For a few weeks, a box of frozen pie crusts from Trader Joe's has been hanging out in my freezer, waiting for an occasion to justify the indulgence of flaky pie crusts. When we all (including Mr. Dale) were invited to a Diwali celebration this weekend, the time seemed just right.
I wanted to mimic the taste of classic deep-fried samosas- with the fried pastry crust and the spicy vegetable filling- with a much simpler preparation. This was achieved by borrowing from the concept of a crostata- a free form rustic tart where the filling is piled onto a circle of pie crust and the edges folded in to form an edge.
(my own creation)
1. Keep a circle of pie crust handy, either store bought or home made. There are wonderful recipes out there for pie crusts made with butter or a vegan substitute, and either with the usual all-purpose flour or with whole wheat and other flours included.
2. To make the filling, saute 1 medium minced onion until lightly browned.
3. Add 1 heaped tsp. ginger garlic paste.
4. Season with salt, turmeric, red chilli powder, garam masala and coriander-cumin powder (all to taste). Be liberal with the spices. The filling has to be tasty and spicy because it will be eaten with the bland crust.
5. Add 2 medium potatoes (either boiled and mashed or cut in tiny cubes), 3 cups tiny cauliflower florets (I used locally grown purple cauliflower), 1 cup peas.
6. Stir fry the mixture until the vegetables are cooked through.
7. Add a handful of minced cilantro and lemon juice to taste. Let the filling cool down. Mash it slightly if needed to make it hold together.
8. Grate a handful of cheese (optional).
9. Preheat the oven to 425F. To assemble the crostata, place two circles of rolled pie crusts on a greased parchment placed on a baking sheet. Spoon filling onto the crusts (this amount of filling is enough for 2 crusts) but leave an inch or so around the edges. Fold in the edges, pinching the folds together. Sprinkle with cheese and bake until golden brown.
Here is the baked pie. You can see at the 10 o'clock position, the edge opened up. So the folds do need to be pinched together well. Also, this crostata could have used a few more minutes of baking time- it really does need to be golden brown.
Cut the crostata into 8 wedges and serve. This experiment was a definite success. If you are a fan of samosas, vegetable puffs and the like, you are sure to love this.
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I have a riddle for you- What does a decadent chocolate cupcake have to do with a sparkling glass of water?
To know the answer, stop by the Cupcake Project and take a look. A small donation could contribute to sweetness in your life and clean drinking water for a family in Haiti. Reports like this New York Times article explain why the need for clean water is so urgent.
Enjoy the rest of your week!