With Christmas well and truly over, presents tidied neatly away and the tree starting to look a little shabby, Fanny Cradock moves swiftly onto making pies, naturally. They are simply a must for the New Year, and super for using up any old bits and bobs of scraps that happen to be left lying around after the festivities. Of course, for Fanny that means rabbits, lamb kidneys and pigeons. Things are a little different in my kitchen though, so it's chestnuts, cranberries and some spring onions for me. Not sure what Fanny would think. Fanny whizzes all her various animal parts up into a wonderful raised pie crust, so I'm sure I can too...
Fanny makes her hot water crust 'paste' with self-raising flour of course, milk, water and pure lard. She calls it English Raised Pie Paste. She gives an alternative fancier French Raised Pie Paste (Pâté à Foncer) which replaces the lard with butter, however she warns very strongly that under NO circumstances should a lard replacement be used if making the English version. She probably wouldn't approve of my vegetable fat based lard substitute Trex in that case. For probably read definitely.
Fanny mixes the water with the milk, and melts the 'lard' gently in it until it reaches boiling point. It's then flung into the sifted flour and beaten vigorously until it comes together into a smooth, thick paste. Fanny then kneads it until it is even smoother. The English version is kneaded on a wooden board, while the French demands a marble one. Not sure what the Veggie version should be, so I just use the counter. Either way it should be used immediately otherwise it will become hard and cold, just like Fanny herself, some bolder than I might suggest. Keeping it warm is key, in contrast to other pastry which must be kept cool. Fanny rolls her out on top of the cooker while the oven is on.
Fanny fills her pies with pâté and hard boiled eggs. I try to recreate the pâté by blitzing up the chestnuts, spring onions and cranberries before mixing in a perfectly ordinary egg. Fanny makes a large raised pie, but I have a lovely 'individual' baking tray thingy so I line them out with the still warm hot water paste, pop in some pâté, place half a boiled egg in the centre, pack round more pâté and seal on a lid of pastry with a little brush of milk. Obviously with a little leaf fashioned out of pastry scraps on top too. Above all garnish and presentation.
Fanny bakes her pie in a low oven for a long time, until it looks crisp and brown. My little individual ones take around 45 minutes before coming out, cooling slightly and then being unmoulded. Fanny leaves hers until the next day in the refrigerator all ready to serve to unwelcome guests popping round uninvited between festivities. The finished pies are lovely, the hot water crust is so crisp and tasty, easy to make and I am sure versatile. Many pies to come. After all, not a rabbit, pigeon or lambs liver in sight. Merry Crustmas one and all.
Wishing you a belated, still festive Merry Christmas.ReplyDelete
This is a fab recipe and one my dear hubbie would love as he likes vegetarian Scotch eggs and her combined in a pie - how awesome. Please pretty please can you tell me where you got your little tins from as I'd like to put it on my wishlist for the future.
And a Happy New Year you too x.
Glad you like them! I got the tin at Lakeland, it's by silverwood I think - they do a big one or this one that you can divide up into one, two, three or six! Happy New Year when it comes...Delete
Thank you. I saw the big ones, but had not seen the smaller ones. Will have to look out for them the next time I go into Cardiff. Take care.ReplyDelete
Happy hunting! I think I'll be making lots of pies...Delete
get you with your pie moulds!ReplyDelete
They look fantastic :-)
I enjoy reading the Lakeland catalogue. Isn't that tragic...
Happy New Year! x
I know! Thanks, i often read catalogues too, so we are tragic together!Delete
I feel less tragic knowing that I am in such good company.ReplyDelete
The catalogues of my 70's youth were MINDBLOWING. NOthing current comes close. We used to play "bagsie" - choosing shag rugs, plastic modular furniture & psychadelic bri nylon clothing for our future lives.
I never made the connection before, but I'm guessing that is why my home is something of an homage. Crikey!
They were *way* better! My home is turning more and more like one each day!Delete
These do look wonderful! Perfect for those pesky unwanted house guests ;)ReplyDelete
Hope you had a wonderful Christmas :) x
I most certainly did, thankfully no pesky unwelcome guests turned up!Delete
Oh my, these look amazing! I have been itching to try a hot water crust pie for ages (sounds a bit like bake choux pastry without the eggs to me) and this has given me the inspiration. Just need to find the right mould ...ReplyDelete
It's a lovely pastry to handle, you'll love it! I considered using a small high sided cake tin at one point, but the mini pie moulds are fun! Hope you find something suitable...Delete
I love your pie mould dish! Very jealous! I attempted a hot water crust and hand molded with success! These little pies look fab!ReplyDelete
These moulds are great, must make more wee pies soon!Delete