Tag Archives: pie

Duck and Cherry Pie

The ‘ménage a trois’ that is duck, port and cherries is truly a harmonious one! The rich, tender, dark duck meat combined with the sweetness of the fruit is simply delicious and the thyme-infused pastry is light and crisp – a fabulous Autumnal or Winter supper treat that will bring cheer to the table, whatever the weather is throwing at you. Dive in!

Serves 6

What you need…

1 x 1.6 litre pie dish, lightly buttered

6 duck legs

600ml boiling water from the kettle

1½ chicken stock pots (I use Knorr)

25g butter

1 large onion, peeled and roughly chopped

1 carrot, peeled and roughly chunked

1 celery stick, roughly sliced

3 tablespoons plain flour

200ml port

1 bay leaf

6 thyme sprigs, leaves picked

400g tin cherries in light syrup, drained

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1 happy egg, beaten (to glaze pastry lid)

for the pastry

400g plain flour, plus extra for dusting

200g unsalted butter, chilled and cubed

1 happy egg

2 tablespoons cold water

1 tablespoon thyme leaves

What to do…

Preheat your oven to 180°c / 350° / gas 4.

Put the duck legs on a wire rack in a roasting tray. Roast for 1½ hours. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, make the delish filling. First, make your stock by combining the boiling water with the stockpot using a balloon whisk to easily dissolve.

In your food processor, finely chop the onion, carrot and celery.

In a large frying pan, melt the butter and gently cook the onion, carrot and celery, covered, for about 15 minutes, until soft.

Remove the lid, increase the heat to high, tip in the flour and cook for 1 minute, stirring like mad. Pour in the port and stock and chuck in the herbs. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 30 minutes to reduce.

Take off the heat, stir in the cherries and balsamic vinegar and set aside to cool.

When the duck is cool, remove the skin and roughly break up the meat. Wipe out your food processor bowl with kitchen roll to make sure there are no raw vegetable remnants clinging to the sides and then fit the blade and chop the duck so it’s quite fine but still in distinguishable pieces. I did this in three batches. Stir the duck into the sauce. Allow to cool for 30 minutes. Alternatively, if you’re preparing ahead, stick the filling in the fridge until you’re ready to assemble the pie – overnight works really well.

To make the pastry, pulse the flour and butter in your clean food processor until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.

Use a small balloon whisk to beat together the egg and water and then tip into the processor with the thyme leaves. Pulse again until the pastry comes together. Tip out onto a lightly floured surface and shape into a disc. Wrap in cling film and pop into the fridge for 30 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 220°c / 425°f / gas 7 and pop in a baking sheet.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out two-thirds of the pastry and line your pie dish, leaving the excess overhanging.

Roll out the remaining pastry and cut into 1 cm strips long enough to cover the pie dish.

Brush the pie rim with beaten egg. Tip in the filling.

Lay the pastry strips across the filling in a lattice pattern, gently pressing them on the pie rim to stick. Trim the excess pastry from the edge of the pie and brush egg over the pastry lattice to glaze.

Pop into the oven onto the baking sheet for 20 minutes and then reduce the heat to 200°c / 400°f / gas 6 for a further 25 minutes until golden brown and piping hot. Dive in and enjoy this lovely pie!

Inspired by…

Good Housekeeping magazine

How easy…

Really easy and you can go off and do other things whilst the filling is going through its various cooking stages. The pastry topping takes a little time and you have to concentrate – look at mine: I was Skyping Maddie at the time and the latticework isn’t quite what it should be!!!!! I love the fact that you can prepare the filling the day before so if you’ve got friends coming around, you have very little to do for this splendid supper on the evening when you’re socialising.

Apple and Blackberry Pie

Historically, I have made my apple and blackberry pies by rolling out ready-made pastry and chucking into the pie dish chopped raw Bramley apples with blackberries, sprinkling with sugar, topping with pastry and whopping in the oven: we all thought these were fine. So, when I saw this recipe, I did think it involved a lot of faffing about, but… the difference is phenomenal! The pie is so very, very delicious: sweet, scrumptious apple given an extra depth of flavour and warmth by the addition of cinnamon and ginger and the lovely Autumnal blackberries with the cheeky little zing of the orange zest – a wonderful combination that brings in one mouthful everything that is wonderful about this lovely season! Give it a go!

Serves 6 – 8 (if you’re conservative with your portion sizes!)

What you need…

1 x 23cm loose-bottomed tart tin, lightly buttered and lined on the bottom with parchment paper or Bake O Glide

1 x baking sheet

750g short crust pastry (ready-made or home-made – see recipe for Lemon Tart, already blogged: you will need double the quantity)

3 Bramley apples, peeled, cored and roughly chopped

150g golden caster sugar plus extra for sprinkling

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground ginger

50g unsalted butter

Pinch salt

200g blackberries

Zest from ¼ large orange

1 egg, lightly beaten

What to do…

Roll half the pastry to the thickness of a pound coin and line the base of your tart tin, trimming the pastry so that there is a little overhanging. Prick the base, line with parchment paper and fill with baking beans. Pop in the fridge for 1 hour.

Meanwhile, put the apples, sugar, spices, butter and salt in a saucepan over a low heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Raise the heat to moderate and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the apples are soft. Remove from the heat, tip in the blackberries and orange zest. Stir gently to evenly incorporate and set aside to cool.

Preheat your oven to 180°c / 350°f / gas 4. Put the tart tin on the baking sheet and pop in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove the parchment and baking beans and bake for a further 10 minutes. Brush the inside of the case with beaten egg and return to the oven for 2 minutes. Cool briefly and then, using a serrated knife, trim the overhanging pastry.

Roll out the remaining pastry again to a pound coin thickness and then cut into strips – mine were just over 1 cm wide. Brush the rim of the pastry case with beaten egg and then, using a slotted spoon, (we don’t want any soggy bottoms) add the fruit to the case. Use the strips to make a lattice topping, trimming the edges level with the pie case. Brush the lattice topping generously with beaten egg and then sprinkle with sugar.

Bake for 45 minutes.

Remove, sprinkle with a little more sugar and then cool for at least 15 minutes. Remove from the tin and serve with double cream (if you’re John) or as it comes (if you’re me). Taste the very best flavours of Autumn – yum, yum, yum!

Tip…

For illustrations on easily creating a lattice topping for your pie, see my blogged Chicken, Mushroom and Leek Lattice Pie, inspired by our national treasure, Mary Berry.

Inspired by…

My Waitrose magazine

How easy…

It’s not difficult but there is quite a lot of faffing around so you do need the time available but hey, it’s worth it!

Higgidy Party Pie

 

Stuffed with duck, pork, apricots and garden herbs, this is so much more than just a hot water-crust pork pie! Created for celebrations (the original recipe has three pies, stacked to create a wedding pie) this is so gorgeous, it’s worth having a party for in its own right! Luscious, unbelievably tasty on the inside with fabulous crisp pastry on the outside, this pie has totally converted a woman who simply didn’t eat pies, to one whose flicking through the Higgidy cookbook looking for the next one to do! It’s gorgeous; if you’re feeding a crowd, make this the centrepiece!

Serves 12 – 16

What you need…

1 x 20cm spring form cake tin, 10cm deep

300ml water

250g lard

1 teaspoon salt

750g plain flour, plus a little for dusting

1 egg, plus a further 1 for glazing

for the filling

500g pork shoulder, cut into 1cm cubes

400g sausage meat

150g streaky bacon rashers, cut into 5mm strips

1 small bunch thyme, leaves stripped

1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

2 tablespoons redcurrant jelly

1 egg, beaten

50g fresh breadcrumbs

2 duck breasts, skin removed and meat cut into 5mm strips

200g semi-dried apricots

Sea salt and black pepper

What to do…

To make the pastry, pour the water into a large saucepan, add the lard and salt and slowly bring to a gentle simmer over a moderate heat. Don’t allow it to boil.

Once the lard has melted, remove from the heat and tip in all the flour. Using an electric handheld whisk, beat the mixture to form a glossy paste. Add the egg and whisk until evenly incorporated. Tip out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for a couple of minutes until smooth.

Cut away one third of the dough and lightly roll it into a circle, slightly larger than the cake tin – this will be your lid – cover with cling film and pop into the fridge whilst you do the rest of the pie.

Shape the remaining dough into a rough circle and place in the middle of your tin. Gently work it over the base and up the sides of the tin with your fingers until just peeping over the top. Pop it in the fridge for 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 190˚c / 375˚f / gas 5.

Put the pork, sausage meat, bacon, thyme, nutmeg, redcurrant jelly, beaten egg and 1 teaspoon salt into a food processor and whizz until evenly combined.

Sprinkle the breadcrumbs into the bottom of pastry case and then put half of the pork mixture on top. Next, add a layer of duck. Season and then add a layer of apricots. Finally, top with the remaining pork mixture.

Brush the top edges of the pie case with beaten egg and place the pastry lid on top. Crimp the edges to seal. Make a 1cm hole in the centre of the pie to allow the steam to escape and decorate your pie, if you fancy.

Bake in the oven for 30 minutes and then reduce the temperature to 160˚c / 310°f/ gas 3 and bake for a further 1½ hours or until the pastry has turned a deep golden brown. Take the pie out and allow it to cool for 15 minutes before removing it from the tin.

It’s so impressive to serve and that first slice draws ‘oooooohs and aaaaahs’ of delight. Then they taste it – yum!

Tip…

This fabulous celebration of a pie can be kept in the fridge for up to 5 days so it can be made in advance of any entertaining.

Inspired by…

Camilla Stephens, Higgidy

How easy…

I was daunted when I first looked at recipe but in fact, this kind of pastry is really easy to make and the filling is just a case of a bit of prep and then assembly. And it’s soooooo worth it!!!!

 

 

 

Chicken, Mushroom and Leek Lattice Pie

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

200ml water

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.

pastry a w Pastry b w pastry c w

 

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!

Tip…

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.

Inspired by…

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.

How easy…

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.