Winter has come to The Ranges. And with it the urge to do nothing but position one’s pasty loins beside the fire, devour bottles of red wine, watch marathon sessions of ‘Don’t Tell the Bride’ and eat. Pasta with gloopy, creamy sauces. Potatoes smashed with butter and shitloads of salt. Pizza drooping under the weight of quattro formaggio. Pies. Hot puffy pies!
|If the producers of "Julie and Julia" don't call soon, I'll eat my pie hat!|
The first pies appeared around 9500 BC, in the Egyptian Neolithic period. Early pies were known as galettes, wrapping honey as a treat inside a cover of ground oats, wheat, rye or barley. These galettes developed into a form of early sweet pastry or desserts, evidence of which can be found on the tomb walls of the Pharaoh Ramesses II, who ruled from 1304 to 1237 BC.
Yesterday, having very little experience in the world of pie-making, I bravely attempted some of the mushroom variety. And lo and behold they were pretty, pretty good. Certainly Mr R had a hard time resisting Mrs R’s Flakey Fungus Pie. Herewith the recipe…
I began by roasting a handful of peeled shallots with some seasoning, a little olive oil and a splash of water until they were pearly and tender. Meanwhile, atop the stove, I sautéed four finely chopped cloves of garlic, one finely chopped red onion and three sticks of sliced celery (with plenty of leafage). Once tender I added lots of roughly chopped mushrooms! There were oyster ones, shitake ones, button ones and dried porcini ones (that had been soaking in about half a cup of boiling water). Then in went a large knob of butter and plenty of S&P. Once the mushrooms had cooked down a little, I added a couple of decent glugs of red wine, a ‘chicken’ stock cube, about a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar, a generous tablespoon each of finely chopped fresh thyme and tomato paste and finally the porcini liquid until all was a bubbling, fragrant stew. (You may need some extra liquid to achieve the stew-like consistency – I added a couple of tablespoons of water at this point). Having left the mixture to simmer for approximately ten to fifteen minutes, I then mixed in a tablespoon of cornflour and about 100ml of thickened cream and stirred until the liquid became a thick gravy. At this point I added the roasted shallots, seasoned to taste, and left the filling to cool…
Once cooled it was time to assemble the pies. Still not being the owner of a functioning food processor I went the way of supermarket puff pastry squares which I thawed for about ten minutes until pliable. Using a suitably sized saucer I cut out six large rounds for the pie bases and six smaller ones for the lids. Having already greased six large muffin cases, I lined each with pastry and filled them with the mushroom mixture which was now quite meaty and thick. On went the lids into which I sliced several air holes. Master R then decorated them with an odd assortment of shapes and brushed the tops with beaten egg yolk. Into the oven (at 180) they went for about 25 minutes, until golden. They were then allowed to stand for 10 minutes before being demolished alongside beetroot roasted with orange and thyme, and a feta and walnut salad. Hot puffy pies!
|Master R applies the egg wash|