And a pretty one, at that...
I really want to build up a repertoire of stuff I should just know how to make.
Like, people on Masterchef just say "Yeah, I'm gonna make a chocolate mousse tart."
"I'm going to whip up some fresh pasta and do a panna cotta for dessert."
"I'm making fresh bread and dumplings."
How do you know how to make all that? They just know.
One thing that's been on my list is pie crust- once you know how to make it, you can adapt it for a sweet or a savoury pie.
I also want to work on my creativity and inventing my own recipes instead of working with a recipe. I had an initial pie idea, but my parents weren't too sure on it... maybe I'll try it someday anyway just to see how it turns out...
I wanted to steer away from the usual creamy, cheesy interior and make a lighter pie (well, as light as you can get when you're dumping a cup of butter into the shell...).
I worked surprisingly fast- don't ask me why or how, but the filling, layering and closing was done in about an hour. I made and blind-baked the dough in advance-- oh; and I used my old marbles for blind-baking! Talk about being creative.
I was so thrilled with my lattice, too. I found superb instructions on Smitten Kitchen and it was loads of fun... it's like art!
My sister, the pie-loving-pie-munching-pie-obsessed girl thoroughly approved and shotgunned taking the leftover slice to school the next day.
I passed the Ultimate Taste-Tester Test :)
I have a really cool idea for my next pie dough (it's a surprise!) and I can't wait to try and make a sweet pie with almond flour and honey... I have a new-found love for honey, sparked by the lovely stuff we got in France.
So go and have some fun: make a sticky dough -I used Lottie + Doof's recipe (all hail)- make a pesto-y roast vegetable filling (or work with fish, chicken or soy protein), weave a beautiful lattice, and enjoy pretty pie.
From Lottie + Doof
Whisk flour, sugar, and salt in large bowl to blend. Add butter and rub in with fingertips until small pea-size clumps form. Add 5 tablespoons ice water; mix lightly with fork until dough holds together when small pieces are pressed between fingertips, adding more water by teaspoonfuls if dough is dry. Gather dough together; divide into two pieces. Form each piece into a ball, then flatten into disk and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes. Can be made up to two days ahead. Keep chilled. Let soften slightly before rolling out. Bake at 450 F or 220 C.
Blind baking helps if your filling won't take too long to cook as it prevent the pastry from being undercooked. Use baking beads, kidney beans or marbles (but we later realised the marbles could have shattered...) and bake until the crust gets some faint colour and looks more solid, about 10-15 minutes. Be careful not to weigh the base down too much, or the baking paper will get stuck to the dough.
Pesto, Spinach, Broccoli and Cottage Cheese Filling
This is a very rough recipe... I'm still getting used to inventing my own stuff, so I never recorded anything. So just go with your inner little chef :) (anyone seen Ratatouille?)
Broccoli, washed and chopped small
Fresh spinach, washed and roughly chopped
Fresh basil leaves, washed
A large handful of walnuts
A spoon or two of heavy cream (optional)
Parmesan cheese, grated
Fresh or dried rosemary (separated from the stalk)
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 a medium red onion, peeled and finely chopped
Make your pesto sauce by blending the basil, walnuts, a clove of garlic and the grated parmesan (however much you want) in a food processor. Add some milk and a bit of cream (if you want) and blend again. Add more if you want more volume or viscosity. Season with salt and pepper.
Heat a small dollop of butter (if you want) and a good glug of olive oil in a skillet and add a generous amount of rosemary leaves. After a minute or two, add the onions and let them 'sweat', turning translucent and soft. Shake in some oregano and basil powder. Add your garlic and make sure it doesn't burn.
Add the broccoli and spinach, stirring well to let the spinach wilt. Season well with salt, pepper, oregano and basil and drizzle some more olive oil over the pan.
Let the broccoli get tender- not too crunchy, not too mushy.
Crumble some cottage cheese into the mixture and mix well. Add more, depending on how much filling you need. Mix in the pesto sauce and add salt and pepper if necessary.
Fill your pie shell and form your lattice. Smitten Kitchen's instructions are perfect.
Brush some egg over the top and bake until the crust is a nice golden colour, around 45 minutes (but your time may vary- don't under or overcook it for the sake of matching the time!)
Let it cool before serving. The pie can be heated up by placing it in a warm oven for a few minutes.