Sometimes on the way to your dream,

you get lost and find a better one.

Monday, October 21, 2013

not the prettiest pie I ever made

but this was a test run, so that's okay.

I started with this>>>

two frozen serves of chicken hotpot

and some frozen chicken tenderloins.

I cooked the chopped up tenderloins, then stirred in the hotpot and simmered. I was going to add peas, but changed my mind and added sliced mushrooms. What's in the blue pot at the back?

spaghetti sauce of course. A favourite standby. Cook a batch, freeze individual portions, easy quick dinners.

then I started making the pastry and here is where it gets interesting. 
A while ago, I'd heard that pastry made with lard was good pastry. I'd always used butter, but I bought some lard, put it in the fridge and ignored it for months.
I decided to use it for this.

I began rubbing the lard into the flour and noticed it smelled like pig.
Nothing unusual there, lard is rendered pig fat after all.
But if the finished pie smelled or tasted like pig, I was going to be annoyed.

Another thing, even with resting the dough, this pastry didn't roll out as well as a butter pastry, it cracked up and fell apart easily, especially when it came time to lift a sheet onto the pie dish. If you enlarge the image you'll see where I patched it up.

pie with cooked filling

pie with pastry lid.
I brushed on some beaten egg....

and baked it.  200 degrees C until done.

Ta Da!!         golden brown Chicken and Mushroom pie.

Next time I make this I'll be more careful with the pastry.
Make it prettier.

a slice of pie, (the rest is in the freezer, sliced and wrapped)

served with broccoli and cauliflower...

was pretty nice.

There's a couple of things I'll have to tweak to make it perfect, for instance the pastry could use a touch of salt. It was good without, but I think it will be better if I mix a pinch of salt into the flour.

And the mushrooms weren't quite cooked enough. Next time I'll be starting the filling from scratch since I don't have any hotpot left over, so the mushrooms will be stirfried along with the onion and chicken, before adding the rest of the sauce ingredients.

Little things, no major changes needed here. And the pastry didn't smell like pig anymore once it was thoroughly mixed into dough, there was no pig smell during baking or eating. 
Just as well too, I didn't want to have to toss it out as I had no back up dinner planned.
Of course there's always spaghetti....

This pie will definitely get a repeat performance.


  1. The pastry might have been a little dry and that was why it cracked easily. Maybe it needs more lard or liquid. Good on you for making your own pastry. We certainly don't.

  2. My mum made pies like these who cared what they looked like they sure tasted good.

  3. Home made pastry is sooooo worth the additional effort. My mother always used lard. I use butter on the rare occasions I make a pie.

  4. Couldn't look any better, in my opinion. I have a friend who uses only lard and her pie crusts are melt in your mouth yummy.

  5. Couldn't look any better, in my opinion. I have a friend who uses only lard and her pie crusts are melt in your mouth yummy.

  6. River your pie looks so tasty.. I'm glad it was yummy to eat.... Love pastry like this. I don't do pastry or scones... I'm too heave handed apparently, and tey end up too hard....
    Hugs and Blessings
    Barb xxx

  7. Yum yum, it looks just lovely!!! Any tips top revent doughy base please?
    I love homemade pies but stopped making them because the base always turned out doughy.

    Thank you in advance!! :-)

  8. Andrew; you're probably right. I'll try a little extra lard next time. Usually I do a 50% ratio, 10 ounces of flour-5 ounces of lard, or 8-4; 12-6 you get what I mean. Home made pastry is so much better than shop bought.

    Merlesworld; the taste is the most important thing, but visual appeal helps too. For myself I don't care so much, but if I ever take a pie to anyone, I want it to look good.

    Elephant's Child; definitely worth the effort. I've always used butter, but I use it on toast and sandwiches too, so I'm often running out. I think I might stick with lard for pastry now.

    Joanne; this pie crust was a bit like that, very easy to eat.

    Barbara Neubeck; some people just don't have the knack, my mum couldn't make scones or pastry and her pancakes were sturdy enough to sole shoes with. But her roast dinners were heavenly.

    mm; doughy base? Never had one in my life. Perhaps your fillings are too wet? I roll my pastry on a floured table, so some flour always coats the underside, that probably helps, once it is in the pie dish I prick it all over with a fork to prevent it rising before I add the filling. Pastry needs to be cooked quickly in a hot oven so preheat your oven well before the pie is ready to go in. I do mine at 200C. I also prick or cut air holes in the pie lid to let steam out during baking.

    Can anyone else help with suggestions to prevent a doughy base for mm?

  9. This looks so yummy. I love home-made pie, and I think the rough look gives it a real charm. I would never have thought to combine spag sauce with chicken hotpot, but what a great idea. I always forget about making leftovers into pie - I used to do that but it's funny with cooking when you stop doing something for awhile you forget all about it. Thanks for a great dinner idea.

  10. Oh, reading these comments I just learned why my pie bases are always underdone too - I cook them at a lower temperature. Thanks for the tip!

  11. Jackie K; it's the rustic look, very fashionable. The spaghetti sauce is a completely different meal, not combined with the hotpot. When I have a cooking day I generally do two or three different things and fill the freezer. I have meals in there now for about a fortnight. And cake.
    Don't forget to preheat your oven as well, it's more important for things like pastry and cakes than it is for slow cooking things like casseroles. Getting the pie into a hot oven means the pastry base cooks before any filling has time to soak in.

  12. Thank you very River for the tips!.

  13. Well done River, nice effort and it looks lovely on the plate with all those veggies. I think you are brave even making the pastry so I certainly wouldn't judge the odd patch.

    Now if I could just get any sort of cooking mojo happening I might try something like this, but to be honest, hubby is such a good cook I'm sort of spoiled.

  14. Oh, wow. That looks wonderful.


  15. That pie looks delicious. Mum made the best pasty I've ever had and she always used lard as back then, of course, lard wasn't considered unhealthy to use. She used her pastry for steak and kidney pies, jam turnovers, apple pies, jam tarts. You name it she made pies out of her lard pastry.
    I just wish I was game enough to try something like this but my confidence in my cooking has long gone out the window as I just can't stand long enough to do all the things required for anything that takes stirring etc. so these days it's mainly one pot meals (made by himself) or grilled sausages, pork cutlets etc with 5 vegies (cooked in the microwave).
    You are a truly fantastic cook.

  16. mm; you're welcome.

    Kakka; home made pastry is so much better than any other, it's worth the effort. Your hubby is the cook at your house? Hand him the recipe.

    Pearl; it was and is wonderful. It's on the menu for tonight too.

    Mimsie; I plan on using lard from now on. "They" can say it's unhealthy as much as they like, I'm more concerned with all the chemicals and additives in so-called healthy substitutes. I can see winters of pies and pasties in my future, it's so easy to make a large batch and freeze them.