Monday, 1 March 2010

Pie Week

Was approached by Lurpak again for a recipe, this time to celebrate British Pie Week (1-7 March). I've sent them my mum's recipe for a tradition Maltese pie called an qassatat (the Q is silent, pronounced AHS-SAH-TAHT), it's kinda cross between a pastry and an open pie - basically street food in Malta. The easiest filling to do is ricotta the other is a beef and peas mixture (Mum's version included curry powder so it tastes a little like a samosa), there's also another traditional filling of spinach and anchovies - but I've never had a taste for hairy fish.

For the short crust pastry (or you can buy it ready made):

Ingredients:
1 lb plain flour
8 oz unsalted butter
2 eggs
pinch of salt
pepper to taste
Cold water if needed

Method:
Cream the butter, eggs, pepper and salt together, gradually add the flour, working it in until it turns into a dough, if the dough is too dry, add a little water, about a tablespoon at a time. Roll into a ball, cover in a damp tea towel and leave in the fridge for at least an hour.

For the ricotta filling:
1 lb ricotta
2 beaten eggs
1 tsp salt
a cup of finely chopped flat leaf parsley
Optional: fresh broad beans, but make sure to peel off the outer skins)
Optional: a couple of heaped tablespoons of parmesan cheese.

For the glaze:
A beaten egg mixed with a couple of tablespoons of milk


Method:
Mix the ricotta in with the parsley, salt and if adding it, broad beans and/or parmesan cheese. Gradually add the beaten eggs so the mixture is still firm, but not runny.

To make the pies:
Take a small ball of dough and roll it out so it's about 12cm in diameter and about 3mm thick - use a saucer as a cutting guide.

Drop a heaped tablespoon of filling into the centre and wet the edges of the pastry with a little water.

Gather the edges of the filling and pleat it around the filling by pinching the edge around it, but not seal the top so the filling still shows. (this takes a little practice, it should look a little like a deflated balloon, here's a picture I ganked off another site: http://emod-content.crmondemand.com/2e0bae65-1670-42cb-a792-bbf6b6ff879b/images/Qassatat.JPG).

Glaze the pastry with egg yolk and milk.

Place on a greased baking sheet and back in the oven for 30mins at 200 deg, then turn it down to 180 deg, continue baking until they're a golden brown.