Thursday, 21 February 2013

Rainbow Chard, Ricotta and Potato Pies


I made home made puff pastry AND home made savoury shortcrust pastry for these pies. No, I haven't lost my mind. I love pastry. Real life. I'm a carb-eating machine. I'm not one of those people who can eat a "low-carb" burger - you know, the ones where you don't eat the bun... seriously, what is with that?  If I try to eat lunch without some form of bread, I'm starving within half an hour and hoeing into the nearest sourdough loaf I can get my hands on. I should really have called these Puff Pastry and Savoury Shortcrust Pastry Pies because, as delicious as the filling is, it's really only an excuse to stuff that golden flaky pastry into my pie hole. 

NOTE: Despite the lack of rain, our rainbow chard is growing like a weed, so I used it in these pies. You can use silverbeet (Swiss chard) or spinach, or a mixture.

Oh, and another thing. These pies only require 1/2 quantities of the pastry recipes below. If you're not using the other half of the pastry in another recipe or to make more pies, it freezes superbly. Just thaw in the refrigerator before baking.

Okay, I think I'm finished. You can go and make some pies now.

Rainbow Chard, Ricotta and Potato Pies
from Paul Allam and David McGuinness' Bourke Street Bakery
Makes 6

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large brown onion, finely chopped
5 garlic cloves, finely chopped or crushed
6 thyme sprigs
100g (about one medium) potato, peeled and grated 
55ml verjuice
125ml water
800g rainbow chard, swiss chard or spinach, stalks removed and  leaves roughly chopped
400g ricotta cheese
200g grated parmesan cheese
1 handful basil leaves, roughly torn
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt flakes
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 quantity homemade puff pastry (see recipe below), or store-bought
1/2 quantity shortcrust pastry (see recipe below), or store-bought
beaten egg for brushing
poppy seeds, for sprinkling

Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, and cook for 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Add the thyme and cook for 2 minutes, stirring well. Add the potato, verjuice and water, cover with a lid and reduce the heat to low. Cook the potato for 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until it is partially cooked. Transfer to a large bowl and allow to cool.

Rinse the saucepan and return to medium heat. Add half of the rainbow chard, swiss chard or spinach to the pan and cook for 1 minute, stirring often, until it has wilted. Remove from the pan and drain off any excess liquid in a colander. Repeat with the remaining greens until it is all cooked. Drain, ensuring any excess liquid is removed.

Add the green to the potato mixture with the ricotta cheese, parmesan, basil, salt and pepper, stirring well to combine.

Preheat the oven to 200C°. Roll out the shortcrust pastry and use it to line the base and sides of six 12.5cm pie tins. Roll out the puff pastry and cut out six circles with a 135cm diameter to make the pie lids.

Spoon the mixture into the pastry-lined pie tins, filling them to the very top and beyond. Seriously, fill those suckers up. You can see in the third photo how I domed the filling up. To attach the puff pastry lids, brush the rim of the pastry base and the lid with a little egg and lay the lid over the base. Pinch gently between your thumb and index finger to make a good seal around the circumference edge. Brush the top of the pie lid with egg wash, sprinkle with poppy seeds, and make a small hole in the middle to allow steam to escape. Reduce the oven temperature to 180C° and bake the pies for 30-35 minutes, or until golden brown on top. Remove the pies from the tins and leave to cool for a few minutes before serving.

The Puff Pastry:
Makes 1 quantity

135g unsalted butter, cut into cubes and chilled
675g stoneground all purpose flour, chilled
20g salt
20ml vinegar, chilled
300ml water, chilled
500g unsalted butter, for laminating, chilled

Remove the cubed butter from the refrigerator 1/2 hour before you start mixing your dough – the butter should not be slightly soft but still cold so that it doesn't melt into the pastry while mixing.

Using a food processor, put the butter, flour and salt into the bowl of the food processor and pulse on high for about 30 seconds, or until the mixture resembles sand. Combine the vinegar with the chilled water and add to the bowl, pulsing until the mixture just comes together to form a dough. Throw out onto a clean work surface and knead gently to form a smooth dough. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or even overnight.

Before laminating, or folding, remove the extra butter from the refrigerator to become malleable (but still cold). Place the butter between two sheets of baking paper and gently pound into a 20cm flat square about 1cm thick.


Remove the pastry from the refrigerator and roll it out on a lightly floured work surface to make a 20cm x 40cm rectangle.

When the butter has been pounded into shape, place it at one end of the pastry and fold over the other end to cover.

Pinch the pastry around the exposed butter to completely enclose it inside the pastry.

Turn the pastry 90 degrees. It might make it easier to follow the instrction if you imagine the pastry is a book, always turning it so that the folded edge is facing to the right. Roll the pastry out using even strokes to create a 20cm x 80cm long rectangle.

Once you have the desired length, fold the two short ends over to meet in the middle.

The pastry is then folded in half again, as if you were closing a book.

The pastry needs to be dusted lightly with flour, covered with plastic wrap and then refrigerated for 30 minutes. This completes the first fold.

Repeat this folding process three more times, turning the pastry 90 degrees each time. Once the laminating is complete, refrigerate the pastry for at least 24 hours before using. You can also freeze it for days when you want the most delicious puff pastry without all the work.

The Savoury Shortcrust Pastry:
makes 1 quantity

300g unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1.5cm cubes
600g plain flour, chilled
1 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons vinegar, chilled
170ml water, chilled

Remove the butter from the refrigerator 20 minutes before you intend to use it.  Put the flour and salt in to the bowl of  a food processor and add the cubed butter, pulsing in 1-second bursts about 6 times to partly combine. You want a mixture of squashed pieces of floury butter.

Turn out onto a clean surface. Mix the water and vinegar and sprinkle over the flour mixture. Use the palm of your hand to push the mixture away from you. Gather it together and repeat the smearing of the mixture until the dough comes together. You still want to see butter marbling the mixture – this ensures a flaky pastry – so don’t over mix. Shape into a round disc 2cm thick and wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.


  1. I'm jealous. Really jealous. I wanna do that too. Everyyyyything. I'm jealous. Fabulous work Jen :)

  2. This sounds AMAZING. Definitely trying this out - the flavors sound incredible! And so awesome that you made your own puff pastry!!!

  3. Thanks Gabrielle. You CAN do this!

  4. Hey Little Kitchie. You can make these with store-bought pastry to cut down the work-load, but I love making my own pastry... almost as much as I like eating it.

  5. Thanks for your comment Rachel. I checked out your lovely blog.

  6. Stop Gabrielle! The recipes just keep getting better as I'm scrolling on through - WOW!

  7. Ha ha Jessica. I know, terrible aren't I?