I I just spent a happy day in the kitchen making a free-form pie, rolling the edges of the pastry loosely over the filling like a poorly wrapped parcel and baking it without a plate or pie plate. I love this comforting style of baking. Free from plate or tin restrictions, the pie is left to find its own shape on the baking tray in the oven. It’s a method that works with plums, apples, pumpkin slices, or potatoes—hard fillings that keep their shape rather than soft, crunchy fillings.
This type of pie works so well with onions that you’ve cooked them until they’re deep bronze and soft enough to crush between your finger and thumb. Add strips of sauerkraut to balance out its sweetness while you’re at work. Put a layer of grated sharp cheese on it and a handful of chopped nuts and you have a pie to remember.
Falling leaves (happily) also pushed me in the direction of a pasta dinner. First it was a plate of wide pappardelle strips mixed with buttered chard leaves, sweet onions and smoked paprika. A cracker recipe for a cool autumnal day.
Sauerkraut, Fontina and Walnut Galette
By all means, use a metal pie plate if you find it easier than baking a pie on a baking sheet. If you wish, you can make vegetable broth for this purpose, add the broth to the sautéed onions, root vegetables, thyme and bay leaf and let it simmer for an hour. Serves 8
pure flour 250 grams
salt big pinch
caraway seeds 1 teaspoon
butter 150 gm cold
yolk 1, hit
ice water 2 tablespoons
to fill in:
Onions 2, medium to large
olive oil 3 tablespoons
sauerkraut 250 grams
Fontina 225 g, or other firm shredded cheese
parsley leaves 10 grams
Walnuts 100 grams
Grain mustard 1 tablespoon
an egg 1, hit
Make the dough: Put the flour in a large mixing bowl and add the salt and caraway seeds. Cut the butter into small pieces, add it to the flour, then rub the two together with your thumbs and fingertips. (Alternatively, use a food processor.) When you have a texture that resembles fresh breadcrumbs, stir in the beaten egg yolks and enough ice water (2-3 tablespoons) to bring everything together into a smooth, rollable dough. Roll it up and leave it in the fridge to rest for 30 minutes.
Continue to make the filling: peel the onion and cut it into thin slices into rings. Set oven to 180°C / gas mark 6.
Heat the oil in a deep frying pan over a moderate heat, add the onions and cook until pale golden and soft. This will take 25 minutes, stirring regularly. Add sauerkraut to the soft onions. Grate the cheese coarsely and set it aside. Cut the parsley and walnuts into rough pieces, then add the soft onions with mustard. Set aside while forming the tart.
Place parchment paper on a large baking tray. Remove the pastry from the refrigerator and roll it into a circle with a diameter of 30 cm. Carefully lift them to the lined baking sheet. Stir the grated cheese, reserving a little for later, in the onion and sauerkraut, then season with a pinch of salt and black pepper. Put the filling on the dough leaving a large gap, about 6-7 cm, around the edge.
Fold the edge of the dough up and slightly over the filling. Brush the edge of the pastry with the beaten egg. Sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top, put in the oven and bake for 50-60 minutes until golden.
Allow the tart to rest for 15 minutes or so before slicing and serving.
Pappardelle with vegetables and yogurt
If you want to keep dairy out of this recipe, you can add a little chili oil to your pasta and greens instead. serves 2-3
Onions 2, medium to large
olive oil 3 tablespoons
chard leaves 250g, or use beetroots
spinach 200 grams
pappardelle 200 grams
garlic 2 cloves
butter 50 g
natural yogurt 100 ml
smoked red pepper Little
Peel the onions and cut into thin rings. Heat oil in a fireproof saucepan or deep-sided skillet over moderate heat, add onion and cook for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft, shiny, and deep golden brown. Remove the onions from the skillet and set aside.
Wash the chard or beetroot leaves, then return the onion pan to the heat (you can wipe it if you like, but you don’t need to), then add the leaves, still wet from the laundry. Cover tightly and let it steam for a minute or two, then flip the leaves and cook for another minute, then remove and drain.
Repeat with spinach. Gently squeeze the water from the chard and spinach, then chop them finely and add them to the onions.
Bring a deep pot of water to a boil. Generously salt, drop in pappardelle and leave to simmer for 7 minutes or until pasta slices are tender.
Peel the garlic and cut it into thin slices. Melt the butter in the empty pan in which the vegetables were cooked over moderate heat, add the garlic and simmer for 2 minutes until they begin to turn golden, then add the chopped leaves.
Drain the pasta, leaving about 50 ml of water in the pan, then add the onions and greens.
Transfer the onions, vegetables, and pasta to shallow bowls, add the yogurt, and dust with a little smoked paprika.
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