Thursday, 25 August 2011

Pastry and Pie Goodness

MMMM so along with pizza another favourite in our house is a good Pie :) yes I know it's not the healthiest of options but we all have our weaknesses! I grew up with my Mum ans Dad making pies and I have followed suit particularly since I married a man who will down a good pie in seconds.  I have always just used bought pastry and made the filling, but a few pie making sessions ago I tried to make my own pastry.  I have always thought it was a hard process and put learning how to do it on the backburner.  Until the other night that is.  We all had a craving for a pie so I set about finding a recipe for the pastry.  I found this gorgeous one in a Sophie Gray book of mine and it is just the yummiest, lightest pastry - far superior to any supermarket one I've tried.  So we can have our Pie and eat it to :)  You can use this pastry for any pies, and I will be trying it soon with homemade sausage rolls. It's the perfect pastry base for any savoury recipe.  The pies that I make will last us two nights worth of dinners so they are a good low cost meal for the four of us.

Family Tradition from my family - Pea, Pie and Pud :)
Pastry:
2 1/4 cups Plain Flour
170gms Butter
Pinch of Salt
1/2 cup of Cold Water
Egg Wash or Milk for glazing

*If using a food processor, Put the flour and salt into the bowl with the chopping/knife blade, chop up your cold butter into little pieces and add this.  Whizz it around until its all mixed in.  Slowly add your water bringing the mix together into a ball.
*If doing by hand, Put flour and salt into a bowl, grate the cold butter into the flour and mix in with your fingertips.  Add the water slowly to bring the mix together.

Take the pastry ball and wrap it up in cling film or baking paper and pop it into the fridge to rest for at least half an hour.    

Once you've prepared your filling or half an hour has passed, take the pastry from the fridge and divide it into two portions, one for the lid and one for the base.  Or divide it as you need to.  Roll it out to required thickness and size, a tiny sprinkle of flour can help stop it sticking.  Fill the pie and seal the lid onto the top.  Do this by  pressing  the edge gently with a fork or use a brush of milk to seal.  Poke a few holes in the top to prevent explosion, if you want brush either a little beaten egg or just straight milk over the top for a nice finish and then bake at around 190degC until its all golden and looking cooked.  I think mine took about 25mins. For my bacon and egg pie where the filling wasn't cooked I left it in a bit longer but kept an eye on the pie crust.

Notes:  Rememeber to grease the dish it is going into to prevent it sticking.  Always use cold water and cold butter, pastry works better the colder it is.


Filling Ideas:

A classic filling idea in our house is Steak, Mushroom, Cheese and Pepper sauce.  To make this cube up some stewing steak (about 300-400gms).  Coat the meat in flour and using a little olive oil brown off in a hot pan.  Set aside.  Gently fry and caramilise some finely chopped onions, add the meat back to the pan.  Slice a good handful or two of mushrooms and add these.  Add some beef stock to the pan - try 1 cup first and then add enough to just cover the pie mix at the most 2 cups should be enough.  Bring this up to a gentle simmer, add a little salt and grind in enough pepper to make it peppery or to suit your taste.  You can always leave the pepper out if you don't like it.  Simmer this slowly for around half an hour or until the meat is cooked.  Or alternatively if you are preparing the filling way ahead of time, it's really nice to pop a lid on it and put it into the oven for 1 1/2 hours at 160degC to gently slow cook the meat.  Always an opportunist to get veges into the family, I add some sliced silverbeet from the garden as its just about cooked, but this is up to you.  When the meat is looking done and you have your pastry rolled and ready in the dish, pour the filling in.  Top with a generous grating off cheese and seal the lid on as the pastry recipe states.  The filling is cooked so it only needs to be in the oven long enough to cook the pastry.

Simple Savoury Mince Filling
Finely chop an onion and soften in a pan with a little olive oil. When its soft and starting to brown add a good sprinkling of paprika.  Add your mince, I used 350gms.  If you only have a small amount of mince you can always bulk it up near the end with a can of lentils, they disappear into the mix and you can't taste them, or you can add some kidney beans which is what I had on hand when I made this.  Brown the mince off, sprinkle over about a tablespoon of soya sauce, and some salt and pepper.  Add 1 chopped carrot and some sliced mushrooms and any other veges you have (capsicums or courgettes would go well, and you only need a small amount).  Mix these through, stir in about 2 good tablespoons of flour to help thicken the sauce (or you can thicken at the end using cornflour and water if you prefer) and then slowly add 1 cup of beef stock stirring constantly.  If using stock powder make this up with 1 cup of water and 2 tsp of beef stock to pump the flavour up a little. Add 2 tablespoons of Tomato Paste and stir it all in.  Simmer for around 20 mins with the lid on until the mince is cooked.  In the last 10mins of cooking I added a can of drained and rinsed Kidney Beans, and I would have added some sliced silverbeet if I'd had some ready in the garden.  Taste along the way and add extra seasoning if required.  Once its done, as above put it into your pastry, seal the lid on and bake until the pastry is cooked.







Bacon and Egg Pie
I only made my first bacon and egg pie the other night.  I don't eat many eggs myself although DH loves them.  I made this filling up as I went along but it tasted yummy, I just felt there wasn't enough moisture so next time I will add an extra egg or two.
First I gently cooked in a little olive oil, a finely diced onion and 3 cloves of garlic.  To this I added a teaspoon of paprika, a dash of sweet chilli sauce and some salt and pepper. I put this into the pastry and then to the pan with a little more oil I cooked some mushrooms, making sure I stirred in any of the remaining onions and flavours left in the pan to flavour the mushroom.  I put these on top of the onions, then added some sliced salami (I didn't have any bacon so substituted this for salami).  Then I sprinkled over some chopped silverbeet.  I cracked over 7 eggs (mine are only small ones and probably could have done with another one), broke the yokes with a fork and then gave a grind of salt and pepper.  Popped the lid on and baked for 1/2 an hour.






Pie's are really quite easy to make.  They are a bit labour intensive however that first melt in your mouth bite is worth all the work :) Have fun coming up with your own flavour combinations and let me know how you get on :) I would love to try a chicken, mushroom, sweetcorn and white wine sauce at some stage.

2 comments:

  1. Ill be giving this a go for sure. Yours look fab.
    I have to admit to always steering away from making pastry too after early disasters.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I love your recipes MrsW. Thanks for sharing...

    ReplyDelete

Hiya, thanks for taking the time to comment on my post. I can't wait to read your comments and to share ideas, I am a busy mummy with 2 boys to run around after so I will try and get to comments as quickly as I can...if there is a delay in seeing them published this is why, not because I don't care, I'm just taking some time to smell the roses :)

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