Scotch Egg Pie

January 24, 2014

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So I can’t believe it, but apparently it’s the New Year! And quite a few days into it I must admit. Hmmm….I seem to have been a very neglectful blogger. In my defense, I have had quite a bit going on around here recently, you know, the usual Thanksgiving/ Christmas hysteria, but I also had several vacations, a family health scare and a small house fire…I will tell you all about those things a bit later, I promise. But enough excuses. Let me start anew by saying “Happy New Year” to all you folks out there on the “interwebs”. I would go on to tell you some nonsense about how I had made a resolution to blog faithfully every Tuesday and Thursday, but I think we all know that would be quite optimistic, bordering on delusional. Life just has a way of making a mess of those types of declarations, so I think I won’t bother. I’ll just get back into the swing of things with this great recipe for Scotch Egg Pie,  just in time for the upcoming Robert Burns Night celebrations on January 25th!

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Throughout the world, though especially in Scotland, folks will be celebrating with a Burns Night Supper to mark the occasion. Robert Burns was born in 1759 and is regarded as the National Poet of Scotland. I’m quite a Burns fan myself and will certainly be raising my glass to The Bard this weekend. I have given you some great Scottish recipes in the past in case you might be planning a Burn’s Night Supper of you own. Last year it was Cock-a-leekie soup

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which I served with delicious, crusty Struan. Struan, also known as Celtic Harvest Bread, is thought to have taken its name from a town in Western Scotland called Struanmoor, on the Isle of Skye. It was originally enjoyed once a year as a harvest bread, using whatever grains were available from the previous day’s harvest. This is my absolute favourite bread, so it is almost always available in my house. It toasts up particularly brilliantly.

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The year before it was Deviled Scotch Eggs.

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And I had also previously given you the traditional Scotch Egg recipe. If you don’t know what Scotch Eggs are, believe me it is time that you find out! Basically it is  a hard-boiled egg encased in sausage and then deep-fried. Good Lord Have Mercy!

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Now, the Scotch Egg Pie we’re about to discuss was not deep-fried, it was baked. But I just knew from the get-go that it was going to be amazing! I mean how could it not be with the list of ingredients it was sporting…spicy sausage, hard-boiled eggs all wrapped up in a buttery flaky pie crust?!! My husband could hardly contain himself when I teased him with a description of the culinary creation which would soon be arriving on his dinner plate! I think I’ve mentioned before that he absolutely loves any sort of meat pie, pasty, empanadas, etc. He also seems to really have an egg thing. He never tires of them, any and every way you fix them. Now this Scotch Egg Pie checked all of the boxes for him. He knew it would be awesome. And I am happy to say it did meet, if not exceed his expectations. Just delicious!

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I found this recipe on BBC Good Food. The original version called for Lincolnshire sausages. Lincolnshire sausages are a type of pork sausage that is associated with the English county of Lincolnshire. These sausages have more sage spice than the usual peppery or thyme flavours you might find in sausages which hale from other locales. Furthermore, they are coarsely ground rather than minced which gives them a much more chunky texture. Well, I couldn’t find any authentic Lincolnshire sausages here in good old Virginia, but believe you me, there was no scarcity of coarsely ground pork sausage around here, so I just made do. And while I was at it, I bought some really hot spicy sausage, because we definitely like a bit of heat! Red pepper flakes, habañero sauce, jalapeños, or Sriracha…bring it on! I did customize the sausage mixture a bit further as well with the addition of some Worcestershire sauce and parmesan cheese. Oh and I used my favourite short crust pastry recipe which creates the most buttery flaky pie crust imaginable. I’m telling you it is the pie crust of your dreams, is really easy to make and has vodka in it! (Always a welcome addition in my opinion). I suppose just grabbing a box of premade pie crust of the supermarket shelf is easier, but if you do have the time, I highly recommend you try this particular recipe. If you are anything like me, this will be your go-to pie crust recipe from that point on!

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Although I served my Scotch Egg Pie with a lovely green salad and a pint or two… for a casual, simple dinner, I’ve been told that Scotch Egg Pie is normally seen as more of a picnic food than sit down dinner entrée. Indeed I can see how it would be fantastic for a picnic in that it is easy to eat with your fingers, though perhaps a bit messy and tastes equally good at room temperature or piping hot from the oven. It would be great for breakfast, brunch or in a packed lunch as well. And I think it would be a well received addition to any Burns Night Supper. I hope I’ve managed to inspire you with these lovely Scottish dishes. If so, whip some of them up and raise a wee dram and drink a toast to Scotland’s Favourite Son this Saturday.

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Scotch Egg Pie

recipe adapted from: BBC Good Food

Ingredients:

  • 8 medium hard-boiled eggs
  • 2 lbs. sausage
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1 Tablespoon thyme, leaves only
  • 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 100 grams panko
  • 1 batch of short crust pastry (recipe below) or 500 grams of store-bought pie pastry
  • flour, for dusting
  • 1 Tablespoon sesame seeds

Directions:

If you are planning to make your own short crust, remember that it will need to chill 1 hour in the fridge before you plan to roll it out into the pan. You can make the pastry the day before if you are a super-organized, type A planner or if you are pretty laid back and usually just wing-it, start production on this recipe at whatever time a bit earlier than usual would be for you. If you are using store-bought pastry, move on to the next step.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Butter an 8″ springform pan and line the bottom with parchment paper. Or, if you don’t have a springform, just use a regular 8″ round cake tin. Criss-cross two long strips of baking parchment in the tin to aid you when you are ready to lift out the pie.

Place 6 of the eggs in a large saucepan of cold water. Bring to a boil and then remove from heat. Let the eggs stand in pan for 5 minutes, then run cold water into the pan to cool eggs. Peel when cool enough to handle.

Place the sausage in a large mixing bowl. Add the nutmeg, thyme, 75 grams of the panko ( a heaping cup), 1 egg, Worcestershire sauce, parmesan, pepper, salt and mix well. Set aside.

Roll out half of the pastry on a lightly floured surface. Line the baking tin. Scatter the remaining Panko over the base of the pastry.

Pat about one-quarter of the sausage mixture into the bottom of the tin. Arrange the peeled eggs on top, spacing them evenly. Gently pack the remaining sausage mixture around and over the eggs.

Roll out the remaining pastry dough and cover the pie, crimping the edges. Cut a steam hole in the top of the pastry. Beat the remaining egg lightly. Glaze the top of the pastry dough with the egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Place tin on a cookie sheet and bake for 1 hour or until the pork registers 160° F.

Remove pie from the oven and lift it from the tin, or remove the sides if using a springform pan. Place the pie back on the cookie sheet and return it to the oven for 10 minutes or so to brown the sides. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Enjoy!

Perfect Flaky Pie Crust

Originally adapted from: Inspired Taste

Ingredients:

(this recipe makes dough for two pie crusts)

  • 2 1/2 cups (360 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup (227 grams) very cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (2 sticks)
  • 6 tablespoons vodka (chilled)
  • 2 Tablespoons ice water

Directions:

This recipe will make enough dough for two pie crusts. You will need both for this Scotch Egg Pie.

Mix 6 tablespoons of vodka and 2 tablespoons of water. Put in fridge or freezer (don’t forget it) to chill.

Add 1 1/2 cups flour, salt to a food processor. Pulse 2 to 3 times until combined.

Scatter butter cubes over flour and process until a dough or paste begins to form, about 15 seconds. (There should be no uncoated flour).

Scrape bowl, redistribute the flour-butter mixture then add remaining 1 cup of flour. Pulse 4 to 5 times until flour is evenly distributed. (Dough should look broken up and a little crumbly).

Transfer to a medium bowl then sprinkle 6 tablespoons of ice water/vodka over mixture. Using a rubber spatula, press the dough into itself. The crumbs should begin to form larger clusters. If you pinch some of the dough and it holds together, it’s ready. If the dough falls apart, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of extra water/vodka and continue to press until dough comes together.

Remove dough from bowl and place in a mound on a clean surface. Work the dough just enough to form a ball. Cut ball in half then form each half into discs. Wrap each disc with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour, and up to 2 days. You can also freeze it for up to 3 months (just thaw it overnight in the fridge before using).


Mushroom, Onion & Thyme Galette

July 10, 2013

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I don’t know how many of you folks have made that Balsamic Strawberry Galette with that perfect flaky pie crust that I blogged about last week, but here is what I did with the other bit of pie crust that was left over from that recipe. I put it to good use in this unbelievably delicious Mushroom, Onion & Thyme Galette. So savoury and satisfying you will never miss the meat. That’s right, this one is a vegetarian offering, just perfect for meatless Mondays or any other day of the week, as far as I’m concerned!

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You see, I love mushrooms. I can’t tell you how sad I was when I first started dating my husband and he revealed to me that he hated them. “What the what?!!” I was thinking in my head while trying to keep a perfectly calm and sympathetic face. He went on to declare that they were slimy and tasteless and he couldn’t see why anyone bothered eating them at all. Hmmm….Well, I love a challenge and am proud to say that I have won him over to the mushroom lover’s side. Actually it wasn’t that hard to do. I don’t know what kind of trashy shrooms he was nibbling on before but apparently they were dreadful! Now, he eats them with breakfast, he eats them on pizza and he says that this Mushroom, Onion & Thyme Galette is high up there on his lists of favourite dinners.

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I must say I agree. I’ve already told you how head-over-heels I was with this flaky pie crust and the mushroom,onion & thyme filling really did it justice! We served it room temperature (which admittedly is rather balmy this time of year), paired with a little side salad and a bit of wine for a rustic, light supper on a particularly swampy, humid summer night. I’m sure it will be in meal high rotation from this point on since it is truly tasty and would be equally great for brunch, lunch or dinner. I may have even heard of some one (can’t imagine who) sneaking it cold, right out of the fridge around midnight… So if you’ve got any mushroom haters around your house, bring them on into the light with this galette. And if you’re already a convert, you’re going to be one step closer to heaven with this dish!

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Mushroom, Onion & Thyme Galette

recipe from: hip foodie mom for the filling & slightly adapted from inspired taste for the flaky pie crust

Ingredients:

For the crust: (this recipe makes dough for two pie crusts)

  • 2 1/2 cups (360 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup (227 grams) very cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (2 sticks)
  • 6 tablespoons vodka (chilled)
  • 2 Tablespoons ice water

For the filling:

  • olive oil
  • 2 cups onions; sliced and kept in rings or long strips
  • 3-4 cups mushrooms (sliced); I recommend Cremini
  • 2-3 tablespoons fresh thyme (leaves only)
  • kosher salt
  • 2-3 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • less than a ¼ cup shredded mozzarella cheese; shredded so it melts faster (Gruyère would also be great!)
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese for sprinkling over crust

Directions:

For the crust:

This recipe will make enough dough for two pie crusts. The second one can be kept in the fridge for up to two days or frozen for 3 months. If you’re making dough, you may as well make a second one while you’re at it and then you’ll be ahead of the game when preparing your next delicious creation.

Mix 6 tablespoons of vodka and 2 tablespoons of water. Put in fridge or freezer (don’t forget it) to chill.

Add 1 1/2 cups flour, salt to a food processor. Pulse 2 to 3 times until combined.

Scatter butter cubes over flour and process until a dough or paste begins to form, about 15 seconds. (There should be no uncoated flour).

Scrape bowl, redistribute the flour-butter mixture then add remaining 1 cup of flour. Pulse 4 to 5 times until flour is evenly distributed. (Dough should look broken up and a little crumbly).

Transfer to a medium bowl then sprinkle 6 tablespoons of ice water/vodka over mixture. Using a rubber spatula, press the dough into itself. The crumbs should begin to form larger clusters. If you pinch some of the dough and it holds together, it’s ready. If the dough falls apart, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of extra water/vodka and continue to press until dough comes together.

Remove dough from bowl and place in a mound on a clean surface. Work the dough just enough to form a ball. Cut ball in half then form each half into discs. Wrap each disc with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour, and up to 2 days. You can also freeze it for up to 3 months (just thaw it overnight in the fridge before using).
For the filling:

Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. After a minute or 2, add the onions and stir continuously until softened and starting to caramelize, for about 15-18 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.

Wipe out your pan and re-heat the same pan with a few glugs of olive oil over medium-high heat. After a minute or two, add the sliced mushrooms, thyme and season with a little salt and let cook until softened, for about 8-10 minutes.

When softened, add the balsamic vinegar and reduce the heat to medium low. Cook for another 5 minutes, remove from the heat and combine with the cooked onions. Set aside.

For Assembly:

Preheat your oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Transfer one disc (save the other for some other delicious creation) of the pastry dough from the refrigerator to a lightly floured work surface. Roll out to a 12 inch circle. Transfer the dough to a prepared, parchment lined baking sheet.
Sprinkle a bit of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese over the dough where the filling will be placed. This not only adds a lot of flavour, but will also keep the crust from getting soggy – so I’m told. Spoon the onion, mushroom mixture onto the center of the dough, leaving a 2-inch border all around. Gently fold over the pastry border, overlapping the edges as much as possible and gently pressing the folds together.
Brush the folded edges of the crust with an infused or flavoured olive oil. I used parmesan garlic olive oil. Or simply use a beaten egg yolk. Sprinkle flaky sea salt  over the crust. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the crust has become a lovely golden brown. During the last 10 minutes or so of cooking, sprinkle on the shredded mozzarella cheese. Use as little or as much as you want. Let cool for about 20 minutes before cutting and serving.

Enjoy!


Balsamic Strawberry Galette & the best flaky pie crust ever!

July 3, 2013

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OMG! I think I may have just made the perfect pie crust! I am totally serious. I have been making pie crusts for a while now, and it wasn’t like they were bad. They were just somewhat unremarkable. If quizzed about them I probably would have said that I wished they were a bit more flaky, but hey…I am making them from scratch, so I should get extra points for that right? I had read that adding a bit of shortening along with the butter would possibly correct the situation, but that is where I got a bit weird. I didn’t want to add something like Crisco to my pie crust. I was all about the butter and would often replace shortening with butter in various pie crust recipes. Quite a quandary huh? So I’m happy to report, joy oh joy, I have found an all-butter pie crust recipe which also includes vodka in the list of ingredients. Now I must say I like vodka nearly as much as I like butter. And this crust…well to start off with it rolls out like a dream and bakes up to a tasty, flaky, buttery perfection. I will never stray from this recipe again!

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But let me start from the beginning. This great discovery came about when I read the Inspired Taste blog which talked about their favourite flaky pie crust recipe. You should really take a peek at this blog because it is so interesting. Apparently they had also been making their pie crusts the old-fashioned way. You know, cut the butter into the flour until you get little pea-shaped butter/flour pebbles and then add just enough water to make a dough, keeping in mind,  not to handle that dough very much once the water was added. Why? Well because the water combining with flour caused the formation of evil glutens and the more that dough was worked, the more those glutens multiplied, which would result in you baking up a tough old chewy pie crust. Just as an aside, I never heard of a gluten until a couple of years ago. Apparently those sneaky little varmints have been around all this time, hiding in plain sight. I swear I never heard of a “gluten allergy” when I was a kid, or a peanut allergy for that matter, but there are plenty of folks out there now that have figured out just how much havoc those little devils can reek. But back to the pie crust. Gluten is the enemy of tender, flaky pie crusts. So you don’t want a lot of gluten to form. Apparently several years ago Cooks Illustrated came up with the idea of replacing the ice water you would traditionally have added to your butter/flour mix with vodka. As it turns out, vodka does not encourage gluten formation. Yay Vodka! Now Inspired Taste wasn’t as thrilled with the vodka notion as I was. They agreed there was less gluten formation, but they were concerned with the cost of vodka and that they didn’t really keep it in their house routinely. No such problems around here! I always have a stash of vodka at hand, and resolved right then and there that I would be putting it to good use in my pie crusts!

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But that wasn’t the only great tip Inspired Taste was able to impart to me. They went on to say that they had decided that the old cutting-the-butter-into-the-flour method could stand a bit of improvement. They recommended taking half of the flour mixture and whizzing it up with the butter in a food processor to make a butter/flour paste. By doing so, all of that flour would be coated with the butter which would keep moisture out and thus result in less gluten formation. Once this paste was complete you could add the rest of the flour and the liquid. Some glutens would thus be able to form, but just enough, not so little that your crust fell to bits, but not so many that your crust would be tough. So there you have it. A new method for making the perfect pie crust every time! I decided to use a hybrid of Cooks Illustrated and Inspired Taste for my crusts. I used the vodka/water liquid and I also used the improved Inspired taste method and came up with the best pie crust I have ever made.

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Now this recipe makes enough for two crusts, and I’m only revealing what I did with one of them in this post. You’ll have to check back in to hear about flaky pie crust number two. But anyway, on the first day I made this Balsamic Strawberry Galette. I love galettes. They are so rustic and easy! Strawberries are one of my favourite fruits, taking a backseat only to apples. But unlike apples, strawberries are in season now and I just couldn’t resist them when I went to the market.

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This galette recipe really lets the fresh strawberry flavour shine. You just add a bit of honey and a little balsamic vinegar to those juicy sweet fresh berries. Once that amazing pie crust is ready to go you just roll it out, which it does like a breeze. Drain those macerated strawberries, reserving the liquid for later drizzling, mound them in the center of the dough and then fold those edges over. Don’t forget to sprinkle the crust with Demerara sugar which will give it a lovely sweet crunch. I served this Strawberry Galette drizzled with strawberry juice and topped with vanilla ice cream. It was just the perfect summer dessert! If you add in a fresh blueberry or two you would have the oh so patriotic red, white a blue colour scheme for your 4th of July celebrations, which would be the perfect time to show off your newly acquired mad pie making skills!

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Balsamic Strawberry Galette

recipe adapted from: the busty baker (strawberry filling) and inspired taste (flaky pie crust)

Ingredients:

For the flaky pie crust:

  • 2 1/2 cups (360 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup (227 grams) very cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (2 sticks)
  • 6 tablespoons vodka (chilled)
  • 2 Tablespoons ice water

For the filling:

  • 16 ounces fresh strawberries, sliced
  • 3 tablespoons honey, plus more for drizzling
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • Demerara sugar for sprinkling over pie crust

Directions:

For the flaky pie crust:

Mix 6 tablespoons of vodka and 2 tablespoons of water. Put in fridge or freezer (don’t forget it) to chill.

Add 1 1/2 cups flour, salt to a food processor. Pulse 2 to 3 times until combined.

Scatter butter cubes over flour and process until a dough or paste begins to form, about 15 seconds. (There should be no uncoated flour).

Scrape bowl, redistribute the flour-butter mixture then add remaining 1 cup of flour. Pulse 4 to 5 times until flour is evenly distributed. (Dough should look broken up and a little crumbly).

Transfer to a medium bowl then sprinkle 6 tablespoons of ice water/vodka over mixture. Using a rubber spatula, press the dough into itself. The crumbs should begin to form larger clusters. If you pinch some of the dough and it holds together, it’s ready. If the dough falls apart, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of extra water/vodka and continue to press until dough comes together.

Remove dough from bowl and place in a mound on a clean surface. Work the dough just enough to form a ball. Cut ball in half then form each half into discs. Wrap each disc with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour, and up to 2 days. You can also freeze it for up to 3 months (just thaw it overnight in the fridge before using).

For the filling:

In a medium bowl, toss sliced strawberries with honey and balsamic vinegar to coat. Let stand for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Right before assembling the galette, drain the liquid from the strawberries and reserve.

Preheat oven to 375° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Remove one disc of dough from refrigerator. Roll out dough to 1/8-inches thick, about 14 inches around. Gently transfer crust to the center of the prepared baking sheet. Mound strawberries in the center of the dough, spreading about 2 inches from the edge. Fold edges of dough over strawberries, overlapping where necessary. Brush the top of the dough with egg and sprinkle with Demerara sugar.

Bake until dough is golden brown, about 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool before serving. Top each slice with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, drizzled with reserved strawberry liquid.

Enjoy!


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