Saturday, 15 August 2009

Mosaic Carrot and green bean pie

It was a quick visit to the allotment this morning as it was raining really, really heavy. So we decided to have a lazy day in. My mother and nephew watched some junk TV, and played Wi Sport, while D listened to the football on the radio, and me, well I pottered around in the kitchen, doing some cooking. This was one of the delectable creations that came out of the kitchen today: a Mosaic Carrot and green bean pie. This kind of pie needs to be made when you have time on your hands, it's not one of those that you just put together. It needs to be made with some tender love and care too.
I have also decided to submit this Mosaic Carrot and green bean pie to this weeks Weekend Herb blogging event, which was started by Kalyn of Kalyns Kitchen. These days WHB is organized by Haalo of Cook Almost Anything Once. According to the rules, recipe posts must showcase a herb or plant ingredient. In the past I have always focused on herbs, as the title suggests, and although this recipe includes a lot of lemon thyme, I thought I would focus on a root plant: the carrot. I think WHB is a great way to get food bloggers to cook with what is in season and growing locally. This weeks Weekend Herb blogging challenge #196 is being hosted by Anh from Food Lover's Journey .

Well did you know that the root plant known as carrot was not originally orange. Carrots were originally purple or red with a thin root. The species did not turn orange until the 1500's when Dutch growers used a modified yellow carrot seed from North Africa to develop a carrot in the colour of the House of Orange, the Dutch Royal Family. Some food historians assert that the origins of the carrot can be found in Afghanistan.

There are so many varieties of carrots to choose from, but at my allotment I chose to grow four varieties this year: baby carrots, yellowstone a yellow variety, rainbow carrots as the name suggests comes in many colours including purple, white and red, and the brilliant orange Nantes.

The carrot is from the umbelliferae family which also includes parsnips, celery root and bulb fennel. Do you remember being told 'eat those carrots, they will make you see the dark'. Mmm I do and I wear specs. The other benefit of the carrot is that you can eat it raw: whole or grated. I especially love munching on a whole carrot (reputed for it beta carotene) as a healthy snack for when I am feeling peckish - Bugs Bunny would be proud of me. But unfortunately not all carrots taste sweet, some lack that lustre, so when picking carrots from your green grocers or market, try and pick those with no bruising or discolouration and avoid those with the slightest hint of softness.

Unlike other vegetables, the carrot is a versatile vegetable which can be used in both sweet and savoury dishes. I have made many dishes with it from carrot soup, carrot sauce, carrot salad to carrot cake, and also some unusual ones like carrot sorbet and carrot halwa, but here I present you with a savoury pie. Do you know the carrot even had its own on site museum. Some fascinating information there.
This pie is really lovely for a buffet.
Mosaic Carrot and green bean pie
Serves 4 - 6
4 large carrots - I used rainbow carrots
400g french green beans, topped and tailed and cut in half
300ml double cream
2 tablespoons of wholegrain mustard
2 tablespoons of fresh lemon thyme leaves - from the herb box
2 tablespoons of cornflour, mixed to a paste with 4 tablespoons of water
4 medium eggs, beaten
salt and pepper to taste
For the hot water crust pastry
I got the recipe for the hot water crust pastry from The Vegetarian Society.
First cook the carrots whole in boiling salted water for 10 minutes until tender. Drain. Slice length ways into 1/2 inch tick slices. In another pan, cook the beans in boiling water until al dente. Then drain.
Lemon Thyme Cream
In a pan, add the cream, mustard and thyme to a gentle boil. Stir in the cornflour paste to thicken the mixture. Remove from the heat, then mix in the eggs. Then stir in the carrots and the beans, and season with salt and pepper.
Hot Water Crust pastry
Now make the hot water crust pastry according to instructions and line a 8 inch spring form tin, keeping back enough for the pie lid.

Pour in the creamy vegetables and top with the pastry lid. Press down the edges to seal.

Bake at Gas Mark 4 for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes.
Recipe for pie filling adapted from Paul Gaylers Vegetarian Cookbook.


  1. What a fantastic pie - not only does it sound delicious but it's so pretty!

  2. Thank you Fran,
    Even my mother liked it.

  3. what an impressively colourful and high pie

  4. Looks spectacular - surprised the insides are so white when you included the egg yolks too. Intriguing!

  5. It surely is grand looking.

  6. SD,
    Thank you. I think it is the cream as well.

    Thanks Kella,
    You feel a sense of occasion when cutting through it too.

  7. Wow! Just stunning; such an amazing recipe.

  8. Thank you Michele.
    I am rather pleased with it, if noone else is.

  9. That pie looks fantastic. I've got all the ingredients so I must have a go in the next few days. Can't wait!


  10. Thank you so, so much.

    Please do come back and let me know how you get on.

    There are two tricky bits, the pastry which needs you to work fast when moulding the tin. And the setting of the filling inside the pie, make sure the skewer comes out clean before taking it out of the oven. Other than than, it should all be fine.

  11. Very colourful and beautiful!


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