|Savory Pumpkin Sage Tart|
I’ve realized we eat a lot of pie around here. That can’t be a bad thing. They are not the sweet kind, usually (though mind you, I’m not opposed to a good, sweet pie), but a whole lot of savory ones. Yes, I often disguise “pie” as “tart” when I write about it in this blog – mainly because the pan I cook it in is generally a tart pan, not a pie pan. But the reality remains: I’m cooking up pie/tart for dinner on a regular basis.
You see, there are so many great things about pie. First, if you don’t get too fussy with the crust (and if you leave the top crust off altogether, you can make it really quickly. Second, the medium lends itself to a wild variety of variations (and some tame ones too), meaning you can pretty much make a pie out of whatever it is you have on hand, as long as the ingredients comprise a few basic components.
A good pie needs a good crust. A bad crust can ruin what could otherwise be a delicious filling, and you definitely don’t want your crust going all soggy on you under the beautiful filling you create to put in it. But that crust can be a basic one that gets mixed up all at once, at room temperature, in one bowl, no filling, gets pressed into the pan and then bakes while you make the rest of it. You can combine different flours and whole grains; add a vegetable or herb if you wish, and get the crust in and out of the oven in less than 15 minutes. I nearly always use rolled oat, spelt or quinoa flakes when making my crust. It makes a healthier, better tasting pie.
|Baked Pie Shell|
Here’s where the rest of the magic happens and where your creativity can really light up your dinner. I almost always start by sautéing an onion when I make a savory pie. Then I add the herbs, either fresh or dried, and any vegetables or meat I may want to add. The only limits here are your imagination and your sense of what makes good flavor.
|Add the Onions and Cheese|
While the onion & other chosen ingredients are happily sizzling in the frying pan, I put together the part of the pie that connects all the pieces: eggs and some kind of liquid. The liquid is often, but doesn’t have to be, some form of dairy. I’ve successfully made savory pies with oat milk and loved the flavor.
|Pour in the liquids|
The last element of the filling is nearly always come kind of cheese that adds to the over all flavor of the pie – take your pick of the type of cheese that has the flavor profile you want, and run with it.
Take it with you because Everybody loves Pie
Which brings us to the Third great thing about pie: pies are really portable and the Fourth: they are crowd pleasers. I mean, who doesn’t love a pie? Two friends of mine and I once bought a beautiful berry pie from PCC in Issaquah, WA on our way to the cabin for the weekend. As I recall, we set our bags down inside the cabin, put the pie in the center of the dinner table, grabbed three forks, and got to work on the pie. This is where my memory really begins to dim as I can’t recall if we finished it then (probably), or who did the lions share of the work to make sure we wouldn’t be bothered with leftovers later. (Ahem. Thanks KP & BT!) We were mighty pleased. And if there had been a crowd, we might have shared. But probably, we would have bought a second pie.
When I have pie for dessert, I serve it with ice cream or vanilla sauce. When I have pie with dinner, I serve it with a big salad. In the summer, that means fluffy green salads with lots of fresh garden produce. In the winter, it means cabbage salads and root vegetable salads or a combination of both. Pie can be eaten year-round, for any occasion. It crosses cultural boundaries and knows no age limit.
I’m getting hungry thinking about this. I think I’ll go cut another slice.
|Pumpkin Sage Tart and Brussel Sprouts Avocado Salad|
Savory Pumpkin Sage Tart (Pie, if you must)
Preheat oven to 225°C/435°F
1. Make the crust:
1 cup/2.5 dl spelt flakes (for gluten-free, substitute oat flakes)
1/2 cup/ 125g corn flour (GMO-free, organic; may substitute another whole-grain flour)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup Greek or Turkish yogurt
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
Combine the spelt flakes, corn flour, salt and baking powder in a medium-sized bowl. Add the oil and yogurt and stir together to form a uniform dough. Press the dough into the bottom and up the sides of a tart pan. Bake for 10 minutes, until golden brown.
Reduce the oven heat to 200°C/400°F.
2. Make the filling:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 teaspoon dried sage
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup creme fraiche (to make your own, click here)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the onions and sage. Cook until onions are soft and translucent, about five minutes. Remove from heat.
In the same bowl you used for the crust, beat the eggs and add the pumpkin puree, creme fraiche, salt and nutmeg. Beat to combine.
Spread the onions evenly over the bottom of the pie crust and top with the parmesan cheese, saving 2 tablespoons of cheese for the top. Pour the filling over the onions and cheese. Sprinkle with the remaining parmesan cheese. Make sure you’ve reduced your oven temperature to 200°C/400°F.
Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes.