Saturday, March 30, 2013

Very Tasty Beef Pie

I'm back from PyCon so it's time for more pie! I was going to make rabbit pie in honor of Easter, but I couldn't source any rabbit, so I made this pie up. I went with the shortcrust case and puff top because I like that combination.

  • 1 brown onion
  • 500g beef, cubed smaller than 1cm
  • 2 rashers rindless bacon cut into small squares
  • 6 button mushrooms cut into small cubes
  • a splash Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 beef stock cube
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • Plain flour
Shortcrust Pastry
  • 225g flour
  • 125g butter cut into small cubes and chilled
  • 3-4 tbsp chilled water
To Construct
  • 1 sheet puff pastry
  • 1 egg, separated, white lightly beaten
  • 20cm pie dish
Zero points for presentation but it was sooo tasty.
  1. Make the shortcrust pastry by placing the flour in a blender, adding the cubed butter and pulsing for 30 seconds; the result should be something like breadcrumbs. If there's large chunks of butter then keep going for a bit. Then set the blender on low speed and add the water one tablespoon at a time. After three or four spoons the dough should start clumping. Continue blending until it clumps into a ball. Remove the dough ball and wrap in plastic to refrigerate for a couple of hours.
  2. Fry the onion in a saucepan that has a good sealing lid until soft. Add the garlic and fry for a minute. Add the beef and cook until browned. Add the sauce, stock cube and enough water to just cover everything. Simmer for 1 hour. Add water if necessary.
  3. Pre-heat oven to 180ºC. Roll out the shortcrust pastry until big enough to cover the pie dish. Place in dish, prick base many times with a fork, cover with paper and pastry weights and blind bake for 15 minutes. Defrost the puff pastry. Remove weights and paper and bake a further 15 minutes. Slowly add some flour to the filling while stirring thoroughly to thicken.
  4. Increase oven to 200ºC. Paint the pie case with egg white and add filling. Cover with puff pastry, ensuring you cover all the existing pastry so it doesn't burn. Crimp around edges with a fork and paint the top with the egg yolk. Bake for 20 minutes until golden brown and puffy on top.
I served this with mash, carrots and peas. It was pretty damned delicious. Next time I might try a shortcrust top instead - I think it'd be quite nice.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Announcing a brief hiatus

Or should I say pie-atus?

I'm off to a conference for the next couple of weeks (PyCon actually, no joke.)

Because I'm a little frazzled before going I made the peach tarte tatin again today. Because it is just so damned yummy.

I went with the fully machine-enabled pastry making this time. Take the usual ingredients and blend the butter into the flour in a blender until it's a little like breadcrumbs (no large chunks left.) I just hold down the pulse button for about 20-30 seconds. Then take your ice water and add a tablespoon at a time to the blender, giving it a good whizz (I used the slowest speed - didn't want it to be worked too much) to mix it in each time. On the third tablespoon the pastry should start chunking up. Keep whizzing until it's a solid ball. Continue to prepare as normal (chill, roll, bake, consume.) Yay, if it's anything like I just made it'll be the best shortcrust pastry ever.

Really. It was that good :-)

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Peach and Blueberry Pie

It's still warm and summery here and I wanted to make up for my family missing out on the peach tarte tatin I made a couple of weekends ago, but I didn't want to make yet another tarte tatin so soon. I'll be making plenty more, don't worry about that.

Then I stumbled on a recipe in a lifestyle magazine that looked pretty darned yummy, so figured I'd give it a go. It doesn't have an attribution; it's just in Real Living March 2013, page 165.

Shortcrust Pasty Ingredients

  • 375g plain flour
  • 230g butter, chilled
  • Pinch of salt
  • ½ cup water, chilled
Filling Ingredients
  • 8 peaches
  • 250g blueberries
  • ⅓ cup brown sugar
  • ⅓ cup white sugar
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • 3 tbsp cornflour
  • 2 tbsp milk
  1. Make pastry using whatever method. Chill for 2 hours.
  2. Score bottom of peaches with little crosses. Boil in water for 3 minutes and then place into iced water to cool them down. Once cool the skins should peel off.
  3. Slice the peeled peaches around the stone and place in large bowl. Add the blueberries, sugars, lemon juice, cinnamon, nutmeg and cornflour and mix to combine.
  4. Roll out half the pastry to form the base and place in pie dish, trimming excess.
  5. Place the fruit filling into the pie. The pastry base should come up slightly higher than the filling.
  6. Roll out the rest of the pastry and cut into 2cm strips. Make a lattice and place over the pie, trimming excess. Fold the edges of the base pastry over the lattice. Brush top with milk and sprinkle with a little white sugar.
  7. Bake pie for 20 minutes at 220ºC and then a further 40 minutes at 180ºC when the pic should be golden and the filling bubbling.
Now, I should say right here that the pie was pretty nice as I made it, however the peaches weren't cooked, the base wasn't baked and the liquid was still very runny.

Here's how I think it went wrong:
  1. The peaches weren't ripe enough. This caused two problems: firstly they didn't peel using the method above. I had to use a peeler in the end after much boiling/cooling frustration. Secondly even after baking the peach didn't soften at all.
    I used the peaches in their not-fully-ripe state in this recipe because the peaches I'd used in the tarte tatin were basically in the same state, so I figured it would be OK. I know otherwise now.
  2. There was way too much filling; ⅔ of the fruit filling would have sufficed. I ended up over-filling the pie and that probably contributed to the undercooking of the peach and the liquid not setting. Don't over-fill the pie. Follow the recipe.
  3. There's no blind-baking step. The first 220ºC is supposed to bake the crust, but I would blind bake next time.
Oh, and I didn't trim the pastry on purpose because I kinda like the rustic look ;-)