On this lazy Saturday morning, after an exhausting week of living in the gloom and doom of a nationwide petrol shortage,……..pause……for any reader who is not Nigerian, I live in wonderful country where issues like petrol scarcity and low electricity supply are just a few of the issues we contend with regularly……I decided that the pate brisee that had been languishing in the back of my fridge should come to good use. I blind baked it a few days ago and just hadn’t had time to do some thing with it.

Remember it was a lazy Saturday morning so there was no question of going out to shop. As I rummaged through my cupboard, fridge and pantry I gathered the following items

10 Eggs
1/2 cup Dried shiitake mushrooms (you can use fresh)
1 small White onion
4 pieces of Cheese (I used a cheese spread that comes in small triangular parcels)
4 tbs Cream
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
3 tbs chopped sun dried tomatoes
2 tbs chopped chives (from my herb garden)
2 tbs chopped basil (from my herb garden)
2 tbs butter
1 blind baked pastry crust (please see my Easy as Pie Part 2 post if you’re making your pastry from scratch and to learn about how to blind baked pastry)

The whole thing was easy enough to throw together.

Preheat your oven to 140 degrees centigrade.

Chop the onion and stir fry in a pan with butter until tender. Follow the instructions for rehydrating the mushrooms (usually boiling for a few minutes) drain chop and add to onion; if using fresh just wash, chop and add directly to the pan.

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Chop sun dried tomatoes and add to the happy family being established in your pan. Stir for a minute ensuring that the pan doesn’t burn or over heat. Season with black pepper and salt. Turn off the heat and set aside.

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Break 10 eggs in a medium sized bowl and add about 4 tbs of heavy cream, whisk well. Then add chopped chives and basil to the egg mix and incorporate properly. Now carefully add the happy sautรฉed mushroom, onion and tomato family to the bowl and stir.

Pour the mixture into your pie crust, careful not to overfill it as the egg will rise slightly. Next, scatter the cheese (roughly crumbled) over the surface of the egg mixture in the pie crust. I used my son’s cheese spread which is all I had on hand. On a good day I would use a more civilized soft mild cheese but today was not the day.

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Put in the oven for about 45 minutes or until the egg is just set in the middle. Allow the cool slightly and dig in! ๐Ÿ™‚

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I must say that the first mouthful delivered a burst of flavours! The earthiness of the mushroom paired with the onion and chives beautifully and the tomatoes and the basil were just so happy to connect with each other; the floral herby basil was nice ying to the yang of the sweet intense sun dried tomatoes. And to cap it off the mild soft cheese tied it all together by adding extra creaminess and balance. Let’s just say that I had a savory party in my mouth.

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In case you were wondering, I didn’t have time for my usual fancy shmancy plating. I scoffed the piece very ungainfully. Hey! Hubby is out of town so there was no need for the bells and whistles. Besides, with the little ones swarming around me it would have be a futile exercise ๐Ÿ™‚

FFF Top Tip: when making pate brisee or short crust pastry for savory dishes such as a quiche leave out the sugar or reduce the quantity.

May 26, 2014 Update

Over Easter I made another quiche basically using the same recipe. But for a fun take I made mini tarts too. They were pretty and tasty. In fact they were pretty tasty! ๐Ÿ™‚

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No, I do not have an identity crisis; I am fully aware that I am not American.

I am also aware that it is not Thanksgiving but what has that got to do with anything? I made pumpkin pie! And I am trilled!

When my mum arrived with a whole host of fruits and vegetables AND a pumpkin in tow I scratched my head; I felt like I was on the set of Food Network’s “Chopped”. Then a tiny voice said, “You can make pumpkin pie”……

After scouring recipes to find one that I could execute I settled for a version that I have explained step by step in this post.

I must stay though that the result was absolutely amazing. I honestly was pleasantly surprised.

So it all started with a pumpkin (obviously ๐Ÿ™‚ )

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Ingredients for the pumpkin filling
1 1/4 cups pumpkin puree (I made mine from scratch; the procedure follows below)
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup cream
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
9-inch pie crust, follow the recipe in my post Easy as Pie 1

Process for making pumpkin purรฉe.

Preheat your oven to 220 degrees celsius.

Take the top off the pumpkin so that you have a flat surface then carefully half the pumpkin using a cleaver knife. Using a metal spoon scoop out the seeds and the stringy membrane of the pumpkin. You may discard the seeds or keep them and roast them later.

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Place the cleaned out pumpkins cut side down on foil or parchment paper lined baking tray and cooked them until a fork goes through the flesh easily (about 45 minutes – 60 minutes)

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Allow to cool and carefully scoop out the flesh and place in the food processor. Blitz it until you have a smooth paste and then add the other ingredients; mix until well combined.

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You may proceed to pour the filling in your chilled pie crust or you may choose to blind bake the pie crust first. I opted to blind bake my crust.

In order to blind bake your pastry simply cover the cover your crust with parchment and carefull place beans or rice in the cavity. I used decorative pebbles and they worked well.

Bake in a 230 degrees Celsius preheated oven for about 15 minutes or until the edges of the crust turn a golden brown colour.

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Once cool you can pour in your pumpkin puree mix and bake in the oven until a skewer inserted in the middle of the pie comes out clean. It takes about an hour. Start at 175 degrees Celsius for the first 10 minutes then lower the temperature to 150 degrees.

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Once baked allow to cool for at least 2 hours before attempting to cut into it.

The waiting period was a little maddening for me but in the end it was well worth it.

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I wonder what I will make with the left over pumpking puree………….. ๐Ÿ™‚

I have never made a pie of any kind before but today I did and I think that it was a good effort.

My mum came visiting and in her usual style she arrived with enough food and fresh fruits and veges to feed an army for at least 3 years. It was a similar food deluge that inspired me to make mango ice cream 2 years ago and she literally drove me bananas when I was surrounded by more bananas than any normal human should have

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The good thing is that the produce didn’t go to waste and because of her generosity I have turned out some pretty amazing meals.

Making apple pie filled me with trepidation but I plunged in head first.

I must admit that the whole process from start to finish was somewhat time consuming; in fact the combined time of labour for my two children was shorter. I had my children in 3.5 hours! This pie took the better part of 5 hours and this doesn’t include the time I had to leave it to cool and set after it was baked!

However, it is worth it! I feel like I have accomplished a lot today.

So, here you are; Apple pie!

Ingredients
For the Pie Crust:

2 1/2 cups (350 grams) all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoon (30 grams) granulated white sugar

1 cup (226 grams) unsalted butter, chilled, and cut into 1 inch (2.5 cm) pieces

1/4 to 1/2 cup (60 – 120 ml) ice water

Apple Filling:

1.1 kg apples (about 6 large), peeled, cored, and sliced 1/4 inch thick (I used a mix of Granny Smith and golden delicious)

1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated white sugar

1/4 cup (55 grams) light brown sugar

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg (optional)

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves (optional) the cloves lent it a mild earthiness; omit if you don’t like strong flavours.

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons (28 grams) unsalted butter

1 1/2 tablespoons (15 grams) cornstarch (corn flour)

I used a food processor to make the dough and the steps are as follows

Add 1 1/2 cups flour, salt and sugar (optional) 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 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, itโ€™s ready. If the dough falls apart, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of extra water 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. The can keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

So while the dough is chilling, you need to prep your filling.

Usually, the apples are sliced and bunches straight into the pie shell but the process I followed required macerating the apples, this helped to intensify the flavours as well as drained the apples of excess liquid thereby reducing the incidence of shrinking filling as the pie bakes.

In a large bowl combine the sliced apples with the sugars, lemon juice, ground cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Let sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes or up to three hours. Then, place the apples and their juices in a strainer that is placed over a large bowl (to capture the juices). Let the apples drain for about 15-30 minutes or until you have about 1/2 cup (120 ml) of juice. Place the juices and butter in a small saucepan and boil over medium high heat on the stove until it is caramelized and reduced to about 1/3 cup. Set aside for a moment.

To roll out the dough.
Remove one of the dough discs from the refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for 5 minutes.
Lightly flour work surface, top of dough and rolling pin. Then use rolling pin to roll out dough to a 12-inch circle (about 1/8-inch thick). Be sure to check if the dough is sticking to the surface below โ€” add a small amount of flour when necessary.
Check for size by inverting pie dish over dough round. Look for a 1-inch edge around the pie dish.
To transfer dough to dish, starting at one end, roll dough around rolling pin then unroll over dish.
Gently press dough down into dish so that it lines the bottom and sides of the dish. (Be careful not to pull or stretch the dough). Then, use a knife or pair of kitchen scissors to trim dough to within 1/2-inch of the edge of the dish.
Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator.

Then remove the second round of pastry and roll it into a 12 inch (30 cm) circle. Transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and return to the refrigerator.

After you may have prepped the filling and pie crusts, it is time for the magic to happen by assembling it all!

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Remove the pastry filled baking dish and top pastry crust from the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes so it has time to soften. (Only the top pastry is left to sit, the pastry case should be filled with the apples as soon as possible).

Transfer the drained apples slices to a large bowl and mix them with the cornstarch (corn flour). Then pour the reduced syrup over the apples and toss to combine. Pour the apples and their syrup into the chilled pie crust. Moisten the edges of the pie shell with a little water and then place the top crust over the apples. Tuck any excess pastry under the bottom crust and then crimp the edges using your fingers or a fork. Using a sharp knife, make five- 2-inch (5 cm) slits from the center of the pie out towards the edge of the pie to allow the steam to escape. Cover the pie with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to chill the pastry while you preheat the oven.

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Preheat the oven to 220 degrees C) and place the oven rack at the lowest level and place a baking sheet on the rack before preheating the oven. Place a piece of aluminum foil on the sheet to catch any apple juices. Set the pie on the sheet and bake for about 45 to 55 minutes or until the juices start to bubble through the slits and the apples feel tender (not mushy) when a toothpick or sharp knife is inserted through one of the slits. Make sure to cover the edges of the pie with a foil ring to prevent over browning after about 30 minutes. Remove the pie from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool for about 3-4 hours before cutting. Serve warm or at room temperature with vanilla ice cream or softly whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

If this pie is not demolished immediately, it can keep for about 2 days at room temperature.

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Phew! There you have it!

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Next stop pumpkin pie! Yes, there was a pumpkin amidst the foodstuff my mum hauled over.

FFF Top tip: It helps to use ceramic knives to peel and core apples. It minimises discoloration. Also, using lemon juice preserves the peeled apples.