Ham, leek and cheddar pie
( SERVES 4 )
Photo by Tamara West
There’s something warm and comforting about a large pie, served on the table for all to share — and diners are always impressed.
To make a large pie you can use a fluted tin or a ceramic quiche dish (approximately 22-25cm). If your dish is smaller or larger you can just adjust the pastry and filling to suit. I find it is best to spray the dish with a light coating of oil before pressing in the pastry as this will ensure the pie is easier to remove after baking.
The pastry can be shortcrust or flaky. In larger dishes, the shortcrust will cook more evenly while the flaky might be a bit soggy in the middle. However, if you are serving the pie straight from the oven, no one will notice.
A lattice top is a good way to use pastry that is cracked when defrosted: the flaky pastry will have more “lift’’ than shortcrust.
- Heat the oven to 200C. Saute the leek or spring onions in a frying pan with butter until translucent and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Spray a pie dish with oil and line with pastry.
- Place the leeks/spring onions in the base of the pastry case.
- In a bowl, mix together the béchamel, ham, cheese, lemon juice and a little salt and pepper. Place on top of the leeks/spring onions.
- Brush the edge of the filled pastry case with milk or egg yolk. This is to help attach the lattice lid.
- With a sharp knife, cut pastry into one centimetre wide strips.
- Starting at one edge of the dish, lay one strip diagonally across from one edge to another. (The first strips will be small as the distance across the dish is not great.) When you get to the edge, press the strip into the pastry base so they join.
- The second strip should overlap the first but be placed so that it is on a different diagonal angle.
- The third strip should follow the diagonal angle of the first strip and overlap a portion
- Repeat until the pie is covered with strips about one centimetre apart.
- Make sure all the ends of the strips are pressed into the pastry base
- Glaze the lattice with egg or milk.
- Bake for around 20-25 minutes until the pastry is crisp and golden.