Roasted butternut pies with a beer crust

Butternut beer pies

These pies are crisp and flaky on the outside, and soft and yummy on the inside. They combine roasted butternut squash, roman beans, and pistachios. The squash is sweet, the beans are earthy, and the nuts provide a nice flavor and a little crunch to the proceedings. There’s beer in the crust and beer in the pies. So use a beer you like! Roman beans are very similar to pinto beans, in appearance, taste and texture. They’re largish, and you partially mash them here, so you have a nice contrast of refried-bean texture and the occasional solid yet tender bean.

These pies have sharp cheddar, which holds everything together and adds an edgy yet melty flavor. And they’re seasoned with thyme, sage, rosemary, paprika, nutmeg and fennel. They’re nice to take to a party, because they transport well, and they’re substantial enough that they can make a meal. That’s it! I’m done talking about them! I’m going to tell you how to make them now. Except that I should mention that I took them to a party, and as I sat with them on my lap – they were warm and fragrant, and they smelled like butter and beer, and it made me think of butter beer. That’s from Harry Potter, right?

Here’s Roman Blue by Danger Mouse and Daniele Lupp. I’ve just heard it for the first time, but it’s lush and Ennio Morricone-y, and I think I’ll listen to it again!

1 batch of paté brisée. Add white and/or black pepper to the flour (I add both!) When it comes time to put ice water in…put ice-cold (well, refrigerated, not frozen!) beer instead. I used a darkish sweetish beer with autumnal flavors. But you can use whatever you have on hand. And I think, in the end, I used about a cup. But, as always, with pastry you start with the least amount you might need, and carefully work up.

1 can (15 oz) roman beans or pinto beans
2 cups roasted butternut squash, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup mashed potatoes (optional – I had them leftover!)
1/3 cup pistachio kernels, chopped.
Olive oil
1 shallot
1 clove garlic
1/2 t. sage
1 t. rosemary
1/2 t. thyme
1/4 t. fennel, chopped up
1/4 t. smoked paprika
pinch nutmeg
salt & pepper
splash of beer!
1 egg, beaten
1 – 2 cups grated sharp cheddar, depending on how cheesy you like things.

Warm the olive oil over medium heat in a big frying pan. Add the shallot, garlic, herbs. When things start to brown add the paprika the squash and the beans. Mix well and heat till every thing’s combined, and heat through.

When the pan starts to dry out, add a splash of beer, and continue to cook till it’s all dried out again. MEANWHILE! Squish things with a spoon or fork as you cook. You don’t want a puree, but you want most things soft and mashed.

Put it all in a bowl. Add the cheese and pistachios. Add most of the beaten egg, but leave about a tablespoon to the side.

Now…take your dough out of the fridge. Break it into two relatively equal parts. Roll one (on the old lightly floured surface!) into a long thin rectangle. About 6 inches by 16 inches. Slice it into smaller rectangles – 6 inches by 4 inches -ish. I ended up with nine pies. So I sliced one into four and one into five.

Put a heaping tablespoon of filling towards one end of each…

Now fold the pasty over towards you to encompass the filling. It looks like it might not fit, but it’s quite a stretchy pastry! You’re not going to roll the edges up – you just press them down. So make sure there’s about half an inch of clean pastry on the bottom part, and try not to get any filling sloshed in between. I’m a messy cook, so this is my biggest problem. But if I can do it, so can you!

Press the edges down gently with your fingers. The transfer to a baking tray and press the edges down more aggressively with the tines of a fork. Brush everything over with eggs and poke in a few places to let the steam escape.

Cook at 425 (preheated!) for about half an hour till they’re crispy and golden brown.


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