Mum harvested a courgette that had grown into a large marrow in Suffolk when I was there to sail a National 12 with Dad on the River Orwell in Woolverstone, and the River Alde in Aldeburgh last weekend.
Zoe has often mentioned that her friend Paul makes a wonderful pie with courgettes – and he is an excellent cook. The image of the pie through Zoe’s eyes has stayed with me, though I have not had the honour of tasting it, and finally, I had the opportunity to make one myself to deal with the overgrown courgette.
The filling was very good, but I would advise people to use a shallower dish than I did to make sure it sets all the way though.
Making a shortcrust pastry couldn’t be easier either, and I will give a recipe, but a ready-made pastry that uses 100% butter from the supermarket will do if making it gives you the heeby-jeebies.
8 oz plain flour (225 grams)
4oz unsalted butter (113 grams) – cold
pinch of salt
How to Make the Pastry:
Place the flour in a bowl with a pinch of salt. Add the cold butter in cubes, and using the tips of your fingers, rub into the flour until the mixture resembles rough breadcrumbs.
Slowly add very cold water and stir with a metal spoon. Make sure it does not get too wet. As soon as the mixture begins to come together, press it into a ball – it needn’t be smooth – and wrap in cling film.
Refrigerate the pastry until needed.
1 large marrow or 3 smallish courgettes, grated and left in a colander with a sprinkling of salt for 30 minutes
2 smallish onions, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
1 small glass of sherry or white wine
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon, freshly ground nutmeg
a small bunch of thyme
75g finely grated parmesan
6 blobs of crème fraîche
How to Make Filling and Assemble Pie:
In a large, heavy bottomed pan cook the onions gently in a knob of butter with the bay leaves for about ten minutes until soft. Add the garlic and cook for a further few minutes. Add the sherry or wine and cook for a few minutes.
Squeeze out the moisture thoroughly from the marrow or courgettes. If necessary, place into a tea towel and wring out in that.
With an extra knob of butter add the courgette to the onions and stir well. Add the thyme leaves. Cook for ten minutes. Add the nutmeg and stir. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside and leave to cool.
Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees celsius.
When ready, mix the parmesan and 3 beaten eggs with the courgette mixture.
Roll out the pastry on a floured surface to about ½ cm thick, and place into a 9 inch dish that is up to 2 inches high – or into one that you can find that fits the pastry. It can be helpful to pick up the pastry by half rolling it onto the rolling pin, and then unrolling it onto the dish. Press the pastry into the corners of the dish well and make sure that the pastry comes well up to the top of the dish, because pastry shrinks when cooking.
Spoon in the courgette mixture. Place the six blobs of crème fraîche over the top.
Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour on the hot base of the oven, or until the filling is cooked and the pastry lightly browned.
Delicious braised peas and lettuce, carrots with parsley and cream made by mum. Rosé wine.