Sunday, 2 February 2014

Savoury Baking: Tuna Pie

So, if you ever happen to stumble across my Instagram, and probably the majority of my posts here, it is pretty obvious that I like food. A lot. I don't exactly stuff my face all day every day, but I do enjoy putting together new creations, but often I do it just to see how it turns out! I'm not obsessed with eating all of it; if I make a batch of cupcakes I'll happily give the majority of them away. However, I must admit, I'm a 'Bakeaholic'.

I thought I would try and impose a baking ban on myself so that I stop baking for the sake of it; did I really need millionaire shortbread on Wednesday and brownies on Saturday? Not really... I have tucked a fair few of them away in the freezer to save for a rainy day though, or just when I'm in a grump and chocolate will go down well. (That's generally a rule of mine, I don't keep chocolate in my cupboards - if it's not there, I won't eat it. I have to keep self-control somehow!). Yet the day after I made brownies, having been for another bike ride around Wollaton Park, and ready to watch Scotland at least try and beat Ireland in their first RBS 6 Nations match, I convinced myself that I should make a savoury pie for dinner. 'No baking unless it's necessary'. But was it reallllllly necessary?! Probably not... I have enough food frozen in batches that I have already made since being back at uni to feed a small army, but I just enjoy making dinner. If the apocalypse comes, or I need a quick meal after trampolining one evening (more likely!), I'm ok!
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Some spare pastry and a heart shaped cutter  worked wonders! <3
Today I made a tuna pie. It hasn't been documented so well in pictures as I was multitasking while watching rugby, but I will do my best to explain in this rather simple recipe!

Shortcrust pastry:
  • 220g plain white flour
  • 110g salted butter, cubed
  • Water
  1. Rub the butter in to the flour with your fingertips, or cheat and pop it in a food processor as I did.
  2. Mix in, with a knife, 3 tablespoons of water and bring it together, add a little more if necessary.
  3. Wrap in clingfilm and pop it in the fridge for 30 minutes before rolling out; this helps the gluten.
  4. Roll out to the shape of your pie dish (mine was 23cm), and line. Leave enough around the edge for it to shrink slightly. 
  5. Line with greaseproof paper, and fill with ceramic baking beans. If you don't have these (I need to invest!), rice or other dried pulses of some form will do. Blind bake for 15 minutes at 200°C, or 180°C in a fan oven.
Pre-blind baking
The filling (you can go to town with the quantities of filling if you want!):
  • Knob of butter
  • Plain flour
  • 400ml milk
  • Cheese
  • Tin of tuna (I used a small one)
  • Tin of sweetcorn (medium size for me)
  • Spinach (Pre-chopped and frozen in blocks, I defrosted and then used 5 or 6. These are amazing and mean that I always have spinach to cook with and don't have to worry about wasting it - part of my apocalypse freezer shelf!)
So the filling is made with a cheese sauce. I don't know the measurements if I'm honest, I just know that I used enough for 400ml of milk and plenty of flour to make sure that it was thick. Plus lots of cheese!
Melt the butter, add the flour and cook it off on the hob slightly. Remove from the heat and slowly add the milk so that it isn't lumpy. Put back on the heat and stir continuously as it thickens Season with salt and pepper. Then add in the cheese and mix that in too. Mix in tuna, sweetcorn and spinach, then pour the filling in to the crust. I sprinkled a little extra cheese on top, and some dried breadcrumbs for a bit of crunch. Bake in the oven at 200°C for approximately half an hour, or until the pastry is golden and the filling looks good! I popped the grill on very quickly at the end to brown the top of the filling slightly, and then almost burnt it as I was washing up instead of watching it... oops!
It came out of the tin nicely!
Enjoy with plenty of fresh veg, I went for broccoli and green beans to make my plate look healthier. (I don't want to think about all the butter and cheese I put in to the pie hehe!).

*Please note... the temperatures and baking times were on my part guesswork and estimations today, but all turned out ok! So long as you keep an eye on things it will be fine!

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