Pie don’t believe it!

Week 5 of the Great British Bake Off was Pie week! Well, pies and tarts, but it is always my favourite week because I bloody well love pies. Any pie. Cold pies, hot pies, meat pies, veggie pies. If it has pastry and a tasty filling, I’m in there! Given my obsession with the crusty devils it only seemed fitting that I make a pie this week as part of my GBBO inspired posts.

My first idea was to actually make a variation on a pork pie but I just didn’t set aside enough time to make it. I’ll save that for another time so keep your eye on future posts! But if you’re looking for a pork pie recipe, have a nose at my first attempt at one here.

At the request of the husband, he really wanted me to make a chicken pie. Now usually when I make a chicken pie I just shove a pastry lid on the topping, but having seen the resplendent freestanding beauties that the contestants made up last week, I just had to give it a go. a deep filled, creamy chicken pie encased in crispy shortcrust pastry!

Chicken and leek pie

Chicken, leeks and mushrooms, bound together in a mustardy bechamel and then spiked with tarragon and parsley. Tasty stuff indeed but wrapped in pastry takes it to another level. Rich and comforting, just what you need on a lazy Sunday!

If you decide to make a freestanding pie, then do make sure you don’t roll the pastry too thin. You need to to be able to hold in the filling. If you fancy, a hot water crust pastry would work well but I wanted something lighter, so I made a shortcrust but using all lard – as the Latin Americans do with their empanadas. This makes a slightly sturdier pastry that’s really lovely to work with.

Also, don’t feel you have to make a freestanding pie, or make your own pastry, just fill a pie dish and top with pastry.

Give this a bash and let me know what you think.

Chicken, Leek and Mushroom Pie
Serves 4 generously

For the Pastry
300g plain flour
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp baking powder
150g lard, chilled and cubed
75ml ice-cold water
1 beaten egg (for glazing)

For the Filling
A knob of butter
1 leek, sliced into rings
120g mixed mushrooms. I used oyster, chestnut and shiitake
400g cooked chicken, shredded
1 tbsp tarragon, chopped
1 tbsp parsley, chopped
40g butter
40g flour
300g chicken stock
150ml double cream
1 heaped tsp English mustard

First, make the pastry. Pop the flour, salt and baking powder into a bowl and then add the lard. Rub the lard through with your fingertips until it resembles breadcrumbs, then add the water. Mix together and knead until you have a smooth dough. Wrap in cling film and put in the fridge for at least 30 mins.

Then, make the filling. Fry off the leeks and mushrooms in a large pan with the knob of butter until softened. Season lightly and add the herbs then the chicken. Set aside to cool whilst you make the sauce.

Melt the butter in a saucepan then add the flour. Cook off for a minute or two then add the stock. keep stirring until thickened and then add the cream. Take off the heat – you should have a thick creamy sauce. Season and stir through the mustard. Mix into the chicken mixture and leave to one side whilst you roll out the pastry.

Preheat the oven to 200C. Now, I’ll leave this part to you. I rolled mine to line a 20cm cake tin, filled with the pie filling and then topped with a pastry lid. Brush with egg and then bake for 35-40 mins.

Tuck in!

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