Thursday, May 21, 2015

Savory Carrot Pie

I wasn’t sure if I was going to post this recipe. My first bite was mediocre, or so I thought, but more bites led to more appreciation and more pleasure, and I even found the leftovers to be better still. This is another version of the seasonal vegetable quiche-like pies I bake for supper when I feel like I have a little extra ambition.

The new, super-sweet carrots showing up in farmer’s markets just about now are perfect for this pie, which is savory, though based on that sweeter combination of ricotta cheese and sautéed onions along with those carrots. The savory-ness is punched up by Dijon mustard and cheddar cheese, which complements the carrots and ricotta very well. I flavored this dish mildly with a bit of parsley (because that’s what I had on hand), but I think other herbs, such as tarragon or dill, would be even better.

The crust for this pie needs to be partially baked before the filling is added. I used this method to blind bake it and I used half of the dough recipe in this post. You could use your favorite recipe for the pastry and your favorite method of blind-baking the crust.

While the flavor of this pie is like a slightly sweet, vegetable-filled omelet, the texture is that of a dense quiche. The extra density is from that hefty dose of ricotta. I used a part-skim ricotta in my pie, which I thought made the texture a bit gritty. As the pie stood longer, however, I found it to feel a bit smoother, which the reheated leftovers being even better. This makes me a firm believer in the instruction to allow the pie to stand a good 15 minutes before being cut into and enjoyed. It will still be plenty hot, and the settled, improved creaminess of the rested pie will be worth the wait.

Savory Carrot and Ricotta Pie

The blind baking method I used for the crust of this pie is outlined in detail in this post.

Crust for a single crust pie (I used this one), rolled out
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup thinly sliced onion
¼ teaspoon coarse salt
1 ½ cups shredded carrot
1 tablespoon dry sherry
¼ cup chopped parsley
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
2 eggs
1 cup ricotta cheese
½ cup milk
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
½ cup shredded cheddar cheese

1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Roll the dough into a 12-inch circle and place it in a 9-inch pie pan, being careful not to stretch it. Gently prick the crust all over with a fork. Line the crust with foil that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Place pie weights on top of the foil. Bake at 400 F for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and remove the foil and weights. Bake 5-8 minutes more or until the crust is golden brown. Remove from the oven. (The filling can be prepared while the crust is baking.) Reduce oven heat to 350 F.

2. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and salt and cook, stirring often, about 5 minutes, or until the onion is beginning to brown. Stir in the carrot and sherry. Cook and stir about 2 minutes more. Stir in the parsley and black pepper. Remove from the heat.

3. In a medium-size bowl, beat the eggs. Beat in the ricotta cheese and milk. Stir in the carrot and onion mixture.

4. Brush or spread the Dijon mustard over the baked pie crust. Sprinkle the cheddar cheese over the mustard. Pour the egg mixture over the crust.

5. Place the filled pie plate on a large baking sheet. Place in the oven and bake at 350 F for 45-50 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out mostly clean. Cool on a wire rack 15 minutes before slicing to serve.

Makes 6-8 servings.

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