Pies are a pretty popular theme at HouseGoesHome.
They’re one of the kids’ favourite foods … I’m quite fond of them myself, depending on the filling (I sigh deeply when they ask me for boring mince ones AGAIN) … and they’ve also acted as a bit of a metaphor in my recent life.
I’ve eaten Humble Pie over the kindness people showed me the week my husband left.
I’ve recalled one of my favourite teen movies, About Last Night, and it’s line “She baked us a pie!”
I’ve talked about Throwing The Pie, when people got agitated because they thought I was going to throw lots of pie (aka dirt) around and urged me not to.
I wrote back in 2014 about Virginia Heffernan recalling her mother’s favourite moment from Heartburn when the main character, Rachel, decides her marriage is over and slams a key lime pie in her cheating hubby’s face.
“She bequeathed Ephron’s words to me like something from the Tao Te Ching. ‘If I throw this pie at him, he will never love me. But he doesn’t love me anyway. So I can throw the pie if I want to.’
“What happens when women stop trying to make men love them? A curiosity about this intriguing phenomenon was at plainly the heart of Ephron’s work, and the answer was equally clear: Life begins.
“You throw the pie. And then, as she recounted recently in [her book] I Remember Nothing, things start working out. Your husband leaves. You fall in real love. Your kids thrive. The pain recedes. And things become interesting again, and then much more interesting, and then yachts are involved, and it’s rewarding beyond your wildest dreams, and funny.”
Well, in my case it’s paddle boards, but you get the drift.
And that’s just a long-winded explanation of why I’ve decided to share some of my favourite pie recipes with you, well, other than that they’re YUMMY.
Recipe: Chicken pot pies
1 onion, roughly chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tablespoon freshly oregano
2 sticks celery, diced
1 large carrot, diced
100g lite cream cheese
1 tsp mild English mustard
1 cup chicken stock
1 whole cooked chicken breast (diced) (or raw, chopped and cooked in the pan with the veggies)
1 sheet of puff pastry
Method: Preheat oven to 180C. Puree onion, oregano and garlic in a food processor. Saute in oil for a few minutes, add celery and carrot and cook until vegetables are soft. Add chicken stock, diced chicken, mustard and cream cheese and simmer, stirring, until cream cheese has dissolved. Thicken with a little cornflour mixed in water. Divide between four ceramic ramekins. Top with squares of puff pastry. Brush pastry with beaten egg or milk. Bake until pastry is puffed and golden. Serve.
RECIPE: Luscious fish pie
1 onion, thickly sliced
2 cloves; 1 bay leaf
500g white fish (I used ling)
250g smoked fish (I used thickly sliced smoked salmon, but that scary orange dyed fish possibly gives a better flavour)
4 eggs + 1 egg yolk
1 onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
salt and white pepper
1.25kg floury potatoes.
METHOD: Put onion slices, cloves, bay leaf, milk, cream and fish into a pan. Bring just to the boil and simmer 8 minutes. Lift fish out onto a plate and strain the cooking liquid into a jug. When the fish cools, break into large flakes, throw away any skin and bones. Sprinkle it over the base of a shallow oven-proof dish (or make individual pies, they’re easier to serve). Hard boil the eggs for 8 minutes, then drain and leave to cool. Peel, cut into chunky slices and arrange on top of the fish. Melt 50g of butter in a pan, saute onion and garlic until soft. Add the reserved cooking liquid to the pan. Return it to the heat and bring slowly to the boil, stirring all the time. Thicken with cornflour mixed with a little water. Stir in salt and pepper. Pour over the fish and leave to cool. Chill in the fridge for 1 hour. Boil the potatoes for 15-20 minutes. Drain, mash and add the rest of the butter and the egg yolk. Season with salt and freshly ground white pepper. Beat in enough of the remaining milk to form a soft, spreadable mash. Preheat oven to 200C. Spoon potato over filling and bake for 35-40 minutes until piping hot and golden brown.
Recipe: Roast pumpkin and goat’s cheese pie
1/2 butternut pumpkin, peeled and cut into chunks
1 red onion, peeled and quartered
1 sheet of shortcrust pastry, thawed
1/2 cup cream
75g goat’s cheese, crumbled
few sprigs of thyme, leaves only
1 tablespoon pine nuts
METHOD: Preheat oven to 180C. Toss pumpkin and red onion in oil and roast on baking paper until tender. Allow red onion to cool slightly, then roughly chop. Press pastry into a pie dish. Arrange onion, pumpkin and goat’s cheese over the pastry. Beat eggs with cream. Stir in thyme. Pour mixture over pumpkin. Sprinkle with pine nuts. Bake until centre is firm. About 30-40 minutes. Serve with rocket leaves.
RECIPE: Chicken Tamale Pie
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, finely diced
- 1 green capsicum, finely diced
- 1 red capsicum, finely diced
- 1 large garlic clove, crushed
- 1 tsp chipotle chilli powder or 1/2 teaspoon chilli flakes + 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 2 corn cobs, kernels removed from husk
- 2 cups milk
- 2 cups water
- 400g can chopped tomatoes
- 1 cup polenta
- Shredded meat from thighs and legs of a cooked chicken
- 1 & 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese
- 2 green onions/shallots, finely sliced
- 1/4 cup coriander leaves, chopped
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1/4 cup pitted olives, chopped
METHOD: Preheat oven to 200°C (180°C fan-forced).
Heat oil in a heavy-based frying pan. Add onion, capsicums and garlic. Saute over a gentle heat until softened.
Stir in chipotle powder/smoked paprika and chilli, cumin. Cook for 1 minute. Add milk, water and tomatoes. Bring to a simmer. Gradually stir in polenta until the mixture thickens. Return to a simmer.
Cook over a low heat, stirring regularly, for around 15-20 minutes until mixture thickens. Stir in corn kernels (or, if you have a child who doesn’t like them – as I do – steam them to sprinkle on top at the end).
Pour half of the polenta mixture into a flat casserole dish. Top with the shredded chicken and half the cheese. Pour the rest of the mixture over the top. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Allow casserole to cool.
Bake for 20-30 minutes until heated through and the cheese is bubbly.
Serve with dollops of sour cream and sprinkled with shallots, coriander and olives (or whatever combination your kids prefer).
RECIPE: Easy-peasy meat pies
1 tablespoon rice bran oil
1 onion zizzed in a food processor
750g beef mince
2 1/2 cups beef stock
1 tablespoon tomato paste
Cornflour to thicken
1 tablespoon worchestershire sauce
puff pastry sheets (each sheet will make 2 pies).
METHOD: Saute onion in oil until softened. Add mince, breaking up lumps with back of spoon until browned. Stir in stock, sauce and tomato paste. Bring to boil, stirring. Mix some cornflour in water to form a paste, then add to the mince, stirring continuously until the meat mixture thickens. Simmer uncovered for five minutes. Cool. Heat pie maker. Defrost pastry sheets. Cut pastry circles, place large one in pie maker, fill with mince. Place smaller circle on top. Cook until golden. If you don’t have a pie maker, poor you, get one! The kids will love you for it.
3/4 packet Marie biscuits
2 tablespoons sugar
150g melted unsalted butter
3 1/2 cups strawberries
1 tablespoon grated lime zest
1/4 cup lime juice
1 can sweetened condensed milk
2 tablespoons tequila
2 tablespoons triple sec
METHOD: To make crust … preheat oven to 200C. Add all ingredients to a blender until crushed and combined (add more butter if mixture is too dry). Press into a pie dish, making sure the corners aren’t too thick. Bake in oven for 10 minutes. Cool.
To make filling … puree strawberries, zest, lime juice, condensed milk, tequila and triple sec in blender. Pour into cooled pie crust. Freeze overnight. Remove from freezer and put in fridge 40 minutes before serving to thaw slightly, serve with fresh berries.
Recipe: Pear & Hazelnut Tart
- 2 pears, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
- 1 x 220g frozen sweet pie base
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1 cup ground hazelnuts
Preheat oven to 200C (180C fan-forced). Line pie base with pear slices. Mix together sour cream, sugar, eggs and hazelnuts. Pour over pears. Bake in oven for around 45 minutes until pie is firm and golden. Serve warm with double cream.
Song of the day: Madonna “American Pie”