Recipe of the week: John Partridge's cheese and onion pie
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"Saturday was for dancing. The Rita Seddon School of Dance to be precise. I loved Saturdays. Not just because I got to show off, but because Saturday was also pie day – without fail," remembers John Partridge, who has just released his debut cookbook, There's No Taste Like Home.
"Mum would collect me and we would walk from dancing to Stone's bakery and get the pies. I would get a meat pie and mum would get a cheese and onion one. They were delicious. Handmade, fresh from the oven, warm, slightly greasy. My mouth used to salivate all the way there at the thought of one. It still does. It wasn't Saturday without dancing and pies. Long after I left home, I would return to Radcliffe for those pies."
Cheese and onion pie recipe (serves 6-8). Cooking time 1 hour 15 minutes, plus 1 hour chilling.
For the pastry:
425g self-raising flour, plus extra for dusting
120g unsalted butter, chilled and cubed, plus extra for greasing
25g walnuts, ground
25g Pecorino cheese, grated
25g Parmesan cheese, grated
1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
100-150ml iced water
Beaten egg, to glaze
For the filling:
1 potato, peeled and cubed
1 small sweet potato
3 large onions, sliced
2tbsp plain flour
200g Lancashire cheese, or Cheddar cheese, grated
1tbsp mascarpone cheese
1tsp English mustard
1tsp Worcestershire sauce
1tsp Tabasco sauce
Salt and pepper
1. First, the pastry. Put the flour, butter and salt into a food processor. Pulse until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the ground walnuts and cheeses, pulse briefly, then the egg yolk and pulse again. Add the water a few drops at a time until the dough comes together.
2. Alternatively, combine the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl. Rub the butter into the flour with your fingertips, then mix in the nuts and cheese. Using a table knife, stir through the egg yolk and water – don't overwork or knead it. Bring together with your hands into a ball.
3. Cut off one-third of the dough for your pie lid. Flatten both pieces into discs, wrap in clingfilm and chill for about an hour.
4. Meanwhile, make the filling. Cook the potato cubes in a saucepan of salted boiling water for about 10-15 minutes until tender. Drain and set aside.
5. Pierce the sweet potato with a fork. Cook in the microwave on high power for 8-10 minutes, turning once. Alternatively, bake in the oven at 180°C (350°F), Gas Mark 4, for 20 minutes. Cut in half, scoop out the insides and mash.
6. Put your onions and milk into a microwave-proof bowl. Cook on high for 8-10 minutes, stirring halfway through. Alternatively, place in a small saucepan and cook over a low heat for 20 minutes.
7. Tip the onions and milk into a large saucepan over a medium heat. Sprinkle over the flour, stir and cook off the flour for a few minutes. Stir in the potatoes, and then the rest of the filling ingredients – you want this thick enough to plaster a wall. Set aside.
8. Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F), Gas Mark 6. Grease and flour a 20cm round pie dish.
9. Roll out the larger pastry disc on a floured surface until large enough to line your dish. Use the back of your finger to press your pastry base into the edges of the dish. Trim off any excess and prick your base. Line with non-stick baking paper, fill with baking beans (or uncooked rice) and bake for 15 minutes.
10. Remove from the oven, lift out the paper and beans, then spoon in the filling. Roll out the smaller piece of pastry to fit the top of your pie. Brush beaten egg around the rim of the pastry base, gently lay your lid on and press the edges with a fork to seal. Use a sharp knife to trim off any excess and make a slit in the middle of your pie.
11. Give it a good wash of beaten egg and bake for 30 minutes or until it is golden and delicious. Let it sit for at least 30 minutes before slicing.
- There's No Taste Like Home by John Partridge, is published by Mitchell Beazley, priced £20. Available now.
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