Oh. My. Word! This is very exciting for me. Probably less for you guys but put yourself in my shoes for a moment. I’ve never even eaten a hand raised hot water crust pie let alone baked one. Let alone baked one that’s really good. On my first attempt! Okay, enough trumpet blowing, but seriously, I’m so pleased with these.
I’m a bit of a pastry fiend, sweet and savoury, so I’ve always been a bit put out that I can’t (usually) indulge in traditional hand raised pies. They always seem to be meat filled and more often than not the crusts are made with lard. No good for meat averse me.
But it’s not just the light, crisp, buttery crust that’s really good on these. The filling is delicious, warming and hearty but not heavy or stodgy. Yep, I’m marking these down as an all round winner. I can’t wait to try out some more variations of these beauties.
Makes 2 decent sized pies
1 tsp olive oil
1 small red onion
1 medium carrot
1 can butter beans
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp ground cumin
salt, pepper and chili flakes to taste
100g tomato paste
1 tbsp chopped parsley
50g cheese (any full flavour medium fat one you like)
100g plain flour
30g bread flour
50ml boiling water
pinch of salt
1 tsp paprika
Dice the onion and carrot (fairly small) and gently fry them in the oil until they are just starting to colour. Mince the garlic and add that to the pan along with the spices and seasonings. Fry for a couple of minutes before adding the beans. Mix in the tomato paste and cook until it has lost its ‘raw’ taste. Remove from the heat and mix in the parsley and the cheese, which will help to bind everything together. The filling should be quite thick. Leave this to cool whilst you make the pastry. You don’t want to try to fill warm pastry with warm filling, that will get you into all sorts of bother!
To make the hot water crust melt the butter in the boiling water. In a large mixing bowl whisk together the flours, salt and paprika. Lightly beat the egg and set aside a spoonful of it for glazing the pies before baking. Use a butter knife to mix the remaining egg into the flour. Pour in the hot water/butter mixture and combine everything so that you have a very soft pliable dough. It’s okay if you need to sprinkle in a tiny bit more plain flour to absorb any excess stickiness.
Divide the dough into two and then pull about a quarter off each ball. On a lightly floured surface use the tips of your fingers to pat out the larger balls to about 7 inch discs and the small ones to about 5 inches. Cut a couple of slits in the centre of the smaller discs.
Pile half of the filing on to each of the larger discs and place the smaller disc on top. Gently bring up the sides of the pastry and crimp them together with the lid, making sure that everything is well sealed. If you want to you can use a fork to press around the edges too.
If, like me you don’t trust everything to hold together in the oven then wrap and tie some strips of baking parchment around the pies for a bit of structural support. Use a fish slice (dipping it in flour makes this easier) to transfer the pies to a greased baking tray.
Chill the pies in the fridge for at least 20 minutes (they can sit there for longer if you aren’t quite ready to bake them yet). Brush the tops of the pies with some of the remaining beaten egg and then bake them in an oven pre heated to 200°c for 35 minutes, until they are golden brown and the pastry is crisp.
I realise that flicking through the pages of this blog, it might seem that I’m all about the sweet treats. It’s a fair enough assumption, just look at how big the word ‘dessert’ is in that tag cloud on the right. (Mind you, the word booze is pretty big too…) But to be honest I love a savoury treat just as much. Especially if it’s cheesy.
When I’m at home for Christmas we’ll always go for a walk on Christmas day, even if the weather isn’t great, it helps to burn off some of the festive calories. We’ll usually come back from our walk and replenish some of those calories (it’s Christmas, okay!) with a yummy festive snack and I think these would be a really good contender. I don’t know why Stilton seems like a Christmas cheese but it really is. When else would you even consider buying your cheese in a fancy earthenware pot…?
My mum makes amazing cheese scones. They are so good toasted and buttered as an afternoon treat. This is my festive homage to those wonderous baked goodies.
makes about 12 but more or less depending on the size of your cutter.
225g self-raising flour
a pinch of salt and pepper
1/2 tsp mustard powder (optional)
85g blue Stilton
100g (ish) dried cranberries
splash of milk
Pre-heat your oven to 220°c and pop a large baking tray in the oven to heat up.
Sift the flour, mustard powder, salt and pepper into a large mixing bowl so that they are well combined and aerated.
Dice the butter and then lightly rub it into the flour with your fingertips until it resembles breadcrumbs. Crumble the Stilton and add most of it the mixing bowl, keep a little back to sprinkle on top of the scones before baking. Toss in the cranberries and mix it all together.
Lightly beat the egg and use it to bring everything together to form a soft dough. If you need to use a little milk as well then that’s fine.
Pat the dough out on a lightly floured surface, so that it’s about 1″ thick. Use a round cutter to stamp out the scones but be sure not to twist it. Place them on the hot tray (be careful) and brush the tops with a little milk before sprinkling on any Stilton that you kept back. Bake them for 10-15 mins until they have risen and are golden, and then let them cool a little on a wire rack. Serve warm or toasted and spread thickly with butter.
I’ve made a fair few apple pies in my time. They’re one of my preferred vehicles for clotted cream, especially in the colder months. Plus I’m continuing my quest to make pastry as good as my Grandma used to make, one day I’ll get there.
Now she never put booze in her dough but following my success using gin in a tarte au citron during the summer I thought it might be worth slinging some in a pie too. Now here’s the science part. The theory is the alcohol evaporates at a lower temperature than water so subbing it in place of water should make for lighter, crisper pastry.
Don’t worry if you aren’t that keen on the idea of a boozy pie. It doesn’t taste boozy at all, and of course the actual alcohol bakes off (which is kind of the point). It really does just leave you with light crisp pastry. It’s some of my best pastry work, I’m slowly and surely getting closer to my Grandma-goal.
There’s enough pastry here for a standard double crust pie so please don’t feel obliged to spend ages making a fancy cut-out top if that’s not your thing. I just have too much time on my hands some days!
300g plain flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp soft brown sugar
3-4 tbsp brandy
75g soft brown sugar
1 tbsp cornflour
pinch of salt
1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1 tbsp brandy
15g (ish) butter
1 beaten egg and white sugar to finish off
Cut the cold butter into small pieces and gently rub it into the flour with the tips of your fingers, until it resembles bread crumbs. Mix in the salt and sugar with a fork. Use the brandy to bring the mixture together to form a ball of dough. Add the liquid a tablespoon at a time so that you don’t end up adding too much. Flatten the ball a little and wrap it in cling film. Pop it in the fridge to chill and relax for about 30 minutes.
Pre-heat your oven to 220°c and lightly grease a 20cm pie tin.
Peel, core and slice the apples quite thinly. Whisk together the sugar, salt, cornflour and spices in a large mixing bowl and then toss the apple in this. Sprinkle over the brandy.
Take the pastry from the fridge and cut it in two, make one piece slightly larger than the other. Roll the larger piece out so that it’s a few millimeters thick and large enough to line the pie tin. Do this either on a lightly floured surface or on a piece of parchment paper. I prefer to do it this way as it makes it easier to transfer it to the tin later.
Carefully place the rolled pastry into the pie tin and gently push it into the corners. Leave a little over hang at the edge. Tip the apples into the lined tin and spread them out. Dot the surface with butter.
Roll out the remaining dough, again to that it is a few millimeters thick and a little larger than the size of the pie. If you want to do some fancy cut outs on the top of the pie then now is the time to do it. Brush the edge of the pie with a little of the beaten egg and carefully place on the lid. Gently push it down around the edges to seal the pie. Trim and crimp the edge however you like, the easiest thing is just to press down the edges with the tines of a fork. Add any extra pastry embellishments you like (made from any leftover scraps of pastry), using the beaten egg as a glue. Brush the whole pie with beaten egg and sprinkle with a little sugar. Bake the pie for 45 minutes, until the apples are soft and the pastry is golden brown.
Leave to cool for at least 10 minutes before serving so that the juices can thicken. Serve with homemade custard, ice cream or glorious velvety Cornish clotted cream.
This is something that I first tried on a trip to Budapest (I love Budapest!) and at the time I had no idea that they were a traditional treat. We were served them during a really fun wine tasting and, whilst the wine was good, I would have been happy just to have been given a plate of these.
I got this recipe from the Hungarian embassy during this years EU open house event in D.C. If you live in the area you should totally go to this by the way, it’s great fun. Their recipe used quite big quantities though so I’ve scaled it back quite bit and it still works fine.
I’ve baked these in the U.K (with my mum) and here in the U.S, where quark is a bit harder to find (Wholefoods stock it) and also a bit more runny in texture. This made the dough a bit more sticky to work with but both versions tasted as good as the ones I originally tried in Budapest. They’re very buttery and flaky and have a faintly tangy cheesy flavour from the quark.
These need quite a bit of resting time so they take a while I’m afraid, but the results are totally worth it.
makes 18 small scones
170g plain flour
170g butter (not too cold, cut into small cubes)
pinch of salt and black pepper
Combine the flour, yeast, salt and pepper in a large mixing bowl. Add the butter and quark. Lightly beat the egg and add most of that to the bowl, you want to keep back a little for glazing the scones before they bake.
Now get stuck in with your hands and knead everything together so that you have a nice smooth dough. Depending on your quark, this might be a bit sticky, but you don’t need to worry about it too much. Cover the bowl and put it in the fridge for an hour.
After the dough has rested, roll it out onto a well floured surface, it needs to be about 1cm thick. Fold the dough in half and then in half again, so that it is four layers thick. Pat it down a little and then put it back in the mixing bowl and return it to the fridge for another 45 mins-1 hour. Repeat this rolling, folding and resting process again.
Pre-heat the oven to 210°c.
After the final resting period roll and fold the dough a final time and then roll it out so that it’s about 1cm thick. Score the surface of the dough with a hatched pattern, so that it looks like diamonds. Stamp out rounds with a 5cm cutter (don’t twist the cutter) and place them on a lightly greased baking sheet. Brush the tops of them with the reserved beaten egg and sprinkle them with a little pinch of paprika.
Bake the pogacsa for 25 minutes, by which time they should have puffed up into lots of flaky layers and be wonderfully golden brown.
You can let them cool on a rack for a bit but these are at their most delicious when they’re eaten warm.
I wasn’t joking the other week when I said that I needed more choux pastry in my life. If you’ve never tried to make it before I think you’ll be surprised at how easy it is. You don’t even need any fancy equipment to make profiteroles either, just a saucepan, a wooden spoon, a baking sheet and a couple of teaspoons. It’s pretty quick, super easy and will make you feel all sorts of fancy when you show off your patisserie skills.
The filling of these is a super-simple two ingredient Nutella mousse (it’s just whipped cream and yummy Nutella but shhhh…don’t tell anyone.) Despite being so simple it tastes incredible, which let’s be honest, most things made with Nutella do!
I don’t like to serve these with the classic chocolate sauce because I think that it over powers the mousse, and tends to make them a bit too sweet. Just a little chocolate decoration is all that required.
Mr Colonial Cravings was a huge fan of these, I’m pretty sure that if I’d left him alone with them he would have eaten all 16 in one go.
75g plain flour
200ml double cream
chocolate to decorate
Pre-heat the oven to 200°c and line a large baking tray with parchment or a silicone mat.
Put the butter and water in a medium saucepan and bring it to boil. Remove the pan from the heat and tip in all of the flour. Vigorously beat it with a wooden spoon until you end up with a ball of dough that has pulled away from the sides of the pan. Lightly beat the eggs. Add about a third of the egg to the pan and beat it in. Once it has been absorbed add another third and beat it again. After the third and final addition of egg, the dough should become soft, smooth and glossy.
Use a couple of teaspoons to drop blobs of the dough onto the prepared baking tray. If you need to smooth off any edges or pointy bits then just dip your finger in a little water first.
Bake the choux pastry for 30 minutes then turn off the oven and open the door a bit, leave them in the oven for a further 10 minutes to dry out a little.
Once they are done you can transfer them to a wire rack to cool. I would recommend poking a little hole in them, somewhere discreet, to let the steam out and prevent them from becoming soggy. You can use this later when you fill them.
Softly whip the cream for the filling, so that it just holds its shape. Take a big dollop of the cream and mix it into the Nutella to lighten it a bit. Transfer this mixture back into the rest of the cream and whip it again, until it becomes more stiff, but be careful not to over-whip it.
Put the Nutella mousse in a piping bag fitted with a plain tip. Insert the tip into the steam hole that you created in each of the cooled profiteroles and gently squeeze in the filling. Drizzle the top of each one with a little melted chocolate and then pop them in the fridge until you are ready to serve them.
My mums apple trees are very prolific. They produce more apples than they can actually consume. I always like to come up with ways that she can use them to provide a bit more variety to the usual pies and crumbles (not that I would ever turn down a bowl of my mums apple pie or crumble!)
Last year she made my lovely honey apple oat cake (https://colonialcravings.wordpress.com/2014/10/17/apple-honey-oat-cake/) but this year I thought I would suggest these as an ‘anytime’ treat. These are yummy for breakfast, lunch or dessert!
The chunks of apple add great texture and the spices give them a lovely autumnal feel.
I reckon these would make an excellent base for the traditional Cornish delicacy of ‘thunder and lightning’, that’s scones topped with clotted cream and treacle. Because cream teas aren’t just for summer!
makes about 15
500g plain flour
1 tsp bicarbonate or soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp allspice
pinch of salt
1 large eating apple (about 200g before it’s peeled and cored)
250-300ml buttermilk or milk soured with lemon juice
brown sugar to decorate
Pre-heat the oven to 200°c and put a large non-stick baking sheet in there to get nice and hot.
Sift together the flour, raising agents and spices into a large mixing bowl. Use a fork to mix through the salt and sugar and then lightly rub the butter into it with your finger tips.
Peel and core the apple and then cut it into small dice. Toss this through the flour mixture and then make a well in the centre of the bowl. Pour in about a third of the buttermilk/milk and stir it together. Keep adding more milk and mixing until you have a nice soft, but not sticky, dough. You might not need the full 300ml.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gently pat it out until it’s around 1″ thick. Stamp out circles of the dough, being careful not to twist the cutter and re-rolling the dough as necessary until it has all been used.
Take the hot tray out of the oven and arrange the scones on it. Brush the tops of them with a little milk and then sprinkle them with a little brown sugar.
Bake the scones for 20-22 minutes, until they are well risen and nicely browned. Transfer them to a wire rack to cool and eat them with clotted cream or enjoy them whilst they are still a little warm with lashings of butter.