Easy As PiePosted: March 29, 2010
I’m chuckling to myself as I’m typing because I’m about to type out another post that begins with, “When I was young, my mother…” and I had just spoken to my mother tonight and she heard from my brother’s fiancee that I talk about her a lot on here. My mother’s completely computer illiterate so she won’t be reading this anytime soon unless someone shoves a laptop in front of her, but bless her because she knows what a blog (ugh does this word still get to others the way it gets to me?) is. Or pretends to whenever I use that word; although I cringe inwardly.
So tonight she grilled me, “I heard that you talk about me on your blog and that your food doesn’t measure up to mine. What dish did you make? Fish cutlets? Did you steam your fish? Mash the potatoes? Add scallions? The egg? Well what’s wrong, then?! Did it at least look like mine? Well, that’s all that matters, really.” Oh, mum, I love you!
When I had hatched out this idea to make chicken pie at the start of my grocery-shopping-week, I also decided that I would make my own dough. This decision was met with exclamations of surprise and awe from my friends which confuses me a little because it has never seemed like a difficult task to me. My mother is responsible for this logic for she always made her own doughs for everything ever since I was a child. I still consider her my Pastry Goddess and call her with pastry concerns. I’m a Cake Person and it is one place that I’m so comfortable in that I will willingly tweak recipes for experiments, but I am a little weak when it comes to pastries. My mother, on the other hand, has tackled a variety of pastries since my childhood. My birthday party menus consisted of her Chicken Pie (puff pastry from scratch), Mini Pizzas (pizza bread dough from scratch), Danish Pastries (danish pastry also from scratch) and an ice cream birthday cake. I’d always watched her in action rolling out the dough and she’d narrate her actions as I observed. All her tips I’ve absorbed into my subconscious despite my only toe-deep forage into the slightly intimidating world of pastry.
I’ve never thought of home-made pastries as difficult work or cumbersome, but I’ve always thought of them to be more fragile than cakes, hence my intimidation. Unfortunately I’ve foolishly forgotten to get a copy of my mum’s puff pastry recipe off her before I left but I decided to try my hand at the Pie Dough on the Ratio application. I had my fingers and toes crossed that it’d turn out all right and to my sheer delight and Jacey’s pleasure, it turned out perfect. It was flaky, buttery, slightly fluffy and just delicious.
The filling was my mother’s tried and tested recipe that I grew up on although I’ve tweaked it to my liking now. I omit the celery and coriander and add rosemary instead. I prefer rosemary to coriander any day although I don’t have that weird gene that makes coriander taste like soap!
I made the dough as instructed, chilled it, rolled it out to fit this cake tin (I don’t own a pie dish – it makes me a little sad to admit this), punched a few holes into the base with a fork, brushed on the egg wash and blind baked it. I read somewhere that you have to eggwash the base of all pies to build up a barrier so the wet fillings won’t permeate the pastry and make it soggy and you know what? Theory proven!! Unfortunately I didn’t have any baking beads or rice on hand so the pastry did shrink downwards a little but after I spooned the filling in and layered the rounds of pastry on top, it wasn’t noticeable at all.
I’m not good with making pastry look pretty so this circles on top was a rather ingenious idea, if I say so myself. If I’d been left with just another massive circle on top, it would’ve looked like a dog-bitten, lopsided Frisbee. Seriously.
The texture and taste of the pie dough really blew me away. It was ridiculously easy too. Butter, flour and water. That’s it. I liked it so much that I ended up peeling some circles off the top of the pie to munch on.
Fortunately for me, I still have enough filling to make another pie and this pie dough recipe was so easy that I’ll just whip it up whenever I’m in the mood for it. Who says making pie dough from scratch is hard?
Ps. I highly recommend the Ratio application if you have an iPhone or an iPod Touch. It won’t fail you! I’d explain what it is but don’t be lazy, just click on the link.