Pies have to pack a punch! You need a big whack of loveliness to go inside that pastry case. This pie does just that and it’s a favourite Clemens’ family teatime pie!
But why pie this week? It seems fitting as the Autumn gets underway and teatimes in our house take on a much more comfort food feel. Higgidy, the makers of pie loveliness, sent me some pie goodies and are holding a Recipe Hunt – they want your pie recipes to find the next Special Guest Pie in their range, and I know you’ll have some great recipes up your sleeves. Have a look here www.higgidy.co.uk/recipehunt and share your favourite recipes with them if you get chance.
So inspiration courtesy of Higgidy, here’s my super tasty chicken pie topped with a flaky gorgeous pastry!
225g plain flour
pinch of salt
75g white vegetable fat (Trex)
75g butter, cold diced
2 tbsps vegetable or sunflower oil
1 large onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
750g diced chicken breast
1 tsp cayenne pepper
3 tbsps tomato puree
salt and pepper
400ml chicken stock
1 tbsp cornflour dissolved in 3 tbsps water
150ml double cream
1 egg, for egg wash
Serves: 6 (or 4 hungry people!)
Start off making the pastry – this is a sort of flaky pastry – a shortcrust that splits into layers in the same way as puff pastry. Its easy and quick to make too, perfect to make there and then for a family tea time pie.
Add the flour and salt to a large mixing bowl and stir together.
Add the cold diced butter and the white vegetable fat broken into pieces.
Using a table knife cut through the fats making them into smaller pieces as you work until the mixture is full of small pebbles of fat.
Make a well in the centre and add the water a little at a time, mixing with the knife until the pastry just comes together.
Gather it together, flour the worksurface and roll it out, patting it with flour if its sticking to the surface or your rolling pin, into a long thin rectangle.
Fold the top 1/3rd down and the bottom 1/3rd up.
Turn the pastry 90 degrees so that the folded edges are now at the side.
Repeat the rolling and folding until you have done the process 3 times in total.
Wrap the pastry in clingfilm and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
To make the filling, heat the oil in a large pan and fry the onions until softened. Add the crushed garlic and fry for a further 2 minutes.
Add the chunks of chicken and cook until the meat is sealed.
Into the pan add the cayenne pepper (it’s not at all spicy if using 1 teaspoon but if you do want some heat to it just add more) and tomato puree. Season well with salt and pepper and stir well to combine.
Pour in the chicken stock and allow to simmer for 10 minutes or so until the mixture reduces to just cover the chicken.
Add the cornflour dissolved in water and stir until the sauce thickens.
Stir through the cream and simmer on a low heat for a further 5 minutes.
Remove from the heat and allow the filling to cool.
Preheat the oven to 190c (fan)/210c/Gas Mark 8.
Once the filling mixture has cooled pour it into your pie tin. Higgidy sent me a birdy pie funnel so never having used one I’m making use of it here! They aim to allow the steam to escape evenly from the pie preventing the pastry from cracking and the filling from bursting out.
Take the pastry from the fridge and roll it out slightly larger than your pie dish.
Cut strips from around the edges of the rolled out pastry.
Dampen the lip of your pie dish and line the top using the cut strips.
Dampen the pastry lip (cut a cross in the centre of the pastry if using a funnel) and lay it over the top of your pie. Seal together the pastry around the edge of the tin and trim any excess away with a sharp knife.
Lightly score the pastry top with a sharp knife in a diamond pattern, brush well with egg wash.
Bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes until the pastry is golden and the filling is piping hot.
Ruth Clemens, Baker Extraordinaire