Pastone – Italian Ham and Egg Pasty

I am so glad I got round to making this at last, one of the recipes from ‘Dear Francesca‘ – although I did need a couple of tweaks to suit my kitchen. It is a delicious highlight for a summer supper, or a packed picnic lunch. The ingredients are mostly available in the co-op, and also available from Valvona and Crolla in Edinburgh. 

INGREDIENTS

  • 500g flaky pastry or puff pastry
  • 4 eggs
  • 250g ricotta
  • 50g pecorino, grated
  • salt and pepper
  • 75g smoked pancetta, diced, or smoked streaky bacon if you can’t get pancetta
  • 75g fonteluna sausage, diced
  • 2 fresh bayleaves

METHOD:

  • Heat the oven to 220C
  • Beat the eggs lightly together with the ricotta, and cream until well combined. Season with salt and pepper and mix in the grated pecorino
  • Grease an oblong dish, around 30 by 20 by 3 cm, or a round tin around 23cm across. 
  • Roll out around half of the pastry to line the dish, and fill with half of the egg mixture. 
  • Add the chopped pancetta and diced sausage, and add torn-up bayleaves. 
  • Cover with the rest of the egg mixture. The recipe calls for a couple of egg yolks to be added at this stage, but I prefer without. 
  • Roll out the rest of the pastry to fit over the top. Use milk or beaten egg to dampen the edge of the pastry and crimp to seal. Glaze the top of the pasty with milk or beaten egg, and score a pattern on top. Make a few holes to let out steam. 
  • Bake in the oven for 35 minutes until browned. Take it out, and when it is cool enough, remove from the tin, flip it over and return to the oven for another 15 minutes to cook the pastry at the bottom.

Honey digestives

These are fantastic with goat’s cheese and a little sliver of dried fig.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 225g wholewheat flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 125g butter
  • 2 tbsp clear honey

METHOD:

  • Mix the flour and salt, and rub in the butter – fine breadcrumb texture
  • Mix in the honey to make a stiff dough.
  • Roll out thinly on a floured board, and cut into rounds with a 5cm cutter.
  • Bake at 150C for 20 minutes.

Cheese Straws

A big hit at the recent coffee morning. I think the helpers had quite a few.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 175g plain flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • a pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 75g butter
  • 75g grated cheese, mixture of cheddar and parmesan
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 3 tsp milk

METHOD:

  • Sieve the flour, cayenne pepper and salt into a bowl.
  • Rub in the butter, then stir in the grated cheese.
  • Mix the mustard, egg yolk and water together.
  • Make a stiff dough by adding the egg yolk mixture to the dry ingredients.
  • Roll out to about 1cm thick, and then cut into fingers, about 1cm by 5cm.
  • Place on a lightly greased baking tray, and bake at 220C for 12 minutes.
  • Lift onto a wire rack to cool.

Ham and leeks in a cheese sauce

This is a good quick supper, easy and tasty. I scored some cheap ham at the co-op this afternoon. Top tip – if you want to eat cheaply and feel good about stopping food waste, Sunday afternoons at the co-op is peak bargain time.

After we ate this, we reflected that we could have snuck in a layer or two of lasagne as well.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3-4 leeks
  • approx 4 slices of cooked ham, chopped
  • 40g butter
  • 40g flour
  • salt and pepper
  • 150ml of cooking liquid from the leeks
  • 300ml milk
  • nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp prepared mustard
  • 100g grated cheese
  • breadcrumbs

METHOD

  • Prepare the leeks, cut them into 1 cm slices and cook in boiling water for around 7 minutes.
  • Drain the leeks and reserve the cooking liquid.
  • Put the leeks into the bottom of a gratin dish, and cover with a layer of ham.
  • Fry the flour in the butter, for around a minute, and then add the liquid to make a smooth sauce, and simmer for a couple of minutes.
  • Add half the cheese, along with the mustard and a grating of nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste. Cook until the cheese is all melted into the sauce
  • Pour the sauce over the ham and leeks, then top with the rest of the cheese and then the breadcrumbs
  • Cook for 10 minutes under a moderately hot grill, until the topping is nicely browned.

Tartiflette

We make this frequently at home, because it is easy, and it is a top comfort food. For a vegetarian option, leave out the bacon.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1.2 kg waxy potatoes
  • 200g diced smoked bacon
  • 1 onion, finely sliced (you can add garlic if you like)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil or butter
  • Salt, pepper, nutmeg
  • 1 reblochon cheese (a softish cows’ milk cheese)
  • 2 tbsp creme fraiche or sour cream
  • 1 glass of dry white wine (Apremont for preference: it has a fresh light taste)

METHOD:

  • Peel and boil the potatoes for ten minutes, drain and leave to cool
  • Gently fry the onion in the oil, and add the bacon. Cook until the onion and bacon are beginning to brown slightly. Season with salt and pepper, and a grate of nutmeg
  • Butter a gratin dish large enough to take all the ingredients. Slice half the cooked potatoes thickly, and make a layer over the bottom of the dish
  • Add half the onion and bacon.
  • Use the rest of the potatoes, sliced to make a second layer and top with onion and bacon.
  • Pour over the glass of wine
  • Spread the creme fraiche over the top, then halve the reblochon lengthwise, and put this cut-side down over the potatoes.
  • Bake at 200C for 15 to 20 minutes, so the cheese has melted into the potatoes.