (skin on) 200ml chicken stock

200ml white wine

1tsp dried or 1.5tb­sps fresh chopped tar­ragon 100ml dou­ble cream

1 tin green lentils, drained 2tsps corn­flour mixed with 3tsps water Sea­son­ing Pas­try: 150g cold, un­salted but­ter, cubed 300g plain flour Pinch salt Cold water 1 egg beaten to brush

Method

Place the chicken, stock, wine and tar­ragon in a slow cooker and cook on high for four hours or overnight on low. Cool, re­move the skin and bones and shred the meat. Strain the juices into a bowl and skim off any fat.

Mix the water and corn­flour to a paste and mix into the shred­ded chicken.

Place the chicken, chicken juices and cream in a pan and cook on a medium heat un­til thick­ened and re­duced. Sea­son, stir in the lentils, and place in a bowl to cool com­pletely.

For the pas­try rub the flour, salt and but­ter to­gether in a bowl to make bread­crumbs. Add cold water, drop by drop and bring to­gether into a dough. Wrap and chill for 30 min­utes. Set the oven to 190°C. Flour a sur­face and roll out a third of the dough to about 3mm thick and large enough to line a 20cm round, deep pie dish with over­hang. Cut away the ex­cess. Line your dish, brush with a lit­tle egg and fill with the chicken mix­ture.

Now get cre­ative. Roll out the rest of the pas­try and cre­ate a lat­tice de­sign, or lay a sim­ple layer of plain pas­try over the top (seal­ing the edges). Do what­ever de­sign takes your fancy- maybe get the cookie cut­ters out!

Brush over egg to glaze and place in the oven for 45 min­utes to one hour un­til golden.

Al­low to cool for 10 min­utes be­fore serv­ing.

The pie will freeze nicely in its dish be­fore

CAU­LI­FLOWER CHEESE AND BLACK PEP­PER MAPLE BA­CON PIE Se r ve s 6 h ear t i ly

This is a naughty but nice, warm­ing dish of yum. The creamy cheesy sauce hides sur­prise nuggets of ba­con, cooked un­til sticky in maple syrup and hot black pep­per. All you need on the side is a nice bright salad.

In­gre­di­ents

1 large head cau­li­flower,

green parts re­moved,

chopped into 1.5cm pieces

200g smoked streaky ba­con

3tb­sps dark maple syrup

1tsp crushed black pep­per­corns

20g un­salted but­ter

2tb­sps plain flour

400ml milk mixed with

200ml dou­ble cream

150g strong ched­dar,

grated 2tsps mus­tard pow­der Pinch cayenne Sea­son­ing For the cheese and gar­lic pas­try: 175g un­salted but­ter, cubed 350g plain flour 100g strong cheese, grated 2tsps gar­lic pow­der Cold water 1 egg to glaze

Method

Make the pas­try. Rub to­gether the flour, but­ter and gar­lic pow­der un­til you have bread­crumbs. Add the cheese then drip in cold water, a lit­tle at a time, press­ing the mix­ture to bring it to­gether into a dough. Wrap and chill in the fridge for 30 min­utes.

For the ba­con, place the rash­ers on a lined bak­ing tray and pop un­der the grill, cook­ing on both sides un­til the fat is crispy. Re­move, driz­zle over the maple syrup and black pep­per­corns. Toss and pop back un­der the grill for a minute or so un­til sticky. Al­low to cool then chop with scis­sors into 1cm strips.

Place the cau­li­flower pieces in a steamer for three min­utes and set aside.

Place the but­ter and flour in a large pan. Cook over a medium heat, stir­ring to make a nutty coloured paste. Add the milk/cream mix­ture bit by bit, whisk­ing all the time to keep lumps out.

Once all the liq­uid is added pop in the mus­tard pow­der and cayenne. Cook, whisk­ing con­stantly, un­til it’s like a loose cus­tard. Fold in the cheese and cau­li­flower and taste for sea­son­ing. Stir in the pre­pared ba­con and pour into a 20cm by 30cm dish. Al­low to cool com­pletely.

Once the fill­ing has cooled, roll out the pas­try to 3mm thick and top the pie any­way you like.

Bake at 200°C for 35 min­utes.

SAUSAGE HOPPERS Serves 9 heartily

If you need a quick fix have a go at these lit­tle parcels, filled with slow-cooked herby beer onions and good qual­ity sausage­meat. You don’t even need to make your own pas­try – shop-bought is fine.

In­gre­di­ents

1 pack ready rolled puff pas­try

450g pork sausages

Oil for fry­ing

3 large onions halved and thinly sliced

4tsps brown sugar

1 bot­tle light lo­cal ale (I used Wood­forde’s Bure Gold)

1tbps low salt soy sauce

1tsp fresh thyme

Black pep­per

1 egg, beaten, to glaze

Method

Heat 1tbsp oil in a fry­ing pan. Add the onions and sugar and cook over a medium to high heat un­til brown and sticky. Add the thyme, soy sauce and beer and cook on a medium heat un­til the mix­ture has re­duced to a thick chut­ney-like con­sis­tency. Add a lit­tle ground black pep­per to taste. Set aside in a bowl to cool.

Re­move the sausages from their skins and mush to­gether in a bowl.

Place the pas­try on a floured sur­face, roll out a tad to stretch it a bit then cut into nine equal pieces.

Pop a ta­ble­spoon of cooled onions on top of each piece of pas­try then 1.5tbsp of sausage­meat. Bring the pas­try up along the length of the fill­ing and press to­gether to seal. Press the short ends down to seal and chop off the ex­tra pas­try. Tuck the edges un­der and turn the pas­try over – they’ll be an oval shape.

Slash with a knife on top, place on a lined tray, glaze with egg and bake at 200°C for 20 min­utes.

CHEAT’S BANOFFEE TARTE TATIN WITH SALTED RUM CARAMEL Serves 4 heartily

Tarte tatin is a clas­sic, but to make the dessert prop­erly you need a pan you can pop into the oven – and these can be both ex­pen­sive and hard to find. So try my cheat’s method. It tastes just as good and will save you money on a pan you’ll prob­a­bly only use a hand­ful of times!

In­gre­di­ents

For the choco­late pas­try:

50g un­salted but­ter, cubed

75g plain flour

25g dark co­coa pow­der

2tb­sps caster sugar Cold water

For the top­ping:

2 small ba­nanas, sliced thinly into rounds

20g un­salted but­ter

5tb­sps caster sugar Squeeze lemon Pinch of salt

For the sauce:

100g caster sugar

2tb­sps water

250ml dou­ble cream

¼-1/2tsp salt

3tb­sps rum

Method

Cre­ate your ‘pans’ first. You’ll need grease­proof pa­per, tin foil and a 12cm round pas­try cut­ter.

Draw four cir­cles on the grease­proof pa­per with the cut­ter and cut out. Cut out four squares of foil just larger than the grease­proof.

Pop the pa­per on top of the foil and scrunch the edges of the foil up around the pa­per cir­cle to make an ‘edge’.

Now make the pas­try. Pop the but­ter, co­coa, sugar and flour in a bowl and rub into bread­crumbs. Add enough cold water to bind to­gether into a dough, wrap and chill for 30 min­utes.

For the ba­nanas, place the but­ter, salt and sugar in a fry­ing pan on a low heat to melt the sugar, then turn up the heat un­til it turns golden. Add the ba­nanas and care­fully toss them to coat. Us­ing a cou­ple of small spoons place the ba­nanas, in a sin­gle layer, in your pre­pared cir­cles, and spoon over some of the cook­ing syrup. Set aside.

Make the sauce.

Place the sugar and water in a pan and cook on low un­til the sugar has dis­solved. Turn up the heat and cook un­til it turns am­ber in colour. Add the salt and care­fully pour in the cream. Sim­mer on low, whisk­ing, un­til thick, then add the rum and set aside.

Flour a sur­face and roll out your chilled pas­try to 3mm thick. Cut into 12cm cir­cles and press over the top of the pre­pared ba­nanas.

Place in the oven at 210°C for 10 min­utes. Once cooked, leave for a cou­ple of min­utes, and turn out onto serv­ing plates. The pa­per and foil will peel straight off. Serve with a driz­zle of sauce and some cream.

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