I am in a bit of a quiet mode these days. A lot of people think I am not myself. But its not true at all.
I am feeling calm and its almost like I am living out of my body and looking at myself go about my day. Its a weird feeling but at the same time relaxing as well. Most people around me think I’m a whole lot of crazy. That’s ok. Crazy is good. At least for me.
More and more as I grow older, I just don’t care what other people think of me. Its a beautiful thing not caring about someones opinion of you. What matters most is your opinion of yourself. If you are happy, nothing else should matter. Every now and then someone will enrage me but those days are getting fewer and further apart. I used to mistake it for apathy. Now I see it as being at peace.
Now this pie is a bit crazy too. Just a smidgen. I mean who ever put paneer in a pie. But I thought paneer is not different from ricotta (used in baking) or any other sort of plain white cheese. I mean, it is cheese. So I spent an entire day testing this pie. I was so tired at then end of the day, I was ready to collapse but I was a happy bunny. It turned out pretty fantastic. The crust is inspired Eva from Adventures in Cooking. I am used to putting ginger in the filling but never in the crust itself. I loved the idea and was a little pouty at myself for not thinking of it myself! So thank you Eva, for stirring up my brain cells! Calm is good, but it was sending me into a state of coma. Haha.
So this pie is all sorts of good. It has honey, ginger, walnuts and my beloved paneer. I would so love you tried it and told me how delicious it is. 🙂
- For the Crust
- 2½ cups all-purpose flour, plus flour for dusting
- 2 tbsps sugar
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 2 heaped tsps ginger powder
- 225 grams unsalted butter, cold and cut in cubes
- 6 to 8 tbsps ice water
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- For the Paneer
- 4 cups whole milk
- juice from half a lemon
- For the Filling
- 3 medium pears, peeled, cored, halved and sliced lengthwise
- 2 tbsps lemon juice
- ¼ cup chopped walnuts
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 1 tbsp ginger powder
- ½ cup paneer
- 2-3 tbsps honey
- To make the crust, combine the flour, sugar, ginger powder and sea salt in a large mixing bowl. Gently mix in the butter into the flour with your fingertips. Work the flour till it resembles bread crumbs and then gradually drizzle in ice water, folding with your fingers, one tablespoon at a time. Add just enough water to hold the dough together. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gather into a mound. Divide into 2 discs and wrap each with plastic wrap. Chill dough in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
- Position oven rack in the center of your oven and preheat to 425°F/220° C.
- Butter and flour a 9-inch pie dish. On a lightly floured surface, roll one of the discs of dough into a 14-inch circle. Roll dough onto your pin and unfold into the prepared pie dish. Press dough into sides and bottom, and trim all but 1-inch of the overhanging dough. Set pie dish in the refrigerator to chill while you prepare the rest of the pie.
- For the paneer, heat the milk in a non stick pan on medium heat. Stir continuously so as not to let the milk burn. Once the milk comes to a boil, lower the heat to low and add the lemon juice. You will immediately see the milk separate. If it doesn’t happen add more lemon juice. Pour into a colander lined and ready with muslin cloth.
- Let drain for ten minutes and then wash under cold water a little so that the lemon juice disappears a little. Squeeze extra water out.It’s as simple as that!
- Prepare the filling by tossing the pears with the sugar, lemon juice and ginger powder. Set aside.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll the second disc of dough into a rough 10- by 15-inch rectangle. Use a pastry cutter or sharp knife to cut strips, flowers, whatever or however you wish to decorate your pie top.
- Layer the pears filling the chilled pie shell and layer in the walnuts as well.After the pie pan is full cover the top with the crumbled paneer. Pour in the honey on top of the paneer layer. Lay the dough strips parallel across the pie. Weave in the other strips in the other direction. Trim any excess dough, fold the bottom crust up around the edge, and crimp as you wish or lay a braid on top. Brush top of crust with the egg and sprinkle with one tablespoon of sugar.
- Set the pie on a baking sheet and slide into oven. Bake pie for 15 minutes. Rotate pan, turn heat down to 350°F/175°C, and bake for another 20 minutes, or until pie is golden brown and the filling is bubbling. (If edges browns too quickly, tent with foil.)
- Allow pie to cool completely, and serve with a hot cup of masala chai.