Sometimes, even in the best planned kitchens, there are leftovers. Sometimes, the best planned kitchens ENSURE there are leftovers! I knew I had to drive North, leaving the Bear to fend for himself and though he is perfectly capable, he has a very busy week and might just have trotted off to buy a sandwich. What he needed, I thought, was a Pastryless Pie – he could cut slices and take it in with some salad leaves. Far better for him than a shop bought sandwich. And he gets some greens into his diet.
I suppose the Pastryless Pie is really a kind of frittata, a sort of mutant child of a Spanish omelette and a vegetable quiche. Without the pastry, obviously. Now before you shudder and dismiss it….. Look at it… a beautiful, softly quivering slice of gorgeousness!
And really, not much work at all. No tricky pastry to deal with, so no trauma with blind baking and red hot ceramic baking beans bouncing round the kitchen when you try and take them out of the pie crust and manage to drop the corner of the baking parchment… no comedy style lurching around as you stand on a baking bean and it rolls around underfoot…… oh sorry, I was letting a personal trauma affect me there.
So back to the pie. The ingredients vary but the constants HAVE to be eggs and cream or milk and some cheese. Because there isn’t any pastry, you can imagine that putting the quiche like filling in without a liner would make things very messy. You can buy cake tin liners which are one of the greatest things ever. I got these at Lakeland but I assume they are available everywhere
You also need a tin to put it in. I use a springform tin (That’s one where there is a clip that you fasten and it tightens the sides round the base. It makes everything very easy to get out as the pie or cake remains on the base and the sides lift off.)
First of all, select some ingredients.
140 ml pot of cream
Packet of Parma ham, or proscuitto – maybe 6 or 8 slices
Cold boiled potatoes – just a few
A small courgette (ooh those hidden vegetables…muahahaaahahaaaa!)
Some steamed broccoli
Sweetcorn if you like it (although it is in the picture, it didn’t actually make it into the pie because when I peeled the husk back and cut the kernels off, they looked all pale and unripe)
Sweet potato – I had some spicy roasted cubes left, so they went in.
Leeks – not the two of them – when I started chopping I actually only used half of one.
Now before you say that you don’t like this or that, just carry on reading then go and look in your fridge. Maybe there is something there you like better?
Pop the liner into the tin and then carefully peel apart your slices
of proscuitto or Parma ham. Drape it round the sides and leave a bit hanging over the top. You don’t have to completely cover the outside.
Then prepare the rest of your vegetables – slice the potatoes (not too thin) and break up the broccoli florets into small pieces. I shred a courgette as it sort of disappears into the filling, which is handy, seeing as some people object to them. As I say, what the eye can’t see, the mouth can’t whine about .
In a bowl, whisk the eggs and the cream together with a bit of salt for seasoning. Grate the cheddar into it – it goes all lumpy, but that’s a good thing. When it bakes it all comes together wonderfully.
I bought Emmental presliced, for no other reason than when I went to get somethat was all there was. Turned out to be a good idea actually – I took it out of the packet and just sliced it. See the picture? From the top left – shredded courgettes, left over cubed spicy roasted sweet potato, sliced Emmental, cold boiled sliced potatoes, finely chopped leeks, sliced tomatoes and the broccoli. Now you start to put it together. Put the oven on to pre heat at 160 degrees
Potatoes on the bottom so there is a bit of a base to the whole thing. Then the broccoli and the sweet potato in a rather fetching pattern – think of the slicing of it… oh, so pretty!
Scatter in the leeks and courgette – look at the lovely greenness!
Now pour in your lumpy eggy, creamy (or milky), cheesy liquid, giving the pie a gentle shake so it settles evenly through all the vegetables. Scatter the sliced Emmental over it and the little tomatoes, which you have cut into quarters.
See the ends of the ham? Flip them over, just like this. Then put it in the oven.
Turn around and walk away for maybe 30 – 40 minutes. Have a quick look after 30 minutes… it is browning nicely? Does it need to be turned? I have a terrible oven that cooks unevenly so I have to keep turning things so they get an even colour.
When it is looking evenly browned, using oven gloves (no burned fingers please!) gently shake the tin – it should be firmish. Give it a prod, if you like – it shouldn’t be rock solid, it should have a nice, gentle give to it. Does it smell nice? Does it look a bit like this?
Let me tell you, that smells gorgeous. There’s a bit of a delicate wobble to it but there are no evil runny bits.
It’s quite pretty, really. And even people, (I shan’t name names as he may be reading this) who have to be dragged kicking and screaming towards broccoli, (The Bear’s only flaw) manage to scoff this.
So, you see how easy it is? A bit of chopping. A bit of layering. A bit of mixing and that’s it.
It slices well and is good to eat the day you make it or to take to work or school in a packed lunch. You can put in vegetables that you have left over from other meals and, presumably, they would be vegetables that you would like seeing as you cooked them anyway. How very moneysaving! How very tasty.