According to data from Tesco, we are a nation of pie lovers, with only 9% of UK adults claiming not to like them.
However, our love for the dish has soared since lockdown began in March 2020, with one in five of us cooking one from scratch for the very first time last year.
Britain’s favourite type of pie is an apple pie, although overall, the nation prefers savoury pies.
Here, we have a sweet and savoury pie for you to make at home, while Tesco executive chef Jamie Robinson shares with us his top tips on making the perfect pastry pie.
Keep it cool
This seems to often surprise people, but a cold environment is actually the perfect setting to make pastry from scratch. Keeping your pastry cool will ensure it is more malleable and easy to shape.
If you find the pastry is still not the right texture – add a drop of water, which should do the trick.
Spice it up
For an added punch, why not jazz up your pastry with some additional herbs and spices?
I like to add extra seasoning directly to the pastry as it improves the taste and brings additional flavours to your end dish. You can even add in some grated cheese to mix it up – this will make your pie even more delicious and add a softer texture.
Give it a rest
Before rolling out your pastry you have to make sure you leave it to rest.
This will stop it from shrinking back when you line your mould and will ensure your pie receives 5/5 for its delicious appearance.
Mind the gap
When adding the filling to your pie, always ensure you leave a little gap at the top (about 1-2cm), this will allow a little space if the pastry should shrink back, without splitting it, and also ensure you get a super, crispy-topped pie.
All about the crimp
To “crimp” your pie, roll out the pastry over the top of it, ensuring the top is slightly larger than that of your pastry dish.
Once your pie is covered, push down gently on the edges to seal it before picking up the pie and cutting away any excess from the rim of the dish – always be conservative and be careful not to cut away too much though as your pastry will shrink slightly when cooked.
To make a scalloped crimp, use your index finger to push down on the edge, then “crimp” it either side using your opposite thumb and index finger, and repeat this around the full rim of the pie.
Alternatively, simply use a fork to make indentations around the edge of the pie by gentry pressing down on the edge of the pastry with the prongs – only press the surface though and make sure you don’t cut through the pastry.
An egg-cellent finish
Always give your pastry an egg wash before you crimp the edges.
Egg wash is a simple mixture of beaten egg and milk, which is brushed on to most baked pastries (before baking), as it adds shine and colour.
It also helps seal up the edges which helps your pie contain the ingredients.
If you really want the perfect golden bake, you could even consider egg washing twice – once before crimping and once afterwards.
Recipes courtesy of Tesco.
Creamy chicken, chorizo and spinach pie
- 300g pack chicken breast fillets
- 280ml milk
- 100ml whipping cream
- 450g frozen spinach
- 8 slices of chorizo, roughly chopped
- 3 sage leaves, finely chopped
- 375g ready rolled lighter puff pastry
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 450g frozen green beans, for serving
- Pre-heat the oven to 200°C/180°C Fan/400°F/Gas Mark 6.
- Add the chicken to a saucepan along with the milk, cream and 100ml water.
- Cover and simmer for 20 mins or until the chicken is cooked through. Remove the chicken with a slotted spoon, slice into bite-sized pieces and return to the pan.
- Place the spinach in a colander in the sink. Pour over boiling water to defrost, then squeeze out the excess water with the back of a spoon.
- Add the spinach to the chicken, along with the chorizo, sage and some seasoning. Stir to combine.
- Unroll the puff pastry and cut a 5mm-wide strip to go around the edge of a pie dish.
- Wet the rim of the dish with water and press down the pastry strip. Spoon in the chicken mixture and brush the pastry rim with egg wash.
- Place the remaining pastry over the top and press to secure the edges. Trim the excess, then use the back of a fork to crimp the edges together.
- Brush all over with the egg and bake for 30 mins until the pastry is risen and golden.
- Serve with green beans.
Lemon meringue pie
- Plain flour, for rolling out
- 1 x 375g pack sweet shortcrust pastry
- 50g cornflour
- 175g golden caster sugar
- 3 lemons, zested and juiced (you will need 100ml juice)
- 275ml milk
- 80g unsalted butter, diced
- 3 large egg yolks
- 1 large egg
- For the meringue:
- 3 large egg whites
- 150g golden caster sugar
- 1 tsp cornflour
- Pre-heat the oven to 200°C/180°C Fan/400°F/Gas Mark 6.
- Dust a work surface with flour, then roll the pastry out large enough to line a 20cm loose-bottomed tart tin.
- Leave the excess pastry overhanging and prick the base with a fork. Chill for 20 mins until firm.
- Put the tin on to a baking sheet, line the pastry with non-stick baking paper and baking beans, then bake for 15 mins. Remove the beans and paper then bake for a further 15 mins or until golden.
- When cool, trim the edges with a serrated knife.
- For the filling, combine the cornflour, sugar, lemon zest and juice in a saucepan and whisk until smooth.
- Add the milk, then cook over a low heat, whisking all the time, until the mixture thickens and boils. (It may look lumpy at first but keep whisking and it will come together.)
- Remove from the heat, then whisk in the butter, followed by the yolks and the whole egg. Set aside.
- For the meringue, put the egg whites into a large, clean bowl and mix with an electric hand-whisk until stiff peaks form.
- Add the sugar a third at a time, bringing back to stiff peaks after each addition, until thick and shiny. Whisk in the cornflour until combined.
- Meanwhile, bring the lemon filling back to the boil and stir until thickened, then pour it into the pastry case and level the surface.
- Spoon on the meringue, starting at the edge and working it into the middle. Use a palette knife to make a smooth join with the pastry edge, then swirl the top.
- Bake for 20 mins until golden. Allow to cool in the tin for at least 1 hour, then turn out and serve warm or cold.
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