Sesame pie (spinach or beef)

Meal recipes are usually made up of lots of little building blocks e.g. for a pie (in my husbands opinion, the best of meals even if it is not always the healthiest) the pastry, the filling solids, the filling seasoning or sauce, and maybe an extra sauce for the side or other accompaniments if you are going all out. I like to think of these elements like clothes that you can combine in many different ways to make new outfits.  You don’t have to have all new clothes to make a new outfit, and similarly not every element of a meal has to be new to make a fresh recipe.  Last time my husband requested a pie I wanted to make something a bit different from usual.  With Spring on its way I wanted something a bit lighter than normal so I went for oriental sesame flavours and just pastry on top of the pie rather than all the way around.  First of all, for the beef version I used my favourite oyster and sesame sauce from my super simple sesame stir steam recipe and decided to make a wholemeal sesame pastry to set it off.  I really liked the way the sesame oil in the pastry made it light and crispy so decided I wanted to try using this sesame pastry in a vegetarian version.  Therefore I took the pastry and made a new filling of aubergine and spinach soaked in a Japanese inspired miso and sesame dressing.  Although the beef pie came first in my recipe development I have put the spinach pie as the main recipe here because it tastes the most Spring like in my opinion.  Spinach and sesame are also good sources of a variety of nutrients including vitamin K, vitamin C, folic acid and non-heam iron (spinach) and calcium (sesame).

Sesame spinach pie

Cooking time: 20 minutes preparation, 30 minutes baking (no supervision required during baking!)

Dietary info: vegan

Serves: 3, or 4 if served with a side dish such as salad or sweet potato chips

Pastry: this makes enough for two pies so you can use half this quantity if only making 1 pie, or make the full quantity and freeze half for a super quick pie next time

  • 250 g wholemeal flour
  • 90 g dairy free spread, cold (if you don’t want to make a vegan / dairy free pastry you can use butter)
  • 10g toasted sesame oil
  • enough water to bind (probably up to 50ml)

Spinach filling :

  • 2 aubergine
  • 400 g chopped frozen spinach

Sesame miso dressing:

  • 1 heaped tbsp tahini
  • 3 tbsp miso paste
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 heaped tsp ground ginger
  • 1 heaped tsp ground garlic
  • ½ tsp sugar or sweetener like Stevia
  • 50-100ml water
  1. Preheat the oven to 160C fan.
  2. To make the pastry, rub the dairy free spread and sesame oil into the flour until it has a texture like crumbs then stir in enough water for it to come together into a dough that isn’t sticky but is soft enough to roll out without cracking too much.
  3. To make the dressing, mix together the tahini, miso paste, ginger, garlic and sweetener/sugar until combined.
  4. Gradually stir in the lemon juice and water until you have a smooth sauce.
  5. Steam the spinach and aubergine until they are soft (about 5 minutes for the spinach, 8 minutes for the aubergine so put the aubergine in first then add the spinach after 3 minutes) – though you may have to do the two vegetables separately depending on the capacity of your steamer.
  6. Mix the spinach and aubergine with 4 tbsp of the dressing in an oven proof dish.
  7. Roll out the pastry to roughly the size and shape of the top of the oven proof dish.
  8. Place the pastry over the filling and trim off any excess around the edges. I like to use these offcuts to decorate the top to the pie.  If there aren’t any cracks in the pastry, poke a few holes in the crust to let any steam escape.
  9. Bake at 160C fan for about 30 minutes, until the top of the pie is crispy and has a slightly sandy feeling.  Serve with the remaining sesame dressing, a salad or steamed vegetables, or other sides of your choice.

A few tips to prep ahead:

  • Make the sesame pastry a few days ahead and kept in the fridge, or freeze and then put in the fridge to defrost the day before you want to use it.
  • Make the sauce (for either recipe) and keep in a sealed container in the fridge for up to a week.
  • Make the filling up to 3-4 days ahead and keep in a sealed container or in the pie dish, covered, in the fridge.  It is actually best to prepare the filling in advance as this allows it to cool.  A hot filling can start to melt the spread / butter in the pastry.
  • For best results I like to roll out the pastry and cover the pie just before cooking to prevent it getting soggy but if you don’t mind it being a bit soggier than normal you could do this the night before or in the morning and keep it covered in the fridge so that the pie can go straight in the evening when you get in.

Some tasty little twists…

As previously mentioned, I originally made this pastry for the sesame beef pie below.

Some other twists are:

  • For a lighter meal, just use the filling of either recipe, served with a fresh salad or steamed vegetables.
  • If you don’t like (or don’t like making) pastry then you could serve either filling with sweet potato chips, mixed root vegetable mash (pick a mixture of potatoes, sweet potatoes, parsnip, swede and celeriac depending on your preference),  noodles or mixed grains or rice (e.g. sushi rice, farro, quinoa, wild rice, buckwheat etc.).
  • The sesame miso dressing makes a lovely salad dressing – perhaps combine with raw baby-leaf spinach, grated beetroot and carrot and a cooked mixture of farro and quinoa, sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds for a quick and healthy salad.
  • To bulk the pie out use the full quantity of sesame pastry and use it on the top and bottom – see my Thai curry pie for how to blind bake the bottom layer of pastry.

Sesame beef pie:

Cooking time: 40 minutes preparation (including the stewing time for the beef), 30 minutes baking (no supervision required during baking!)

Dietary info: dairy-free

Serves: 3, or 4 if served with a side dish such as salad or sweet potato chips

  • 1/2 quantity sesame pastry (see above)

Filling:

  • 500 g diced stewing beef
  • ½ a broccoli, chopped
  • 300g mushrooms, sliced or quartered
  • 100ml water

Oyster sesame sauce: (from super simple sesame stir steam)

  • 4 tsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tsp cornflour
  • 4 tsp water
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
  1. Preheat the oven to 160C fan and make the pastry as described above (step 2).
  2. To make the sauce, mix together the oyster sauce and cornflour until there are no lumps of cornflour then add the water and sesame oil and stir to make a smooth sauce.
  3. Put the beef in a non-stick saucepan and stir to stop it sticking until it is browned all over.
  4. Add the broccoli, mushrooms, oyster sauce and water and simmer until the beef is tender, probably about 30 minutes.  Preferably allow the filling to cool before assembling the pie so that it doesn’t melt the spread/ butter in the pastry.
  5. Put the filling solids in an ovenproof dish and reserve the rest of the oyster sauce to serve on the side.
  6. Roll out the pastry to roughly the size and shape of the top of the oven proof dish.
  7. Place the pastry over the filling and trim off any excess around the edges. I like to use these offcuts to decorate the top to the pie.  If there aren’t any cracks in the pastry, poke a few holes in the crust to let any steam escape.
  8. Bake at 160C fan for about 30 minutes, until the top of the pie is crispy and has a slightly sandy feeling.  Serve with the remaining oyster sauce, a salad or steamed vegetables, or other sides of your choice.
Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s