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Sunday 31 January 2010

Pie of the Month - January

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:

Thanks Lucy and Rich!

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.

Squished together, this looked somewhat less appealing.

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.

He may not look it in dull winter colours, and with the light on, but this pie was beautiful.

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
1 egg
2 slices bread, crusts removed
12 sage leaves
leaves from a large sprig of thyme
salt and pepper

  1. 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.
  2. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Mix the filling ingredients together in a large bowl.
  3. Roll out half the pastry, and line the pie dish. Add the filling.
  4. Roll out remaining pastry, and use as a lid for the pie. Seal the edges using a fork.
  5. Make a slit on the top of the pie with a sharp knife (to allow steam to escape), and bake for about 40 minutes.
  6. Serve hot, or cold. However you eat it it's good; however you look at the photos, they're bad.


  1. Love a bit of pie - LOATH rubbing in! My excuse is carpal tunnel, AND I can't stand stuff under my nails. Anyway, I tend to use a food processor as my hands are too warm for pastry, no really! Your pie looks wonderful, no matter the light, did you serve mashed potato and tomato sauce with it?:)

  2. CoBy - we actually had it with curry and samosas. Yeah, that well known combination.

    No, what happened is that we had people over for vegetable curries, and had this as a starter to pacify the carniverous. :)

  3. a sage flavoured pie! smells lovely

  4. I'm dying to make meat pies - it's some kind of Anglophilia thing. The only thing Americans tolerate overall are chicken pot pies and the occasional shepard's pie, but they're nothing like the Brit versions of meat pies.

  5. I've been thinking about making a savory pie recently. This looks terrific!

  6. That sounds like a meal full of awesome, but I think I'll try it as individual sized pies... or maybe patties

  7. Sausagemeat pie looks amazing, I could murder a piece now! Maybe when I get off this stupid diet LOL.

    I found your blog via 'The Claytons blog'. It's great, well done!

  8. Anna - That's quite a blog journey! Since you're in the UK too, you basically flew around the world to get here! Hope it was worth it! :)

    Mike - Patties would be amazing! I LOVE sausage patties. We don't really have them in the UK, I had my first try in NYC and haven't looked back. I make them for friends and pretend I came up with the idea. So far, I've fooled everybody.

    Fancy Elastic - I was in the library today and thought of your blog, because they had a book on quilting. It looks impossible! I can't believe you're going to go it by hand alone for the next one. You're really good! :)

    Tomato - I shall have to bring a slice next time I'm in NY.

    Mae - After what you said last time, the pie you need to be making is a mince pie! That's interesting though, because I always thing you have better food over there than we do here. Apparently though, the meat pies Down Under are really something.

    Phoo-D - I loved reading that your blog name is a play on 'foodie' and 'phooey'! My sentiments EXACTLY!

  9. This pie looks beautiful to me! Can't wait to see what other pies you come up with over the course of the year. I like making pie dough - as with bread making, it's a very tactile process which I find quite zen.

  10. I'll bet that is really delicious :)
    I love savoury pies.

  11. Great pie - I love all things sausagemeat!

  12. I am in love with the cover of this book. I hope you curl your hair just so, and kidnap a small pretty child to assist you in your pie-making. Plus it's written by "Barbara Swell"? What a lovely name for a pie expert!

    I like the continuation of a somewhat Aussie theme. We love our meat pies down here.

  13. Conor - It actually IS me. Barbara Swell is just a pseudonym. Lies! It's a great book though. :)

  14. Love the look of the Pie! I cannot wait for winter just for the foods. We had soup for dinner tonight on a hot summer night... i couldn't resist myself :)
    Maybe Pie next week...mmmm


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