I would put this under the heading of ‘comfort food’. If you’re in the right mood, making the lattice pastry lid is quite relaxing and the actual pie itself is delicious. Despite the amount of cream in it, it is neither too heavy or rich but just rather cheering on a cold, grey evening.
Serves 4 – 6
What you need…
1 x baking dish, (something like 26 x 18 x 5cms for these quantities of ingredients)
2 x 375g packs ready-rolled puff pastry
Splash olive oil
450g roasted chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 large leek, washed, trimmed and sliced
150g chestnut mushrooms, washed and chunkily sliced
1 chicken stockpot (I use Knorr)
200ml white wine
300ml double cream
1 tablespoon tarragon, leaves torn from the stems and chopped
Sea salt and black pepper
1 egg, beaten
What to do…
To make the pastry topping: unroll both sheets of pastry so that they are lying flat. The ready-rolled puff pastry comes on baking paper so there’s no need to prepare your work surface. Cut each piece into long 3cm-wide ribbons (being a little on the OCD side I did actually use a ruler for this bit to ensure accuracy!) If your baking dish is rectangular like mine, one sheet of pastry needs to be cut long-ways and the other width-ways (see pictures). Weave the pastry ribbons together (again see pictures) until you have a pastry top that is large enough to cover your pie. Make sure there are no gaps in between the ribbons or your sauce will bubble through during cooking (mine did!) Cover with cling film and pop in the fridge to firm up whilst you cook the pie filling.
Preheat the oven to 200°c / 400°f / gas 6.
In a jug, dissolve the stockpot into the water, using a small balloon whisk, creating your chicken stock.
In a large frying pan, heat the olive oil over a moderate heat. Add the leeks and cook for 1 minute. Chuck in the mushrooms and cook for a further minute. Add the stock, wine and double cream. Bring to the boil and reduce the liquid until it thickens slightly.
Add the chicken pieces and tarragon. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Mix together thoroughly.
Once the chicken has warmed through, remove from the heat and spoon the mixture into your baking dish.
Brush the rim of your baking dish with egg and then flip the lid on top, so that the paper it came on is now facing upwards. Remove the paper and then press down over the rim to seal. Trim off the excess pastry with a sharp knife. Brush the pastry lid with egg and then pop your pie in the oven for 30 minutes, until the filling is piping hot and the pastry is gorgeously puffy and golden brown. Serve straight away – a lovely comforting treat and quite delicious!
Your baking dish needs to be full to the brim with the filling otherwise the puff pastry lid will sink into it. Mine did but that said, the puffiness largely covered this mistake once the pie was cooked.
The lattice pastry lid was demonstrated by Mary Berry. The filling was based on but tweaked from a recipe by Shaun Rankin, www.greatbritishchefs.com.
The lattice pastry lid isn’t difficult but takes time, so you have to be in the right mood – if you’re in a mad hurry, this is not a good idea! That said, the rest of the dish is incredibly quick to prepare and then finishes up in the oven, allowing you to tidy up and cook a bit of greenery to go with it.
Also, the necessary roasted chicken was also immediately available to me, being left over from the 2 John cooked for our Sunday Roast.