Margins of time are so very precious - these in-between stolen moments can be found right throughout the day, after putting a load of washing on; while folding washing; washing the dishes; showering; taking a breather after chasing around little ones and the numerous nappy changes that a 4 month old requires!
It was this very pie that was in fact created in these margins. An idea began to form as I was feeding our little girl, Viviana. Potatoes, silverbeet, ricotta... I didn't have a pen close by and I couldn't stop the ideas from flowing, so as soon as she had finished her milk I jumped up and quickly scribbled them all down - cream cheese pastry and hot-smoked salmon followed. A tart. no, a pie! and then there was a nappy change.
Once an idea sprouts I want to grab it with both hands and get lost in the creative moment right then and there. However, finding a large chunk of time to do this proves to be rather difficult when one has little ones to care for whose needs must be met immediately!
When I re-tested this recipe last week it took me the majority of the day. It was indeed created in those magic margins of time. I had grand plans. Beau was staying at his Nanny and Poppy's and so I was hoping that Viviana would have a decent nap...She, on the other hand had very different plans.
So it was in between folding pastry, chopping silverbeet - holding Viviana. Taking photos, flaking salmon - feeding Viviana. Washing dishes, writing down measurements-times-ingredients - changing Viviana. That I finally had a recipe that I was thrilled with and dinner was sorted too!
Those moments in the margins, if used wisely, can lead to wonderful things, just like this Hot-smoked salmon and potato pie.
Hot-smoked salmon & Potato pie
serves 10-12 depending on the size of your slices
For the pastry
450g plain flour
pinch of salt
150g cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
70g cold cream cheese, cut into cubes
100-120ml chilled water
While the pastry is resting in the fridge you can start with the filling. Wash and rinse spinach and silverbeet, remove the stalks from the silverbeet and chop these finely then set aside. In a large frypan with a lid pop the leaves into the pan, with water still clinging to them and over a medium heat cook until wilted. You may have to do this in batches. Once they have wilted place them into a colander and toss them about every now and then to let the steam escape and cool down. Once its cool enough to handle, squeeze as much liquid as you possibly can out of them and then chop.
400g potatoes, either dutch cream or sebago are my favourite
3 tbsp olive oil
1 large leek, sliced
6 spring onions, sliced and use most of the green too
2 garlic cloves, finely diced
2 free range eggs, plus 1 extra for glazing
1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
50g parmesan, grated
150 ml cream, plus an extra tablespoon for glazing
a good handful of parsley, chopped finely
150g hot smoked salmon, skin removed
salt and pepper
Place the flour and salt into a bowl and give it a quick whisk. Rub the butter and cream cheese into the flour until it resembles course crumbs, don't worry too much if there are still a few larger chunks though. Drizzle over the water a little at a time until it forms a dough. Try to just squeeze it together without handling it too much as the more you work pastry the more chance it has of becoming tough and rubbery. Flatten it out into a small circle and wrap in baking paper to rest in the fridge for at least 40 minutes or overnight.
If resting overnight you will want to take it out of the fridge so that it comes back to room temperature, or is pliable enough to roll out, this will depend on how warm or cold your home is. Cut 3/4 0f the dough off and wrap the other 1/4 up again and set to the side for the moment, this will be your pie lid. Grease a 24-25cm springform tin with butter. On a lightly floured bench roll the pastry out until it is slightly larger than your tin, about 2mm thick. Roll it back up onto your rolling pin and then ever so carefully drape it into your tin.
Push down the sides gently so that you can press the pastry down into the tin, trim off any remaining overhang and wrap this up with the reserved pastry lid. Pop the tin into the fridge for at least 30 minutes to rest. Preheat your oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
While the pastry is resting in the fridge you can start with the filling. Wash and rinse spinach and silverbeet, remove the stalks from the silverbeet and chop these finely then set aside. In a large frypan with a lid pop the leaves into the pan, with water still clining to them and over a medium heat cook until wilted. You may have to do this in batches. Once they have wilted place them into a colander and toss them about every now and then to let the steam escape and cool down. Once its cool enough to handle, squeeze as much liquid as you possibly can out of them and then chop.
Give the potatoes a scrub and then place into a pot with enough water to cover and bring to the boil. Cook until potatoes are tender and then drain and set aside to cool. Once cool, cut them into quarters.
In the same frypan that you used for the leaves, add the olive oil and over a medium-low heat cook the leek, silverbeet stems and spring onions until softened, add the garlic and cook for a minute more. Turn the heat off and stir through the silverbeet and spinach leaves along with the potatoes.
In a large bowl add the 2 eggs, mustard, ricotta, parmesan, cream, parsley and salt and pepper and mix it all to combine well. Spoon in the mixture from the pan, add the flaked salmon and then give everything a good stir to evenly coat.
Now to blind bake your pastry. Take some foil and push this down on top of the pastry then pour in pie weights or dried beans or rice and pop into the oven for 15 minutes, carefully lift up the foil to take a peek at the pastry, if it looks almost dry remove from the oven and take the foil off then pop it back in for about 3 minutes or until lightly golden. Press down any lumps or bumps that may have popped up too. Check for any cracks or small holes and patch up with the reserved pastry.
Spoon the filling into your case and even out the top. Roll out the remaining pastry on a lightly floured bench until 2mm thick and drape over the top then pinch it onto the sides of the pastry shell, trim off the overhang. Now is the fun part, cut out some decorative pieces from the remining dough and get creative with your pie art if you wish. Whisk together the remaining egg with the cream and then brush it all over the top with a pastry brush. Cut three little slits in the centre to allow any steam to escape. Tear off a sheet of baking paper and place onto a baking tray, put the pie onto this and then pop it all into the oven. Cook for about 40 - 50 minutes or until its golden.
Allow to cool in the tin for 20-30 minutes, then remove carefully. Serve with a simple green salad, vibrant green beans or simply by itself with a dollop of chutney if you so desire.
Leftovers will keep in the fridge for 5 days. Its also lovely enjoyed cold too.