So a couple of my friends and I have started a baking club. We all love to bake, but have experience in different areas of baking and having regular baking sessions gives us all a chance to learn from each other (and also have girl time).
This week, in line with the Great British Bake Off we made different types of pastries. The main (and by far most delicious) thing we made was a big savoury short crust pie. This pie is a wonderful thing to bake as the weather gets colder and wetter and you want something warm and filling for your evening meal. The pastry can be made in advance, or you could use ready made pastry – I think there is something nice about making your own though. This pie isn’t exactly quick to make, so you might want to make it when you have a few hours free. The sensational flavour and texture of the pie makes it well worth waiting for though (and your kitchen will smell wonderful).
To make this pie you will need:
For the pastry
500g plain flour
A pinch of salt
250g chilled unsalted butter
4 egg yolks
100ml cold water
For the filling
6 skinless, boneless chicken thighs
4 chicken breasts
900ml chicken stock
60g butter (plus extra to grease your pie dish)
3 tablespoons oil
1 finely diced onion
2 large leeks
2 cloves of garlic
2 finely chopped celery sticks
1 tablespoon dried tarragon
300g panchetta or any other type of bacon
40g plain flour (plus extra for dusting the pie dish)
150ml white wine
200ml low fat crème fraîche
1 egg to glaze (we just used the whites leftover from the pastry making)
Salt and pepper
Put the flour, butter and salt into a large mixing bowl and rub together to form breadcrumbs.
Add the egg yolks and mix in with your hands. Slowly add the water and mix until a dough has formed that leaves the side of the bowl clean.
Tip the pastry out onto a lightly floured surface and shape into a ball. Wrap in cling film and leave to cool until needed.
Cut the chicken into chunks (2.5cm) and set aside. Prepare all of the vegetables and place to one side.
Put the mushrooms into a large frying pan. Add 400ml of the stock, bring to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes. Strain and reserve the mushrooms and cooking liquid separately.
Wipe out the frying pan. Melt the butter with a tablespoon of the oil. Add the chicken pieces and cook until slightly browned on every side. Do this in batches so as not to overcrowd the pan. Remove from the pan and put to one side in a bowl.
Add the remaining oil to the pan and cook the onion, leek, celery, garlic and tarragon. Cook gently until soft but not brown. Remove from the pan into a bowl.
In the frying pan cook the bacon in the frying pan until browned. Remove from the pan and put to one side.
Add the wine to the frying pan and bring to a simmer. Deglaze the pan by stirring and scraping the base of the pan. Return all the ingredients back into the pan (or put everything into a larger saucepan) cover everything with the flour, add the stock and mix well. Cover and cook over a low heat for approx. 35 minutes. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
During this time cut your pastry in half. Roll out one half for the base of your pie dish. Grease your pie dish and dust with flour. Place your rolled out pastry into the pie dish and allow to rest for a few minutes to prevent the pastry shrinking. Trim the pastry to the size of your pie dish, line the bottom of the tin with baking beans and blind bake for 10-15 minutes (to prevent the fabled soggy bottom).
Going back to your pie filling, remove the meat and vegetables from the pan using a slotted spoon and put into the pie dish. Reduce the liquid in the pan by half. Add the crème fraîche, whisking gently with a balloon whisk. Pour this sauce into the pie dish.
Roll out the other half of your pastry. Top your pie with it, remember to cut steam holes into the pie to stop it exploding in the oven. Seal the edges of your pie by washing the edges with egg, then press the edges together with your thumb. Decorate the pie with the excess pastry then glaze with the eggs prior to baking.
Bake in the preheated oven at 180°C for 25 minutes. Turn the oven down to 150°C and bake for a further 20-25 minutes until golden brown.
Serve with the vegetables of your choice. Feel instantly warmed and comforted.