Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Broccoli and Béchamel Rustic Pie

You'd have thought by now that I'd given up cooking and eating all together by now...
That couldn't be further from the truth!
Fact is, my time and attention has been completely absorbed by... cupcakes!
Yes, itty bitty, beautiful, yummy-in-tummy cupcakes!

Who would have ever thought that I'd become addicted to baking!?! (More about my sugar addiction later!)
To make up for my absence I've got a great post for you... Super easy and super yummy! Oh and did I mention fast? Yep... You can get this beauty on the table in just over half an hour, prep-time included!

The great thing about this recipe is the béchamel. For those of you unfamiliar with it, it is a milk-based sauce, which originated in France in the 1600s. Its creamy, rich texture is different from what is known in the US as Alfredo sauce, or from any other cream sauce because it uses butter and flour, which gives it that custard-like density.

First off, here's what you'll need.

Ingredients:
- 1 ready-rolled puff pastry
- 1-2 heads of broccoli, depending on size
- 1/2 liter of béchamel sauce (you should be able to find it ready-made, or you could try making your own, it's actually not that hard!)
- diced cheese (any kind will do)
- salt

First thing's first, heat your oven to 180' C / 350 F.
Chop and rinse your broccoli. You'll want it in bite-size pieces, so that it won't stick out too much from your dish.
Now, take your ready-rolled pastry and place it in your pie dish. I used a cake tin because I preferred to use something with a bit more depth to it, but what ever you have will do, so long as your pastry fits well enough to spare some pastry to roll over and create a nice crusty border.

Pour some (just under half) of the béchamel on the bottom, spreading evenly with a spatula or with the back of a spoon. You'll want a nice layer that covers the bottom of the pastry evenly, without creating too much of a "pool".
Salt this base slightly, then add the broccoli pieces.

Try to even the pieces out bet you can, without going crazy about it. The purpose is pretty much only aesthetic, rather than functional! I think the pie looks better when it's even... and no "bits" are sticking out.

Now add the diced cheese (shredded works fine as well), spreading evenly. Be sure some pieces fall into the gaps between the broccoli, so that you get a nice amount of cheese in between, you'll thank me for it once you get your teeth on that slice! ;-)
Season again with salt and them add the remaining sauce, again spreading on top evenly, trying to cover the broccoli best you can, with the spatula.

Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes, or until your pasrty is nice and golden-brown and voilà... you're done.
Easy as pie!

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