Wednesday, April 22, 2009

It's Pie Time!

Every year about this time, I go into a frenzy of pie-making. Just so there's no misunderstandings, I'm not a great cook and it really doesn't matter because these pies are the easiest things to make and a real crowd pleaser. They can be frozen for up to 3 months, good for school lunches, picnics etc, but especially good to pull from the freezer when you can't face making dinner!
I've penned the recipe below, but I think I originally started with a fabulous Woman's Weekly recipe that has long since disappeared.
You can use just about any favourite combo as the filling - I also make buttered chicken pies and lamb curry ones too. As long as the consistency of your filling has a bit of structural integrity, it's perfect. Enjoy!


800g organic minced beef

1 medium onion, chopped finely

2 cloves of garlic, crushed  

1 carrot, grated

1 tbsp grated ginger

1 can tomatoes, crushed/chopped

1 can tomato soup 

2 celery sticks, chopped

1 tbsp tomato paste or 2 tbsp tomato sauce

1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

1 tbsp Sweet Chilli sauce

12 sheets of frozen puff pastry

12-holed muffin tray (easier if it’s silicon)

Makes 24 muffin size pies

preparation + cooking 3 hours

Cook the mince in oil and place to one side. Put butter in pan and cook onion, garlic, carrots and ginger until mixture is soft. 

Add mince to vegetable mixture and combine. Add a can of crushed tomatoes and a can of tomato soup. Combine and then add tomatoe paste (or sauce), worcestershire sauce and sweet chilli sauce.

Lastly, add celery or whatever other vegetables you’d prefer to the bolagnaise mixture. Allow to simmer gently until the fluid has reduced.

Turn off heat and stand until cool (for an hour or so), turning the mixture occasionally to stop a sauce-crust forming on the top. (If you put hot filling into the pastry cups, the pastry will burst open in the oven.)

When mixture has cooled, retrieve 6 sheets of puff pastry from the freezer (use a knife to separate sheets) and lay flat on a bench to thaw for 5-10 mins. 

Use a 14cm dia (approx) bowl to cut out two of the large circles (per sheet) for the pie bases. Similarly, use a cookie-cutter or glass to cut out the two pie tops from the same sheet. That is, each sheet of puff pastry should be enough for the base + tops of two pies. 

Use a fork to spike holes in the pastry lids. This will stop the pastry puffing up too much. 

Take the large circles and fold the pastry over about 1cm at four equi-distant points. You should have a ‘cup’ that you can slip into the muffin tray. If using a metal tray, coat the muffin holes with butter. 

Add cooled filling into pastry cups, put the lids on and pinch the base pastry to the lids. 

In a small bowl beat one egg and a tablespoon of milk until smooth consistency. Use a pastry brush to cover the top of each pie with the egg mixture. Cook until nicely browned (approx. 20 mins). 

Lay out another 6 sheets of pastry and repeat cutting and cooking to use up other half of cooled meat mixture.

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