- 2 1/2 cups plain (all-purpose) flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 tbsp granulated sugar (if making sweet pastry)
- 3/4 cups plus 2 tbsp unsalted butter, very cold
- 4 tbsp plain yogurt, buttermilk or cream cheese, chilled
- 2 onions, peeled and finely sliced
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 leek, outer leaves removed, cleaned and finely sliced
- a large pinch of salt
- 4 large carrots, thinly sliced into coins
- 3 tbsp plain (all-purpose) flour
- 3 cups vegetable stock
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- zest of 1 lemon
- 1 tsp fresh or dried thyme (plus some extra for garnishing)
- 14 oz can cannellini, butter or black-eyed beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 tbsp cream cheese (low-fat is fine)
- salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1/2 quantity of Flaky Pastry (see below), chilled for at least 30 minutes
- 1 egg, beaten
Make the Flaky Pastry
To make in a food processor: pulse together the flour, salt and sugar (if using). Cube the butter and pulse it in briefly so that there are some small and large chunks of butter in the mixture. Add the yoghurt and some water (starting with 2 tablespoons) and pulse it in, until the mixture just starts to come together (add another tablespoon of water if needed). Tip the dough on to a work surface and use your hands to pull it together into a ball. Divide in half, flatten into discs and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill for at least 30 minutes (or for up to 3 days), until needed.
To make by hand: In a large bowl, stir together the flour, salt and sugar (if using). Cube the butter, add it to the bowl and rub it into the dry ingredients so that there are some smaller and larger chunks of butter in the mixture. Add the yoghurt and some water (starting with 2 tablespoons) and mix it in, until the dough starts to come together (add extra water if needed). Use your hands to press it together in the bowl. Divide in half, flatten into discs and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill for at least 30 minutes (or for up to 3 days), until needed.
The wrapped discs of pastry can also be frozen for up to a month. Makes 2 pie crusts.
Make the Pot Pies
In a large, deep frying pan, dry-fry the onions, stirring over a medium heat until they start to brown. Add the oil, leek and salt, then continue to cook for about 20 minutes, until caramelized and golden.
Add the carrots and the flour over, then stir until everything is coated. Gradually stir in the vegetable stock and wine, then mix in the lemon zest, thyme, beans and cream cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper and simmer for 5 minutes.
Divide the mixture between four 16-oz ramekins or small pie dishes. Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F / Gas 6). Divide the pastry into 4 squares. On a lightly floured surface, roll out each square so it’s a little bigger than a ramekin then trim the edges. Cover each filled ramekin with a square of pastry and pierce a cross into the top using a sharp knife to let out the steam as it cooks. Place the ramekins on a baking tray, brush the pastry with beaten egg and sprinkle with extra thyme leaves then bake for 35–45 minutes until completely golden.
About this recipe
“This is the pastry to end all pastries. It’s buttery in the best way possible and has the most desirably flaky texture I’ve ever achieved. The key is having different sized pieces of butter in the mixture when you add the liquids. That way some of the butter is being used to coat the flour granules so the pastry stays tender, and some is rolled into layers between the pastry which gives it a flaky texture. If you’re making a pie, use this pastry and you will forget all about any previous shortcrust days.
When I learned how to caramelize onions I think it awoke some onion-hungry part of me that I never knew about before. I’ve since found that if you’re in the kitchen caramelizing onions don’t doubt that you will attract pretty much anyone into that room. It’s an intoxicating smell. I gave in and used them here bumping up the sweet, onion flavor with the addition of leeks too! Note: The recipe makes a perfectly satisfying soup if you make it without the pastry lid and simmer the mixture for an extra ten minutes.” -- Recipes courtesy of Everyday Delicious by Izy Hossack, Hardie Grant Books 2017.
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