Monday, July 24, 2017

Savory Summer Harvest Ratatouille Pie


Ratatouille is one of my absolute favorite Disney Pixar films. I remember watching it originally in the theater with the biggest, dorkiest smile on my face the entire time! Even today, I love everything about this film and its message that "Anyone Can Cook." I was very excited to hear the recent news that Disney will be adding a Ratatouille attraction to the France Pavilion in Epcot, much like the one at Disneyland Paris, which I have not yet visited.


Just to get you in the mood, here is my favorite scene from Ratatouille when Anton Ego, the food critic with the heart of stone, tastes the ratatouille and is transported back to his childhood, and his mother's cooking. It gives me warm fuzzies every time!


In honor of this wonderful news, I decided to make some ratatouille with a variety of farm-fresh vegetables. My sister is a member of a local CSA at Moonrose Farm, and last week she received the perfect bounty for making a batch of ratatouille.


A few of the items in her basket included beautiful, slender Asian eggplants, a handful of summer onions, a couple zucchinis, and a bouquet of fresh basil.


I used all of these ingredients in the ratatouille along with some store-bought tomatoes (they aren't available at our local farms yet) and a red bell pepper. We also made a quick salad on the side with salad greens from the farm ;-)

Prepped veggies minus the tomatoes which didn't fit on the tray :)

Instead of sticking absolutely to tradition, much like Remy in Ratatouille I decided to change things up a bit. I found this wonderful recipe for a flaky, savory pie filled with a summer harvest of vegetables. Take Anton's Ego's ultimate comfort dish and wrap it in flaky pastry, and you've got something that's just a little bit decadent, yet screaming with the flavors of summer.


A quick tip: the recipe suggests straining the filling if there appears to be too much residual liquid. I would encourage you to strain your filling regardless. Mine didn't seem too wet, so I simply used a slotted spoon to fill my pie crust with filling, and yet some of my bottom crust turned out a little soggy.


It wasn't the end of the world, and honestly this savory pie was fantastic and garnered rave reviews from all those who tasted it, but in my opinion it would have been truly Anton Ego-worthy had I strained the filling a bit better.


Savory Summer Harvest Ratatouille Pie
Makes one 9-inch deep-dish pie
(From Art of the Pie)

1/2 cup (118 g) extra-virgin olive oil (I reduced this to about 1/4 cup)
1 medium to large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic (more if you like)
1 eggplant, peeled and cubed (I used 2 smaller unpeeled Asian eggplants)
2 medium zucchini, cubed
1 sweet pepper, seeded and chopped
4 tomatoes, peeled, seeded and cubed
2 teaspoons (10 g) red wine vinegar
1 recipe double-crust pie dough
1 handful of fresh basil, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

Egg wash:
1 egg plus 2 tablespoons (30 g) water, fork beaten

In a heavy frying pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until the onions are wilted, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the eggplant and cook for another 5 minutes. Add the zucchini, pepper, tomatoes, and vinegar, cover and cook for about 30 minutes, until the vegetables have cooked down a bit. If there is too much liquid, remove the cover and reduce.

Stir in the chopped basil and cool the filling completely. If there is still a lot of liquid in the pan, place the filling in a mesh colander and let the juice drip through. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Roll out one disc of pie dough and place it in a pie pan. Pour the cooled filling into the unbaked pie shell and top with a lattice crust, or a full top crust with vents.

Chill the pie while you are preheating the oven to 475 degrees F. Brush the pie with egg wash (I also like to sprinkle flaked sea salt and freshly ground black pepper over the top crust when I make savory pies; a contrast to sprinkling sugar on top of sweet pies), then bake for 10 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees F and bake for 20 minutes more, or until the crust is a nice golden color (mine baked an extra 8 to 10 minutes on top of the 20).

*Note* I really encourage you to strain your filling. Mine didn't seem to have much excess liquid, just a bit on the wet side so I simply used a slotted spoon to transfer my filling to the pie crust, and yet my bottom crust turned out a bit soggy in the center, even after baking a few extra minutes. Definitely better safe than sorry, so strain your filling :)

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