Roasted chickpea and cauliflower pies with masa harina crust

Roasted chickpea and cauliflower pies

Roasted chickpea and cauliflower pies

It’s spring break and it’s snowing. The snow is light and fine and in a tizzy, spiraling madly with any small breath of wind. Inside The Ordinary it’s warm and dry, and the boys have been in a tizzy, too, looping around the house making rude noises with spent balloons, the frantic dog nipping at their heels. Malcolm is playing with matches and begging for candy, and I let him buy some, because I feel so bad that it’s snowing and they have to go to the dentist tomorrow. He was looking forward to today so much, and it’s not turning out good at all. He’s nearly in tears, and I know how he feels, his disappointment is so palpable. And now he’s back with wind-rosy cheeks and snowflakes on his eyelashes, bearing juicy fruit gum with its indefinably nostalgic flavor. He wants to cuddle on the couch. “You’re not watching TV!” I say. “I don’t want to.” he replies. “I suppose we could all sit and read,” I say. “No,” he says, “I just want to sit on the couch and cuddle.” I love this boy! It has always been part of my parenting strategy to provide my boys with lots of long, unplanned days. They don’t get bored on empty days because their minds are so full of schemes, some brilliant, some ill-advised. (What can two little boys do with a dozen deflated balloons, scissors and a lit candle? Why isn’t their mother stopping them?) David and I were talking about the importance of making plans, recently, because it feels hopeful and important, and we do have some small trips planned for the week ahead. But not for this particular snowy monday. My calculated method of never scheduling anything fun for them to do has paid off, because they make their own fun. And they recognize the value of sitting together on a day in late March, watching the snow swirling down. There will never be another morning quite like this one.

I love the combination of cashews, raisins, chickpeas and cauliflower. If you roast the chickpeas and cauliflower, and combine everything in a crunchy, flavorful masa harina crust, that’s even better! I kept the seasonings simple – coriander & cumin, rosemary and sage. I added some stinky black salt to the crust, because it’s a flavor I like a lot, and I used a little smoked salt, too, because, quite frankly, I ran out of regular salt! Feel free to use regular salt if that’s all you have.

Here’s Belle and Sebastian’s Another Sunny Day, because David was whistling it this morning and it’s stuck in my head, and because it describes a rainy day trapped inside with hot chocolate, which sounds good right about now!

THE CRUST

1 cup flour
1 cup masa harina
1/2 t smoked salt
1/2 t black salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, frozen
ice water

Combine the flour, masa harina and salts in a large bowl. Grate in the frozen butter, and combine with a fork. You should have a coarse, crumbly consistency. Add enough ice water to pull it together into a smooth ball. Masa harina is thirsty, so you might need about a cup of water. Knead for a minute or so till you have a smooth dough, wrap in foil, and chill in the fridge for at least half an hour.

THE FILLING

1/2 medium-sized head of cauliflower, florets only, chopped very small (1 1/2 cups, maybe)
1 cup chickpeas, rinsed and drained
olive oil to coat
1/3 cup golden raisins, chopped
1/2 cup roasted cashews, chopped
1 – 2 cups grated sharp cheddar
1 t coriander
1 t rosemary, chopped
1 t dried sage
1/2 t cumin
salt and plenty of freshly ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 425. Spread the cauliflower florets and chickpeas in an even single layer on a baking sheet, and coat lightly in olive oil (About 1 tablespoon should do it) Roast, stirring frequently, for 25 – 30 minutes, until the cauliflower is soft inside and browned and crispy outside. Tip into a large bowl. Add the cashews, raisins, spices and cheese and mix well. Season with salt and pepper.

TO ASSEMBLE

Keep oven at 425. Break the chilled dough into 6 pieces. On a floured surface, roll a piece of dough into a circle about 8 inches across and 1/4 inch thick. (It needn’t be as thin as regular pastry dough.) Place a heaping spoonful of filling in the center (about as large as the original ball of dough you rolled out. Fold up the edges of the dough, seal lightly, and place seam-side-down on a lightly buttered baking sheet. Repeat with the rest of the dough and the rest of the filling. Prick the top of each pie with a fork.

Bake for 30 – 35 minutes, until golden on top and firm to the touch.

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