In crust we trust – five easy pie recipes perfect for winter baking
Whatever genius invented the pie deserves to be showered with eternal praise – seriously. Close your eyes and conjure the mental image of a flaky and buttery exterior encasing the mouth-watering ingredients within. It’s enough to have us levitating with serene joy and the aroma of a pie fresh out of the oven is like an intoxicating perfume. Sorry, were we drooling? Forget about that. Pie is what we are here to discuss and with the winter months approaching (and most of us locked inside with plenty of time on our hands) there’s no better time to have a crack at making one. What’s your flavour? Do you prefer sweet or savoury? No matter your preference, we’ve rounded up five easy pie recipes here for you to try.
Lamb curry pie with lime pickle glaze
For our first meaty suggestion, we’ve looked a bit further than your typical shepherd’s pie. Don’t get us wrong, we love any pie that includes mashed potato but variety is the spice of life, you know? Lovers of tender slow-cooked lamb will find a lot to like about this lamb pie, and if you don’t mind a bit of spice then you might have met your dream dish. This recipe will teach you how to make the crust from scratch, which is always a handy skill to have in your back pocket. As for the lamb, you’ll need to source a boneless shoulder to rub with curry paste and mustard before lovingly cooking it with onion, ginger, garlic, chilli, carrot and beetroot for a few hours in a casserole dish (you’ll be tempted to eat it as is after this stage, but don’t – patience is key). Those of you wondering what lime pickle is and where to find it, your best bet is checking in at any Indian grocer. It’s a bit obscure, but it’ll be worth the hunt – the glaze gives the whole dish a golden colour and tangy edge. Sublime.
We’re going to start with a classic. No, it’s not apple pie or cherry pie (frankly those pies get all of the love), but when you’re in the mood for something sweet, a slice of decadent pecan pie is just as good as any other variety. This recipe is your best bet for nailing the crust and the salivation-worthy caramelised filling. Here’s what you’ll need to know ahead of time – this recipe requires a food processor for mixing dough ingredients, you’ll need to knead said dough (so limber up!) and you’ll need something to weigh the crust down while it bakes (preferably something that won’t burn). Other than that, this bad boy is pretty straightforward. What you’ll have at the end is a golden and fragrant pie that will be the jaw-dropping finale to any dinner party you host or attend – just remember to serve with a scoop of ice-cream, preferably vanilla so as not to distract from the roasted pecan goodness. Then again, we’re not the boss of you, so go nuts – figuratively and literally (because of the pecans).
Image: Bon Appetit
If the flake factor is important to you, then we suggest having a crack at spanakopita. This filo pie is a staple of Greek cooking, and doesn’t require a tonne of ingredients to throw together. This dish is vegetarian friendly, with a filling comprised of spinach (or silverbeet, if you reckon you can’t beat the ‘beet), dill, spring onions and plenty of cheese. Speaking of cheese, this recipe asks for a mixture of ricotta and hard cheese, typically kefalograviera (a salty and nutty cheese made from sheep’s and goat’s milk – don’t ask us how to pronounce it) or something similar like parmesan or pecorino. Also, you’ll be better off using fresh filo pastry rather than frozen as it’ll be easier to shape. This pie is great on its own or paired with salad, and one of these bad boys can feed a large crew or be spread out over many meals. Elements can be prepped ahead of time to make the whole process easier, too!
Image: SBS Food
Vegan chickpea pot pie
This one is dedicated to our pals that prefer their pies plant-based (we see you, mates!). Instead of your usual chicken pot pie, we’ve elected to feature one that substitutes the poultry for a protein-filled legume without sacrificing the hearty element we all crave. Not only is this recipe vegan friendly, but it’s also gluten free, grain free and oil free. We know, you’re curious about how a pie like this actually works, and the answer is pretty simple. For the filling, the usual heavy cream and canned soup is replaced with non-dairy milk, nutritional yeast and chickpea flour. The crust is made using this handy three-ingredient recipe, which results in a pie pastry made from almond flour, tapioca starch and flax egg. Both the crust and filling can be prepared in advance, so you can make in bulk in preparation for the next cold snap.
Image: From My Bowl
Beef, bacon and mushroom pithivier
We’ve saved the most creative option for last. A lot of you are probably thinking, “What the heck is a pithivier?”. Well, we’ll start by saying that yes, it is a pie – it’s a traditional French dish that is often filled with sweet ingredients, but it is also great with savoury fillings. Instead of the familiar flat top covering a deep dish, pithiviers are more dome-shaped, with lightly sliced spirals rising up to the middle. This recipe will require a couple of layers of all-butter puff pastry, plus beef chuck steak, middle bacon rashers and mushroom for the filling. Cook the filling ingredients until the beef is tender, then you’ll simply need to shred the meat and spoon it onto one of the pastry sheets before the second sheet of pastry is placed over beef and pressed together along the edges. Brush with egg and then bake this beauty until golden and crispy, then surprise your pals with this eye-catching number and bask in the warmth of their compliments.
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