Friday, 5 September 2008

Show your love with pie

I have to work this weekend, and after a long summer of being with my family far more than I was at work or by myself, that feels hard. So for tea tonight, I made a pie.

Pie is about the most homey dish I ever cook. When I bake a pie, the children and G stop in the doorway when they get home to breathe in deeply the smell of baking pastry. That moment when they come into the house and realise what is for tea gives me so much satisfaction. When I've baked a pie, I feel as though I am at the heart of the home.
Tonight's pie was an old favourite: sausage and sweet potato pie.
Sausage and Sweet Potato Pie
For the filling:
  • 6 good quality pork sausages, skinned
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 1 clove of garlic, sliced
  • 1 pepper, deseeded and chopped
  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into chunks
  • 1 tin of tomatoes
  • big pinch of sugar
  • sprinkle of black pepper and dried thyme or other herb

For the pastry:

  • 200g plain flour
  • 100g fat (I use 50g butter and 50g vegetable shortening such as Trex)
  • splash of ice cold water

Gently fry the onion, garlic and pepper in some olive oil until starting to soften. Add the rest of the filling ingredients except for the tomatoes. Continue cooking, whilst stirring to break up the sausagemeat. Once the sausagemeat is cooked through (no more pink) then add the tomatoes.

Let the filling bubble away over a gentle heat for about 20 minutes until the sauce is thick and reduced, and the sweet potatoes are soft. Put the filling in the pie dish and leave to one side to cool while you make the pastry.

Put the flour in a large bowl and add the butter and trex, chopped into small pieces. Rub lightly into the flour with your fingetrips until you have a mixture which looks like fine breadcrumbs. Add ice-cold water a spoonful at a time, bringing the mixture together with a knife until you have a firm dough. Chill the dough in a plastic sandwich bag in the fridge for half and hour or more before rolling out and topping the pie dish. You don't need to be neat, or fancy at this stage - as you can see from the picture at the top, I rarely am. It will still taste amazing.

Bake at Gas 6 for approx 40 minutes. Serve to your family with love.

I lived in Virginia, in the USA, for 10 months when I was at University, and I think one of the reasons I love this dish so much is that I get to say "sweet potato pie" in a Southern Belle accent and make my children howl with laughter ("You sound like the cook in Tom and Jerry!" said O).
In fact, tonight's version had squash in place of the sweet potato. I picked the squash at the PYO last week and had forgotten just how much I hate peeling squash and pumpkins - it takes forever! If anyone knows of a way of preparing squash that is less hateful, I'd love to hear about it.


  1. I might just have to try that pie recipe sometime if I can ever find a decent sausage in NZ - we call sweet potatoes - kumara.

  2. looks fantastic, there's something so comforting about pie isn't there, but I can't remember the last time I made one, somehow I might know what we're having for tea tonight now!

  3. Oooooo, sweet potatoes! We were raised on them in the American south by a grandaddy who grew up in the farm at the turn of the century. I'd love to hear your southern drawl (can you upload a sound file?)

  4. Oh yummy. I love sweet potato and sausages so may have to give that one a go!I don't mind peeling sweet potatoes, but butternut squash gets me every time.Grrr.x


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