January's pie was brought to you by the flavours of sage, onion and thyme.
Embarking on a 10-day Re-Inventing the Lamington Challenge is one way to ensure that you don't really have time to think about anything much other than lamingtons, and so as a result, I haven't really. No regrets, mind, I'm just pointing it out.
But actually, at the end of December, I was full of ideas that weren't related to day-old cubes of cake, chocolate ganache and coconut shavings at all; I was thinking about pie.
As it turns out, my No-Death-Required inheritance of a pie dish was indeed a timely occurrence, for come Christmas, I was lucky enough to be given a copy of this book:
And that was it. In one fell swoop, my short to medium term future plan was laid out in front of me, reaching out into the distant ether, as if hand-woven in the silvery threads of destiny...
Reader: 2010 was going to be the year of the pie.
Now. I don't really make pastry or pie that often, and when I do, it's usually a simple short crust, and I get Mr. Other P to do all the donkey work (mostly because he quite enjoys it, and I can just stand beside him barking orders and wiping up the mess). But I realised, upon reading The Lost Art of Pie Making, that if I set myself the task of making at least (at least!) one pie a month for a year, then by the end of it, maybe it would be me who was enjoying rubbing the fat into the flour and not him.*
And so it begins. Though strangely enough, not with a recipe from the book that inspired it, though lots of those pies are going to be featured over the course of the year. Some of them have historical connections, and I have never been someone who can resist a meal with a story.
No, January's pie is all of my own creation. It's a sausagemeat pie, plain and simple, only instead of making regular shortcrust, I decided to branch out. Don't worry though, I didn't go too crazy; it's only rich shortcrust.
Rich shortcrust (said the non-expert), is just like normal shortcrust pastry, except bound with egg yolk instead of water. It seems to make a shinier, mealier crust. But you won't be able to tell that because these pictures were taken at the start of January, in awful, dull, wintry light, and a freezing cold kitchen. In fact, they are so bad that I wanted to bake this pie again, just to re-photograph it. But it's 31 January today, which means that if I don't post it now, January will be without a pie. And I refuse point blank to let that happen, not for nobody and no how.
Next time, I promise to have 'process' photos. The ones I took for this were just too bad to be seen, and you deserve better. But for now, let us be content with these cobbled together shots; they are all we have.
*I was considering calling this series Learning To Love Your Nailbrush.
Sausagemeat Pie with Herbs
You will need:
250g plain flour
125g cold butter, cut into cubes
1 egg yolk
pinch of salt
iced water as needed
6 pork sausages (good ones!)
1 onion, grated
2 slices bread, crusts removed
12 sage leaves
leaves from a large sprig of thyme
salt and pepper
- Make the rich shortcrust: rub the fat into the flour, and when the mixture looks like breadcrumbs, stop. Add salt, and the egg yolk. It should come together and form a ball; add a little iced water if it needs help. Wrap in clingfilm, and chill in the fridge for at least twenty minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 200°C. Mix the filling ingredients together in a large bowl.
- Roll out half the pastry, and line the pie dish. Add the filling.
- Roll out remaining pastry, and use as a lid for the pie. Seal the edges using a fork.
- Make a slit on the top of the pie with a sharp knife (to allow steam to escape), and bake for about 40 minutes.
- Serve hot, or cold. However you eat it it's good; however you look at the photos, they're bad.