If there was ever a time to bake a pie…

By Corrie Heale

Warm, buttery and cheesy. This leek, potato and cheddar pie makes a great Sunday project when it’s too cold to go outside.

So, roll up your sleeves, plug into your favourite podcast and enjoy a day knee deep in buttery pastry.

Leek, potato and cheddar pie

Serves 4-8 / Hands on time 1 hr 45 mins / Total time 2 hrs 15 mins + chilling /V

You’ll need:

25cm flan tin (preferable with a removable bottom) / baking paper / rolling pin /

For the rough-puff pastry: 250g strong white bread flour 250g cold unsalted butter 1tsp sea salt flakes 100 ml cold water

For the filling: 150ml tap water ½ vegetable stock pot or cube 250g potatoes, cubed 250g leeks, trimmed and roughly chopped ½ white onion, peeled and chopped 100g mature vegetarian cheddar 1 egg, beaten

TIP: This recipe is split into 3 parts to give you the option of making the pie in stages – making a pie all in one day can be exhausting. I usually make the pastry the day before filling the pie and then refrigerate the pie over night before baking.

PART 1: Make the rough-puff pastry (Hands on time 45 mins + 30 mins resting)

1. Mix the salt and the flour together in a large bowl before grating in a third of the cold butter. Using your hands, coat the butter in the flour before grating in another third of the butter and repeat with the last third. Adding the butter in batches makes it easier to incorporate.

2. Using your fingers, rub the butter loosely until it resembles breadcrumbs. This should take 10 to 15 mins so pop the radio on.

3. Make a well in the bowl and add 100 ml of cold water. Mix with a butter knife before using your hands to bring the crumbly dough together – being careful not to over work the dough.

4. Turn out onto a large piece of cling film and gather up the corners until you have a firm ball of pastry. Refrigerate for at least 30 mins. If making the filling the same day, use the next 30 mins to jump to PART 2

5. Once the pastry has rested, remove from the fridge and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Using your hands, mould the crumbly pastry into a rough rectangle (the pastry will be very crumbly but don’t let that scare you, it will start to come together at you roll it out). Flour your rolling pin and roll the pastry away from you in one direction only, until roughly three times the original length, flouring the surface as you go if needed.

6. Fold the top third of the pastry down to the centre, then the bottom third up and over that. Give the dough a quarter turn to the left or right, flour the surface and your rolling pin if needed and roll out again to three times the length in one direction.

7. Fold as before, before wrapping well in cling film and refrigerating again for at least 20 mins. The pastry can be kept refrigerated for up to 1 month or freeze for up to 6 months.

PART 2: Make the filling (Hands on time 25 mins + cooling)

1. Chop 250g potatoes into cubes (I leave the skins on, but you can peel them if you prefer) and add them to a medium sized saucepan along with 150ml of tap water and half a stock cube or stock pot. Bring to the boil and cook over a high heat for 5 mins.

2. Add 250g of chopped leeks and half a chopped onion to the pan and simmer with the lid on for 8 mins or until the vegetables are tender and all the liquid has evaporated, stirring regularly.

3. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside to cool fully. The filling can be refrigerated for up to 5 days if you’re planning on assembling your pie another day.

PART 3: Assemble the pie (Hands on time 30-35 mins + 30 mins baking time)

1. Grease the tin well and dust with flour before lining the base with baking paper. Put to one side.

2. Remove the chilled pastry from the fridge and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Cut a third of the pastry off and put to one side (this will be your pastry top). Roll out the pastry until it’s a few millimetres thick and big enough to comfortably line the tin, flouring the surface and the rolling pin as you go.

3. Drape the pastry over the tin and carefully push the pastry into the edges and up the sides using your fingertips. You will need the overhanging pastry but trim off any excessively long pieces and put to one side (these will be used to decorate your pie later). Prick the bottom of the pastry with a fork and turn your attention back to the filling.

4. Grate the cheddar and incorporate into the cooled leek mixture. Season well with salt and black pepper before spooning into the tin. Spread the filling out evenly and put the pie to one side. Before you preheat your oven, line the bottom of the oven with foil to catch any melted butter. Preheat your oven to 220°C/200°C fan/425°F/gas mark 7.

5. Mould the third of the pastry you saved for the top into a ball and roll out on a floured surface. Using a sharp knife, cut out a circle, big enough to fit snugly over the exposed filling (this doesn’t need to be too perfect, if the pastry is slightly too big to sit comfortably in the tin simply trim more off). 6. Fold the excess pastry back in on top of the pie lid and crimp around the edges to give a decorative crust – again, this doesn’t have to be perfect.

7. Use any excess pastry you removed earlier to decorate the pie. I cut out leaf shapes but you can decorate your pie however you like. If you are planning on baking the pie another day, now is a good time to wrap it in clingfilm and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before baking.

8. Egg wash the pie all over before making 2 small incisions in the centre to allow steam escape. Bake on the middle shelf for 30-35 mins or until the pastry is golden.

9. Allow the pie to cool for 10-15 mins before removing carefully from the tin and discarding the baking paper. I do this by placing a lightweight chopping board or plate over the top of the pie and flipping it on its head. This allows you to lift off the tin (do not do this when the pie is still hot as it may not hold its structure). Repeat the same trick with a cooling rack to get the pie right side up.

10. Serve warm or cold with a simple green salad.

The pie will last for up to 4 days wrapped up in the fridge.

If this has inspired you to up your pie game, why not book a place in The Pie Shop online classroom, led by River Cottage chef Tom Morrell. He will teach you all the skills necessary to make a variety of savoury pastry recipes – including shortcrust, rough puff, hot water crust and suet.

Corrie Heale

Freelance food writer / vegetarian food blogger and recipe writer. corriesrabbitfood.com @corrieheale

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