I’m not going to lie, I probably should’ve made this pie on a weekend and not on a school night. Although I did plan ahead by making the pastry on a Monday, the filling on a Tuesday, and finally baking it on a Wednesday. A very long process. I don’t think I have ever spent so long preparing one dish.
I used a Lorraine Pascale recipe for the puff pastry lid and it was such hard work. Reading the ingredients list led me to believe it would be quick and easy. The book is titled Baking Made Easy! Maybe it’ll be much easier the next time I make pastry (not sure that’ll be anytime soon) but it was SO worth it.
After 2 days of prep. I was not going to let my pastry let me down. I stared it out through the oven door for the full 40 minutes while it cooked (great hosting skills, Nima!). I believe staring it out was key to the entire process ……. I didn’t hold back by substituting any of the ingredients for a healthier alternative. If you are going to make a pie you may as well just go for it! You can always be good the next day…… Here’s the recipe for my ham and leek pie for you to make over the weekend.
The prep. part
Recipe taken from Baking Made Easy, Lorraine Pascale
- 245g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
- ½ teaspoon of salt
- 210g butter, softened, plus 40g butter, chilled and cubed
- 130ml cold water
- 1 egg, beaten
- 640g ham, roughly cut into cubes – I used ham leftover from a dinner. See cooking instructions from my post A Sunday Picnic WIth a Twist. Omit glazing it and simply just sprinkle it with some pepper.
- 3 leeks, sliced down the middle to wash out the dirt out and then thinly sliced.
- 2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 5 sprigs of thyme
- 60g flour
- 40g butter
- 1 pint of semi skimmed milk
- 2 teaspoons of Dijon mustard
- 40g mature cheddar, grated
- 1 tablespoon of crème fraiche
- Splash of white wine
- Pinch of nutmeg
The cooking/assembling part
Method for the puff pastry taken from Baking Made Easy, Lorraine Pascale
- Rub the flour, salt and the 40g chilled butter together into a large bowl with your fingertips until they resemble fine breadcrumbs. Make a well in the centre of the mixture, pour in the water and mix this with the dry mixture in the bowl. Once the mixture is well combined, use your hands to form it into a ball, then wrap it in cling film and chill in the fridge for 25 minutes.
- Once cooled, unwrap the dough and score a large cross in the middle using a sharp knife. Lift all four corners from the middle of the cross, and then pull them up and out.
- Place softened 210g butter in the centre of the dough, then fold the corners of the cross back to the centre, covering the butter, so it is completely enclosed. (The corners should overlap in the centre so no butter is showing.)
- To start the rolling and folding process, begin by rolling the pastry out away from you on a well-floured surface to a rectangle roughly 3 times as long as it is wide. Keep the corners square and edges straight by pressing a palette knife or ruler against them. Lift the dough occasionally to make sure it isn’t sticking; flour the work surface again if necessary and sprinkle with more flour as you go, dusting away any excess with a pastry brush. Take the short edge of the pastry nearest to you and fold it up a third, then fold the top edge down a third to give a rectangular block. Turn the dough 90 degrees.
- Repeat the same process as above, making sure that the pastry doesn’t stick to the surface when rolling. You have now given the dough two rolls and folds. Wrap the dough in cling film and chill in the fridge for 20 minutes.
- Remove the dough from the fridge, unwrap and give it two more rolls and folds. Wrap and rest in the fridge for at least another 20 minutes. The block of puff pastry can at this point be kept in the fridge for a day or two, or frozen.
- Remove from the fridge, unwrap and give the dough a final two rolls and folds, then roll it out to the size desired for your chosen recipe. Place on a baking tray, cover with oiled clingfilm and leave to rest in the fridge for about 30 minutes before using.
- Put a pan onto a medium heat and add a knob of butter to the pan. Throw in the leeks, garlic and onions and lightly fry until they soften but don’t let them brown. Turn into a bowl.
- Using the same pan, return to the stove and turn down the heat.
- Melt the butter and then stir in the flour.
- Once the butter and flour have come together slowly begin to add the milk bit by bit. It is key that you add the milk slowly, and you keep stirring vigorously, so that you cook out the taste of the flour. Be patient otherwise you will just end up with milk and some clumps of butter and flour.
- You will end up with a roux like the picture below. All smooth and silky and hopefully no lumps.
- Stir in the crème fraiche, mature cheddar, white wine, nutmeg and Dijon mustard. I also seasoned the filling with pepper. I didn’t add any salt since the ham is salty enough, even after soaking it in water overnight before cooking it.
- Now remove from the heat and stir in the leeks and the ham.
- Preheat the oven to 180⁰C and pour the filling into a baking dish.
- Now place pastry on top and either pinch the edges against the edge of the dish or use a fork. Remember to also put a cross in the middle of the pie to allow the air to escape while it cooks.
- Brush with the beaten egg and place in the oven for 35 – 40 minutes.
I definitely added a little too much filling but I was super proud of my efforts! It tasted marvellous! Next time (yep, I will make pastry again soon) I will work on making it look a little prettier. I served mine with some sautéed kale and spring onions.