Sunday, February 28, 2016

Cauliflower Cheese Pie with Grated Potato Crust #SundaySupper

A crispy potato crust is filled with all the comfort food goodness of cauliflower and cheese, making this the perfect pie for a still chilly February evening. Or anytime really.

When I was growing up, one of my favorite ways to eat cooked cauliflower was with a side of mayonnaise in which to dip it. I got some funny looks outside my home, where mayo and cauliflower was normal, a given. I thought everyone ate it that way. That winning combo was rivaled on my plate only by cauliflower with cheese sauce. I remember one special family occasion – not sure if it was Christmas or Thanksgiving or possibly even Easter – but there was a platter of cauliflower and broccoli arranged most artistically by my youngest aunt, all smothered in thick cheese sauce. I could have eaten the whole thing by myself but had to share. More’s the pity.

I discovered as I began to travel and learn about other cultures and traditional recipes that the British make a dish called cauliflower cheese for special occasions as well. The cauliflower is steamed or boiled whole then drained. A cheese sauce is created by making a béchamel or white sauce to which sharp cheddar is added, perhaps with a little dried mustard powder. This is poured over the whole cauliflower, some breadcrumbs are often sprinkled on top and then the whole thing is baked until golden brown and bubbling. Heaven, I tell you! It's one of my husband's favorite dishes so it's on regular rotation at our house.

Which brings me to today’s cauliflower cheese pie. It combines my love of cauliflower and cheese, with his baked British favorite and bonus, puts it all in a crunchy potato crust. Hope you love it as much as we do.

Make sure to scroll down to the bottom where my Sunday Supper friends are sharing All The Pies, sweet and savory, with many thanks to our host today, Erica of The Crumby Cupcake.

This recipe is adapted from "Moosewood Cookbook" by Mollie Katzen.

Ingredients
For the crust:
Drizzle olive oil for greasing 9in or 23cm pie plate and brushing crust during baking
1 egg white, lightly beaten
1lb 10oz or 740g potatoes
1 small onion (2 1/3 oz or 65g)
1/2 teaspoon salt

For the filling:
1 medium-sized cauliflower (Mine weighed about 2lbs 3oz or 980g.)
1 tablespoon butter
1 medium onion (about 3 oz or 85g)
3 cloves garlic
1 hot chili pepper - optional but recommended
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Several sprigs fresh thyme
1 1/4 cup (packed) or 100g cheddar cheese
2 large eggs
1 egg yolk
1/4 cup milk
2 teaspoons cornstarch
Paprika or cayenne for the top

Method
Preheat the oven to 400°F 200°C. Grease a 9in or 23cm pie plate with a drizzle of olive oil.

Grate the cheese and set it aside. (I used my food processor but you can do it by hand, of course.)

Whisk your egg white with the salt and a good few grinds of fresh black pepper. Peel and grate your potatoes. (Once again, I used the food processor.) Squeeze the liquid out and stir the grated potatoes into the egg white immediately to stop them from discoloring.



Grate your onion and add it to the potato mixture, stirring well to combine.



Pour the grated potato mixture into the prepared pie plate and use your fingers to pat it down evenly to make a crust. It's going to seem quite wet, despite your squeezing the liquid out of the potatoes but don't worry. The moisture bakes away and the crust does get crunchy in the hot oven.



Bake the crust for 30 minutes in your preheated oven, then brush just up to the brown edge with a little olive oil (about 1 teaspoon) and bake for 10 more minutes.

Remove the crust from the oven and turn the temperature down to 375°F or 190°C.

While the crust is in the oven, you can get on with the filling. Remove the leaves and hard stem from the head of cauliflower and cut the florets into bite-sized pieces.



Chop your onion, mince the garlic and pepper and strip the leaves off of the fresh thyme sprigs. Save one sprig for garnish, if desired.



Melt the butter in a large skillet. Add the onion, garlic, chili pepper, salt and thyme with a few good grinds of fresh black pepper, and sauté over medium heat for about 5 minutes.



Add the cauliflower, stir, and cover. Cook until tender, stirring occasionally - about 8 to 10 minutes.



When the baked crust is ready, sprinkle half the grated cheese onto it.



Spoon the sautéed vegetables on top, then top with the remaining cheese.



Beat the eggs, egg yolk, milk and cornstarch together making sure the cornstarch has dissolved and pour this over the top.

Dust lightly with paprika or cayenne.



Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until set. If you feel the edges are getting too brown before the pie is cooked through, cover them with some foil.

Serve hot or warm.



Enjoy!


I've got a bunch of pies I'm sure you'll love here:
Elle's Fresh Blueberry Pie
Sausage Apple Onion Tart
Brown Sugar Nectarine Tart
and these special Portuguese custard tarts, baked in honor of our Sunday Supper leader, Isabel, just to name a few.

But make sure you don't miss this fabulous link list to the #SundaySupper Pies: Sweet & Savory!

Sweet As Pie
Mealtime Pie
Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on Twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7 p.m. ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat.

To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.
Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

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