I was given a present a while back of some beautiful ceramic bowls, great for serving soup in, but also a perfect receptacle for individual rustic pies.
This is a really simple recipe, the filling for which can be adapted to suit your individual taste.
I had some chunky ham pieces and a leek in the fridge so decided that they would be the basis for some simple pies. I also had a lovely washed rind cheese, soft and melting, that I thought would go beautifully with the ham and leek. I’m a huge fan of nuts, so it was a no-brainer that I decided to put some walnuts in the pies as well. They added a lovely crunch and texture to the pies.
All these ingredients were stirred into a white sauce, piled into the bowls, topped with puff pastry and baked in the oven.
I made my own puff pastry, which was a little time consuming. I’m not including the recipe here, I actually can’t remember where I sourced it from!! Looking back on past posts on my blog, I see that I usually make rough puff pastry. So I’m not quite sure why I decided to go the full puff on this occasion. I recommend using a good bought butter puff pastry for the recipe.
I decided I would put a rim of pastry around the edge of the bowls, but this didn’t really work. I’m not quite sure what I did wrong. I have included the photo, as I like to be honest about what works and what doesn’t in my cooking. I’ll know next time to do some more research about how to fix this issue!
The recipe makes two substantial deep bowl pies. You could double the quantities for a larger pie in a conventional pie dish.
1 large leek
A knob of butter to cook the leek
200g ham chunks
50g any soft washed rind cheese
A small handful of walnuts or to taste
25g plain flour
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 sheets of butter puff pastry or the equivalent ( I normally use the Careme brand, readily available in Australia, when not making my own)
1 egg, lightly beaten with 1 teaspoon milk, for glazing
Cut the leek into small slices. Melt the butter in a frying pan and add the leek with a good pinch or two of salt. Cook on a low temperature until the leek slices are soft, about 10-15 minutes.
Chop the ham into bite sized pieces and roughly slice the cheese. Chop any whole walnuts into smaller pieces.
Preheat the oven to 190 degrees C.
For the white sauce, melt the butter in a medium, heavy bottomed saucepan. Add the flour and stir for 1-2 minutes, to make sure the raw flour taste is cooked out.
It’s important to do this and the subsequent stirring in of the milk with a wooden spoon.
Gradually stir in about a third of the milk, making sure the milk is incorporated and there are no floury lumps. When the sauce has noticeably thickened, add another third of the milk and repeat the process. Add the last third of the milk and cook until the sauce is nice and thick. Simmer gently for 5 minutes and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Stir the ham, leek, cheese and walnuts into the white sauce in the saucepan. Pile the mixture into the individual bowls.
Cut out circles of puff pastry that are larger than the diameter of the bowls and will be enough to completely cover the tops. Brush the tops of pies with the beaten egg.
Place in the preheated oven and cook for about 20 minutes until the top of the pies are golden brown and puffed up.
Serve piping hot straight from the bowls!