Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Revolutionary Pot Pies

There have been whispers of cupcakes taking over the world but it seems they wont do so without a fight. Ann and Karyn have declared war on cupcakes with the Mini Pie Revolution. These ladies are serious. They have written a manifesto and are storming the barricades. Each month they hold an event where bloggers make mini pies and yell ‘Vive La Revolution!’ (If you check the banner picture on the website, you might be forgiven for thinking these mini pies are then used in place of cannon balls to be shot at the cupcake makers!)

I have wanted to join in but me and pastry don’t get on very well. Scrunching pastry in a ball is more my scene than rolling it out. I don’t think I have one proper pastry recipe on my blog. You would think I have never made pastry before. I have and I will again but it really is not my thing.

This month the mini pie ladies have called for mini pot pies. I felt inspired to try a Farmhouse Pie recipe that my housemate Will used to make. I have tried it before and failed miserably. In fact, I have even written on the recipe to suggest that I make the filling and serving it with a baked sheet of puff pastry! But I felt that if I did it in a ramekin with just a top then it just might work. I went to the freezer and found my packet of puff pastry had sat there so long it had gone off! I really am not a pastry person.

I bought more puff pastry, I made the pies, and then I re-read the guidelines. It said that these pies were to be made from scratch. They want me to make my own pastry? Too late for that. It is just like reading the recipe properly after I have made dinner (which I have been known to do – and to prove it I just realised I forgot to add the stock powder to the water when making these pies - oops).

I hope Ann and Karyn will appreciate my efforts and realise it is a big step for me to even make a proper pastry pie and will accept my humble pie to encourage me to make better (if not bigger) pies.

E and I really enjoyed our pies anyway. The weather has suddenly gone so cool that we turned the heater on tonight. Perfect for pies. This is a creamy pie that Will adapted from a Farmhouse Chicken Pie recipe. The tempeh tastes great in it but 'Farmhouse Tempeh Pie' doesn’t have the same ring to it. Have you ever been to a farm and seeing little tempehs running in the yard? The ramekins made doing the pastry so much easier and I had fun with some heart-shaped cutters that I bought in Darwin last month.

Serving them in ramekins meant that it was like being in a pub in Scotland where you get a pie or lasagne cooked in a little dish on a plate with chips and vegies. I couldn’t resist doing chips and vegies for a laugh. It suited me, as I am trying to clear some of the lurkers from my freezer (the chips were hiding in the back with the pastry!). But to eat it, we scraped the pies from the ramekins as I have never understood how you are meant to eat from a little dish with a knife and fork. But when faced with pastry, E’s love of tomato sauce makes sense. And despite my aversion to cooking with pastry, I can easily understand why pies have long been good hearty winter fare.

Will’s Mini Farmhouse Pies
Serves 4

1 tsp oil, or more
1½ cup (225g) tempeh
60g butter or margarine
125g fresh field mushrooms, sliced
2 tbsp plain flour
½ cup vegie stock
¼ cup cream
¼ cup dry white wine
salt and pepper
½ cup sliced red capsicum
1 cup frozen peas
1 tbsp parmesan cheese or some tasty cheese (optional)
1 tbsp parsley, finely chopped (optional)
1-2 sheets of puff pastry (depending on how much decoration you desire)
beaten egg for glaze

Heat oil in a large frypan and fry tempeh til starting to brown. Set tempeh aside.

While the tempeh is frying, place a ramekin upside down on a square of pastry and use a small sharp knife to trace a circle around the ramekin. Repeat so that you have 4 circles of pastry that will be the pastry lids for the pies. Preheat oven to 210 C.

Melt butter in the large frypan and fry mushrooms for a few minutes til butter is absorbed and the mushrooms are starting to release their juices. Sprinkle with flour and stir for 2-3 minutes over low heat. Add liquids and stir until mixture boils and thickens. Stir in tempeh, capsicum, peas, cheese and parsley. Remove from heat.

Spoon filling into 4 ramekins. I didn’t grease these and the filling didn’t quite reach the top. Place a circle of pastry on top of the filling in each ramekin. Use leftover pastry (or a second sheet) to decorate the pies. Make a hole in the centre of the pastry for the hot air to escape. Brush pastry with beaten egg. (I brushed it and then added pastry decorations and then brushed it again).

Bake in hot oven for 15-20 minutes (the recipe is a bit odd – it says to bake at 205 C for 15 minutes and then at 175 C for 25-20, but I found that 20 minutes at 210 C was enough) until the pastry is golden brown.

On the stereo:
Early Morning Hush: Various Artists


  1. Johanna I love the ramekin size for the pot pie! Just perfect. Yours looks yummy.

  2. Those are so cute!! They sound delicious.

  3. Anything with the addition of peas has my attention. They are my favorite veggie! And your little pies looks so delicious!!! I love pot pies. They are always the perfect size for me! Never any leftovers! Great photos of your lovely pies!

  4. I think your pies look great! I love that they're in little ramekins.

  5. All sounds great to me! And anyway - life's too short to make pastry all the time... ;)

  6. thanks MKiHC - I think ramekins will make pies a more happy experience for me!

    thanks Romana - they tasted even better on the second night

    thanks Deb - I love peas in anything too - they are such comfort food

    thanks Ashley - I think I need to use my ramekins more for baking

    thanks forkful - I agree about life being too short for pastry making - especially puff pastry - once in home ec was enough!

  7. No matter that you didn't make your own pastry. These sound fantastic. I quite enjoying using ramekins and am always on the lookout for new ideas.

  8. These pot pies look fabulous and with a side of fries and broccoli - yummy! :)
    I've been wanting to try making pot pies at home.. hopefully soon.

  9. The pies look just scrumptious!

  10. Mini pot pies with hearts? Now, those really are made with love. :)

  11. its hard to think you are not good with pastry Johanna! that pot pie looks perfectly done!

  12. These are adorable (and delicious I'm sure)! I always prefer individual servings to "family style".

  13. Love individual pies- this looks great! and ta for cake tips!

  14. thanks Lisa - I have admired some of your ramekin recipes and will be interested to get some ideas for how to use them more from you

    thanks Laavanya - I enjoyed it with the chips and broccoli - enjoy making your pot pies

    thanks Lore

    thanks Susan - I think I was inspired by the mini pie revolution slogan last round with small tarts have big hearts which amused me

    thanks Mansi - I enjoy eating the pastry when I bake it but have had too many difficulties not to be wary about the preparation

    thanks LisaRene - I think individual servings are definitely the way to go with these pot pies - no sagging pastry in the middle of the pie :-)

    thanks Pixie - I am much more comfortable baking cakes than pies, so am happy to give advice on cakes!

  15. These are just the cutest things. . .love the heart shapes! I think the tempeh would be a perfect chicken replacement here.

  16. thanks Ricki - tempeh is good because it is robust enough to replace chicken - Will sometimes did it with tofu and it didn't seem to give the oomph needed!

  17. I really like how you carved the heart shapes in your pie dough. It adds a nice touch.
    I'm here visiting via Mrs. W.'s Kitchen and I'm also glad you posted about the mini pie revolution. I'll be headed over there too.

  18. thanks Joy - I actually cut out two different sized hearts and put the smaller one on the larger one (and then had to pierce them in the middle when I saw that I need to make a hole for the hot air to escape!)


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