So it's turn to the store cupboard and add leeks to whatever you find. Something that emerges in abundance is potatoes. So it's leek and potato soup, cheesyleekymash, colcannon and ... er .... turn to the internet for inspiration. I came across this recipe for cheesy leek and potato pie, from Good Food Magazine of March 2006, on the BBC Good Food site, and went so far as to make my own short crust pastry, having learned at this advanced age to use the food processor.
|Pie about to be broached.|
My father made the best shortcrust pastry I have ever tasted, mainly because he had huge hands and rather a poor circulation so his fingers were always cold. It was as though he waved his hands once through the fat and flour and suddenly it was all perfectly rubbed in. The pastry turned out light, never hard or leathery, firm but crumbly, crisp but not dry, and his apple pies were what dreams are made of. He used self-raising flour instead of plain, as well. I used dad's recipe for shortcrust pastry - 4 ounces of flour to a scant 3 ounces of fat, half lard / half butter or marge - dad would use Stork - and upped it by a factor of 3 to get the equivalent of a 500gm pack of paté brisé. And don't forget the pinch of salt.
I weighed the flour (artisanal farine demi-complet, the equivalent of "brown flour") into the food processor jug, and added a pinch of salt. Then I cut small cubes of lard (saindoux) and unsalted St Hubert soft unsalted (doux) margarine, dropping them into the flour until I had four ounces of each. The mixture was pulsed in the processor to the texture of fine breadcrumbs (almost instantaneous - so much better than rubbing it in, it doesn't get warm from sticky fingers and much less mess). I switched the processor to slow but steady, poured about 55-60ml of cold water in a steady stream onto the whizzing blades and watched it convert the breadcrumbs into a smooth lump. The only tricky bit was to get the lump out - this is just as much pastry as our processor can take. I patted the lump into a ball, wrapped it in clingfilm and put it in the fridge while I made the filling.
I cannot improve on Barney Desmazery's recipe for the filling and baking of the pie, so I'll refer you to that again. Except I upped the potato a bit. Actually I used more like 900 grammes (2lb) of Red Duke of York potatoes. The red skin of the potato added a touch of extra colour.
|Pie and scramble|
This is a very satisfying pie for a cold day, and it would make excellent picnic food, too.