I’m very partial to this little pie, it’s the perfect recipe for a chilly spring day when the sun is out, the wind is cold and you want something summery but haven’t quite relinquished comfort food and woolly jumpers.
The combination of ham, mushrooms and melting, gooey cheese is very alluring, although vegetarians can omit the meat. You might in that case like to replace it with some chopped black olives for an umami boost.
It needs little more on the side than a salad or two but would equally well partner a heap of chargrilled asparagus and a bowl of Jersey Royals.
The name jalousie, by the way, refers to its top, which is supposed to look like the slats of a wooden shutter and makes me think of lazy days somewhere hot. We live in hope.
Ham, Cheese and Mushroom Jalousie
Salt and pepper
Squeeze of lemon juice
100g cream cheese
3 tbsp finely grated parmesan
Small bunch of chives, snipped (about 3 tbsp)
1 sheet of puff pastry, preferably all-butter
100g lean ham
1 scant tsp Dijon mustard
150g mozzarella, drained
1 egg, beaten, to glaze
Black and white sesame seeds, to garnish (optional)
Turn the oven to 220C/200 fan/425F/Gas Mark 7. Put in a baking sheet to heat up.
Finely chop the mushrooms. Melt the butter in a pan, add the mushrooms, sprinkle with a little salt and pepper and fry on a low to medium heat until all the moisture has been driven off and they’ve taken on a tinge of colour. Stir in a squeeze of lemon juice, tip onto a plate lined with kitchen paper and leave to cool.
Put the cream cheese in a bowl, add the grated parmesan and snipped chives, season with salt and pepper and mix well.
On a lightly floured surface, roll the pastry into an oblong 36cm x 30cm, then with a sharp knife cut it into two 18cm x 30cm rectangles, making sure the edges are neat. (This is a guide: the exact size depends on your sheet of pastry but remember it’s meant to look like a shutter.) Put one half in the fridge for now, wrapped.
Place the remaining piece of pastry on a sheet of baking paper and lightly mark a 2cm rim all around. Smooth the cream cheese mixture over the inner rectangle and arrange the ham on top, folding where necessary.
Smear the mustard thinly over the ham and add a layer of mushrooms. Tear up the mozzarella and scatter over. Egg wash the pastry rim.
Take the second piece of pastry, dust lightly with flour (crucial, or it’ll stick together) and fold it loosely in half lengthways. Make a series of horizontal cuts through the fold, about 1.5cm apart, leaving a 2cm border on the other three sides.
Without unfolding it, place it on the filled rectangle so that one long edge and the two short edges align. Unfold it to cover the filling and press down the edges, then crimp with the tines of a fork.
Brush with egg wash, scatter with sesame seeds, if using and put the pie in the oven. Cook for 20 minutes then reduce the heat to 180C/160 fan/350F/Gas Mark 4 and cook for another 10 minutes or until the pastry is puffed, cooked through and golden. Serve warm, while the mozzarella is still gooey.