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Tag Archives: white sauce

Ham, Leek, Cheese and Walnut Pies

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.

Ingredients

1 large leek
A knob of butter to cook the leek
Salt
200g ham chunks
50g any soft washed rind cheese
A small handful of walnuts or to taste

White sauce
25g butter
25g plain flour
600ml milk
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

Method

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!

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Winter Pies: Beef and red wine pasties + Ham, leek and mushroom baby pies

 

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Beef and Red Wine Pasties

Ingredients
For the beef and red wine stew:
1 tbl olive oil
1 tbl plain flour
300 gms shin beef cut into small pieces
4 eschallots, chopped
1 carrot finely chopped
1 tin whole peeled tomatoes
1 glass red wine
1 tsp vegemite dissolved in 1/2 cup boiling water
Sea salt, black pepper and a big pinch of sugar to season

For the rough puff pastry:
2 cups all-purpose flour
A pinch of sea salt
2/3 cup chilled unsalted butter, cut into small cubes

To finish:
1 egg, lightly beaten with 1 teaspoon milk, for glazing

Method
Beef Stew
Pre-heat oven to 160 degrees C.

Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed casserole on the stove top. Dust the beef pieces in the flour by placing both in a zip lock bag and shake.

Fry the beef in small quantities to avoid “stewing” the meat, until brown on all sides. Remove the beef to a plate, add a little more oil to the pan if necessary, and fry the eschallots and carrot.

Return the  meat to the casserole. Add the tomatoes, roughly chopping as you mix in to the casserole. Add the red wine and vegemite and water.
Season to taste.

Cook on a medium heat with lid off for 5 minutes, then transfer the casserole, with lid on, to the pre-heated oven. Cook for about 1. 5 hours or until beef is very tender.

Remove from oven, leave to cool before filling pasties. The stew can be refrigerated or frozen until you are ready to use.

Rough Puff Pastry (This recipe is Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall’s from River Cottage Everyday – and I think it is much better than the recipe I described in my Custard Slice post).
Mix the flour with the salt, then add the cubed butter and toss until the pieces are coated with flour. Stir in just enough ice water (8 to 10 tablespoons) to bring the mixture together into a fairly firm dough.

Shape the dough into a rectangle with your hands and, on a well-floured surface, roll it out in one direction, away from you, so you end up with a rectangle about 3/8 inch thick. Fold the far third towards you, then fold the nearest third over that (rather like folding a business letter), so that you now have a rectangle made up of 3 equal layers. Give the pastry a quarter-turn, then repeat the rolling, folding, and turning process 5 more times. Wrap the pastry in plastic wrap and rest it in the fridge for about 30 minutes, or up to an hour.

Preheat the oven to 190 degrees C.

Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured work surface to about 3mm thick. Using a plate or a cake tin as a template, cut out four 20cm circles; you may have to gather up the trimmings and re-roll them to get your fourth circle.

Spoon the stew on to one half of each circle. Brush the pastry edges with water, fold the other half of the pastry over the filling to form a half-moon shape and crimp well to seal.

Place the pasties on a lightly oiled baking sheet and brush the tops with beaten egg. Bake in the pre-heated oven for about 20-25 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown. Eat pasties warm or cold.

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Ham, Leek and Mushroom Baby Pies

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Ingredients
Pastry
3 sheets ready rolled butter puff pastry *
1 egg +1 tbs water mixed together for an egg wash

White Sauce
1 tbl butter
1 tbl plain flour
1/2 – 3/4 cup milk
Handful of grated cheddar cheese
Sea salt to season

Filling
A knob of butter
1 medium size leek, sliced thinly
Sea salt
6 button mushrooms sliced thinly
150 gms free range leg ham

Method
Pre-heat the oven to 190 degrees C.

Cut circles from 2 of the puff pastry sheets with a cutter or plate as guide, big enough to line the holes in a regular muffin tin. Grease the holes, and gently ease the pastry circles into the holes. These pies are rustic, so a perfect fit isn’t important. Brush each pastry circle with the egg wash.

Bake in the oven for 10 minutes or until the pastry is lightly brown and puffed. Remove from the oven to cool.

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While the pastry is cooling, make the white sauce. Melt the butter in heavy bottomed saucepan. Add the flour, stirring carefully with a wooden spoon to make sure there are no lumps. Cook the flour out for a minute or so. Add the milk, and cook gently, stirring all the time, until the sauce thickens. Add the cheese and salt to taste, stirring until cheese is well incorporated.

For the filling, heat the butter in frying pan, sweat the leeks with a little sea salt until softened. Add the mushrooms and cook until mushrooms are just softened also. Roughly chop the ham. Combine the filings ingredients in a bowl with the white sauce.  You may not need all the white sauce – remember you don’t want the pie filling too sloppy.

Fill the pastry cases with a generous amount of the filling. Cut out circles from the remaining puff pastry sheet, big enough to cover each pie. Brush the lids with more egg wash.

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Return the pies to the oven for another 10 minutes or until the pastry lids are lightly brown and puffed.

Serve warm or cold – delicious either way!

* NOTE You can re-roll any left over scraps of pastry both for the pastry cases and lids. And if you really find you don’t have quite enough pastry, then just use another sheet.

 

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