Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Hot Water Crust Pastry

I had no idea what this was until I saw it on The Great British Bake Off. I've eaten it plenty of times in the UK but never realized that it is made with a mix of hot water, lard, and butter. I had to give it a try and conveniently the eldest gave me a cookbook from the show (The Winter Kitchen). Since this is using UK measurements you might find some of the amounts a little wacky. I suggest using a scale. You have to make the filling first and let it cool.

Chicken Filling (Adapted from My Brain)

1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, cut into small cubes
2 celery stalks, cut into small cubes
2T butter
olive oil
2 clove garlic, minced
1 t dried thyme
1lb chicken thighs, boneless, skinless, cut into small pieces
2-3 medium potatoes, cut into small cubes
3T flour
1 c white wine
2 c chicken stock

In a dutch oven, add onion, carrot, celery, butter, 1T olive oil and salt. Saute until softened and starting to brown. Add garlic and thyme and cook until fragrant. Add chicken thighs. Saute until the chicken is almost cooked through. Add potatoes. Add 3T flour and stir in until absorbed. Add 1 c white wine. Cook some of the wine off but not all of it. Add chicken stock and cook until thickened. It should not look too liquidy. Let cool and refrigerate. You can also use left over chicken (shredded) and add it in at the end).

Hot-Water Crust Pastry (Adapted from the Great British Bake Off Winter Kitchen)
3.5 oz butter, cut into pieces
3.5 oz Crisco
7 oz water
17 oz flour
1 t salt
1 t confectioner's sugar
2 eggs, beaten (1 to brush pastry top)

Put butter, Crisco, and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil until butter and Crisco are fully melted.

Meanwhile sift flour, salt, and sugar into a large bowl. Create a well in the center and add 1 egg. Incorporate some of the flour into the egg (like when you make pasta). Cover with flour. Pour the boiling mixture around the edge of the flour and mix until combined. Turn dough out and briefly knead (it is a little hot). You must use this dough immediately or it will become too firm to work with.

Divide dough in half. You can either make individual pies or one large one. Roll dough into a circle and place in pan. Chill uncovered in refrigerator for 40 minutes until hardened. The dough will not be pliable when it comes out so make sure it is in the right position. Leave remaining dough at room temperature.
It is surprisingly firm

Fill the pie with the filling and roll remaining dough into a round. Cover and crimp sides. Cut vents in lid. Brush with beaten egg.
Bake at 400 for 40 minutes. Let sit 5 minutes before cutting.

In the UK they remove the pies from the forms - I was not brave enough to do this. It is a really sturdy dough and you probably could but I was a scaredy-cat. I was tempted to use my little ramekins but thought they might be too finicky for the first try. Besides I only have 4. This would probably fill about 6 1cup ramekins.  They usually use metal tins but I can't see why ramekins wouldn't work. I think I will be abandoning all other crusts for savory pies - this crust is just too easy to use.

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