Two of my favourite food programmes have been ‘Simon Hopkinson Cooks’ on Channel 4 and ‘The Good Cook’ with Simon Hopkinson on the BBC. He is a classic cook who makes deceivingly simple food with a penchant for multiple courses that include cocktails and aperitifs which I adore. Inspired by him my life goal is to always start a meal with something extremely alcoholic and a crispy morsel. (His recipe for a French 75 and cheese gougères are the best!)
This pie is in both of his books and it is so simple and juicy. A ton of mature cheddar cheese, all the leeks from my veg box and ready rolled shortcrust pastry. THAT’S IT. I’ve changed a few tiny things but this is his recipe and I will be making this again and again. I served a slice of this with a simple green salad with tomatoes.
1 egg to seal and glaze the pie
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C and lightly oil a baking dish, I used a rectangular pyrex dish 20 cm x 15cm.
Prepare the filling by melting the butter in a large pan and adding all the chopped leeks and gently cook for about 10 minutes on a low-medium heat. Pour in the water, salt and pepper to your taste and keep cooking on a gentle heat until the water has evaporated, at least another 10 mins. Turn the heat off and leave to cool for a short while.
Cut the pastry sheet by dividing into two thirds and a third. Roll the larger piece a bit thinner to fit the bottom of your dish and slightly over the sides. Press into the dish.
Next start filling the pie. Spread about a third of the leeks onto the bottom, top with a third of the grated cheese and continue layering until all the cheese and leeks are finished. Roll the other pastry piece to fit the top. Before you press down, gently brush the edges of the pastry with egg wash to help to seal.
Poke a hole in the shape of a cross in the middle of the pie and brush the pastry top all over with egg wash. Cut off any excess pastry and press the outside of the pie with a fork if you like. Put in the oven for around 45 minutes or until nice and golden, pray for no soggy bottom.
I enjoyed this warm rather than piping hot, its also very good cold.