Thursday, May 1, 2008

Ham & Madeira Pie

This is a recipe that my Mom used to make a lot. The smell and flavors of the Madeira wine have stuck with me since then. I love making it for Juan. And it brings back a lot of memories. I serve it drizzled with a sauce, along with a green salad.

The recipe is actually an adaptation from a Tupperware cookbook, believe it or not! I simply made a concoction of my own for the sauce. You could definitely add sauteed button mushrooms to the sauce to add some consistency. Madeira can be substituted for Marsala or Sherry. Madeira wine is a fortified wine, which means that alcohol was added to the wine. Other fortified wines include Vermouth, Sherry, Port. And they're all great to use in cooking either to deglaze a pan or for sauces. I personally love them!

Now, more and more Creme Fraiche is available in US stores. It is similar to sour cream but has a higher fat content. If you come across creme fraiche in your grocery store, go ahead and buy it. I have tried the recipe with sour cream and it works - but there's no comparison.

2 rolls of store-bought puff pastry
about 6 or 7 slices of good quality deli ham -wet cured- (like Country Ham or Black Forest)
1/4 cup of shredded Gruyere
2 tsp of cornstarch + 2 tsp cold water
1 tbsp of Madeira
1/4 cup of Creme fraiche
1 egg yolk
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 450.

Roll out one roll of dough in a quiche dish. Make one layer of ham, laid down flat. Sprinkle with the Gruyere.

In a little bowl, mix the cornstarch with 2 teaspoons of water. Set aside. Very gently simmer the Madeira for about 5 minutes until it reduces a little. Then add the cornstarch mixture. Mix and make sure it all dissolves in the Madeira. Add the creme fraiche and season with a little salt and pepper. Pour over the ham and Gruyere in the dish.

Add the last layer of ham.

Cover with the second roll of dough and make sure you seal the edges well. Cut a steam vent in the middle and place a piece of parchment paper or foil rolled in the shape of a chimney. Brush the pie with 1 egg yolk. Place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes.

Let the pie cool down for about 30 minutes and prepare the sauce: In a saucepan, reduce 1/2 cup of Madeira to half. Meanwhile, slice 1 shallot and place in another saucepan with 2 tbsp of unsalted butter. Cook for about 1 minute. Add 2 tbsp of flour, stir and cook on low heat until blond in color. Add 1/4 cup of creme fraiche. Stir. Add the reduced Madeira. Stir and add 1/2 cup of chicken stock. Season with just a little salt and pepper.

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