Who says that a savoury pie has to have meat in it to be good? This pie is absolutely fabulous! I found the recipe for it on Lesley's Kitchen, who got it from Holly Bell on the Great British Bakeoff. I adapted it to use the cheese which I had here in the house and it was totally delish! A bit fiddly with the making of the pastry, but absolutely worth all of the fiddle! We were all drooling over it in this house!
The pastry is what I would call a “Rough Puff”pastry. It's very crisp and flaky and rises nicely. I actually like it a lot more than store bought puff pastry . . . and it wasn't really hard to do at all. It went together very easily. You simply mix together equal parts of lard and butter. You rub a fourth of it into the flour/salt mixture, add some vinegar and water and then roll it out into a rectangle. Then you dot it with another fourth of the butter mixture and fold it like a book into thirds, chill for five minutes and then repeat another two times, leaving it to chill for half an hour the last time.
The end result is delicious and crisp and just really, REALLY nice! The filling is not that hard either. There is no bottom pastry, just top. You simply caramelize some onions, boil some potato slices, and then layer them in a pie dish with a cheese and cream mixture and a mix of grated cheeses. (SO lots of cheese!
You attach a thin strip of pastry all around the pie dish for the top crust to adhere to, so it seals the pie up nicely . . . then pop on the crust and seal it all around. I decorated mine a bit with trimmings as you can see. I would have been a bit more inventive than just writing the word Pie in trimmings, but I got rather lazy. Little cut out flowers or hearts would be nice . . .
Washed with a bit of egg wash and vented the pie is then popped into the oven for half an hour on high and then a further hour at a lower temperature . . . so that the pastry puffs up nice and golden brown and crisp . . .
And the insides with all those scrummy caramelized onions, and potatoes . . . cream and cheese . . . all meld together in unctuous gloriosity! (I made that word up. Don't you like it?) Altogether this pie is fabulously delicious.
This is a once in a blue moon treat that will have your family oohing and aahing all around the table . . . and please sir-ing for just one more piece. You won't even miss the meat. I gurantee, which makes it perfect for meatless Monday and if you use vegetable shortening instead of lard, quite vegetarian friendly. (I used shortening because my lard was a bit too old and I wasn't sure about using it.It worked out beautifully.)
Makes 9-inch pie
For the pastry :
75g unsalted butter, room temperature (1/4 cup plus 1 TBS)
about 150ml chilled water (5 fluid ounces)
Roll the pastry out on lightly floured board, working in one direction only and turning it a quarter turn each time, to a circle larger than the pie dish. Trim off some of the pastry all the way around. Brush the edge of the pie dish with some egg wash and adhere the trimmings to it. Brush the trimmings with some egg wash. Place the pastry lid on top, pressing down to create a good seal all the way around. Take a fork and gently press all around the edges. You can use any off cuts of pastry to decorate the pie as desired. Brush with the remaining egg wash. Cut a few steam vents into the top and then place the pie into the heated oven. Bake for 30 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 180*C/350*F/ gas mark 4. Bake the pie for one further hour, until golden brown. If you think the pie is browning too quickly cover lightly with some foil. Serve hot.
This was a tiny bit more fiddly than most of my recipes, but do trust me when I tell you it is well worth any effort taken. This is repeatable. Totally. Bon Appetit!
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