Monday, 29 July 2013

Baking Eggless July Challenge - Savory Pie

Have you ever experienced doing something based on someone's guidance only to vary the execution to suit your needs and situation at every step of the way such that the end result is completely different but yet a success? More specifically in cooking, we start with a tried and tested recipe given. We adapt and adjust to ingredients available or permitted and vary it along the way. And at the final stages of cooking we keep our fingers crossed hoping the final outcome of the dish is as expected. The joy when the dish turns out successful is a clear indicator that inspite of the variations we did get the technique right and we nailed it.

This months Eggless Baking Challenge was Savory Meat-Pie from Saveur with the option to vary the stuffing as per our choice.

I had no meat at home this weekend, so meat stuffing was ruled out. Mushrooms were the next natural choice, but I did not have mushrooms either. So I went through other options from Popina's book. There is a whole section on savory pies in this book. But unfortunately for no recipe do we get all ingredients in this part of the world. Spinach and garlic, sorry not available. Feta and tomatoes, what is that? just to name a few options.
I could not choose any of those recipes but got some ideas on what veggies go with what spices/herbs and how to prepare the veggies before stuffing them in the pie shells. What did I finally choose? Keep reading to the end...

I am not presenting the original recipe for the stuffing this time. The egg substitution was only for the pastry dough. So here goes the original recipe for the dough.

4 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
1¼ cups lard or vegetable shortening
2 eggs, beaten


For the dough: Sift together flour and salt in a large bowl. Using a pastry cutter or 2 knives, cut in lard; then add up to 1 cup ice water, stirring with a fork until dough holds together. Transfer to a lightly floured surface, and shape into 2 balls. Roll out each ball until ¼'' thick. Use a 3'' round cutter to cut 36 circles from each half of dough. Fit half the circles into 2 ½'' round fluted tart tins. Fill each with 1 tbsp. filling, and cover each with remaining dough circles. Seal edges with a fork. Brush with egg wash, and prick top once.

I scaled the recipe down, varied the butter to flour ratio slightly and substituted a little all-purpose flour with wheat flour. I made 6 small tarts and 6 medium tarts with this recipe.

My egg-less version follows:
For the Dough
1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup - wheat flour
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup - cold butter
1/4 cup - cold milk
2-4 tbsp - cold water

Sift together flour and salt. Cut the butter into the flour and gently rub it with fingers together until you get a crumbly mixture. Sprinkle the milk as you combine the flour with your fingers. If the dough comes together then you are done. If not add a tablespoon of cold water at a time and try to bring the dough together with the finger tips only, without kneading. 

For the filling:
Potatoes - 2 medium sized, sliced in rectangles. 
Onions - 2 medium sized, diced
Sweet Corn kernels - 1/4 cup

Olive Oil - 1 1/2 tbsp

Pepper - 1/2 tsp
Salt - 1 tsp (or to taste)
Thyme - 1/4 tsp
Oregano - 1/4 tsp (optional)
Basil - 1/4 tsp (optional)

Cheese, grated - 1/4 cup (I used cheddar) See Note
Garlic paste - 1/2 tbsp

Preheat oven to 200 degrees C. Combine the potatoes, onions and sweet corn with the spices and olive oil. Arrange on a roasting tray and bake for 20 minutes at 200 degrees C. Allow it to cool for 10 mins.
Combine the roasted vegetables with the binding ingredients (cheese and garlic), and keep aside. 

Roll out the dough and cut out circles that will just cover the tart tins. Grease the tart tins slightly and line the bottom and sides of the tart tins with 4 mm thickness of dough. Stuff as much filling as possible and place the cut out circle on top. Try to seal the edges. If the edges do not seal then you can skip pricking the top. If the edges seal well then prick with a fork. Brush the tops with milk or egg-wash. I always use milk to brush the tops. 

Preheat oven to 200 degrees C. Place the filled out tart tins on a baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes or until the tops turn golden brown. 

Note:You could add more cheese if you like your filling very cheesy. You could use pizza cheese too if you please.

These were delectable - mildly spiced and utterly delicious filling. I only felt that the filling could have been a little juicier. The idea was to add cream and cornflour paste to add to the moisture content, but I was out of cream too. I plan to try it out next time with either extra cheese or cream filling. So I finally decided to call it potato-corn-cheesy pie. What do you say?
 priya's signature image at photobucket


Rafeeda AR said...

amazing tarts...

Ramya Krishnamurthy said...

yummy pie and love the filling

Gayathri Kumar said...

Beautiful looking pies. And delicious filling too...

Malvecka said...

These mini pies look super cute....the filling looks delicious & cheesy!!