I do love a pie and even though the sun has been shining an awful lot recently it’s still very much April and there’s a cold wind out there and the nights are particularly chilly, so this cheesy cauliflower, broccoli and pea pie is the perfect comfort food.
I’m using a wonderful cheese and chive shortcrust pie pastry that’s very easy to make and works wonders for a pie. There’s also cheese in the white wine sauce because, well, I don’t need an excuse for cheese but it goes very well with the cauliflower and it tastes amazing. Other than that I’m keeping the ingredients really simple and their cooking process very simple too by steaming the veg and seasoning them well. This way the flavour of the vegetables really comes through and is not totally drowned by the cheesy sauce.
It was (wasn’t) Louth Pie Day last week. Our local market town of Louth is a beautiful place and over the last few years has really embraced and celebrated its food retailers. Louth Pie Day is a celebration of all the pubs, restaurants and shops that make and sell pies. It’s essentially like a pub crawl but with pies. A genius idea if you ask me. You buy a ticket that allows you to try a number of different pies in a number of establishments. Sadly, for obvious reasons it has been postponed this year but I thought it worth noting and celebrating with a pie anyway. I shall bring you news of when it’s back on!
for the pastry
- 250g plain flour
- 100g butter
- 50g finely grated strong cheddar cheese
- 1 teaspoon fresh chopped chives
- cold water to mix
for the cheesy white wine sauce
- 30g flour
- 30g butter
- 1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
- 1/2 teaspoon bullion stock powder (or 1/4 crumbled stock cube)
- 300ml milk
- 50ml white wine
- 50g grated cheddar
for the filling
- 1 cauliflower – torn into florets
- 5 of 6 stems of tenderstem broccoli
- 100g peas
Start with the pastry by rubbing the butter into the flour in a large bowl until you have something resembling breadcrumbs, stir in the grated cheddar and herbs, then add a tablespoon or two of cold water and bring together into a dough with your hands, you may need to add a little more water to create the dough but you will feel how ‘short’ the pastry is. Wrap in cling film and pop in the fridge for at least 30 minutes
Now we’ll make the sauce. Simply place all the ingredients apart from the cheese into a sauce pan and slowly bring to the boil as you stir with a balloon whisk. Keep the heat on a medium to low and you continue to stir for about 5 minutes as the sauce thickens. Once it’s nice and thick, add the cheese, then set aside whilst you steam the vegetables.
Steam the vegetables till just el dente.
Pre-heat the oven to 180C and butter your pie dish. Divide the pastry in half, then roll out one half a flour surface and use this to line your dish. Trim the edges and re-incorporate the trimmings back into the remaining pastry.
Stir the steamed vegetables into the creamy sauce and then pour the sauce into the pie dish. Roll out the remaining pastry and lay this carefully on top of the creamy vegetables. I use a little bit of water to seal the edges of the pastry, then crimp the edges of the top of the pie.
Crimping is one of those simple things that can make a pie look very pleasing. I use the thumb on my left hand to push the pastry edge in towards the pie centre whilst at the same time use my thumb and forefinger of my right hand to push and pinch against the pastry the other way, creating a raised V shape. Go all the way along the edge of the pie.
Brush the top of the pie with beaten egg and then make a hole in the centre to let out stream. Bake for 30 mins or until the pie crust is golden.
Eat and of course, enjoy!