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Laurel Watson's pie recipes - 27 May

Spinach and Feta Cheese Pies

Prep Time: 35 minutes
6 pies
Costs about  $1 per pie

100g butter
4 sheets frozen phyllo dough, thawed
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
Vegetable oil, for brushing
2 spring onions, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon flour
1/4 cup milk
Pinch of nutmeg
 salt and freshly ground pepper
100g creamy feta cheese
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
2 large eggs, separated
1 bunch silverbeet, washed and cooked, then chopped  and squeezed dry
Chopped chives, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Melt 1 tablespoon butter. Place 1 phyllo sheet on a clean surface (cover the other sheets with a damp towel), brush with melted butter and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon parmesan. Cover with another phyllo sheet, brush with more butter and sprinkle with another teaspoon parmesan. Top with the remaining phyllo sheet and brush with butter. Cut the phyllo stack into 6 squares. Brush a 6 cup muffin tin with oil, then firmly press a phyllo square, buttered-side down, into each cup. Bake until golden, 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining 3 tablespoons butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the spring onion and garlic and cook until translucent. Stir in the flour, then add the milk and stir until the mixture is smooth, 1 minute. Add the nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste. Stir in the cheese, lemon zest and vinegar until the cheese melts. Remove from the heat and mix in the egg yolks, then the silverbeet.

Beat the egg whites to stiff peaks and fold into the filling. Spoon filling into each phyllo cup and top with the remaining parmesan. Bake until the filling is set, 15 minutes. Cool slightly in the pan; remove and top with the chives.

Buttermilk Pie with Caramel Pears

Prep time 1 hour
Serves 8
Costs about $6

1 1/4 cups sugar
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup scone mix (recommended Alison Holst)
1/3 cup (5 1/3 tablespoons) butter, melted
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 eggs
Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Grease a 24cm pie dish.
Put all ingredients in a bowl and blend for 1 minute with a handheld electric mixer. Pour mixture into prepared dish. Bake for about 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes. Serve with caramel apples and whipped cream

Caramelised Pears
8 sweet pears, peeled and sliced
3/4 cup brown sugar
50 g butter
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon mixed spice

Melt the butter and sugar together over a moderate heat. Add the apples and spices and cook until soft. Serve with the buttermilk pie.

Chicken and Corn Pot Pie

Serves 4
Prep time 1 Hour
Costs about $4 each

4 sheets frozen puff pastry
1 egg, beaten
3 leeks
125 g butter
2 heaped tablespoons flour
1 can whole kernel corn
3 Tablespoons brandy
Salt and pepper
Pinch of nutmeg
1 cooked chicken, skinned and taken off the bone
1/2 cup cream
2 tbsp fresh chopped herbs of your choice (parsley, oregano, tarragon, chervil, basil)
Special equipment: 4 (2-cup) individual baking dishes


Preheat oven to 180 degrees.

Cut each sheet of frozen puff pastry into strips. On a large tray, weave strips into a lattice large enough to cover each pot pie. Brush beaten egg onto each lattice square. Bake for 5 minutes, or until dough has risen and turned light golden brown. Set aside until ready to assemble pies. Leave oven on.

Trim leeks of green leaves and slice, wash well under cold water

Melt butter in a heavy saucepan and sauté the leeks until soft (about 20 mins) season well with pepper

Sprinkle the flour over the leeks and mix well, add the corn with its juice and the brandy and mix well over moderate heat until the sauce has thickened . Add the diced chicken and herbs and thin with the cream until a nice sauce consistency has been reached.

Fill 4 individual oven-proof bowls with chicken mixture and then top each with a pre-cooked lattice square. Bake for 5 minutes or until bubbly. Any remaining pie filling may be frozen.