Week Two: Pie

PIE WEEK!

Week two of Rosaline Palmer Takes the Cake - now, I've obviously already read the entirety of Rosaline Palmer, but I finally got my paperback in the mail, and I'm listening to the audiobook as I bake to try and keep current with the chapters I'm baking and blogging about... 

A few brief reflections... I continue to love Harry calling Rosaline mate, and I adore the sweet and slightly awkward moment where he stumbles to apply the same to Anvita, and (let's be honest) everything else about him. I continue to love Anvita, who is delightful and excellent with her flavors. And Florian... I quite liked Florian, little as we got to know him, and I was truly sad to see him leave.

Week Two of Bake Expectations brings some exciting bakes for me. When I baked along to the last season of Bake Off I was genuinely bummed that I didn't get to try a savory pie and so I was pretty chuffed about trying my hand at a hot water crust pastry this week.

Now, as this week we had the blind bake PLUS 24 mini pies, 12 sweet and 12 savory, this is a LONG post. I did not attempt Harry's or Alain's pies, although Harry's savory and Alain's sweet both sounded lovely. The thing is, I just didn't have the time for all of them, and I couldn't find gooseberries, and it's Rosaline's book so obviously I had to make hers...

Blind Bake: St. Clement's Pie

I'd literally never heard of this but I have to say, when I read the description I was excited. 

Honestly, from the description in the book I expected it to be like a lemon meringue pie... and I'm fully on #teamLMP (but we'll talk about For Real some other time... because I reallysuperfuckinglove For Real, but this is not the time.)

So, when I looked up recipes for St. Clement's Pie, it was not exactly what I was expecting. It's described on Bake Expectations as a "British twist on an American classic." I assumed that was the aforementioned LMP but maybe it's a key lime pie? Because this has a biscuit crust and no meringue. I started with the BBC Good Food recipe here, because I figure the BBC is a reputable source which seemed important as this is a thing I know nothing about, but there were some things I wasn't totally sold on. Greek yogurt doesn't seem like a classic ingredient to me? And *light* sweetened condensed milk? I couldn't find that. So I looked at other places too and ended up going pretty much with this instead, as it seemed to my eye like a similar (but better) recipe.

Ingredients 

Base

  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • 260g digestive biscuits (Last time I wanted to do a biscuit crust (mini cheesecakes for my GBBO bake along) I made homemade digestives, and I was planning to do that again here, except I had to go to an Indian grocery store for other things, and I found digestives there)

Filling

  • 1 Egg
  • 3 Egg Yolks
  • 2 lemons
  • 2 oranges
  • 1x14 oz can sweetened condensed milk

Topping

  • 100 ml heavy cream 
  • 8 oz creme fraiche
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 tbs powdered sugar

Instructions

Preheat to 320F

Crust

  • Put biscuits into a bag and break up with a rolling pin. Melt the butter and stir in crumbled biscuits. Press into pie plate.
  • Bake 15 minutes. 
  • Cool completely.
Filling
  • Zest and juice lemons and oranges. 
  • Whisk together all ingredients for the filling and pour into COOLED biscuit crust. 
  • Bake for 20 minutes. Cool completely.
Topping
  • Whip heavy cream with powdered sugar until combined. 
  • Add in creme fraiche and whip until soft peaks? The instructions didn't say so I just kind of went with... until it seemed nice? 
  • Smooth whipped cream over the top.

Anyway, not sure exactly what American classic it's supposed to be, but it was insanely easy and pretty tasty. 

Rosaline's Chicken, Sherry, and Tarragon Mini Pies

Look, there's a reason I'll never be on Bake Off or any similar show... I'd be one of those "your flavors are lovely but it's a bit... rustic" contestants and who wants to be that person? It's not like the audience at home can *taste* what you've made, so if it looks like a mess... Which I suppose could go for a blog as well, but here at least you get the recipes so you can try it yourself. 

I used a only very slightly adapted double recipe of Paul Hollywood's hot water crust pastry recipe from "Paul's Hand-raised Pies" in the cookbook, "The Great British Bake Off: How To Turn Everyday Bakes Into Showstoppers" which my lovely friend lent me, and I completely made up the filling based on the book description except that I added an ingredient not mentioned because, well, frankly because I had leeks in my fridge I needed to use before they went bad and I thought they'd go well here. And they did. 

Ingredients

Crust

  • 400g AP flour
  • 80g strong flour
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, chilled and diced
  • 200ml boiling water
  • 2 tsp salt
  • beaten egg (to glaze)

Filling

  • 3 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs (I used a little less than this, about 2.5 pounds, and it didn't quite fill my cups, if I had used the same mini pie tins I used for the other pies, I might have, but I went with a large muffin tins for these instead because I wanted that shape)
  • 1 c fresh tarragon
  • 2-3  cups chopped leeks- I definitely should've been paying more attention to this given that I *knew* I was planning to blog about it, but this is an estimate for how much I used as I neglected to measure
  • 1/4 c. sherry (I used a medium dry)
  • Salt and Pepper

 Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400F

Crust

  • Mix both flours in a bowl and rub in butter until looks like fine crumbs
  • Put lard in a saucepan or small put with salt and boiling water and heat until lard has melted
  • Pour into flour mixture, stir with a wooden spoon until comes together as dough
  • Tip onto a lightly floured work surface and gently work until it forms a smooth ball
  • Divide in two, wrap half in cling film and set aside
  • Cut off a small piece and roll. Cut circles slightly large than the pie tins you plan to use (I used a large muffin tin) and line tins
  • Chill while you make the filling

Filling

  •  Sauté leeks in a healthy glug of olive oil until soft
  • Add tarragon
  • Add salt and pepper, to taste
  • Cook a few minutes to get everyone all happy together
  • Add a very healthy pour of sherry- I think it was about a quarter cup- and turn off the heat. let it cool and mix it with the chicken.


Assembly
  • Take the pie tins out of the fridge, fill with chicken, leek, tarragon mixture
  • Roll out remaining pastry to cut lids 
    • I used one of the little pie tins I used to make the other pies to measure, but basically you want something slightly larger than the top
    • Make sure to cut holes, I use the large end of a pasty bag tip to make a perfectly round circle
  • Lay lid on pie, pinch and crimp edges (try to make them prettier than I did)
  • Bake for 50 minutes to an hour
  • Remove from tins and allow to cool slightly before eating

This was my first attempt at a hot water crust pastry, and as I mentioned, I've been wanting to try it for a while. The thing is... I really don't like lard. I didn't grow up using or eating it and it honestly kind of skeeves me. The slight kneading of the hot lardy dough made my hands reek of it and I... frankly I did not enjoy that. That being said... the pastry came out lovely. Perfectly crispy and tasty and all that...

You may notice I forgot to do my egg wash so the pies aren't shiny, but you may also not notice that since I sealed them badly and they leaked. (I would like you to formally acknowledge that I took the high road here and did not make a leek pun.) But, what truly matters is that they were very tasty and I will enjoy taking them for lunch this week.

Rosaline's Toffee Apple Mini Pies

I used to make a caramel-apple pie, back when I used to have a regular group of friends I played board games with on weekends in Brooklyn... but Rosaline specifically says she makes hers with dulce de leche so I tried to do this... there's simply no way to do it in the kind of time frame a baking show allows. Rosaline mentions needing an hour or something like that in the book... that's patently false. I had successfully made dulce de leche years ago. Like probably ten years ago, but I knew I'd used this recipe, so I used it again, and I let mine cook for, I kid you not, FIVE HOURS to get a LOVELY dulce de leche. 

That being said, I think my old way of making caramel apple pies was better AND faster, and if I ever did it again, I'd do it that way. But, I never wrote down a recipe for it so I can't give you my better version here and now. Maybe another time. 

I used Smitten Kitchen's extra flaky pie crust, my go-to pie crust. I don't want to put the whole recipe here because, frankly, this post is long enough, but I'll include the ingredients. 

Ingredients

Crust

  • 2 cups (260 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon (15 grams) granulated sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine sea or table salt
  • 1 cup (230 grams, 8 ounces, or 16 tablespoons) cold, unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup (120 grams) very cold water
Filling
  • 2lb apples, peeled, cored, and sliced (I used a mandolin on a thicker cut) (you could use more)
  • Dulce de leche
    • 1 quart whole milk
    • 12 ounces sugar, approximately 1 1/2 cups
    • 1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
    • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Instructions*

  • Make dulce de leche using the recipe above (or your own preferred method)- as noted above, this takes HOURS. I did mine a few days in advance and kept it in the fridge
  • Preheat oven to 350F
  • Make the pie crust according to the SK instructions (in link above)
  • While the dough chills, peel, core and slice apples (I used the thick setting on my mandolin here)
  • Roll crust and fill mini tins. I did them a few at a time, stacked them and refrigerated them to keep the dough cold in between
  • Take a few pie crusts out of the fridge at a time and fill with apple slices, place on a sheetpan when done
***Option A- What I did***
  • Pour about 2 tbs of dulce de leche over the apples
  • Roll out remaining pie dough and cut lids
    • Cut a little larger than the pie tins you're using
    • Don't forget to cut holes so the pie can steam
  • Pinch and seal pies and lay them on a baking sheet 
  • Repeat until you've made all you mini pies
  • Optional: Beat an egg with 1 tbs water and brush over tops of pies (I didn't do this, but if you want a shiny pie crust, do it)
  • Bake about 20-30 minutes, check frequently starting at 20 minutes, until brown (go longer than I did- mine are too pale)

 I'll be honest. I didn't love how these came out. Baking the dulce de leche with the apples messed up it's texture. If I did this again, I would try

***Option B-  What I might try next time- an unknown, but possibly better?***

  • Bake about 20-30 minutes, check frequently starting at 20 minutes, until crust around the edges is brown.
  • Spoon about 2-3 tbs dulce de leche over each pie

And I know I said I was skipping Harry and Alain's pies, but don't worry, I'm not leaving you with ONLY 25 pies. I would never do that to you. Because we have to bake the winner's frankly fabulous pies, don't we?

Anvita's Palak Paneer Mini Pies

There was no way I wasn't going to make these. I love the idea of palak paneer as a hand pie, like spanakopita in appetizer form. I love making spanakopita in little single meal serving triangles. I learned how to make spanakopita from a friend in college. Similarly, I learned how to make palak paneer from a friend in a her apartment in Queens, before I moved away, then she moved away, etc. etc... Anyway, point is, this is a dish that I both adore and have deep sentimental attachment to, so of course I'm going to play with it here. I ended up scrapping the hand-pie idea because it isn't what was described in the book, but the mini pies are cute and tasty and definitely worth the work.

At risk of embarrassing myself, I'm going to let you all see the recipe I worked from which also, morning of, involved a video chat with the aforementioned lovely, wonderful, gracious friend while her infant twins napped to make sure I didn't fuck this up for you... 

I don't recommend trying to decipher this one on your own because the notes are half for the full recipe and half for a doubled recipe because I was terrified there wouldn't be enough (but there was more than enough so feel free to make the single written out here). One thing to note is that the recipe is in things like "scoops." My friend measured and this was roughly a teaspoon, but I used the teaspoon like a scoop, so make all those teaspoons below heaping teaspoons...

Crust

I made my pie crust based off Smitten Kitchen's extra flaky pie crust, because I didn't think a lard-based crust made sense for a palak paneer pie, though I did modify for a savory pie. The modifications were pretty simple: I left out the sugar, subbed a half cup flour for whole wheat flour, and added about one tsp of turmeric and a few heavy pinches of chili powder. You could also just use this pie crust as is, or minus sugar, or however you want, really. 

Filling

Ingredients

  • 10 oz baby spinach
  • 2 small green chiles (I got these at an Indian grocery store. I'm not sure what they're properly called. See the picture and look for something like that. When, in the past, I couldn't get to an Indian grocery store I subbed serranos, but it's not the same.)
  • 1 small tomato (I was instructed to use Roma but the co-op, which is my closest grocery option, had some not-great-looking Romas, so I got some nice little heirlooms instead because I'm bougie like that)
  • Small piece of fresh ginger (Mine was about an inch)
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp chili
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3-4 tsp coriander
  • 2 tsp amchur
  • 1 tbs butter 
  • One package paneer (8 oz or more, if you're like me. I like more.) cut into small pieces (smaller than you would for normal palak paneer for the small pies, I went for about 1cm cubes)
  • Olive Oil
Instructions
  • Preheat oven to 350F
  • Steam spinach in InstantPot or pressure cooker (in the alternative, blend the spinach with a cup of water and boil it, but this takes much longer to cook)
  • While the spinach is steaming, make pie crust (instructions above), chill
  • Blend chiles, tomato, ginger, and onion in a food processor until smooth
  • Puree spinach with 1 cup water (I use a stick blender)
  • Heat a good splash of olive oil in a pan until shimmering
  • Add cumin seeds. They should pop in the oil. 
  • Add onion/chili puree and cook until all the water has cooked out
  • Add remaining spices
  • Cook until brown and the oil starts coming out
  • Add a tablespoon of butter
  • Add the spinach puree and bring to a boil 
  • Cover with lid, reduce to low and cook approximately 15 minutes
  • While cooking, toast paneer in oven on a sheet pan with a silicone mat or parchment paper
  • While cooking, roll out pie crust and lay in the pie tins
  • Mix cheese with spinach 
  • Layer into pie crusts
  • Make lids (I didn't, and I regret this. I tried to use a heart shape cookie cutter to make the hole in the lid, but it looked terrible and I was low on dough- not a fault of the recipe here- so I just cut out hearts and placed them on top instead. If I did it again, I'd properly cover the pies like I did with Rosaline's toffee apple pies, above, to keep the palak paneer from drying out)
  • Optional: Beat an egg with 1 tbs water and brush over tops of pies (I didn't do this, but if you want a shiny pie crust, do it)
  • Place all mini pies on sheet pan
  • Bake for about 25 minutes, until the crust started to brown

Anvita's Spiced Apple Mini Pies

Spiced apple pies basically sounds like how I like to make apple pies anyway, so why the heck not, right? They're described as spiced and with the sharpness of the green apple really coming through, so with that to go off I made the rest up.

I used the same pie crust from Smitten Kitchen referenced above, but without the modifications, available in the link above, and again, here. I did the little heart-shaped cut outs for lids here and for an apple pie I think that works fine and is adorable. Use any shape you like though.

Ingredients

  • 2 lb green apples, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced (I used a mandolin on a thin cut)
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 1/4 c. brown sugar
  • 1/8 c. sugar
  • pinch salt
  • Mixed spices- I made this up as I went along but it shook out to rougly:
    • 1 tsp cinnamon
    • 1/4 tsp cardamom
    • 1/4 tsp ginger
    • 1/8 tsp clove
    • 1/8 tsp all spice
    • fresh ground nutmeg, I'd estimate about 1/8 tsp
  • 3-4 tbs cinnamon sugar

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350F
  • Make pie dough
  • While dough chills, slice the apples, cover with lemon juice to keep from going brown
  • Roll pie dough and layer in tins- do it a few at a time and keep them chilling in the fridge in-between
  • Toss apples with mixed spices and sugar and layer in tins top with sprinkle of cinnamon sugar
  • Top with pie crust or a pie crust cut out
  • Bake 25-30 minutes or until the crust is nice and brown

Y'all, I'm not going to lie. I'm a bit tired. And there are dishes to be done... Maybe don't make and blog about 49 pies over the course of about a week. Spread it out a bit more.

But there's something to be said for 49 pies and not a soggy bottom in sight... 


I will not lie, exhausted though I am, I'm excited for bread week. See ya then!

Comments

  1. I, too, reallysuperfuckinglove For Real! I hope you do recipes from that at some point. Besides Toby's lemon meringue pie, there's his red velvet cupcakes and perfect scrambled eggs. And the carrot cake with no carrots might be okay, too -- basically a spice cake.

    I'm going to toot my own horn a bit here. I recently wrote a fan fic where Toby is testing out recipes for a restaurant he's about to open (and poor Laurie is up on the kitchen table again): https://archiveofourown.org/works/31663301 I got to invent seven dishes for it, from quail egg ravioli through a macadamia nut macaron with white chocolate and yuzu powder. I haven't made any of them myself yet.

    Anyway, this is a terrific idea for a blog and I look forward to biscuit week!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I will DEFINITLEY be doing a For Real post in the future. I was thinking maybe a full English or the dinner from Oxford because you know, it's sometimes nice to know you've got Calvados foam in your future ;) but I do like a red velvet cupcake and the carrot-less carrot cake would certainly be amusing. I'll keep them all in mind, for sure! And I'm looking forward to checking out your For Real FF when I finish my biscuit blogs! I'm dangling it as a reward- It sounds delicious and delightful (although I don't know I'd call him "poor Laurie" since he seems to like being up on the table just fine) <3

      Delete
  2. Well, he does and he doesn’t, if you know what I mean! ;-)

    ReplyDelete

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