Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Tiny Grey Cat cooks: PIE.

Hello, kittens!

Sorry for the absence - it's been a bit of a rough couple of weeks, but I'm hoping to have more regular posts up and running soon, so please bear with me!

Well, it is somehow October and autumn is most definitely upon us (hurrah!) and with it comes the entirely acceptable excuse to feast upon a whole host of warming, comforting foods. And what, dear friends, is more warming and comforting than PIE. 

(Note that that isn't a question, because the answer is nothing, obviously.)

A few days ago, on a particularly chilly eve, a strong craving for pie settled over my household and there was nothing for it, but to give in and rustle up a hearty, delicious pastry cocoon of awesome. And I thought it would be nice to share the recipe with you, because I'm nice like that. I think we're all guilty of thinking that homemade meals like pie are too labour intensive, but not so, chickadees! This recipe takes some shortcuts that make it easily achievable on any given day, plus it's easily adaptable for different diets and such. So, without further ado, let's get on with it...

You will need:

  • A pie dish/Pyrex dish/casserole dish...basically a big dish
  • 1 quantity of pastry (shortcrust or puff). Remove from fridge at least 30mins before cooking, otherwise it'll be too stiff and break.
  • 2 medium leeks
  • 2 medium cloves garlic
  • 1 pack of Quorn chicken style pieces
  • Fresh thyme
  • 25g plain flour
  • 1 vegetable stock cube dissolved in 100ml boiling water
  • 200ml Koko coconut milk (plus a little extra)
  • Olive oil (or other oil of your choice) for cooking

Obviously from the ingredients list you can see that this is a vegetarian/almost vegan recipe. You can easily adapt it to your needs by using regular milk/soya milk etc and if you're a meat eater, simply replace the Quorn with chicken and use chicken stock.

The biggest shortcut/cheat is using readymade pastry. I mean, you can make your own if you want, but it's a time consuming process and, frankly, ain't nobody got time for that! I used the larger size in a cardboard box, rather than a packet. 

Right, once you've assembled all your ingredients, start off by chopping up the leeks and the garlic. Heat a glug of oil (I never measure how much) in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Chuck the leeks in and cook for four to five minutes, until beginning to soften.
Add the garlic and cook for a further minute or two, stirring and smooshing everything about. 


The leeks will start to separate out of their rings - I like to just let them do their thing, as it's nice to have a mix of some thinner bits and some more chunky texture.

Next, add in the Quorn pieces and stir them into the leek mixture. Let that a cook away for a while (turn down the heat a little if necessary) whilst you chop up some fresh thyme. Now, I'm not very good at measuring how much of things I use; I'm more of a bung stuff in kinda cook, but as a guide, I used this much, plus another two sprigs:


Excuse my badly chipped nail polish.

Chop it up finely - I don't know if you're supposed to, but I tend to pull the leaves off of the stalks, because who wants bits of cooked twigs getting in the way of enjoying their pie? Not me, that's who.



So then chuck the thyme into the Quorn/leek mixture and give it a good stir. Allow to continue to cook until the Quorn bits are hot all the way through. There should be enough moisture from the leeks to keep everything, erm, lubricated, but if anything starts sticking to the pan, turn the heat down (definitely don't have it on high at any point) and maybe add a tad more oil. We're not aiming for browning the mix. 

Next, add the flour, stock and milk (I did it in that order) and stir in to create a thick, creamy sauce. If it's a bit too thick, add more milk a little splash at a time, until you like the consistency. You don't want it too thick, because some will evaporate in the oven, leaving it too dry, but you also don't want it too thin. Excuse the blurry photo, but it should look something like this, with everything coated and a little extra sauce:



Check the taste and adjust seasoning as you see fit. I added a tiny bit of salt and a good grind of black pepper. Once you're happy with it, pour it into your pie dish.


And spread it out evenly, like so. 

Side note: This pie also saves time by only having pastry on the top. This also saves your waistline. You're welcome. BUT, on those days when only a double whammy of pastry will do, you can line your pie dish with pastry and blind bake it until pale golden, before adding the filling.

You need to leave the filling to cool for a while if possible, so at this point, try your utmost not to just devour the filling with a wooden spoon, because trust me, you will want to. I definitely did not eat any of it. 

Maybe a tiny morsel, ssshh.
I think I only let mine cool for about ten minutes in the end, but leave it a tad longer if possible, as my pastry started to melt a bit when I put it on the pie dish. Is any of this making sense? Am I talking too much? Stick with it, remember, PIE! 

Unwrap the pastry and depending on the size of your pie dish, roll it out so that it's big enough to cover it in one piece. To make life easier for yourself, loosely roll/hang the pastry over a rolling pin to gently drape over the pie dish until covered. Trim off any overhang with a sharp knife and gently press around the edges to seal. You can pinch the edges into a slightly thicker crust if you like that sort of thing, or press a fork around the edge to make a nice pattern. I didn't bother, but I did cut out a few cutesy shapes to decorate, see?

I also cut a little hole for steam to escape, but this proved unnecessary.
In my experience it's best not to go too overboard with decoration, as it affects the pastry cooking properly underneath. If you like your pastry to go super crispy and shiny, brush the top lightly with egg wash or milk before it goes in the oven.

And finally! Bake in the oven at 200˚C/400˚F/Gas mark 6 (lower if yours is a fan oven) until golden brown. The original recipe says 25 minutes, but mine took more like 35-40 in a gas oven.

Oops, slightly burnt the edges.


Remove from oven and PUT PIE IN YOUR FACE.

Let me know if you make it, or if you have any yummy pie recipes to share, by leaving a comment! 

Now go forth and eat pie :)

Until next time xx




The original recipe I adapted mine from can be found here.

All images used are taken by and are the property of Tiny Grey Cat, unless otherwise credited. The use of any image from this blog without express permission is strictly prohibited. 


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