Harvest pie with potatoes, tomatoes and basil

End of summer pie

End of summer pie

Autumn is a good season for time travel. Not extensive trips involving complicated machines, but small, simple glimpses into the past. Maybe it’s the way scents travel in the clear air, or the way the light seems more slanting and golden, but for the last few days I keep finding myself in some other time of my life. Not that I’m just reminded of another time, but for a moment I’m there. I’m a child walking to school in England, or a twenty-three year old walking through the world with my new friend David. For some reason I’ve been thinking a lot the past few days about time passing. Not in the usual way that I think about it passing in my life or in the lives of people I love or in the seasons changing, but on a larger scale, a bigger cycle, about how the world has changed so much and is constantly changing, but under all the clutter and confusion people haven’t changed that much. We still all want the same things: someplace safe to rest our head when we’re tired, enough food to eat, sunshine when it’s chilly and shade when it’s warm. People have probably always struggled, as we do now, to free ourselves from the burden of being hopelessly, irredeemably, the center of our own universe so that we could be kind to others, and see everything around us with more clarity.

End of summer pie

End of summer pie

Here’s a good pie for the change in seasons! It’s like a pizza, so you can call it that if you want. I made the crust much thicker than I usually make my pizza crust, so it would be comfortingly soft and strong enough to hold up to all the toppings. All the herbs and vegetables are from our farm. I like potatoes on a pizza, it’s one of those things that shouldn’t work, but somehow does. I parboiled these and then tossed them in a little olive oil, so they’re soft but just starting to crisp up. I love the combination of tomatoes, potatoes and basil, but you can add any kind of vegetables or cheese or herbs you like on here.

Here’s Good Feeling by the Violent Femmes. I’ve been listening to them a lot lately…talk about a portal to the past!!

THE CRUST

1 t yeast
1 t sugar
1/2 cup warm water
2 1/2 cups flour
1 t basil
1 t sage
1 t thyme
1 t oregano
1 t rosemary
1 t salt
1/3 cup olive oil

Combine the yeast, sugar and half a cup warm water in a small bowl, and leave in a warm place for about ten minutes to get foamy.

In a large bowl combine the flour, herbs, and salt. Make a well in the center and add the yeast mixture and the olive oil. Stir well, and add enough warm water to form a soft dough. You want it to be as wet as it can that you can still comfortably knead it. Knead for about 5 minutes until soft and elastic. Put about 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large bowl. Roll the dough in this so that it’s evenly coated. Cover the bowl with a damp cloth and set aside for two to five hours, till it’s doubled in size.

THE TOPPINGS

about 1 pound small potatoes, peeled or scrubbed and chopped into 1 inch cubes
olive oil to coat

1 pint cherry tomatoes, different shapes and colors, halved
1/2 cup goat cheese
1/2 cup mozzarella, cut into small cubes
1/3 cup pine nuts
large handful fresh basil, cleaned and roughly chopped

Bring the potatoes to boil in a large pan of salted water. Boil for 5 to 10 minutes, until they’re soft but not falling apart. Drain completely, and toss in a bowl with enough olive oil to lightly coat (1 or 2 tablespoons).

Preheat the oven to 450. Lightly oil a pizza pan or large baking sheet. Spread the dough in the pan by squishing it with your palms, or rolling it with a small glass. Build up the edges to form a sort of crust. Bake for five or ten minutes till it just loses its shine. Sprinkle the cheeses over, and then the tomatoes and potatoes and then the pine nuts and half the basil.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until the crust is browned and puffy and the cheeses are melted and bubbly. Sprinkle the rest of the basil over, season with salt and pepper, and serve.

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