recipe: Cornish brie and pickles

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These creamy, earthy pies are delicious served from the oven, with melting centres. Or carefully wrapped to retain their warmth and brought out at an indulgent summer picnic. If made with ready-rolled pastry, this is a quick and extremely simple recipe.

Makes 4 pies

For the pies
4 wheels Cornish Brie, approximately 200g each
450g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
½ tsp salt
120g unsalted butter, cold and cubed
150g vegetable shortening, cold
80ml boiling water
1 egg, beaten

For the pickles
250ml distilled vinegar
1 tsp caster sugar
¾ tsp salt
1 tsp coriander seeds
6 shallots, halved
165g gherkins in vinegar, drained

To make the pickle: Combine the vinegar, sugar, salt and coriander seeds in a heatproof bowl. Microwave on high for 40 secs, then stir well to dissolve the sugar and salt. Add the shallots and gherkins to the pickling solution. Cover the bowl, and chill until needed.

To make the pies: Combine the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl, making a well in the centre. Place the butter and shortening in the well, then pour over the boiling water. 

Stir well until the fats melt, then start to incorporate the flour into them with a fork. Once a rough dough forms, turn out onto a lightly floured surface, and divide into four pieces. Knead briefly before wrapping in cling film. Chill for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 190°C/gas mark 5. Turn out the pastry onto a floured surface. Roll each piece out into a 30cm wide round. Place the brie wheels on their centres, and bring the pastry up and around the cheese to envelop. Seal the pastry on top, and arrange on a large baking tray, spaced apart. Brush with the beaten egg, then bake for 30-40 mins until golden brown all over. Remove to a wire rack to cool. Serve with the pickles.

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