Friday, August 16, 2013

Savoury Chicken Pie

I have this impulse to try my hand at baking a chicken pie from scratch after trying out the pies at Pies and Coffee. I would say the crust is a little different from those chicken pies I have tried. Most chicken pies have flaky crust like croissants. In my opinion, the crust of the pies from Pies and Coffee is more like the crumbly pineapple tart pastry I used to make. I love the texture. With that in mind, I started to fiddle with the ingredients and proportion for my chicken pie crust.

I looked for the crust recipe from the internet and my baking books. I noticed that the percentage of butter to flour averaged 55-60%. You can choose to add egg yolks to the pastry if you want to. The first batch that I made was with egg yolk and the crust turned out to be a little too crumbly. It was difficult to roll out the dough too without it ever breaking. I guessed I might not have added enough cold water. Not satisfied with the result and with still half of the chicken pie filling left, I made the second batch of dough. This time, I omitted the egg yolk and added a little more ice water. The dough turned out perfect. I can roll it out without breaking. Yeah ... I'm so pleased. 

For the chicken pie filling, I searched the web for recipes that I think will suit my taste. There were so many recipes in the digital world out there and I couldn't decide on one. In the end, I created my own recipe with whatever ingredients I have in my fridge and my "ah-ga ah-ga" (rough estimation) cooking brain. I must say it turned out to be yummy, delicious, ..... My sister even told me that my niece who's not adventurous with unfamiliar food loved it. My hubby said that it was the best pie he has eaten. That's so wonderful. I will make a batch next time and freeze them. I can always heat them up for my family when they are hungry and I'm too lazy too cook dinner.

Short crust pastry ( makes about 6 8cm by 4cm pies)
250g plain flour
1/4 tsp salt
140g unsalted butter, cold
3-4 tbsp ice water
1 egg yolk mixed with 1 tsp cold water for eggwash

  1. Cut the cold butter into about 1cm cube. Leave them in the fridge until ready to use.
  2. Sift the plain flour and salt into a large mixing bowl.
  3. Remove the butter from the fridge and add into the flour mixture above. Using the tines of a fork, mix the butter into the flour. Once almost all the butter are incorporated into the flour, use your finger tips to lightly knead the mixture until it resembles bread crumbs.
  4. Add in 1 tbsp of ice water at a time. Use your hands to knead until the dough just come in together. You can take a small pinch of dough and rub it between your fingers. If it doesn't break, the dough is ready. Otherwise, add a little more ice water.
  5. Divide the dough into 2 portions - the bigger portion for the base and the smaller portion for the top lid. Shape into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and leave them in the fridge for about 1 hour.
  6. Prepare and grease 6 small disposable pie dish, 8cm diameter and 4cm height.
  7. Rest the dough in room temperature for a few minutes after removing from fridge, until it is just soft enough to roll out.
  8. Dust the worktop and rolling pin amply with flour. Roll out the bigger portion of the dough until it is about 3mm thick. Lift and rotate the dough as you roll so that it does not stick to the worktop.
  9. Cut out into circles slightly bigger than the dish, about 10cm diameter. Stretch the dough a little using your fingers and place it over the dish. Tuck them nicely over the base and side of the dish. Refrigerate them for about 30 minutes.
  10. In the mean time, roll out the smaller portion of dough and cut out into 6 circles of about 8cm diameter. Refrigerate them until ready to use.
  11. Remove the pie crusts in step 9 from the fridge. You are going to blind bake them here. Poke the base with the tines of the fork to prevent them from puffing up during baking. Line the base of each dish with parchment paper and baking stones/beads.
  12. Bake at 200 degree celsius pre-heated oven for about 10 minutes. Remove the parchment paper and stones/beads and bake for another 5 minutes. Remove from oven to cool.
  13. Remove the remaining dough for the lids from the fridge.
  14. Fill the pies with the chicken filling to just below the rim. Cover them with the lids. Use your fingers to seal the top lids into the edges of the pie.
  15. Brush the top with eggwash and bake at 200 degree celsius for about 25-30 minutes.

Chicken Pie Filling
250g chicken breast
2-3 slices back bacon, roughly cut into small pieces
4-5 button mushroom, sliced
1/2 onion, chopped
1 small carrot, diced
1 small potato, diced
2 tbsp green peas
2 tbsp corn kernels
1 tbsp plain flour
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup fresh milk
200ml chicken stock
1 tsp chopped thyme leaves
Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Bring a pot of water to the boil. Put the chicken breast in. Lower the flame and cook until chicken is almost cooked. Remove and cut into about 1.5cm cubes. Set aside.
  2. Heat up a frying pan. Add about 1/2 tbsp of cooking oil and pan fry the bacon until slightly crispy. Remove and set aside.
  3. Add another 1/2 - 1 tbsp of cooking oil and fry the chopped onions until soft and transparent.
  4. Add in the plain flour and stir fry continuously until flour is cooked, about 2 minutes. Add a little chicken stock if mixture is too sticky and lumps together.
  5. Add in the mushroom, carrots, potatoes, green peas and corn kernels and stir fry for about 3 minutes.
  6. Add in the chicken, bacon and thyme leaves. Stir fry for another 5 minutes.
  7. Add in the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Add in the cream and milk mixture and bring to a boil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Reduce the fire and simmer until liquid has reduced and thickened.
  9. Remove from heat and let it cool.

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