Chicken and Mushroom Pie
Friday May 04th 2012, 11:22
Filed under: Pie
Pie is an occasional weekend treat in my house; mainly because I prefer to make my own pastry and that makes it perfect for a weekend when there is time. I prefer to make and eat savoury pies so the rare occasions I have time that is what I tend to make. Last weekend was unseasonably wet and windy and I holed up at home on Saturday evening to make pie; we had chicken and mushrooms so that became the pie. You can make the pastry ahead and freeze it but I am never that organized plus I like the whole process of making it from scratch at the time. You can buy pre-made pastry, which reduces the amount of work required. Pick one made with butter as it tastes better.
I make the pie filling first so that it has time to cook and cool before starting on the pastry. This pie was made for two greedy people but you can easily scale up the filling to make it for more. This amount of pastry easily covers a large pie dish and would work well for smaller pies if you prefer individual pies. If you need to increase the amount of pastry keep the proportions the same and it will work.
250g chicken (breast or thigh) – chopped into 2cm cubes
125g fresh mushrooms sliced (whatever you prefer or have to hand)
20g dried wild mushrooms
250 ml boiling water
Small onion finely chopped
1 tsp Dijon mustard
125g plain flour
125g chilled diced butter
50 ml iced water
1 egg mixed with 1tbsp milk
The dried wild mushrooms give this a good depth of flavour so I keep the seasoning very simple.
1. Add dried mushrooms to jug and add 250 ml of boiling water. Soak for at least 20 minutes.
2. Drain mushrooms and reserve soaking liquid as stock for pie filling.
3. Chop wild mushrooms finely.
4. Warm the olive oil in a pan add onion and soften.
5. Add the chopped chicken and colour surface.
6. Add the sliced fresh mushrooms and mix through.
7. Cook the mixture for 5 minutes.
8. Add wild mushrooms and soaking liquid and stir through.
9. Add mustard, stir through and season to taste.
10. Bring to simmer and cook until chicken is tender.
11. Allow to cool.
The pastry is a basic rough puff pastry. You can replace it with premade/frozen puff pastry if you wish. Pick one made with butter as it tastes better. I start the pastry off while the filling is cooking.
1. Make a well in flour.
2. Add butter and salt to flour.
3. Work butter and salt into flour gradually using fingertips,
4. When flour is grainy add iced water slowly to form a dough you may not need all of it. Do not overwork dough.
5. Roll into ball, wrap in cling film and put in the fridge for 20 minutes.
6. Flour work surface.
7. Roll out pastry into 20 x 40 cm rectangle.
8. Fold the two sides into middle and give it a quarter turn.
9. Roll out again and fold as before.
10. Wrap in cling film and put in fridge for 30 minutes.
11. Repeat the rolling and folding process another 2 times. Making a total of four turns.
12. Wrap in cling film and return to the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
You can make individual ones but I prefer one big pie. Adapt the process below accordingly if you want to make individual pies.
1. Add cool pie filling to pie dish, season to taste and then refrigerate for 30 minutes.
2. Roll out pastry on a lightly floured surface until it is larger than pie dish and about 3mm thick.
3. Brush edge of pie dish with egg wash and cover with pastry. Tuck pastry in around filling and then press against edge of dish to form a seal.
4. Cut off excess pastry with scissors or a sharp knife and brush top of pie with egg wash.
5. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.
6. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
7. You can use excess pastry to decorate pie; rollout to 1.5 mm if you want to do this. Cut leaves or crescents with a sharp knife. Arrange around edge of pie. Brush with remaining egg wash.
8. Use a sharp knife to cut a small hole in centre of pie.
9. Bake for 30 minutes.
Serve with green vegetables or salad.
Gluten Free Pie? Gluten Free Pie!
Almost two weeks ago my husband and I decided to go gluten-free for a two week trial period, to see if it would relieve some of his issues. It has been an interesting experiment, which I will eventually get around to summarising on my blog. One thing we resolved to do during the two week trial period was to ensure that we did not feel restricted in our eating and our choices. I was most worried about baking. I love baking, and had heard so many nightmarish stories about how gluten free flours just “were not the same”.
When I mentioned our idea of a two-week gluten free experiment on Twitter, Nicola (of North 19) pointed me to the Ideas in Food “What Iif Flour”.
What Iif Flour? Like Ideas in Food, I had read about the C4C gluten free flour substitute in Cooks Illustrated. Thomas Keller’s French Laundry had developed a gluten free flour substitute that *apparently* worked as a true flour substitute – cup for cup, like for like, in texture and taste. Sounds too good to be true?
I must admit I was a skeptic. But with our grand gluten free experiment, I gave it a go. And with permission from Ideas in Flour, I am re-posting their gluten free flour recipe along with my own pie crust recipe and details on how to make an apple pie, and also some thoughts on how I would improve this the second time around. And yes, there will be a second time around. It was that impressive.
The Ideas in Food “What Iif Flour” Recipe
*reproduced with permission and thanks, from Ideas in Food
700 grams cornstarch
450 grams tapioca starch
450 grams white rice flour
200 grams brown rice flour
200 grams non-fat milk powder
20 grams xanthan gum
Put the cornstarch, tapioca starch, white rice flour, brown rice flour, milk powder and xanthan gum into a large bowl and whisk together. Put the blended powders into a blender in small batches and turn the blender on low and increase the speed to high. Use the blender to pulverize the powders and uniformly grind them. After each batch of powder is pulverized put it into a large bowl. This will take 6-8 times if using a large commercial blender. Once the powders are all finely ground stir them together one last time in the bowl and then put the “flour” into zip top bags for storage.
Note: This recipe substitute has non-fat milk powder, so is not for vegans. It does kind of smell dairy too, which is somewhat off-putting. But the milk protein is what I think makes this substitute work in place of gluten.
For the crust:
(for a double crust pie)
2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
6 tbsp unsalted butter
app 8 tbsp iced sparkling water (plain water will do but I use sparkling on the advice of a baking master friend)
In a food processor blend the flour and salt, add the butter, and pulse until the butter is thoroughly cut into flour. Add, tablespoon by tablespoon, the water, until the flour begins to bind. I found using the What Iif Flour that when this happened the dough formed into a pea shaped consistency.
Remove from mixer bowl. Form two equal balls of dough. Flour surface. Roll evenly to form two discs ensuring enough overlap with the pie dish to be able to pinch the ends together.
Note: I found the pie crust more difficult to handle than crust made with wheat flour. It did not want to bind into one continuous crust, and had a tendency to break into smaller pieces, which then I just put together like a puzzle in the pie dish.
Apple Pie Filling
6 tart apples
1 tbsp caster sugar
generous dusting cinammon (I guess this would be 1-2 tbsp if I were to measure)
Peel and core apples. Cut into slices. Toss together with sugar and cinammon.
Note: make sure to use tart cooking applies. Eating apples break down quickly when cooked, and do not taste as “apple-pie-like”.
Pour filling into bottom crust, and cover with top crust. Bake at 180C until apples are noticeably gooey (normally you will see apple syrup peaking through the pie crust). I find this takes approximately 45 minutes.
Note: unlike a wheat-based pie crust, I found the WIF crust to brown very quickly. Keep an eye on this! Once it browns to a level that you are happy with cover the crust with foil. Alternatively, cover with foil until the last 15 minutes of baking, at which point you can remove the foil and brown it (I am much better at watching the beginning of a process than the end so foil covered after the browning had happened).
I was a bit of a skeptic making this pie, especially worried as I was serving it for dessert at a dinner with friends. But I figured that the worse case scenario was that everyone could eat the apple filling and discard the crust if it was inedible.
I was in for a shock. The crust was GOOD.
The consistency is close but a bit more brittle than a wheat-based crust. And I believe that the gluten free flour did not bind as well with the butter. The apple filling seemed to take on a buttery flavour which was not like my usual pie, and not as much to my liking. When making the pie again, I would definitely decrease the butter content (down to about 4tbsp) and increase the water (enough to form that pea consistency when pulsing in the food processor). I realise this will also probably increase the brittleness of the crust, but I prefer that to a buttery filling. Alternatively, I would stick with single crust pies, like sweet potato, or blueberry, and keep the same butter-to-flour proportion as above, hoping that the butter would “sink” rather than “rise” into the fruit. Fingers crossed.