For you and yours
In the industry, professional chefs in training earn their stripes by cooking other chefs’ creations. We graft and burn ourselves over hot stoves for years but rarely get to put our own recipes on a plate until either we prove our worth or the head chef takes a giant leap of faith. Often the first time a chef can come up with their own creation is for a staff meal — a family meal, as we like to call it.
When I was in training I took great pride in creating these meals, enjoying the challenge of using up off-cuts, rejected vegetables and leftovers to provide something nutritious and delicious for the harshest of critics — chefs, waiters and demanding restaurant owners. These days I leave it to my junior chefs to come up with their own creations but because staff meals are simple, seasonal penny-saving dishes that you can cook at home for you and yours, I would like to share my take on them through this monthly column.
Over the last few months we have been rarely short of leftover pieces of pumpkin, so when pumpkin soup four times a week became a bit tiresome, I put my Americana hat on and came up with this recipe for pumpkin pie, which is now a menu staple at "The Fed".
An American classic, known for being excessively sweet and made with canned pumpkin, I wanted my pie to be more balanced and light, removing a lot of the sugar from my recipe so you can really taste the rich and velvety texture the pumpkin provides. Serve with a good drizzle of Canadian maple syrup, here you can be as generous or stingy with the sweet as you’d like.
Leftover roast pumpkin from your Sunday roast will work perfectly, but if you want to start from scratch, roast 1kg of pumpkin with a little sea salt at 180C until very soft and lightly browned.
This recipe requires you use a 26cm diameter, 3-4cm deep fluted pie/quiche tin. If your tin is slightly bigger, I suggest you make 1½ times the recipe.
100g icing sugar
100g cold butter, diced
2 eggs (1 for sealing pastry)
- In a food processor blend the flour, icing sugar and butter to a crumbly texture.
- Lightly beat 1 of the eggs and add. Pulse until combined. At this stage it will appear very crumbly.
- Pour out on to a clean bench and knead for 5 minutes until a soft smooth ball is formed. Shape into a small frisbee shape, wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for 45 minutes.
- On a floured bench, roll out the pastry using plenty of extra flour until it is 2-3 inches bigger than your pie tin.
- Place your rolling pin in the centre of the pastry, fold one half over the pin. Lift up the pastry slightly with the rolling pin and slide your pie tin underneath. Press the pastry in to line the base and sides of the tin. Don’t be worried if you have lots of small rips, this pastry recipe is very forgiving once baked.
- Fix any holes with excess pastry and reserve all scraps. Prick holes in base with a fork. Rest in the fridge for at least 15 minutes.
- Heat the oven to 175C. Place the pie tin on a baking tray, cover the pastry with a round of baking paper and fill with baking beans. Bake for 12 minutes. Remove the beans and paper, fix any holes with your pastry scraps and cook for a further 8 minutes.
- Lightly beat the second egg and use it to brush the pastry liberally to seal up any small holes. Bake for 2 more minutes. Allow to cool on the bench.
Pumpkin pie filling
1kg pumpkin skin on, roasted
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg, freshly grated
5 whole eggs, plus 2 egg yolks
- Heat the oven to 120C.
- In a medium-sized pot, add the cream and the flesh of the roasted pumpkin. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes over a low heat.
- Place into a blender and blend until smooth.
- Add the nutmeg, cinnamon, eggs and 2 yolks, one by one, while blending.
- Pass through a sieve into your pre-cooked pie case.
- While the filling is still hot, bake for 25-35 minutes until just firm in the centre. Allow to cool on the bench.
- Serve slices of pie at room temperature with a dollop of whipped cream, a scattering of crushed pecans and a very generous drizzle of Canadian maple syrup.
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Kyle Street, executive chef at Depot Eatery & Oyster Bar and Federal Delicatessen, is an avid lover of street food. He takes a playful approach to cooking — for him it is all about provenance, big flavours and, most importantly, respecting his ingredients. Here are more of Kyle Street's recipes.