– Hey, will you be a chef again?
– Naah, I don’t think so.
– Why not?
– It’s really hot to be in the kitchen the whole day you know. And I like my design thing now.
– Well, fair enough.
I asked my friend, who used to be a chef for a couple of years, that question and I thought back to my case. Well, he was not the first one to mention that issue about the chef or baker job. People may see all the fancy things about being a chef or a baker magically creating all those yummy marvels, yet they rarely think about the reality of the job. And so did I. Now that I really look into it, I feel reluctance to do one of what I think I want to do. Life has all its extremes co-exist and I think I just need to find the way to balance some of them then I can be considered a successful person. Is it true?
Last night I opened my pastry bible and determined that it’s just the right time to write about my pastry attempt 2 months ago. And moreover, I do need something posh and strange to start my pastry chapter. So here you, chicken pie!
I love pie. The very first I tried and then made was apple pie and till now it’s still among my favourites. The tender sliced baked apples soaked in cinnamon and limejuice, the hot soft crust, the lovely covering net and a little whipped cream topping. Let’s have a cup of tea!
To name the pies I have made myself, there’re only some, most of them filled with fruits, cheese and cream. Yet thanks to my time in Europe last year, I now know a lot more about savoury pastry and that there are many ways to make crust and thousand types of filling. British steak pie, Irish Guinness pie (minced meat, gravy and Guinness beer), steak and ale pie, pork pie are some of those from Britain. Tourtiere is a French Canadian pork pie from Quebec. The excellent beef pastry I tried at Flashback in Bali is iconic in Australia according to Mike. And there are still a lot more versions of meat pie everywhere.
When I opened my book the first time, I knew what I wanted to see, something for my dear friend Anne and her everlasting craving for chicken. “Chicken pie for you missie muah hahaha” I thought. Her love for my chicken pie seems quite honest despite the fact that I have rejected making her the second pie for quite some times. I’m not that kind of petty but seriously till I made it did I know It would take ages to make a pie and the biggest happiness in the world is to be assigned Apple pie. Believe me or not, your frustration will be of the highest level when you finish reading this entry and so will your craving for it *smile*. Give it a try and then you can ban it from you kitchen forever!!!!
There are some types of pastry as I said, such as shortcrust pastries, sweet pastries, brioche dough, pizza dough, filo pastry, etc. Meat pies in general and chicken pies in particular use puff pastries that require a lot of rolling and folding and rolling to create the airy and fluffy quality of the pastries. It’s the king of pastries, raising impressively in the oven, shining brilliantly with eggwash and still retaining its fashionable stature and lightness as it cools. So I will share more about making puff pastries so that the next time I make one, you all know how to deal with the tough part. I made the classic puff pastry. It’s harder than rough puff pastry yet it will rise more.
To make 1.2kg of pastries (I made 400g only for a 15cm pie), you’ll need: 500g plain flour, a pinch of salt, 25ml white wine vinegar (I used Japanese vinegar instead), 200ml ice-cold water, 50g melted butter and 400g very cold butter. Try to used good butter as it would make rolling the pastry easier and the smell is just irresistible.
First, put the flour on a cool work space (ideally marble yet I used a thin and big plastic chopping board to work the dough) and make a well in the middle. Then add salt, vinegar, water and melted butter into the well. Mix the ingredient with your fingertips and work it to dough. Use your palm to push the dough so that it becomes smooth and homogeneous. Wrap with a cling film and refrigerate for 2 hours. At this stage, I suggested you not to add all the water in one shot. Let’s start with 2/3 of the water first, after roughly mixed the ingredient with your fingertips, you add water little by little till using up.
Now the tough part begins. Taking the dough out of the fridge, roll out the ball of pastry on a lightly floured surface. Bash the cold butter with the rolling pin to make it pliable and place in the centre of the pastry. Fold the pastry to enclose it. After flouring the surface again, you can start the joy and sorrow of making pastry by rolling the pastry into a rectangular about 40x70cm then fold the ends over the middle to make 3 layers. Each time doing this we call it a turn. Make a second turn and refrigerate the pastry for an hour to firm up. After that, make 2 turns and return the pastry to the fridge. After that is the last 2 turns and an hour chilling and your pastry is ready to use. If you freeze pastry, as I did, just do 4 turns and then serve the last 2 after taking it out about 1 hour before using.
Yes it sounds easy right? What I faced when I rolled the dough is that at first the butter is a little hard so it’s very difficult to roll out without tearing the dough. And then when it seems just nice, the butter keeps sneak out of the cover. You will find it very messy and irritating at this stage but look, the worst is overrrrrr!
Roll 2/3 of the pastry out and transfer to your baking pan. Use your fingertips to press the pastry gently so that it takes over the pan. Put in the fridge J
Now is the filling: chicken breast, cubed, pork belly, cubed or cut into thin long strips, zucchini, carrot, onion, broccoli, mushroom, diced and deseeded tomato, chicken broth, white wine (opt yet it did make the gravy better than ever), pepper, flour and butter.
Cook the chicken, onion and tomato for a few minutes, pour in wine and simmer gently. After about 15 minutes, sprinkle a tablespoon of flour and add chicken broth and bring to boil. Stirring and cooked for another 20 minutes.
In the meantime, cook the carrot and broccoli in salted water, drain well.
Fry the pork belly with butter, add mushroom and zucchini.
Mix all the savoury together, season with salt and pepper and fill the pie dish. Roll out the remaining 1/3 of the pastry and cover up. Remember to carefully and firmly press to seal the lid and use a chopstick to make a small hole in the middle so that the air can be released :D. Brushthe top of the pie with eggwash.
Bake at 180*C for 30 minutes.
Enjoy your pie.