Savory Pie — Your Way!
This is really very easy to do. You all have the skills, I know you do. It’s just a lot of baby steps leading towards something visually stunning and delicious.
You’re going to be layering different fillings in a pastry, sealing it, and baking it. Everything going inside the pastry is already cooked. You’ll simply be baking the shell to meld the flavors.
What you put inside is entirely up to you. In traveling through France I’ve eaten several versions three of the layering suggestions I like best are:
- Sautéed spinach, ham, cheese, roasted red peppers, caramelized onions, scrambled eggs (or chopped boiled eggs), cheese, ham, spinach.
- Sautéed spinach, sautéed mushrooms, ham or cooked bacon, cheese in alternating layers.
- Sautéed carrots, turnips, onions and layers of thinly sliced beef or (cooked) bacon.
You’ll notice I did not specify which cheese or ham. That’s intentional. You are all in different parts of the world with access to different things. Also, I don’t want anyone to feel any culinary snobbery. Trust your likes and buy what’s in your means. Personalize this, but most of all enjoy it.
First, make your filling ingredients and put them in the refrigerator. You’ll be putting them into a pastry. To prevent the butter in the pastry from melting prematurely it’s important you put the filling ingredients in either cool or at room temperature. Also, preheat your oven to 220 degrees Celsius/about 420 degrees Fahrenheit.
Next, decide whether you’d like to seal the top into one pie (as in the second photo above) or have a more rustic look? The first requires more pastry. Either buy or make the pastry and when you’re ready roll it out. Place in a cake ring, cake pan, or spring form pan. (Make sure you’ve rolled the dough wide enough to come over the lip of the pan.) Take out your fillings.
The order in which you layer depends on the look you’d like. For me, I like several different layers divided by cheese and meat, but layers all of one filling each is fine.
To seal the crust, as in the pie above, there are three ways:
- Apply beaten egg white to the trimmed edges hanging over the pan to create adhesion. Place the top crust over and either trim around the edges with a sharp knife or kitchen sheers.
- Apply the egg white as above but when you place the top crust gently tuck its edges into the filling around the edge of the pan, then fold the overhanging dough onto the top crust. Do not pinch or it will interferer when the pastry rises in the oven.
- Fold the outer edges onto the filling, brush the egg white on that and place the top crust on the pie. Gently press around the edges with your fingers.
With the extra bits of pastry you have you can layer them on top of one another and gently roll again lengthwise. Cut them into long strips or use a cookie cutter to cut shapes. Affix them to the top of the crust by brushing the bottom with a little beaten egg white.
Before you place it in the oven decide if you’d like to glaze it (to add color). In the pic directly above I brushed egg yolk diluted with a little milk all over the top. It gives the finished pie a beautiful color.
Bake it at 220 degrees Celsius for 15 minutes then lower it to 200 degrees for 45 minutes to an hour to brown the crust to your liking. Depending on the pan you used and how much butter is in the pastry you can expect that there will be a thin pool of butter or fat from the crust. (The butter and moisture in the side of the pie crust has no where to go but out of the pastry.) Let the pie cool to room temperature after which you can serve it. Abroad, I’ve only ever eaten it cold for brunch. At home, I occasionally heat it up for a quick breakfast or lunch.
Savory Pie Your Way!
tier one (you must use)
- Pastry, pie crust, puff pastry (store bought is fine, but homemade give you control on the fat content)
tier two (suggested)
- Sautéed spinach (enriching with cream improves the flavor)
- Sautéed mushrooms (use whatever variety you have on hand)
- Thin slices of ham, pre-cooked bacon, roast beef, chicken or duck (let your budget or preference be your guide)
- Thin slices of cheese (let your budget and preference be your guide, but I tend towards Swiss cheeses or other lighter flavors)
tier three (optional)
- Roasted red peppers
- Sun-dried tomatoes
- Sautéed turnips, carrots, parsnips
- Caramelized onions
- French scrambled eggs
- 1 egg yolk + 1 teaspoon milk (for glaze)
- 1 beaten egg white + 1 teaspoon of water (to seal the top crust, if using)
Method: Pre-heat the oven to 220/420, take out your filling from the refrigerator and roll your dough so that it comes up just over the edges of the pan you’re using. Layer the fillings into the dough as you please. Either take the lose ends of the dough and fold them over the top (you don’t need to close it), trim off the sides, or add the top crust.
If adding a top crust brush the edges of the bottom crust with the egg white mixture and place the top crust over the filling gently pressing around the edges of the pan. Fold the portion of the bottom crust which is hanging over the edge onto the top crust and gently press into place. Roll out the scraps of remaining pastry to make decorations and adhere them to the top crust with the egg white mixture. Brush the surface of the pie with the egg yolk and place in the oven for 15 minutes then lower to 200/400 degrees for 45 – 60 minutes, or until the crust reaches the a beautiful golden brown.
(Oven vary. If your pie browns before the 45 minutes place a sheet of aluminum foil over it and continue baking. The core needs to reach temperature to mix all those flavors together.)