We are well and truly in October. Can you believe that? The black opaque tights are back on as is the central heating. I love the chance to cosy up though, particularly in the kitchen. For me the start of autumn and grey skies can only mean one thing: comfort food. The recipe that I am sharing with you is from the wonderful book How To Be A Domestic Goddess by Nigella Lawson. It was one of the first cookbooks I bought myself and I still use it on a regular basis. I've made this savoury pie on more occasions than I care to remember. It marries caramelised onions, cheese and fragrant thyme with a cheese scone dough; a winning combination.
When I was younger I'd often make it for friends and family who came to dinner. You can 'posh it up' quite easily. These days I still make it, but it's more of an after school supper served with some creamy mashed potato and a dollop of brown sauce. It is so quick to put together when back from the school run or if you're feeling organised you can prep it all in advance and just pop it in the oven when you're ready. Easy as pie.
Supper Onion Pie
4 medium red onion (about 750g)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 heaped tbsp butter (about 25g)
3-4 sprigs fresh thyme, de-stalked, or a tsp of dried thyme
150g strong cheddar, grated
250g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt 100ml milk
40g butter, melted
1 tsp mustard
1 lrg egg, beaten
Preheat the oven to 200c / gas mark 6.
Peel the onions, halve them, then cut each half into 4 segments each. Heat the oil and butter in the pan, then add the onions and cook over a medium heat, stirring regularly, for about 30 minutes; they should be soft and tinged with colour. Season with salt and pepper, and add the thyme. Turn into a pie dish, and scatter 50g of the cheese over the waiting onions. Leave while you get on with the dough topping.
Put the flour, baking powder and salt together in a bowl with the remaining cheese. Pour the milk into a measuring jug, add the melted butter, mustard and egg, mix well then pour onto the flour mixture in the bowl. Mix to a dough using a fork, a wooden spoon or your hands; it should be quite sticky. Then tip it out onto a work surface and press into a circle about the size of the pie dish. Transfer it to the dish, pressing it to seal the edges.
Put it in the oven for 15 minutes, then turn down to 180C / gas mark 4 and give it another 10 minutes, by which time the dough should be golden and crisp on top. Let it stand for a couple of minutes, then cover with a large plate and turn upside-down so the plate's beneath and the pie dish on top. Place on a flat surface and remove the dish. Makes 6 generous slices.