Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Mushroom pie ~

This pie is a great all-rounder: it's great as a mains dish when flanked by streamed potatoes and vegetables or salad, and is just as good for a light lunch or snack, hot or cold.  It is also good to take to gatherings as it's easy serve and you can eat it with your fingers - no knife and fork to grapple with.  Cut into slices it is easy to freeze and later reheat.

In the pie photographed I had rolled the extra pastry into a 'snake' and placed it onto the pie in the spiral pattern once I'd put in all the ingredients.  Decorating the surface of the pie is a good way to use up scaps of pastry. 

You will need a metal pie tin - 20 to 25cms in diameter, as the pastry simply won't cook crisply in a glass or china pan. 

  • Onion - 1
  • Capsicum - half to one of these.  I think yellow capsicums are best with mushrooms, but other colours are fine.  
  • Oil - just enough to saute the above
  • Mushrooms -  125grams. 
  • Thyme - a pinch - this is the secret ingredient in cooking delicious mushrooms, but don't overdo it!
  • Salt - a little to taste
  • Milk - quarter of a cup
  • Eggs - 2
  • Flour - 1 Tablespoon
  • Mustard powder - half teaspoon
  • Sour cream - half a cup
  • Cheese, grated - from one to one and a half cups.
A single sheet of a standard shop-bought of puff or flaky pastry will do - 20-25 cm pastry square

Or - make your own.  I have made this one but it is fairly rich, so no good for those of us now on cholesterol-reducing diets!  It's a while since I made this, so I can't recall if it makes enough for one pie or two.  I think it's enough for two!  If it's more than you need the extra amount can be wrapped and put in the freezer for the next pie. 

Cheese pastry:
  • Flour - 2 cups
  • Salt - half a teaspoon
  • Butter - 100gms
  • Cheese, grated - 50 gms or half a cup
  • Milk - half a cup or perhaps a little more
  • Vinegar - 1 teaspoon
A food processor can be used to put this together.  
Grate or chop butter and whiz with the flour and grated cheese until it's the consistency of fresh breadcrumbs.  Then add the milk and vinegar and whiz briefly to combine.  Do not whiz it until it becomes a ball of dough!  Tip out and gather up the 'crumbs' and chill or roll out as required. 

This pie is baked at 220 degrees Celsius, so make sure you preheat the oven in plenty of time.  
  • Make the pastry, or if using a shop-bought sheet fit one to your lightly greased tin.
  • Grate the cheese and spread it over the uncooked pastry.
  • Beat the eggs, milk, flour, mustard powder and sour cream together and set aside.  
  • Chop up the vegetables, setting aside the mushrooms.
  • Saute the onions, capsicum thoroughly in a little oil.  
  • When they are well cooked add the sliced mushrooms and thyme.  Do be careful not to overcook the mushrooms - they should be tender but not starting to lose moisture into the pan.  This makes a considerable difference: the fully baked pie will be much better in flavour and texture.  
  • Spread the vegetable mixture over the pastry and cheese.
  • Pour the milk and egg mixture over the top of that.  
  • Bake at 220 Degrees Celsius for about 30 minutes or until the filling is set in the centre. 

Removing the pie from the tin:
You don't need to do this before cutting and serving, but I prefer to - but it can just as easily be cut and served directly from the tin.  Here is my method:
  • When cooked lift the pie in its tin out of the oven, loosen the edges of the pastry from the tin by running a table knife around the outside walls of the pastry between the pastry and the tin; place a large dinner plate upside down over the pie while still in the tin and, holding the two carefully together, turn them over.  The pie should now be upside down on the plate, and the pie tin should lift off easily.  Place another dinner plate on the base of the pie and turn it up the other way.  It should now be right side up and ready to cut.  

Notes and tips: 
  • From time to time I've had difficulty with the bottom of the crust not being sufficiently cooked.  If after turning it out you find that the bottom isn't fully cooked slide it onto a metal baking tray or sheet.  Then put it back into the oven for five or ten minutes.  Having it on the baking sheet will enable you to check the browning of the pastry without having to turn it out of the pie dish again! 
  • If freezing it cut into portions first.

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