Pie week - kind of exciting really... I make lots of pies and use oodles of different kinds of dough's at home. Question is, how to take them to the next level...
First up is quiches. I like to keep the signature low key - being a true home bake - something we make at home all the time. (And yes I make savoury macarons at least twice a year!) so in keeping with this theory, Porcini and mushroom quiche was a way to go.
Judges walk around and both hint to me to season well as mushrooms love to suck up the salt, Matt is concerned about the porcini over powering the bake (I am not worried about it as I've made it before and know not to go nuts) and they were both worried about over cooking the mushrooms and the water content... no pressure Monica....
Judges comments have a funny way of playing with your head, and it's when things can go wrong. I stick to the amount of porcini in my recipe, added the right amount of salt (If anything a pinch more) but I cook the mushrooms down a little less than usual. This back fires as they felt in the final plate up, they were undercooked and under-seasoned.... BUGGER!! On the plus side, the dough was fabulous, flaky and yummy.
When I got home, I took a slice home to mum, her response? "What are they on about, the salt is fine and the mushrooms have texture..." bless her!
Technical bake - Pistachio frangipane tarts with raspberries, slightly undercooked buy yummy - I can't remember where I came on this one, 6th? 7th? Happy either way! Was a tough one!
And now for my fav part of each week - the Show stopper - this time it's a 3 tier self supporting pie with a theme.
I blame Dan for this crazy idea of a self supporting 3 tier pie idea... I mean seriously Dan... what were you thinking!!! He laughed several times at us and thought it was hilarious.... cheeky bugger!
A quick question to hubby "What's your fav pie that I make?". He replies "That chicken number and I can't ever say no to your apple pie". Ok, I'm now confused, that didn't really help as I was thinking a theme, being the same pie 3 ways. So I call my bestie "Bella, you've had my pies, which is your fav?", her reply? "That chicken one with the sour cream! I still dream of it" a pause and then "And you used to make that spicey apple pie one with that ice cream, can I have one again for Christmas?"
Right, what now? I can't choose between them too. And then I think, why should a choose? It has to have a theme, so I will tailor the theme to my pies to make it work! Brilliant! And the 3 Course meal was devised.
Then I needed an entrée. Had to be light. Easy to eat with a subtle different filling. It also needed to have a different dough as I wanted to show case 3 different options (hence more skill) but also, I needed something pretty as it would be on top. A little googling and a snoop through PIninterest found this great "Giro Sole" (Sunflower) pull apart pastry that an Italian makes with white wine dough. I played around with a few different filling options and came up with the 3 cheese, kale and spinach number that worked really well (The original had pine nuts in it but it gave a not so nice texture that I left them out.
The next challenge was making them big enough to be a showstopper, cooled enough so they could stack and not leak into each other and strong enough to hold each others weight. Test baking at home went really well and with 30 minutes left up my sleeve which meant it should work in the pressure of the shed. I added a few extra details to take it to the show stopper level with little hand painted chickens and drum sticks for the chicken and leek layer and spiced apple cookies for the dessert layer.
Did everything go to plan on the day? Almost perfectly! I remade the leek layer as they were a little stringy but the second batch were perfect and were soft and buttery and looked fab when Matt cut into the pie - with an obvious bed of luscious leeks on top of the chicken pie centre... mouth watering!!
Maggie and Matt came for their usual mid bake walk around. Matt was worried that I had chicken breast in my pie in the pressure cooker, saying they can get dry out - he had a point as the pressure cooker in the shed didn't break them down like mine at home does, so I picked out the breast portions and used only the thigh bits for the pie itself (Lesson? The good old fashioned wog pressure cookers are so much better than these new electric fandangle cookers!). Maggie was really keen to try the wine dough and both were surprised by it. Both were impressed I was attempting 3 very different dough's and techniques in the time frame.
Bake went swimmingly. Judging was great and I finished the day on a high!
A special mention at this point, Olivia's bake was the prettiest pies I have ever seen. The little details were superb - it made me think I need to up my game!
Want the recipes? Find them here:
Love, Monica <3