Pipe Dream #140: To Feed Families Everywhere – Three Cheese, Potato & Carameli(s)ed Onion Pie

Well. Isn’t that luscious.

That was literally my first thought on seeing this picture, and this pie is not even full of whipped cream.

This is the kind of savory pie that will feed a crowd. This is the kind of pie that hits the spot on those chilly fall nights. This is the kind of pie that you eat for Sunday lunch because you know you can take a 3-hour nap afterward. What, you never do that? Ok, whatever. But still, this could feed your family for a week, probably.

The preparation process was fairly involved given the amount of chopping and grating required. (Luckily, no incidents occurred.) Read the recipe carefully, and do all possible prep a day ahead if you can.

I didn’t use the Stilton or Gruyère cheese called for in the recipe because I had an abundance of other random cheeses in the fridge. Cheese freaks, we are. However, I think this pie really would have benefited from the flavor of a stronger cheese; it was a bit bland with the Swiss I used. If you make this, try it with the Stilton. Or maybe a bleu?

Also, this is a real English pie! I felt a little bit like James Herriot digging into it. Not that there were any bovine hindquarters anywhere near, but he does have a way with describing the different English fare he experiences. The pastry itself was a little finnicky to make (most pastry is save these), but it was well worth the effort. Super flaky and delicious.

I had a bit of leftover pastry, so I cut it up and made little flowers for the top. This is actually the reason I am even qualifying this recipe for my blog. If it had been less cutesy, probably all of my baking followers would have written me off and never visited again. Probably.

Like I said, super flaky.

Feeding families errwhere,

L

Three Cheese, Potato & Caramelised Onion Pie

Adapted from The Great British Bakeoff

For the pastry:
150 g/5 oz unsalted butter, room temperature
200 g/7 oz all-purpose flour
½ tsp salt
½ tbsp white vinegar
about 150 ml/5 fl oz cold water

For the filling:
30 g/1 oz butter
280 g/10 oz onions, peeled, thinly sliced
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp white sugar
930 g/2 lb 1 oz potatoes, peeled, thinly sliced
140 g/5 oz crème fraîche (or sour cream)
4 tbsp heavy cream
100 g/3½ oz mature cheddar, grated
100 g/3½ oz Stilton, crumbled*
100 g/3½ oz Gruyère, grated*
freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp grated nutmeg
1 large egg, beaten

*Note that I used Swiss and what I think was a Pecorino Romano in place of the Stilton and Gruyère. It would have been more flavorful with the Stilton.
Preparation method:
1. To make the pastry, place the butter into a bowl and mash with a fork until soft and creamy. Divide the mixture into four equal portions.
2. Place the flour into a bowl and add the salt. Take one portion of the butter mixture and rub into the flour until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the vinegar and mix it in using a blunt
knife. Add just enough cold water to form a dough then turn it out onto a floured work surface.
3. Shape the dough into a rectangle and roll it out to a thickness of about 1 cm/½ in. Gently lift the pastry with your fingers and allow it to shrink back a little.
4. Cut another portion of the butter mixture into small pieces using a palette knife and dot it over the pastry, being careful not to get it too close to the edges. Fold the pastry into thirds, rubbing off any excess flour as you do so, cover in cling film and place in the fridge for five minutes.
5. Take the pastry from the fridge. Repeat steps 3 and 4 using the remaining butter. If any fat shows through the pastry, scatter over a little more flour.
6. Remove the pastry from the fridge, roll once more into a rectangle about 1 cm/½ in thick, fold into thirds and return to the fridge for 30 minutes.
7. Meanwhile, make the filling. Heat the butter in a wide pan and add the onions, salt and sugar. Fry over a low heat, stirring occasionally, for 5-6 minutes, or until the onions are lightly caramelised. Remove
the pan from the heat and set aside.
8. Cook the potatoes in a large pan of boiling, salted water for eight minutes, drain well then set aside.
9. Preheat the oven to 220C/425F/Gas 7, with a rack is just above the middle of the oven and a baking tray underneath to catch any filling that might escape during cooking.
10. Mix the crème fraîche, cream and cheddar in a small bowl. Mix together the Stilton and Gruyère in a separate bowl.
11. Layer one quarter of the potatoes, a third of the onions and a third of the Stilton/Gruyère mixture in the bottom of a large pie dish. Sprinkle with a little freshly ground black pepper and grated
nutmeg.
12. Repeat step 11, working from the outside of the pie dish into the middle to achieve a domed effect, seasoning as you go, then pour over half the cream/cheddar mixture. Repeat this step then cover
the filling with the remaining potato, ensuring none of the cream mixture is visible.
13. Take the pastry from the fridge and place on a floured work surface. Roll out in one direction only, turn 45 degrees and roll again until you have a piece of pastry that is a little larger than the pie dish. Lift
the pastry with your fingers to allow it to shrink back a little.
14. Cut thin strips from each edge of the pastry and use a little egg wash to stick each one to the rim of the pie dish. Brush each strip with beaten egg and carefully place the pastry over the filling, pressing it down on the pastry strips to make a good seal.
15. Take a fork and press down gently around the edges of the pie. Use any off-cuts of pastry to decorate the pie then brush the top with the remaining egg wash. Cut a small cross in the top of the pie
to let the steam escape.
16. Transfer the pie to the oven and bake for 30 minutes then reduce the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4 and bake the pie for one hour or until golden-brown.

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1 Response to “Pipe Dream #140: To Feed Families Everywhere – Three Cheese, Potato & Carameli(s)ed Onion Pie”


  1. 1 bethany September 26, 2012 at 6:16 pm

    James Herriot! Yes!!! Looks absolutely delicious, Lo!


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