Hannah of Rise and Shine was our October 2013 Daring Bakers’ hostess and she challenged us to bake our own double crusted savory pot pies. Using any from-scratch crust and filling we choose, we were allowed to get completely creative with our recipe, showing off the savory flavors and fillings from our own home or region.
Baking with a newborn has added to this month’s challenge –my daytime hours disappear with the cycle of nursing, winding, nappy change, (failed) nap time, and then it’s feeding time again. With anything up to 12 feeds a day (10 is average), I have a baby constantly attached to my breast or asleep on my shoulder. I pass the time typing emails one-handedly on my netbook that is ever so precariously perched on my nursing cushion. I have also become addicted to Ebay as I’ve recently discovered that shopping on the high street with a buggy can be pretty stressful. I have a stack of story books, newspapers and cook books ready to read to baby in a sing-song voice.
So when my husband returns from work, I hand over the baby baton and run into the kitchen for some serious high speed multi-tasking. On Friday I prepared chicken pot pie, lemon & poppy seed cake and apple crumble (and washed up all the utensils), in the space of 90mins – before it was back to bobbing baby up & down.
Meal times for the past 8 weeks have involved a game of pass the parcel with baby – my husband and I take it in turns to hold & entertain her whilst one of us eats. Cold dinners have become the norm. For this month’s challenge I made a chicken & mushroom version of the recipe below. This was the first time I’ve made flaky pastry – it was somewhat easier than making conventional short crust pastry as there was less rubbing involved. However, I reduced the butter content so my pastry was more solid & crispy than flaky, but tasted good nevertheless. I didn’t have time to decorate the top of my pie, I just threw on a few punched out crescent shapes for a very rustic looking finish. The filling was creamy and comforting and oozed out of the pie when sliced. It was a tasty pie, but probably would have tasted better hot.
Chicken Pot Pie Crust: 1 1/2 to 2 hours, including rest time in the fridge
Chicken Pot Pie Filling and Baking: about 1 hour and 15 minutes to fill and
Large and medium mixing bowls
Knife and cutting board
9 ½ inch (24 cm) pie plate, or similar sized baking dish
10 inch (25 cm) cast iron skillet, or similar sized baking dish
Classic Chicken Pot Pie:
Servings: about 8 (one 9 1/2 inch (24 cm) pie)
Flaky Pie Crust:
3 1/2 cups ( 840 ml)(17 ¼ oz)(490 gm) all-purpose (plain) flour
1 tablespoon (15 ml) (½ oz) (13 gm) brown sugar, firmly packed
1 1/2 teaspoons (9 gm) salt
1/2 cup (120 ml) (4 oz) (115 gm) cold shortening (butter flavored), cut into pieces
3/4 cup (180 ml) (6 oz) (170 gm) cold unsalted butter
1 cup (240 ml) ice water
Chicken Pot Pie Filling:
2 tablespoons (30 ml) vegetable oil
2 large carrots, peeled and diced
1 medium onion, diced
1/2 cup celery, diced
1/2 teaspoon (3 gm) salt
4 tablespoons (60 ml) (2 oz) (55 gm) butter, room temperature
1/3 cup (80 ml) (1 ½ oz) (45 gm) flour
2 cups (500 ml) chicken stock
1/2 cup (120 ml) half and half (half milk and half cream)
2 tablespoons (30 ml) white wine, light beer or chicken stock
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3 cups (750 ml) (15 oz) (425 gm) cooked chicken, chopped
1 cup (240 ml) (4½ oz) (125 gm) frozen peas, not thawed
1. Mix flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Drop in shortening and quickly grate butter directly into the bowl using a cheese grater.
2. Using your fingers, a fork or a pastry cutter, work butter and shortening into the flour mixture until it’s broken down into course, chunky crumbs. Stop mixing when the largest crumb is about the size of a pea.
3. Using a fork, quickly stir in very cold ice water. Turn the rough dough and crumbs onto a floured surface.
4. Knead just until dough starts to hold together in a rough mass, up to 10 times. Do not over mix! You will be able to see chunks of butter in the dough and this is a good thing.
5. Divide the dough in half and pat each half into a disk. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour before use. The dough will keep in the fridge for a full day, or you may freeze the dough for up to 3 months (and bring back to a thawed chill before rolling).
6. Preheat the oven to moderately hot 200°C/400°F/gas mark 6.
7. Heat oil in a wide bottomed skillet or sauce pan over medium-high heat. Add carrots and cook for 5 minutes, stirring often. Add onions, celery and salt and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a medium mixing bowl and set aside.
8. Meanwhile, make a thick paste by mixing the butter and flour in a small bowl with a fork.
9. Heat 2 cups (500 ml) chicken stock in the empty skillet over medium-high heat. Drop the butter/flour paste into the stock and whisk vigorously until it come to a simmer. Boil briefly until thick like honey. Whisk in the half and half. Turn off heat, stir in wine, thyme and black pepper.
10. Stir together the cooked vegetables, chicken, peas and sauce.
11. Roll out one half of the chilled dough about 1/4 inch (5 mm) thick using a floured rolling pin on a well-floured surface. Once your round of dough is about ten inches (25 cm) across, dust the top with flour, pick the round up from the counter and dust under the dough again before rolling out completely to about 15 inches (38 cm) across. Hold your pie plate up to the round of dough to ensure it is large enough to fit your pie plate.
12. To set the dough into your pie plate, fold the round of dough in half, then in half again to create a large triangle of dough. Point the tip of triangle of dough into the center of the pie plate and unfold. Be careful not to stretch the dough while you ensure that you have the dough tucked into all corners.
13. Pour the filling into the unbaked pie shell.
14. Roll out the top crust and cover the filling. Trim excess dough and seal the edge crust by folding the top dough layer under the bottom and pinching the dough together with your fingers or pressing with the tines of a fork.
15. Bake in the lower third of your oven until the pastry is golden brown, 45 to 50 minutes. To ensure the bottom is browned, you may choose to prop an electric oven open using the handle of a wooden spoon for the last ten minutes of the baking time. If at any point you fear the top crust is over-browning, cover with foil for the remainder of the baking time. Serve immediately while warm.