Welcome Spring! 6

Pies made from fresh fruits and veggies

After the chilly months pass, I look forward to the change in 
 produce as Spring fruits and vegetables take center stage on the displays at the local market. Find here a Spring vegetable pie made with a flaky buttery crust and filled with crisp vegetables, herbs, and a creamy filling. This pie is substantial enough for dinner.

Ripe strawberries also make their debut in the Spring. I show you a quick and simple strawberry mint sauce that serves perfectly over a scoop of vanilla ice cream. The vegetable pie for dinner and creamy ice cream with the berry sauce is a delicious pairing.

Spring Vegetable Pie

Crust:

2 cups all purpose flower

2/3 cup chilled butter (cut into quarter inch cubes)

¼ teaspoon salt

4 tablespoons water

Filling:

½ cup fresh green beans cut into 1 inch pieces

½ cup fresh asparagus cut into 1 inch pieces

4 cups cauliflower florets divided in half

1 small beet cut into 1 inch cubes

1 cup diced pancetta

2 cloves garlic diced

1 small shallot diced

¼ cup spring onions diced

4oz room temperature cream cheese

½ cup shredded parmesan cheese

1 beaten egg

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon fresh thyme

2 tablespoons olive oil

Preheat oven to 475 degrees.

Combine flour and salt. Add butter and blend it with the flour mixture until it begins to crumble. I work quickly and use my hands. Add the water one tablespoon at a time mixing the dough just until it is moist. Be careful not to use more water than needed or the dough will become sticky and difficult to work with. Roll the dough into 2 balls, cover them plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Remove half of the dough and roll it into a ¼ thick sheet on a lightly floured surface. Fold the dough in half from right to left and then from top to bottom until the dough is folded into a quarter section. Lay the dough on the pie pan, unfold it and cut off the excess dough leaving enough dough to cover the entire surface. The dough will shrink a bit as it cooks so leaving a bit extra at the edges is important. Bake the dough for 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow it to cool.

Turn the oven down to 425 degrees. Bring a small pot of water with a teaspoon of salt to boil.

Sautee the pancetta for 3 minutes over medium heat, add garlic, spring onions and shallots. Sautee for another 2 minutes. Set this to the side.

To the boiling water, add the asparagus and green beans to the boiling water for 1 minute. Remove and pour them into a bowl of ice water to stop them from cooking further. Put them to the side.

Coat a baking sheet with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the remaining vegetables to the sheet, separating 2 cups of the cauliflower florets. Drizzle another tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle the salt, pepper and thyme. Roast vegetables in the oven for 15 minutes shaking the pan once halfway through.

Remove vegetables from the oven and add 2 cups of the cauliflower to a bowl. Add the egg, cream cheese and parmesan cheese. Gently mix them and add the roasted vegetables and blanched green beans and asparagus.

Spoon the mixture into the pie crust and top with the pancetta. Roll the remaining ball of dough to ¼ inch thick, fold it into a quarter size section as you did the bottom. Place the dough on top of the pie dish and cut off the excess. Pinch the crust to seal the top to the bottom. Brush the uncooked dough with butter. Bake for 20 minutes.

Strawberry Mint Sauce

Ingredients:

1 ½ cup whole strawberries with the stems removed

¼ cup fresh mint leaves

½ cup water

½ cup agave syrup

Juice of 1 lime

Bring agave syrup and water to a boil. Add berries and turn heat down to a moderate simmer. Let the berries break down for 5 minutes. Add the warm liquid, berries, mint and lime juice to a blender and mix them until the berries are smooth. Strain the berry seeds and mint stems out of the sauce. Pour the mixture back into the pot and let it simmer on medium heat for 5 more minutes. Let the sauce cool and serve it with ice cream or fresh fruit.

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