Over the holidays, Ethan Troy-Barnes has been experimenting with ready-rolled pastry to take the ache out of bake when it comes to pies
Let’s face it; homemade short-crust pastry is not convenient. It takes time and effort – two things in short supply on a weekday night. Fortunately, you can buy ready-rolled pastry in the supermarket. All you have to do is defrost and unwrap and you are set to create some fancy-looking savoury treats.
Otwo experimented with a vegetable pie, but feel free to play around with fillings. For instance, meat or potatoes work a charm – although tend to be drier, so will require the addition of a dash of stock or some kind of sauce.
First, pre-heat a deep ovenproof dish in a fairly hot oven (180-200°C). Then, prepare your filling of choice. Panfry some roughly chopped mixed vegetables in a little olive oil with spices/seasoning to taste, until al dente but not fully cooked through. The main idea here is to ensure your filling is cooked enough to speed up cooking times later, but not so far done that it will turn to mush in the oven. In this instance Otwo used onions, cherry tomatoes, peppers, salt and pepper.
The next step is to chuck the lot into your pre-heated pie dish. At this point, Otwo recommends adding some herbs for flavour (basil worked well with this combination). If so inclined, add some cured meats or cheese for additional flavour. Otwo experimented with a couple of blobs of pesto and a few hunks of goats’ cheese dotted about the dish.
Finally comes the easy bit, simply laying your pastry over your filling. It’s important to poke holes in your pastry at this stage in order to let any steam from the filling escape – this prevents your pastry from going soggy. Finally, brush with egg wash if desired (not a necessary step), and place in the oven for about ten minutes, or until the pastry puffs up and has turned a light golden colour. Enjoy hot or cold with a simple green side salad.
Note: Regardless of your vegetable combination, Otwo recommends using tomatoes in your selection; because of their high water content, they tend to collapse into the most succulent of sauces, especially in the presence of cheese.