Eggplant and Mushroom Pie with Olive Oil Crust, Cucumber Raita

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1 eggplant (about 1 pound), unpeeled and cubed
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3 cups thinly sliced mushrooms
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh mint (or 2 tablespoon, dried)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon drained capers
6 black olives, pitted and roughly chopped
1 egg
1 tablespoon milk
Olive Oil Crust
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup milk
1 egg, beaten
additional flour as needed
Cucumber Raita
1 cup yogurt
1 1/3 cups unpeeled, finely diced english cucumber
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint or 1 tablespoon, dried
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
salt to taste
1/2 teaspoon garam masala

For the Raita:
In a bowl combine yogurt and cucumber. Stir in mint, lemon juice and oil. Season to taste with salt; mix thoroughly.

Transfer to a serving bowl and sprinkle garam masala on the surface (do not mix in). Let rest unrefrigerated for 30 minutes and serve.

For the Olive Oil Crust:
In a bowl sift together the flour, salt and baking powder. In a separate bowl, whisk together olive oil, mild and beaten egg. Add the liquid ingredients all at once to the dry ingredients. Using fingers or an electric mixer with dough hook, blend the liquids into the flour. (If you use a mixer, scrape down the sides of the bowl several times.) This shouldn't take long; the dough will have absorbed the liquids and have the texture of an earlobe. If dough does not have the correct texture, work in another 2 tablespoons flour.

Transfer the dough to a storage bowl, cover and refrigerate for at least ½ hour. When ready to use, knead any oil that may have seeped out back into the dough.

To roll crusts, divide the dough into 4 equal pieces. On a floured wok surface, take one of the pieces of dough and flatten it into a round with your hand. Turn it over to flour the other side. Using a floured rolling pin, roll dough into a round sheet about 8 or 9 inches in diameter and about 1/8 inch thick. It will shrink a little on its own, but can be stretched by hand later. Transfer onto a piece of waxed paper. Repeat procedure for each of the 3 remaining pieces of dough, and stack them, separated by waxed paper, to ensure that they peel off easily when ready to use. The stack can then be covered and refrigerated.

For the Pie:
Place the cubed eggplant and salt in a bowl; add cold water to cover. Mix well and set aside. Let soak 5 to 10 minutes.

In a large frying pan, heat vegetable oil for 1 minute on high heat. Drain eggplant cubes and add to the oil. (Careful, the oil will splatter.) Fry for 7 to 8 minutes, stirring and tossing actively, until all the cubes have darkened, softened and are just about to scorch. Transfer to a bowl, along with any pan juices, and set aside.

Return pan to heat. Add olive oil, salt and pepper; stir for 30 seconds. Add mushrooms and stir-fry just until the mushrooms give off liquid, about 22 to 3 minutes. Add garlic and stir-fry for 1 minute. Transfer mixture, along with pan juices, to bowl containing the eggplant. Add pine nuts, mint, lemon juice, capers and olive pieces; fold everything thoroughly to integrate.

On a floured surface, lay out sheet of olive oil crust. Spoon a quarter of the eggplant mixture (about ¾ cup) onto the lower half of the crust. Fold the upper half over and, with your fingers or fork, pinch the edges. Place pie on prepared baking sheet. Repeat procedure with the other three pies. Beat the egg and milk together and brush over the crusts. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes, until golden brown and crusty. Serve immediately with Cucumber Raita on the side.

Notes : Serves 4 as a main course, up to 16 as an appetizer.

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