National Pie Week is going from strength to strength here in the UK. It’s been talked about all over social media and in the traditional media too. Chris Evans and his team have been waxing lyrical about pies they’ve been sent by bakeries from all over the country.
Last year for Pie Week I made a lovely butter pie; this year I wanted to keep with the theme of a vegetarian, rustic, humble pie. I turned to my copy of Pie by Genevieve Taylor that we reviewed last year. I found just the recipe – cheese and celery pies – but with a little twist.
The original recipe is a single pie done in a shallow pie plate. I quite liked the idea of doing little individual hand pulled pies. I used a couple of cling film-wrapped jars in lieu of a pastry dolly.
Pulled pies are usually made using hot water pastry, but I was being lazy and just whizzed up a quick batch of shortcrust pastry. I think it worked just fine, but I’m sure Paul Hollywood wouldn’t approve!
This recipe made 4 small pies but you can easily scale it up. We had one each so I put the other two in the freezer – pre-baked – so that they can be taken out and baked off the next time we fancy a pie.
There was a little bit of pastry left over – isn’t there always? I quite like rolling it out thinly, slicing it into long thin strips, sprinkling over with cheese and baking for 15 minutes. What do you do with yours?
I’ve already started thinking about what pie I’m going to make next year!
- 360g/12½oz plain flour
- pinch of salt
- 180g/6⅓oz cold butter, cubed
- 6-8 tbsp cold water
- 25g/1oz butter
- ½tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- ½ head celery, sliced
- 125ml/4 fl oz veg stock (or ½ veg stock cube + 125ml boiling water)
- 30g/1oz mature cheddar cheese, grated
- salt & ground black pepper to taste
- a little beaten egg to glaze
- Put the flour and salt into a food processor and whiz briefly together to mix
- Add the butter cubes and pulse briefly a dozen times or so until you have coarse crumbs
- Trickle in the water continuing to pulse until the mixture resembles rough lumps and looks a bit like overcooked and dry scrambled eggs. Add only as much water as you need
- Tip the clumped crumbs onto a sheet of cling film and gently squeeze together into a ball without pressing too hard
- Wrap & chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before using
- Melt the butter with the olive oil in a heavy-based saucepan
- Add the onions and celery and cook over a medium-low heat for around 10 minutes or until they are just starting to soften
- Season generously with salt and freshly ground black pepper and then pour in the stock
- Bring to the boil and simmer, uncovered, for around 30 minutes or until the celery is really soft and the stock has virtually all evaporated, stirring every now and then
- Remove from the heat and leave to cool completely
- Once the filling is cold, preheat the oven to 200ºC/400ºF/Gas mark 6
- Get the pastry out of the fridge, divide into two - ⅓ (for the pie lids) & ⅔ (for the pie cases). Put the smaller piece back into the fridge
- Divide the larger piece again into 4 equal pieces, rolling each into a ball
- Wrap four small, clean, empty, straight-sided jars with cling film (I used a couple of 90g Lidl Deluxe® french pâté selection jars.
- In turn, put each ball of pastry onto a lightly-floured work surface and place a jar on top of the pastry
- Sculpt the pastry around the jar, making sure the pastry is an even thickness all around. Make sure the bottom isn't too thick and that there are no holes in the pastry
- Once you've done them all, put the pie bases in the fridge for about 20 minutes
- Roll out the reserved ⅓ of pastry and, using a round cutter (slightly larger in circumference to the jar) cut out 4 circles. Make a hole in the centre of each and chill in the fridge.
- Remove the pastry cases from the fridge and carefully work the jars out of the cases. If they don't come away easily, pour hot water into each jam jar to soften the pastry slightly to release them
- Fill the pastry cases ⅔ of the way up with the cooked celery mixture and top each with a large pinch of grated cheese before pressing down gently and topping with a little more cheese
- Remove the pastry lids from the fridge, and one by one brush the outer circumference with a little water, lay on the filled case and crimp the edges to seal
- Brush each top with a little beaten egg to glaze
- Put the pies on a baking tray and cook for 35-40 minutes, or until the pastry is crisp & browned on top and sides
- Allow to cool on a wire rack before devouring! :-)