Tag Archives: trex

Christmas Pie

Christmas is tradtionally a time of leftovers.  We’ve got just about all of the sandwich suitable turkey off it now so now it is time to think of other things to make with the bits and pieces left over.  There are lots of options available but few I’d actually enjoy.  Pie seemed the way to go.  Not only can you use the turkey but there’s nothing stopping you from using up some stuffing or leftover vegetables or even a few dollops of cranberry sauce.  Got a ham? Pop it in too!  Whatever is left or takes your fancy, within reason, then in it goes!  I usually keep things simple.  I might do turkey, stuffing and cranberry but I’d leave out the vegetables.  Ham, turkey and vegetables go well together too.  If you’ve got a lot of mash then why not skip the pastry and use that?  It really does depend entirely upon what you have and what you like.  If you’ve only got turkey to play with then a simple turkey and mushroom pie is great too. 

Makes 1 average pie dish serving 4 people. 

For the pastry:
225g plain flour
pinch of salt
50g butter, chilled and diced
50g Trex (white vegetable fat), chilled and diced
3-4 tbsp chilled water

– Mix together the flour and salt.
– Add the butter and Trex and rub into the flour with your fingertips until it looks like breadcrumbs. 
– Add 3 -4 tbsp cold water by sprinkling it evenly over the surface fo the mixture.  (I used 3 tbsp and a bit.)
– Using a flat bladed knife mix it together until it forms a dough. 
– Gather it together with your hands and lightly knead for a few seconds to bring it together. 
– Form the dough into a ball and wrap it in clingfilm.  Place it in the fridge for 30 minutes. 

For the filling:
1 onion, chopped
Turkey/ham/vegetables/stuffing/etc.
a good splash of olive oil
2 tbsp cornflour
1/2 pint chicken stock

– First saute your onion with a pinch of salt in a little oil in a frying pan.  Add whatever leftovers you’re using and stir gently to combine. 
– In a separate small pan add a good splash of oil, at least enough to cover the base of the pan. 
– Gently heat this until it just starts to shimmer a bit then add the corn flour.  Whisk rapidly to combine. 
– Pour in your chicken stock, still whisking and keep stiring until it is a smooth sauce. 
– Pour this sauce into the other pan and stir well to mix. 

To make pie:

– Lightly flour the worksurface and the rolling pin, not the pastry. 
– Turn out the chilled dough onto the worksurface and roll it out in one direction, turning it as you go until it reaches about 3 mm thick. 
– Place your pie dish upsidedown on top of the pastry and cut a line around the dish about 1 cm out to leave room for shrinkage. 
– Cut a second line around this about 1.5 cm thick.
– Fill the pie dish with the filling.
– Moisten the edge of your dish with a finger dipped in water then press the 1.5 cm thick strip round the outside of the dish trimming the length to fit.   
– Moisten this pastry with water again then lay the rest of the pastry over the top using the rolling pin to help lift it across. 
– I fluted the edges of this pie.  It’s very simple.  You basically place the thumb and index finger of one hand on the ‘inside’ of the pie and with the index finger of the other hand press the edge of the crust inwards between the two fingers of the other hand.  Move round the pie and keep going until the whole edge is fluted. 

– With any spare pastry I like to make decorations for the top of the pie.*  I went for a Christmassy snowman and Christmas trees.  Again just dampen any pastry you’re pressing together to make it stick. 
– Once you’re done brush the top of the pie with beaten egg and cook in an oven preheated to gas mark 7 for 40 minutes until the pastry is a golden brown and the contents heated through.  If it starts to look too brown then cover with foil or butter papers** for the remaining cooking time. 

* And any spare spare pastry I stamp out shapes with cutters, brush with beaten egg and sprinkle with grated parmesan to make cheesy biscuits. 

** I keep the butter papers when I’ve used a block for covering things like this.  It saves on foil and is a great little recycling tip!

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Shortcrust Pastry

Today I conquered one of my kitchen fears.  I MADE PASTRY!!!  No, really, I’m that excited about it.  For years I have been incredibly wary about pastry because where my mother and sister have lovely pastry hands, nice and cold, I’ve always had nice warm hands.  As such I had been told that pastry and I would not get on.  Well today I can totally refute that! 

I was making a chicken and mushroom pie for dinner tonight to use up leftover roast chicken but when I went to the fridge to get the shop bought puff pastry I had planned to use it was… well, approaching sentience actually.  There was nothing for it, I was going to have to make pastry. 

I have one cook book that I return to again and again.  The Good Housekeeping Step-by-Step Cook Book.  (Although I think this is the current edition.)  It was one of the first cookbooks I ever got, before I’d ever tried to cook anything other than fairy cakes.  My mum also has a copy and both are now dog eared and spilt on through many years of sterling kitchen service.  It is the first cookbook I reach for when I don’t know how to do something or just want some inspiration, the colour picture index is great for that, and it was this cookbook I reached for this evening when facing the daunting task making my very first pastry. 

I am happy to report that not only is shortcrust pastry easy, it was also quick and, for cooking, pretty low mess too!  The recipe I use for chicken and mushroom pie filling can be found here.  Instead of cooking the chicken breast I just added chunks of roast chicken stripped from Sunday’s roast.  Usually I decorate pies with a representation of what’s in them but I decided that this was going to be the prettiest pie in the world.  Usually savoury pies are seen as manly and butch where as sweet pies are more girly, nope, not this pie.  I decided that hearts and flowers were the only way to go, sorry dad!

Pie!

Makes enough for 1 pie, decorations and a bit leftover*. 

225g plain flour
pinch of salt
50g butter, chilled and diced
50g Trex (white vegetable fat), chilled and diced
3-4 tbsp chilled water

– Mix together the flour and salt.
– Add the butter and Trex and rub into the flour with your fingertips until it looks like breadcrumbs. 
– Add 3 -4 tbsp cold water by sprinkling it evenly over the surface fo the mixture.  (I used 3 tbsp and a bit.)
– Using a flat bladed knife mix it together until it forms a dough. 
– Gather it together with your hands and lightly knead for a few seconds to bring it together. 
– Form the dough into a ball and wrap it in clingfilm.  Place it in the fridge for 30 minutes. 
– Lightly flour the worksurface and the rolling pin, not the pastry. 
– Turn out the dough onto the worksurface and roll it out in one direction, turning it as you go until it reaches about 3 mm thick. 
– Place your pie dish upsidedown on top of the pastry and cut a line around the dish about 1 cm out to leave room for shrinkage. 
– Cut a second line around this about 1.5 cm thick.
– Fill the pie dish with the filling. 
– Moisten the edge of your dish with a finger dipped in water then press the 1.5 cm thick strip round the outside of the dish trimming the length to fit.   
– Moisten this pastry with water again then lay the rest of the pastry over the top using the rolling pin to help lift it across. 
– Shape the edges how you want to, I used a fork pressed round the edge. 
– Add any decorations you want to on the top, moistening them with water to stick them down. 
– Brush with beaten egg or milk. 
– Bake at gas mark 7 for 45 minutes. 

*(I cut out itty bitty flowers from the last of the pastry, dabbed the tops with the spare egg wash and sprinked them with grated hard cheese then baked them for 10 minutes at Gas 6)

Tuck in!

I served this with carrots, brocolli and neep and tattie cake, which I shall post tomorrow.

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