Saturday, 23 June 2007
Egg bacon and bean pie
My take on the British classic of eggs bacon chips and beans. The magic of my version is that you can hold it in one hand, making it a mobile little tart of happiness.
About the beans. I know it is sacrilege in this country to suggest that there is anything wrong with tinned baked beans but think of this as an entirely different dish - a bit like tinned spaghetti and tinned asparagus - tasty in their own right but neither bear any resemblance to their non-tinned form.
I’m still experimenting with the bean recipe. This time I soaked and cooked the cannellini beans before baking them in the oven. Some recipes skip this step and put the soaked beans straight in the oven with all the other ingredients. This method has a longer continuous cooking time in the oven which means you're stuck in the house whereas you can stagger the cooking when you cook the beans first. I often put the beans in a pot with water to soak as I leave the house in the morning, cook them that night and then bake them the next day. It might sound like a palaver but it really isn’t and once you’ve tasted home cooked baked beans you’ll be serving them on toast at your next dinner party.
250g dried cannellini or haricot beans
1 onion spiked with 3 cloves
1 teaspoon mustard powder
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tablespoons treacle (or tbls brown sugar)
1 x 400g tin peeled whole tomatoes (chopped)
4 slices of smoked bacon, streaky bacon or speck (about 75g) rind removed and chopped
1/2 large onion
1 1/2 teaspoon chopped mint
salt and pepper
Soak the beans 6-8 hours or overnight in cold water. Discard the water and place drained beans in large pot. Cover with cold water. Simmer 1+1/2 hours until tender. Drain and discard onion and water.
Heat oven to 140 degrees. In a large lidded ovenproof casserole saute the chopped onion with the bacon and bay leaf.
In a bowl combine the mustard powder and a small amount of red wine vinegar to make a paste, then add treacle.
Add the chopped tin of tomatoes to the sauteed onions and bacon. Add the mustard and treacle mix and combine. Add salt and pepper then the cooked beans and 1 cup of cold water and mix well.
Place a tight fitting lid on the saucepan - or baking paper and then foil- and bake at 140C for 2 hours (stirring occasionally and adding more water if it starts to look too dry). Remove the lid and add the last tablespoon of red wine vinegar.
When beans are ready, add chopped mint and taste. Adjust with seasoning if needed. If beans are too sweet add some more red wine vinegar, and serve.
The Pastry (Alternatively you could buy ready rolled short crust pastry, but again, home made tastes so much better and once you get over the fear of pastry making it is insanely easy).
240g plain flour
180g unsalted butter
pinch of salt
1/4 cup water
Chop butter into smallish pieces and place in food processor with flour and salt. Process for about 5-8 seconds. Put mixture in a bowl. Make a well in the centre of the flour mix and add the cold water. Using a fork, quickly stir the ingredients together and then use your hands to bring the dough together into a disc. Lightly dust with flour and wrap in cling film and place in fridge for 30 minutes. Roll out pastry on a bench top, dusting with flour as you go, to about 4-5mm thickness. I do this on a big sheet of baking paper so that it doesn't stick to the bench. Cut to fit 6 x 9inch pie tins. Lightly oil the pie tins and press pastry into the tins allowing the pastry to have a 5mm edge higher than the tin as the pastry will shrink. Prick bases with a fork and then chill or freeze cases for 20minutes or as long as you like. When ready to bake, line pastry with foil and fill with dried beans or rice to stop it from rising. Bake in preheated oven at 200 degrees for 15 minutes then remove foil and bake further 5 minutes or until light brown , remove from oven and brush with egg white when you remove from oven to seal.
Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Reheat the beans (apparently when you are putting a wet filling into cooked pastry cases if you heat the filling it is less likely to make the pastry go soggy). Fill the tart shells about 1/2 to 3/4 full with beans. Make a well in the centre of the beans and crack an egg into the hole. Bake it in the oven for 15-20 minutes until the egg is just set. Remove and grate some parmesan cheese on top. Eat in or take it away.