Ratatouille is one of my absolute favorite Disney Pixar films. I remember watching it originally in the theater with the biggest, dorkiest smile on my face the entire time! Even today, I love everything about this film and its message that “Anyone Can Cook.” I was very excited to hear the recent news that Disney will be adding a Ratatouille attraction to the France Pavilion in Epcot, much like the one at Disneyland Paris, which I have not yet visited.
Just to get you in the mood, here is my favorite scene from Ratatouille when Anton Ego, the food critic with the heart of stone, tastes the ratatouille and is transported back to his childhood, and his mother’s cooking. It gives me warm fuzzies every time!
In honor of this wonderful news, I decided to make some ratatouille with a variety of farm-fresh vegetables. My sister is a member of a local CSA at Moonrose Farm, and last week she received the perfect bounty for making a batch of ratatouille.
A few of the items in her basket included beautiful, slender Asian eggplants, a handful of summer onions, a couple zucchinis, and a bouquet of fresh basil.
I used all of these ingredients in the ratatouille along with some store-bought tomatoes (they aren’t available at our local farms yet) and a red bell pepper. We also made a quick salad on the side with salad greens from the farm 😉
Instead of sticking absolutely to tradition, much like Remy in Ratatouille I decided to change things up a bit. I found this wonderful recipe for a flaky, savory pie filled with a summer harvest of vegetables. Take Anton’s Ego’s ultimate comfort dish and wrap it in flaky pastry, and you’ve got something that’s just a little bit decadent, yet screaming with the flavors of summer.
A quick tip: the recipe suggests straining the filling if there appears to be too much residual liquid. I would encourage you to strain your filling regardless. Mine didn’t seem too wet, so I simply used a slotted spoon to fill my pie crust with filling, and yet some of my bottom crust turned out a little soggy.
It wasn’t the end of the world, and honestly this savory pie was fantastic and garnered rave reviews from all those who tasted it, but in my opinion it would have been truly Anton Ego-worthy had I strained the filling a bit better.
Savory Summer Harvest Ratatouille Pie
- 1/4 cup (59 g) extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium to large onion chopped
- 2 cloves garlic more if you like
- 1 eggplant peeled and cubed (or 2 smaller unpeeled Asian eggplants)
- 2 medium zucchini cubed
- 1 sweet pepper seeded and chopped
- 4 to matoes peeled, seeded and cubed
- 2 teaspoons (10 g) red wine vinegar
- 1 recipe double-crust pie dough
- 1 handful of fresh basil chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 egg plus 2 tablespoons (30 g) water, fork beaten
- In a heavy frying pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until the onions are wilted, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the eggplant and cook for another 5 minutes. Add the zucchini, pepper, tomatoes, and vinegar, cover and cook for about 30 minutes, until the vegetables have cooked down a bit. If there is too much liquid, remove the cover and reduce.
- Stir in the chopped basil and cool the filling completely. If there is still a lot of liquid in the pan, place the filling in a mesh colander and let the juice drip through. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Roll out one disc of pie dough and place it in a pie pan. Pour the cooled filling into the unbaked pie shell and top with a lattice crust, or a full top crust with vents.
- Chill the pie while you are preheating the oven to 475 degrees F. Brush the pie with egg wash (I also like to sprinkle flaked sea salt and freshly ground black pepper over the top crust when I make savory pies; a contrast to sprinkling sugar on top of sweet pies), then bake for 10 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees F and bake for 20 minutes more, or until the crust is a nice golden color (mine baked an extra 8 to 10 minutes on top of the 20).
Magpie Dough for Flaky Piecrust
- 2 1/2 cups (312 grams) all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons (28 grams) granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon (6 grams) fine salt
- 3/4 cup (170 grams) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes and frozen
- 1/4 cup (60 grams) vegetable shortening, preferably in baking stick form, frozen, cut into 1/4-inch pieces, and put back in the freezer
- 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon (130 grams) ice-cold water
- Combine the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse the machine 3 times to blend. Scatter the frozen butter cubes over the flour mixture. Pulse the machine 5 to 7 times, holding each pulse for 5 full seconds, to cut all of the butter into pea-size pieces.
- Scatter the pieces of frozen shortening over the flour-and-butter mixture. Pulse the machine 4 more 1-second pulses to blend the shortening with the flour. The mixture will resemble coarse cornmeal, but will be a bit more floury and riddled with pale butter bits (no pure-white shortening should be visible). Turn the mixture out into a large mixing bowl, and make a small well in the center. If you find a few butter clumps that are closer to marble size than pea size (about 1/4 inch in diameter), carefully pick them out and give them a quick smoosh with your fingers. Pour the cold water into the well.
- Use a curved bowl scraper to lightly scoop the flour mixture up and over the water, covering the water to help get the absorption started. Continue mixing by scraping the flour up from the sides and bottom of the bowl into the center, rotating the bowl as you mix, and occasionally pausing to clean off the scraper with your finger or the side of the bowl, until the mixture begins to gather into clumps but is still very crumbly. (If you are working in very dry conditions and the ingredients remain very floury and refuse to clump together at this stage, add another tablespoon of ice-cold water.) Lightly gather the clumps with your fingers and use your palm to fold over and press the dough a few times (don’t knead! —just give the dough a few quick squishes), until it just begins to come together into a single large mass. It will be a raggedy wad, moist but not damp, that barely holds together; this is exactly as it should be—all it needs is a good night’s rest in the fridge.
- For single- and double-crust pies, mini pies, potpies, or hand pies: Divide the dough into 2 equal portions, gently shape each portion into a flat disk 1 1/2 to 2 inches thick, and wrap each tightly with plastic wrap. For quiche, leave the dough in one piece, flatten it into a single large disk 1 1/2 to 2 inches thick, and wrap tightly with plastic wrap.
- No ifs, ands, or buts, the dough must have its beauty sleep. That means 8 hours in the refrigerator at the very least. Extra rest is just fine; feel free to let the wrapped dough sit in the fridge for up to 3 days before rolling. (The dough may discolor slightly. No worries. This is merely oxidization and will not affect the flavor or appearance of your finished piecrust.)