This week the Great British Bake Off was all about pastry. It’s not something I bake all the time, but I’m less afraid of it than I once was (after I’d had a bit of a disastrous apple pie with sweet pastry that just went everywhere!), so I like the opportunity to practice and prove to myself that I can in fact do it!
One of the challenges on the GBBO this week involved puff pastry. Now proper puff pastry takes a long time to make – as Paul Hollywood himself emphasised, it needs a lot of time to get it right. But there is a quick, cheat’s method that gives puffy pastry (even if not as superior a puff as the real McCoy) in much more manageable time frames. So this is what I decided to do for dinner on Sunday night. For once I didn’t choose a sweet bake (I know, shocking), because we had some lovely veg that I thought would work well in a nice hearty pie, and when I mentioned to Tom that I was thinking of making a ‘hearty pie’, he said ‘Oh yes, I like anything hearty, do something hearty, yes please’. Still veggie, of course, so maybe not hearty as some avid carnivores might think of the word, but nonetheless tasty and perfect for an Autumn evening.
Here’s the recipe, including how to make the rough puff pastry, which I roughly followed from Delia, just played around with quantities and added pepper.
- 200g unsalted butter
- 450g plain flour
- black pepper
- cold water
- half a suede
- about a quarter of a white cabbage
- 1 onion
- 4 button mushrooms
- 1 tin kidney beans
- 1 tin chopped tomatoes
- 400ml hot stock
- 2 tbsp cornflour
- few drops of tabasco
- olive oil
- Put the flour into a large bowl and grind quite a bit of black pepper into it (depending on your taste).
- Cut the butter into chunks and toss into the flour and pepper mix, just coating them with the flour.
- Pour the cold water, a little at a time, into the flour and butter and use your hands to bring it together into a dough. Don’t work it too much, just enough to bring it together.
- Shape it into a brick on a floured board, then roll it out into a rectangle that is almost twice as long as it is wide.
- Then fold it into thirds, bringing the left outside edge into the centre and then the same with the right, so that they overlap, and press down with the rolling pin so that the layers stick.
- Rest it for a few minutes, probably a good time to chop the veg, then roll the pastry (which should be back in a brick shape) into a rectangle again, followed by the folding into thirds like you did before.
- Leave it to rest again, and then do the same rolling and folding as before. After this third roll and fold, place in cling film in the fridge until you’re ready to use it for the pie lid later.
- To make the filling, chop the veg into chunks (as fine or as chunky as you like, though cooking times will vary according to size of chunk), and heat some olive oil in a large saucepan.
- Brown the onion, suede, cabbage and mushrooms in the saucepan for about 5-10 minutes, then add the chopped tomatoes, kidney beans, hot stock and cornflour.
- Bring to a simmer and cook for about another 10 minutes until thickened.
- Add some tabasco to taste.
- Leave in the pan until you’re ready to assemble the pie.
- About 40 mins before you want to eat, transfer the filling to a large rectangular oven dish and spread around evenly.
- Take the pastry out of the fridge and roll out to just the right size to cover the filling, and press it down onto the filling gently.
- Prick the pastry lid with a fork several times to allow any steam to escape when baking.
- Bake in a hot oven 220 C (fan) for 30-40 minutes until the pastry is nicely browned and puffy.
- Serve immediately.
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