Archive for the ‘Pastry’ Category

Mini Silverbeet, Egg & Ricotta Pies

In Baking, Egg, Pastry, Pie on September 5, 2012 at 6:49 am



I’ve had a pie craving all winter (especially since I discovered this new pastry method) yet I just haven’t had the time or occasion to make all the pies I wanted to. However, a small series of events (visiting my parents, a shared lunch) meant that I finally got my chance. I made a batch of this ricotta using raw milk from my parents’ farm with an idea in mind of making spinach and ricotta pie. Once I’d made the ricotta, returned to Auckland and actually got around to cooking, I decided that making numerous small pies would be an infinitely better idea, especially for a shared lunch! I also figured that silverbeet would made a good substitute for spinach, seeing as I still have lots of silverbeet in my garden. And then, top it all off, I saw a recipe that included whole egg yolks with the ricotta and spinach which made me think of Italian Easter Pie, similar to this improvised version I made a while back.

I was really pleased with the end result – though definitely was a bit short on the silverbeet filling. I still have some pastry left, so may even make a couple more pies tonight!

If you are keen on making these, the method is quite simple.

Make pastry using this method and recipe, or else use bought pastry (Ek!)

Set pastry aside.

Take a head of fresh spinach or silverbeet (or use equivalent frozen), rinse and steam briefly for a few minutes until wilted. Drain and squeeze out excess moisture. Chop with kitchen scissors or a knife. Set aside.

Peel and chop 1 green onion and a garlic clove. Sautee until softened in a little olive oil. Add silverbeet to pan, along with some salt and pepper, chopped herbs (I just used parsley) as well as a pinch of nutmeg. Remove from heat, cool slightly and beat in 1 egg. Mix ricotta (around 300-400 g, depending on your ricotta – mine is super thick) with some chopped herbs, salt and an egg.

Oil some ramekins (I used 3 around 11 x 6 cm in size) using a small bowl of oil and a pastry brush. Divide pastry dough into small balls to match size and number of ramekins –  it’s likely there will be some leftover pastry, so store in the fridge or freeze or for later use. Roll out on a floured bench until thin. Line ramekin with pastry, trimming off any excess. Fill with a layer of silverbeet, then ricotta, then silverbeet again. Make a small well in top of silverbeet. Separate an egg and place egg yolk in well. Roll out enough pastry to make a lid for the pie. Crimp edges together and brush with olive oil. Do the same for the remaining ramekins.

Cook for roughly 45 minutes in a preheated 180 degrees oven. Eat and enjoy!


Hare, Hare, Hare! And pie.

In Main meals, Pastry, Pie on August 6, 2012 at 3:33 am

I was lucky enough to be presented with another hare from my parents and decided to give cooking it another go. I more or less ended up doing the same two things with it that I did last time, but I definitely think this was a improvement! Though perhaps a bit more work. I got the recipe for civet of hare (or jugged hare) from this blog, which I will definitely look to in future if I find myself endowed with a hare or rabbit again. The recipe itself is seriously involved, but well worth the effort and packed full of flavour. Like last time, I didn’t find the meat to be tough at all, and despite the many steps in the recipe, I didn’t find it too hard to follow either. The only thing that I don’t think I fully nailed was the thickening part at the end, but it wasn’t really ruined like the recipe suggests is possible if that doesn’t quite work.

I’m afraid I didn’t really photograph the hare during the civey process, except for what the pot looked like just before marinating the meat for a night. Look at the beautiful colour! And that isn’t just from the red wine and brandy marinade…

After the civet, which I served to my friends, I wanted to find a different way to use the leftovers. I was torn between a recipe I’ve been wanting to try ages, which was for a hunter’s risotto, but also was craving a hare pie, similar to the one I made last time. In the end I decided I didn’t really have the meat called for in the risotto recipe, so went for pie again. How can you go wrong with pie? Besides, I’m getting rusty, I haven’t made one for a while. I also had a new pastry recipe and technique in mind – so decided to combine them with the leftover civet, without any other alterations.

The pastry recipe comes from 101 cookbooks, and the technique from here, via 101 cookbooks.

This was what the pie looked like before going into the oven. I am actually really excited about this new technique for making pastry (well, new to me anyway) and will definitely be using it in the future. It just makes the pastry so much stronger and easy to use, so is definitely worth the extra time. I will probably make a double batch to freeze next time I do it. I also like the rye flour variation suggested by 101 cookbooks, I thought it would compliment the hare well. However, I ended up with more pastry than I expected and got really excited, so I used my giant pie dish (which never happens) but unfortunately didn’t quite have as much hare as I thought, which is why the shape is a perhaps a bit odd. There was also a bit too much liquid in the civet, so I really had to wait until the pie had cooled completely before it could really be eaten. The photos at the top were actually taken the following morning, which is why the colour is somewhat bleached out. It made a lovely, rich, hearty breakfast. I have put half of it in the freezer, so I can treat myself with it later. All up, can’t wait until I can have another round with some hare! This is what the pie looked like out of the oven:



Elvis Style Pie #1: Banana Coconut Chiffon Pie

In Baking, Dessert, Entertaining, Pastry, Pie on March 29, 2012 at 6:13 am

Banana Coconut Chiffon Pie

A while ago I discovered “Are You Hungry Tonight?” by Brenda Arlene Butler. The book is comprised of a selection of Elvis’ favourite recipes (including how to make his wedding cake) and supplemented with these adorable (yet dated) comments and descriptions which accompany the recipes. It’s from 1992, if that helps. Being a big pie fan, I thought I’d start with the pie section of the cookbook. There’s about 5 that I want to make, hence why this post is Elvis Style Pie #1. I chose the Banana Chiffon as we had some bananas sitting around the flat getting increasingly ripe, so they were just crying out to be used….along with some leftover cream. Unfortunately this pie is one of those dishes that tastes fantastic, but unfortunately doesn’t look as beautiful as some other pies, so photographing it was a bit of a challenge. I did the best I could – but I have to say, irrespective of how it looks it’s pretty hard to go wrong with banana, coconut, egg whites and beaten cream.

I feel compelled to post the description that accompanies the recipe in “Are You Hungry Tonight?” as it really is quite endearing. It reads as follows:

“Imagine you’re driving through the South in the 1950s. Your way is marked by the old white US Highway interstate shields, not the red, white and blue of the Interstate signs. The place names crop up on little white signs, not those huge green things. Memphis. Jackson. Tupelo. Shreveport. It gets awfully hot in the car, so you swing into one of those little roadside cafes for a glass of iced tea. My, but it’s cool inside. They’ve got one of those little glass cases with all the pies displayed, and goodness, doesn’t the banana coconut chiffon look good!

As you leave, and push through the screen door, a big Cadillac with a bunch of boys in it pulls up. You chat a bit and they tell you they’re headed to Shreveport to sing on the radio – on the Louisiana Hayride. You wish them well and promise to tune in.”


Recipe is as follows:

baked 9 inch pie shell

1 envelope unflavoured gelatin (about 2, 1/2 tbsp)

3 eggs, separated

1 cup mashed ripe bananas

1/3 cup sugar

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup cream

1/3 cup finely grated coconut

Soften gelatin in 1/4 cup cold water. In the top of a double boiler (2 saucepans), slightly beat the egg yolks. Stir in the bananas, sugar and salt. Cook over boiling water, stirring constantly, until slightly thickened. Remove from heat and add the softened gelatin to the banana mixture. Stir until the gelatin is completely dissolved. Chill the mixture until it begins to thicken.

In a large bowl, beat the cream until stiff. Beat the egg whites until stiff, but not dry. Fold first the egg whites, then the cream, then the coconut, into the banana mixture. Pour into pre prepared pastry shell (cooled). Chill the pie until firm and set, about 4 hours. Garnish with additional whipped cream or slice bananas. I chose to serve my pie with a little extra grated coconut and a good dollop of Greek yoghurt!

My first slice...

Two slices down already...

Check out that texture!

A Tea Party with Scones and Everything

In Baking, Entertaining, Pastry on March 12, 2012 at 9:50 am

It was my Birthday!

The occasion called for tea, scones and fairy bread. It also called for pastries, cheesecake and wine.

Oh the scones. Here’s what happened:

The oven was preheated to 230C,

a 1/4 cup of diced butter was rubbed into 4 cups of self-raising flour with a pinch of salt,

a tablespoon of lemon juice was stirred into 1 2/3 cups of milk and left to stand for a minute

and then it was mixed gently into the dry mixture to make a soft dough.

It was kneaded lightly on the floured benchtop,

rolled out,

rounds were cut with a cookie cutter,

placed on the greased baking tray,

brushed with milk

and then baked for twenty minutes, or so.

Far right is a monster scone.

and HERE, they’re a bit ugly I suppose and I can’t pretend to perfectionism. I do take delight in peculiarites! Isn’t that fortunate.

How perhaps to eat a scone:

Fresh, with butter, cream and gloopy jam.

The recipe came from the exceedingly beautiful Complete Comfort Food. I hear clotted cream is pretty ideal and superb when it comes to this sort of thing. alas!

I’ll just quickly show you the pastry things, the spinach and feta parcels were somewhat of an invention and the Schweineöhrchen (based on a recipe in my beloved German baking book) used the leftover pastry.

Here, took (flaky) pastry, spinach, crushed garlic, ground nutmeg, chopped almonds, feta, salt, pepper and some imagination.

Spinach & Feta Parcels

Schweineöhrchen. I guess it translates as 'little pig ears'. They consist of flaky pastry, rolled up with butter and sugar. And then more sugar. And dipped in syrup for the hell of it (this part however not prescribed in the recipe).

I will admit they looked quite different in the book. Baked them too long for a start! There’s always next time and the time after that.