I have, in my many years on this planet, learned that some people are good at some things and slightly rubbish at others. It’s a fact. I mean, I agree with Malcolm Gladwell that you have to put the hours in to achieve world class status but a core talent can be really useful.
Sadly, I have no talent for making pastry. I know all the theory – not stretching it, chilling it, pricking it, baking it blind etc – and I did manage to scrape through this bit at catering college many moons ago. As a rule, though, I avoid making pastry like the plague, figuring there are many other fabulous foods in the world to experiment with so why waste my time with this fiddly beast?
Then, well, wouldn’t you know it? I wake up one day and I want to make a pie… I feel from the onset that I’m setting myself up for failure and subsequent misery but, hey, I’m not one for giving up easily.
As a result of my tenacity, I am thrilled to announce that rubbish pastry makers of the world can rejoice! I made a pie and I liked it! A lot. Those of you who are actually talented in the pastry-making department will, of course, find it a breeze. For me, making the pastry was, unsurprisingly, a stressful faff; if you’re as talented in this department as I am, I see no harm in using ready-made, personally… In this instance, I perservered though and now bring you this delicious Sweet Potato and Leek Pie with Goats’ Cheese Topping. The nice people from Total kindly sent us some of their lovely Greek yoghurt to play around with, hence the delicious (though I say so myself), creamy treat of a topping.
Sweet potatoes are tripping over themselves to provide nutritional benefits, practically oozing Vitamins A and C, B Vits, manganese and potassium. This dish provides a good balance of carbs, protein, fibre and fat (which helps to release the beta-carotene in the sweet potatoes). It also has the tartness of the goats’ cheese to give it a special zing. Pride, I know, is a deadly sin but I am rather pleased with this pie…
Sweet Potato and Leek Pie with Goats Cheese Topping
For the pastry:
125g plain flour
55g butter/hard margarine
2-3 tablespoons cold water
Pinch of salt
For the filling:
2 sweet potatoes, cut into chunks
1 leek, sliced
2 cloves garlic, slices
1 teaspoon mustard
Few drops balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons fresh oregano (or 1 teaspoon dried)
Knob of butter
For the topping:
100g Greek yoghurt
50g goats cheese, cut in to small chunks
2 tablespoons milk
1 Preheat oven to 190C / Gas 5 / 375F/ 180 fan.
2 Make pastry – put flour and salt in a bowl and add small cubes of butter. Rub with fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add some of the water and mix with a knife until the mixture binds together. Wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for 15 minutes while you make the filling.
3 Steam the sweet potatoes for 10-12 minutes (until a knife cuts cleanly through them).
4 At the same time, gently fry the leeks and garlic in the butter until softened and turning translucent (also about 10 minutes).
5 When the sweet potatoes and leeks are ready, tip into a large bowl and add the oregano, mustard, balsamic vinegar and plenty of black pepper. Allow this to cool slightly while you blind bake the pastry.
6 Roll out the pastry and line a greased flan tin with it, making sure there are no bubbles underneath and that it’s pressed in to all the corners. Prick the base of the pastry case and bake blind for about 20 minutes.
7 For the topping, mix together the Greek yoghurt, goats cheese and milk. The goats cheese will be lumpy but don’t worry, it will melt down during cooking, plus it adds interesting texture.
8 Spread the pie filling in the pastry case. Then add the yoghurt topping, spreading it right to the edges so that the filling is completely covered.
9 Bake for 30-40 minutes. It’s ready when the yoghurt topping starts to brown and bubble slightly.
Serve with steamed vegetables or salad. This is great cold for lunch boxes and picnics too.