The sheer alchemy of applying heat to ingredients never ceases to amaze me. Take apples for example. Raw apples are tart and bright and crisp and loud. Cooked apples are soft and slow and quiet. You could secretly eat cooked apples without anyone knowing. Raw apples are too shouty for that. READ MORE
I know at this time of year people are firmly divided into two camps. There are those who do partake in mincemeat and those who jolly well don’t. They react to it in an Arthur Miller style protestation of there being witchcraft at play. READ MORE
Now I made a similar pie to this on This Morning and it was easy, oh so easy. You just stirred it on the hob, covered it in raw sliced potatoes, covered it and left it in the oven until your stomach couldn’t stand waiting any longer. It was a week night pie that everyone likes. My 9 month old son especially loved it and started to jump in his high chair when faced with a plate of lamby potatoey pea based goodness.
But I know you lot. I know that although you like fuss free recipes, you’re also the types to like a bit more of a challenge. I know you do buy puff pastry, but also reserve the right to make your own pie coverings when the mood takes you. So this is the weekend version of the one I made on This Morning. The lamb is stewed that little bit longer for depth of flavour. The pie lid isn’t potato, it’s flaky homemade rough puff. The stuff I made on the Bake Off that made Paul Hollywood say something vaguely positive about one of my bakes. I urge you to make it. Go on…
I made this pie using the Kenwood Chef Sense which is available here. The full video of the recipe is below and can also be viewed here, plus some top tips on getting really crisp pastry without a soggy bottom in sight here.
Place the butter (apart from 50g of it) and lard into the freezer an hour before you start making the pastry.
Preheat the oven to 160C/gas mark 3. To make the pie filling toss the lamb in the flour, black pepper and salt. Heat the oil in a pan on a medium heat and fry the lamb in 3 batches to brown, being careful not to overcrowd the pan. Remove from the pan and add to a casserole dish with a fitted lid.
Dice the onion using the Kenwood and fry in the remaining oil until just starting to soften, about 2 minutes. Add the stock, mint, thyme and nutmeg and allow to simmer for 2 minutes before pouring into the casserole dish. Add the lid and oven bake for 2 hours, stirring every 20 minutes or so.
Put your flour into the mixer bowl and add the 50g of room temperature butter , using the K beater, mix the butter into the flour for a couple of minutes until you have a breadcrumb consistency. Remove the frozen butter and lard from the fridge and grate it using the grating attachment into the floury butter mixture. Using the K beater mix again until all the strands of frozen butter and lard are coated in flour – this should only take a few turns. Next add the vinegar and the water very slowly with the K beater at the lowest setting. Just as the pastry comes together into clumps stop.
Flour your work surface well and pull the pastry together with your hands forming a square flat shape. Then flour the top of it and roll into a long rectangle about 4mm thick. Mentally divide the pastry into thirds, then fold the right side over to meet the first third and the left side over to do the same so you have a piece of pastry with three layers. Wrap in clingfilm and chill for 30 minutes. Repeat this step three more times using flour each time, then chill for an hour before rolling to use on the pie.
When the lamb is tender and the sauce has reduced down remove from the oven and add the frozen peas. Stir and leave to cool. Place into a 22cm pie dish (metal preferably) at least 3cm high and chill the pie dish complete with filling.
Roll the pastry out to about 2mm thick onto a well floured work surface and then cut a circle about 2cm larger than the pie dish. Use any off cuts to cut into strips to stick to the pie rim with egg wash. Then egg wash these strips and attach the pie lid to the top of the pie. Cut a cross in the middle for steam to escape and egg wash the top of the pie. Then bake in a preheated oven at 200C/gas mark 7 for about 50 minutes until the pastry is golden brown, puffed up and the pie filling is piping hot.
I have to admit to not having made puff pastry since I practised for the Bake Off. Does that make me lazy? No. Just busy. It actually doesn’t take that much hands on time but you have to stay in and remember to re-fold the pastry and of course squash the butter pack. If you want to know how to do it I wrote a very verbose explanation here. If you want a short cut with layer upon layer of all buttery puffy pastry then read on.
NB: You need some of your butter frozen for this recipe so have a read and prepare ahead if you are planning on making this.)
Put your flour into the mixer bowl and add 50g of the butter then place the rest of the butter in the freezer. Wait for an hour or two allowing the butter in the flour to come to room temperature and the rest of the butter to freeze solid.
Using the flat beater (Kitchenaid) mix the butter into the flour for a couple of minutes until you have a breadcrumb consistency. Remove the frozen butter from the fridge and grate it (yes!) into the floury butter mixture. Using the flat beater mix again until all the strands of frozen butter are coated in flour – this should only take a few turns. Next add the vinegar and the water very slowly with the flat beater at the lowest setting. Just as the pastry comes together into clumps stop! You don’t want too much water in the pastry as it makes it less buttery in texture.
Flour your work surface well and pull the pastry together with your hands forming a square flat shape. Then flour the top of it and roll into a long rectange about 4mm thick. Fold one third of the pastry over like this:
Brush off any excess flour and then fold the other side over like this:
Then wrap the pastry in clingfilm and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Remove and roll out into a long rectangle again like this:
Can you see how I have turned the pastry so that the open ‘ends’ of the pastry are now lengthways rather than at the top and bottom as they were in the previous picture? Then you need to repeat the folding process again:
I then folded the other side over as before, wrapped it and chilled for 30 minutes. I repeated this step twice more, but you can get away with only doing it once more. And there you have it; a beautiful block of home made rough puff pastry with lots of layers. If you’re tempted to try and speed the process up please, please don’t as pastry has to relax between rolling. In fact I would suggest letting this pastry sit for a good hour after the last folding before using.
You can of course use this for whatever you fancy – I decided to make sausage rolls, so rolled to a thickness of 2mm and filled with chorizo and chilli flake spiked, well seasoned sausage meat. I used egg wash (egg with a little salt added to break down the strands in the egg) to seal the sides and also to paint the top, then sprinkled with sesame seeds. Baked at 200C/gas mark 6 for 25 minutes until really well puffed up and golden.
Whatever you use the rough puff pastry for please always bake in a very hot oven and don’t leave the pastry sitting about to come to room temperature. You need the cold pastry to meet the hot oven to get those layers going. And don’t open the oven during baking either!
Any scraps left over? Don’t roll them up into a ball or you lose all the layers, instead layer them on top of each other, roll flat and use to make little pinwheels rolled with pesto/chutney/marmite/nutella or jam. Delicious.
I’m a mum of 3 boys, a cookbook writer and also a finalist on the 2011 Great British Bake Off.
I’ve decided to record the recipes I use, partly to save them somewhere and partly in case someone else might like to use them...
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