Here’s Feeling Good, by Nina Simone.
Do you like Dickens? What’s your favorite Dickens novel?
Instead, I’ll go on and on about this pie. I love a double-crusted pie in the wintertime, one with a tall crispy crust that holds in any mashed potatoes you might pile on top. In some ways this is my ur-winter pie. I love the combination of roasted mushrooms and nuts, and smoky cheese, and savory spinach. The beans add substance and flavor. I love the combination of sage and rosemary with a bit of nutmeg. This pie has all those things! In this case the nuts are in the crust, which is light and crispy, and the filling is dense and satisfying.
Here’s the Dickensian Decemberists with The Chimbley Sweep.
Here’s another one that Mrs Rabbit could make after she sends Peter foraging in the hedgerows for nuts and stealing root vegetables from their neighbors’ gardens. This is a rustic-looking galette, with roasted parsnips, apples and shallots, sharp cheddar cheese and some arugula thrown in for greenness. The parsnips are sweet, the apples are tart, the cheese is sharp, and they all go well together. The crust is made with hazelnuts, and lends a nice crunchy nuttiness to the soft, sweet insides. Galettes are the easiest crusted-thing to make, because you just fold them over and they look nice. There’s not fussing with crimping or roundness or fitting-into-anything-ness.
I first came across pie, mash & liquor in the wonderful blog Spitalfields Life. This meal is an east London phenomenon, which consists of a meat pie, a pile of mashed potatoes, and a drenching of liquor (parsley sauce). And it seems to be accompanied, traditionally, by jellied eels. (I haven’t come up with a vegetarian version of this, but it would probably involve okra.) The meal is served in gleaming marble and glass pie shops, which I vow to visit one day!
I used a black bean and mushroom substitute for the meat. From the recipes I’ve seen, there’s a bit of leeway with different flavorings – it’s not as pure and simple as a cornish pastie, for instance. I added marmite, mustard powder, paprika, and beer, and the result is really delicious! I have made parsley sauce in the past, but I was in the mood for something different, this time, so I made an herbed walnut sauce, and stirred a big helping of pesto in at the end so it would be green (and tasty!!)
I used a hot water crust on the bottom and a paté brisée on the top, which seems to be traditional, according to some sources. But you could use one or the other. And I used a large-sized muffin pan, but you could use a regular muffin pan, or, to really keep it simple, just use paté brisée and fold them over like turnovers.
This pie is so comforting it’s almost Dickensian, but it’s not stodgy at all. If you think of it as mushroom paté in a flaky crust, it’s actually quite elegant. It’s fun to make, doesn’t take too long, and is special enough to be a vegetarian holiday meal. I use a hot water crust on the bottom, and a paté brisée crust on the top, but you could use one or the other for both. I like to put a layer of chard or spinach, sauteed, finely chopped, because I think it adds a nice contrast of flavor and texture, but you can go full-mushroom if you like.
Here’s Ella Fitzgerald, with Louis Jordan singing the delicious Petootie Pie
You’re such a tasty, lump of pastry.
Gotta light the oven –
Gonna cook a dish of lovin’