Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Guest Post: Pumpkin Pie Variation

My friend Judy tried out this flourless variation on the Pumpkin and Blue Cheese Freeform Pie.

So, I thought I’d let you know about our attempt. We made something a little different. The pie itself was cubes of pumpkin, roasted, and bits of red onion, roasted.

 Then with about 100g blue cheese crumbled

and mixed through (with hands).

The pie crust was the really different part. It was hash browns. So, shredded potatoes, rinsed and patted dry on towels, salted…

cooked on the stovetop in a skillet with lid on until the underside was browned and the top a bit cooked, then pushed onto the bottom and up the side of the skillet with the back of a spoon

then cooked in the oven until brown and crisp.

Then add the filling and bake!

The verdict: yummy! But... the crust didn’t work. Hash brown crust completely collapsed (the sidey-bits) when scooped out of the skillet. Sigh. Need quite possibly to pre-cook it longer, both on the stovetop and in the oven. But it was so yummy we’ll be giving it another shot.

Thanks so much for the idea!!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Repeat: Spanish Chicken Pie

I made the Spanish Chicken Freeform pie again tonight for my daughter's Birthday dinner. It was a little different this time.

I followed the pastry instructions as closely as I could: I did not add water like last time, though the pastry did not ball up in the blender like the recipe says it should. It remained very crumbly and difficult to work with. I rolled it out between two sheets of baking paper, but it was still very crumbly. It broke most of the time when I attempted to fold it up. You can see the cracks and leakage that's burnt in the photo.

I got the stock volume correct this time so the filling was perfect. There was too much filling - I'd say 500g of chicken would be plenty.

Even though the pastry was such a pain to work with the resulting pie was absolutely delicious. When next I'm up for a bunch of frustration I'll make it again! I think I'll add a tablespoon or two of water next time.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Pear and Apple Tarte Tatin

I didn't have the energy for anything Earth-shattering tonight so I just threw together a pear and apple tarte tatin (roughly half and half: two and a bit apples, two pears). Used the same old recipe from way back. Sprinkled a little cinnamon onto the lot before baking. Very, very tasty. As usual the fruit shrunk more than I expected - I really need to pack it all in more tightly. Did I mention it was very, very tasty?

Monday, November 4, 2013

Pumpkin and Blue Cheese Freeform Pie

I wanted to make another savoury pie this weekend and decided to try to make a vegetable pie. That's a bit of a challenge for me because I'm not known for my love of chunky vegetable things (ratatouille, for example, is not something I'm very fond of). This pie jumped out at me as I was randomly wandering the Internet looking for inspiration. It's an adaptation of this recipe.

It was absolutely delicious.


  • 500g butternut pumpkin
  • 1 brown onion, sliced
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 100g blue cheese
  • 25g chopped walnut (use up to 100g more if you like walnuts a lot, or sub in pecans if you like)
  • 1 amount (250g flour) rough puff pastry

  1. Make the pastry. The rest of the preparation should give it just enough time to chill.
  2. Pre-heat the oven to 225º C and line two baking sheets with foil or baking paper.
  3. Peel, de-seed and slice the pumpkin flesh thinly. Coat with a bit of olive oil, some salt and the thyme and spread out onto a baking tray. Coat the onion with some oil and salt, and spread it into a single layer on the second tray. Roast the vegetables for 20 minutes.
  4. Pour the balsamic vinegar over the onion to coat, and turn the oven down to 200º C and bake for another 10 minutes.
  5. Roll out the pastry to make a large circle slightly larger than the tray you'll be using to bake the pie. Crumble the cheese onto the pastry leaving a 4cm border. Sprinkle the nut pieces over the cheese and the spread the pumpkin and onion mix over the top of that. Fold the 4cm overlap into the centre and bake for 40-50 minutes. Slightly longer because of the folds, but don't overcook the filling.
I modified the recipe I found at the link by using my simpler pastry. I also altered the vegetable cooking time as the instructions were unclear and my pumpkin ended up a little overcooked. Because of this I ended up not cooking the pie for quite long enough and some of the pastry was undercooked. I also used 100g less of the nuts than the linked recipe as I'm not a big fan of walnuts and I couldn't find pecans.