Cheese pie

Posted on March 2, 2021 at 9:02 am in

What kind of filling should you put into your lovely keto friendly pie crust? A keto frendly filling, such as cheese pie.

To pre-empt a possible question, “what is the difference between cheese pie and quiche?” Simply the ratio of ingredients and the intention. With quiche the intention is to showcase and enhance the custard. With cheese pie it’s all about the cheese, with the other ingredients being there to support the cheese.

This is a non-recipe. Ingredients are very much played by ear. Allow yourself to go with what feels good, rather than sweating precision – just like quiche and frittata, cheese pie is fridge velcro.

SHREDDED CHEESE
You want a bunch of it, at least a half pound / quarter kilo. What cheese? Up to you. I usually have young Cheddar, aged Cheddar, and bulk parmesan. Want to make it with cream cheese and blue cheese? Go for it! Just make sure the cream cheese is softened and beaten so that it will integrate properly with the rest of the ingredients.

EGGS
You’ll want 3 or 4 large eggs. Beat them with a little milk, cream, or water. Season lightly with salt and pepper.

OTHER INGREDIENTS
You can bulk out the ingredients by addition of pantry staples such as dried potato flakes, cooked crumbled bacon, or any fresh or cooked veggies you have lying around the fridge. Only add herbs and spices where they will enhance the cheese. Spicy chili peppers will drown out most cheeses, so this is not the recipe for them.

ASSEMBLY
Assemble your cheese in your crust in reverse order of strength, from weakest flavour to strongest. I put the bulk orange Cheddar in first, followed by parmesan, then the strong mature Cheddar on top. You might want to keep a little of the strong cheese back to sprinkle artistically on top of the eggs.

Pour the eggs over the cheese. The eggs are here to provide support for the cheese, not to be the feature ingredient.

COOKING TIME
You want to cook this hotter and longer than a quiche, because you have a lot of cheese to melt. I generally go with a 375f / 190c oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the cheese topping has picked up some nice colour. The custard should be firm set.

SERVING YOUR CHEESE PIE
Serve it hot or cold. Feel free to put on whatever fancy toppings you like such as chopped parsley, crumbled bacon, or even more cheese. I won’t judge you!

CONCLUSION
Cheese pie is all about making a lot of food dirt cheap for those times when there is a bit too much month left before payday. Play around with the ratios and the cheese blends, but always bear in mind this is cheese pie. Allow the cheese to stand front and centre.

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Keto friendly pie crust

Posted on March 2, 2021 at 8:36 am in

Low carb, flaky pie crust. Just what you need!

This recipe makes one 9 inch pie crust.

  • 1.5 cups / 144 grams almond flour
  • 4 tablespoons / 56 grams butter, cubed
  • 1 oz / 28 g cream cheese
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 tsp salt (optional)
  • Add the first 3 ingredients to your food processor or mixer. Mix until they form something that looks like coarse wet sand. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend until they come together.

    No food processor or mixer? No problem, use a pastry knife or a couple of table knives to chop everything together into a lovely mess.

    Roll the dough into a ball and cover with plastic wrap. Chill in the fridge for a couple of hours to allow the butter and the cheese to get completely chilled.

    To make your pie crust, form it into your pie pan with your hands. Rolling it out is a spectacularly messy process, so go for the more rustic look of hand shaping it in place.

    Preheat your oven to 350f / 180c and blind bake the crust for 15 minutes – place baking parchment or foil over the crust and fill the parchment with weights such as baking beads, dry beans, or dry rice. After 15 minutes pull the parchment / foil and weights off the crust and bake for another 5 to 10 minutes or until your crust is golden brown and delicious looking.

    Fill and bake as normal with your preferred fillings.

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    Paggis – pork haggis

    Posted on February 18, 2021 at 8:02 pm in

    Shh, don’t tell anyone in Scotland but… I made haggis from pork instead of lamb. I know, it’s probably sacrilege, but pork is a fraction of the price of lamb, and simple economics dictate that if I want delicious haggisness, it needs to be in a reasonable price bracket. So… paggis! (And thank you to kiddo for naming it – good job, kiddo)

    The strangest thing about making this was that as soon as I added the spices to the oats, I knew it was haggis. Some dishes are defined by their spice mix, and haggis is definitely one of them.

  • 2 lb / 900 g coarse ground pork
  • 1/2 large onion, chopped however you prefer
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 lb / 225 g oats
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • 1 tbsp coarse salt
  • 1.5 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1.5 tsp mustard powder
  • Cook the onion in the butter until it is softened and slightly translucent. Add the spices, seasonings, and oats. Add a little water to wet the oats very slightly, a couple of tablespoons or so, then set to one side to cool.

    Grind the pork coarsely. Add the oats and spices mix and blend with your hands until it comes together into a sticky mess.

    Place the sticky mess into a zip top bag, or seal into a sous vide vacuum bag. If you aren’t going to cook it immediately, place it in your fridge until you’re ready to cook.

    Set your sous vide to 180F / 82C, or set a large pan on medium-low heat. Cook for 3 hours. Let it rest for 10 to 20 minutes while you get the side dishes sorted. Traditional haggis is served with neeps and tatties (turnips and mashed potatoes), but this is paggis. I served it with mixed veg and braised cabbage, but you should serve whatever side dishes you prefer!

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    Keto friendly chocolate syrup

    Posted on February 18, 2021 at 1:54 pm in
  • 1 cup / 240ml water
  • 1/2 cup / 120ml cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup / 80ml no sugar granular sweetener of your choice
  • pinch salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Add the first 4 ingredients to a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 5 minutes or until thickened. Add vanilla and stir to incorporate.

    MOCHA COFFEE
    Add 2 to 4 tablespoons of this syrup to your coffee and top with foamed milk of your choice.

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    Liver pate

    Posted on February 17, 2021 at 4:54 pm in
  • 8 rashers long streaky bacon
  • 1 pound of calves liver
  • 3 or 4 tablespoons cream or evaporated milk
  • 1 egg (beaten)
  • garlic to taste
  • seasoning to taste
  • Butter a loaf tin and arrange about 5 of the rashers of bacon on the bottom.

    Put the liver and the remainder of the bacon through a mincer twice or until very fine and smooth. Blend with the cream and beaten egg. Season well and put into the tin over the bacon. Cover with foil or buttered paper and stand in a bain-marie (dish of boiling water).

    Cook in the centre of a moderate oven (gas mark 3 / 325F / 170C) for about 45 minutes (check with a skewer to see if cooked through). Allow it to cool to room temperature then turn out of the loaf pan.

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    Nougat

    Posted on February 16, 2021 at 5:50 am in

    Nougat is something I always associated with a sickly sweet, weirdly papery, somewhat stale confection. Freshly home made nougat is far from that, and well worth making at home.

    A couple of warnings. You will be handling sugar syrup, also known as culinary napalm. Please handle with extreme care, you don’t want 3rd degree burns. The second warning is that this stuff is horribly addictive, so beware your waistline!

    2 egg whites, room temperature
    2 3/4 cups granulated sugar (500 g), plus 2 tablespoons
    1 cup / 12 ounces (by weight) honey
    1/3 cup / 80 ml water
    2 tablespoons light corn syrup (optional)
    1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped from inside (optional)
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    2 cups add-ins (toasted nuts, seeds, dried fruit, etc)
    special equipment: candy thermometer, pastry brush

    Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and set aside.

    Use a clean, dry stand mixer to whip the egg whites to stiff peaks with 2 tablespoons of the sugar. In the mean time, in a small saucepan, over medium heat, bring the honey to 250F on a candy thermometer. Also, at the same time, in a medium saucepan, combine the remaining 2 3/4 cups sugar, water, and corn syrup (if using). Over medium heat, bring this mixture to 300F on a candy thermometer. Carefully and gently swirl the mixtures in their pans now and then, use a pastry brush dipped in water to brush any sugar from the sides of the pan. You want the honey to hit its temp first, followed by the sugar shortly thereafter.

    With the mixer running, slowly pour the 250F honey down the side of the bowl into the egg whites. Let the mixer keep running, and as soon as your sugar mixture hits 300F, slowly pour the sugar mixture into the bowl as well, using the same technique (down the side of the bowl). Continue mixing for five minutes or so, until the temperature of the nougat is no longer hot. At this point, stir in the vanilla bean seeds and extract. Remove the bowl from the mixer, and fold in the nuts and seeds by hand.
    Transfer the nougat onto the parchment-line baking sheet, cover with another sheet of parchment and allow to cool completely. Cut into desired shapes (the cleaner you can keep your knife the cleaner your cuts will be), and wrap in squares of parchment paper, or candy wrappers. Store in an air-tight container.

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    Jam roly poly recipe

    Posted on February 7, 2021 at 2:36 pm in

    A new word for a lot of Americans will be “stodge”. It’s a word with many negative connotations, but in the case of Jam Roly Poly that’s what it’s supposed to be – a stodgy comfort food designed to deliver calories straight to your waistline. Enjoy!

  • 300g / 10.5oz / 2 cups AP flour or GF flour blend
  • 130g / 4.5oz shredded suet OR butter
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • juice of 1/2 lemon (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 200ml / about 6.75oz water (or more if needed)
  • 2 -3 tablespoons of jam, slightly warmed with a little water
  • custard
  • Preheat the oven to 160c / 315f.

    Blend the first 4 ingredients thoroughly. Add the lemon juice to the water and stir into the flour blend until the dough just comes together – it should be slightly sticky, but not wet. With GF flour blends you may need to add a little more water – if so, add it a tablespoon at a time.

    Roll the dough out to a half inch / one cm thickness. Try to get it as close to a rectangle as you can. If you’re me, a rough potato shape is the best I can do!

    Spread the jam thinly over the surface, leaving an edge about the thickness of the width of your thumb at a long edge. Slowly and gently roll the dough towards the exposed edge, without trying to get it super tight. You want a rough cylinder with a little internal room for expansion. Pinch the cylinder closed at the jamless edge and leave the join up for the moment.

    Butter up some baking paper and roll the dough log onto it, join side down. Wrap the dough log loosely with the baking paper, making sure the log is completely surrounded, and tie off the ends with string. Wrap the log up in a tea towel or foil to create a sealed cylinder.

    Place the wrapped roly poly in a loaf pan or other convenient heat resistant receptacle, then place the receptacle on a trivet or other support (such as old jam jar lids) into a baking pan. Place the baking pan in the oven and pour boiling water into the baking pan – you want plenty of water in there, but not so much it splashes out of the baking pan. You also don’t want any water entering the loaf pan with the pudding in it.

    Bake for 1 hour. Serve cut into slices so that you can see the internal swirl. Cover generously with custard and serve with a nice cuppa tea.

    One note, this is not a super sweet pudding. The dough is meant to be fairly plain to allow the jam and the custard to take central stage.

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    Gluten Free cake or pudding flour

    Posted on February 7, 2021 at 2:12 pm in

    One of the interesting aspects of cooking gluten free is that you don’t have the convenience of only using a couple of flours. You need to use different blends depending on what you’re doing. This flour blend works great for cakes and for puddings, too. While I previously wrote up a pudding flour blend, this one is simpler and pretty reliable for baked or steamed puddings. Give it a go.

  • 250g / 2 cups white rice flour (NOT glutenous rice)
  • 128g / 2/3 cup potato starch
  • 41g / 1/3 cup tapioca starch
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum (or other similar binder)
  • Add all ingredients together in a sealed tub and shake thoroughly to incorporate.

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    Figgy Pudding Cheesecake

    Posted on December 23, 2020 at 9:56 pm in

    So, you want a plum pudding cheesecake. I have you covered. Yes, the title says figgy pudding…. this has both figs and plums in it, so I still have you covered!

    This is a crustless cheesecake. You are welcome to add one if you wish.

  • 3 packs cream cheese (8oz / 225g each)
  • 1 cup white sugar or equivalent (7oz / 200g)
  • 1 cup sour cream (240g)
  • 1 cup heavy cream (230g)
  • 3 tbsp flour of choice
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 2 oz (60g) each dried figs, plums, and 2 other dried fruits of choice, cut into roughly equal sized pieces, for a total weight of 8.5oz / 240g
  • Preheat oven to 350f / 180c. Boil kettle.

    Put sugar in bottom of mixer bowl. Put the 3 packets of cream cheese on top. Mix on medium speed until completely combined. Blend in the sour cream, heavy cream, and then the eggs one at a time, making sure each is completely incorporated before adding the next. Blend in the vanilla and flour.

    Remove bowl from mixer. Fold in the chopped dried fruit. Split between two 9 inch / 23cm pie pans. Place pie pans in deep baking dish and pour boiling water into the baking dish until it comes half way up the pie pan.

    Bake for 60 minutes, or until the centre of the cheesecake is mostly set – you’re looking for a slight wobble.

    Allow to cool to room temperature and then refrigerate. Serve cold with mulled wine, a Wassail cup, or a nice cuppa tea.

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    Historically Inspired pumpkin pie – Pompion Pie

    Posted on November 27, 2020 at 11:10 am in

    Inspired by this recipe, I came up with my own version. This Pompion Pie version is delicious and will definitely feature in future Thanksgiving dinners!

  • 1 batch pie crust for a 9 inch pie dish (see here for GF crust)
  • 1 sugar, or pie, pumpkin, whole (not puree)
  • 2 medium or 3 small apples
  • half a stick (2oz, 55g) butter
  • scant half cup raisins (didn’t weigh, 80g to 90g, eyeball it)
  • scant half cup currants (didn’t weigh, 80g to 90g, eyeball it)
  • half a cup, roughly 100g sugar
  • 1/4 cup / 60ml dry white wine or sherry
  • 3tsp mixed spice / pumpkin pie spice
  • Preheat your oven to 425F / 220C. Roll out your pie dough and line the pie pan. This is an open top pie.

    While the oven is preheating, prepare the pumpkin. Slice it in half, scrape out the seeds and fibrous material in the middle, saving the seeds for roasting as a tasty snack later. Peel the pumpkin and slice it into thin slices.
    Prepare the apples similarly, skin on or off to your preference.
    Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the pumpkin and apple slices. Stir well to combine, then add the rest of the ingredients, stirring well to combine. Lid up your skillet, turn the heat down to medium-low, and cook for 10 to 15 minutes until the pumpkin is soft but not mushy.
    Pour the filling into your pie crust. It should mound up generously.
    Bake for 20 minutes at 425F / 220C, then turn the heat down to 375F / 190C and bake for another 40 to 50 minutes until the juices are bubbling. Cool completely before serving.

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