Wednesday, October 17, 2018

With a Little Time and Patience

After yesterday's post on making Puffed Pastry, this post will be a snap.

But you'll need yesterday's recipe before starting this one today, so get started!

Pic TV screen savory pies
Pic of my TV screen - the savory pies
This recipe idea started when I was watching a show called "City Bakes," where Paul Hollywood visits various cities around the world and samples their pastries and breads. In the episode where he visits St. Petersburg, Russia, Paul visits a little pastry shop with an impressive array of abundantly decorated savory pies. These just blew me away. They were so beautiful, they took my breath away. Watching with my sister-in-law, who was manning the remote, I had to ask her to STOP, PAUSE, so I could take pics of the TV screen. I wanted to be able to refer to something, when I attempted to recreate one of these pies. And I absolutely planned to recreate one! 
Free Form Puff Pastry Turkey Pie
Free Form Puff Pastry Turkey Pie

The first part was making a puffed pastry (see yesterday's blog post for that recipe). While the recipe on the TV show did not absolutely specify a puffed pastry, it certainly looked like it had many hallmarks of one. So, my plan was to make a slightly enriched version of a puffed pastry. I made that and got it in the fridge to rest for the night.
Slice of the Pie
Slice of the Pie

What struck me the most about the pies on "City Bakes" was their ornateness. They were so overwhelmingly beautiful. That said, it is in no way necessary to spend time in that much decoration. The pie could easily be made using a good pie pastry, either in the same manner as with this recipe (below) or as a rustic Galette. But, having made a puffed pastry for croissants a few months back, I felt a little more prepared to attempt something like this, in all its ornate glory.

And "glory," it certainly was. In every way, this pie was just stellar. The ornate decorations came out beautifully, over top of the pastry case itself, which was also stellar; the bottom just as nicely browned and as crispy as the top, puffed beautifully and with such an enchantingly lovely golden brown. 

The next part was the filling for this pie. The filling came out just an absolute delight of flavors. I used leftover turkey breast for the filling meat, but in this recipe, chicken - even just a rotisserie chicken from the supermarket - would do. My mixture was inspired, if I do say so myself, because it was all I had hoped for.

I have been trying to get some good greens and other vegetables into our food, things my husband has never been wont to eat in past. Kale, not having huge flavor, per se, is easy to cut into a very fine chiffonade and slip into soups or other foods such as this turkey mixture. A chiffonade is easily accomplished by stacking leaves and rolling them, cigar-like, then slicing across the "cigar" very finely. Basil in chiffonade is lovely over a tomato salad or tomato soup. Kale, while usually found curly, is a little more challenging to roll and slice this way, but it can still be accomplished, and the little "threads" of kale all but disappear in the mix.

Hot Pepper Mustard Relish
Hot Pepper Mustard Relish
Since I have many jars of my Hot Pepper Mustard Relish on my pantry shelf, and since it tastes so wonderfully good, I have been using it in recipes, to marked success. While not noticeable as such, it does lend a great under-note. I know not everyone will have this amazing condiment on their shelves, so I will say that if you are one of those who has not yet had the pleasure of trying this mustard relish, I would substitute about 2 tablespoons of yellow mustard mixed with 4 tablespoons of sweet pickle relish, or even Chow Chow, if you have it. The piquancy of the mustard, along with the sweetness of the pickle relish, should approximate the type of flavors very well. Let me say that if I had no Hot Pepper Mustard Relish at hand, this is what I would use to substitute.

Free-Form Puff Pastry Turkey Pie

Free Form Puff Pastry Turkey Pie
Free Form Puff Pastry Turkey Pie
One 8 x 12-inch pie

1 recipe Puffed Pastry Dough

2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
½ teaspoon salt
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
3 cups finely chopped leftover turkey 
     or chicken
2 hard-boiled eggs, finely chopped
4 ounces Chevre goat cheese, crumbled
2 cups kale in fine chiffonade, no stems
¼ cup minced parsley
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves, 
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon white pepper
⅓ cup Hot Pepper Mustard Relish
1 egg + 1 tablespoon water, 
    for egg wash

The day before, make the Puffed Pastry recipe. You will need about half the recipe, so use the other half of the dough and make some croissants - you won't be sorry. If not making your own Puffed Pastry, simply thaw a box of store-bought puff pastry sheets. 

MAKE THE FILLING:  Heat a skillet over low heat and add in the butter and olive oil. Once butter is melted, add the chopped onion and the first ½-teaspoon salt. Stir to coat the onion pieces and allow the onion to cook, very slowly, stirring occasionally, until beautifully golden brown and caramelized. This can take nearly an hour, depending on how low your burner will go. Add in the garlic and stir for 3 minutes more. 

While onion is caramelizing, place the chopped turkey in a mixing bowl, along with the hard boiled eggs. Add in the onion and garlic, once done, and add in all the remaining ingredients except the egg wash. Stir the mixture to evenly distribute the ingredients. Set aside.
Free Form Puff Pastry Turkey Pie
Free Form Puff Pastry Turkey Pie. Before and after baking.

MAKE THE PIE: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment and set aside. Cut off and roll out about half the Puffed Pastry to fairly thin, about one-sixteenth of an inch. Cut a piece for the base of the pie about 8 x 12-inches. Set this onto the baking sheet lined with parchment. Cut another rectangle, just slightly larger, about 9 x 13-inches. Pour the filling mixture onto the base piece of pastry, pressing into a mound down the middle of the pastry, leaving plenty of edge space clear. Brush the free edges with some of the egg wash. Place the larger rectangle over top of the filling, smoothing the edges to match with the bottom crust and pressing any air out of the center. Press down on the edges to seal them together. Brush the entire top of the crust with egg wash.
Free Form Puff Pastry Turkey Pie
Free Form Puff Pastry Turkey Pie - before baking

Cutting decorative strips
Cutting decorative strips
With any scraps from the pastry, cut out the decorations. For flowers, if you have small flower shaped cutters, use those, or other small shapes, such as leaves, etc. For the jagged edged designs, use oddly shaped bits, up to 8 inches long and up to an inch wide and slice into the sides at about ¼-inch intervals. Set the jagged edged pieces here and there, curling them or just curving them, overlapping them where needed. Set flower pieces wherever desired. Decorate as much or as little as desired. For the edges around the pie, slice inwards at ½- to ¾-inch intervals. With the tip of a knife and a finger, give each "tab" a twist so the top of the tab is now the bottom. This is entirely free-form design. There is no right or wrong way. When satisfied, brush the top with egg wash again.

Bake the pie in the center of the oven for about 30 to 35 minutes, until nicely golden brown. Using a spatula (or two) slide the pie onto a decorative plate or tray to serve.

My passion is to teach people how to create a harmony of flavors with their cooking, and help pass along my love and joy of food, both simple and exotic, plain or fancy. I continue my journey in ethnic and domestic cuisines, trying new things weekly. I would love to hear from you, to help me continue my journey to explore diverse culinary experiences and hopefully to start you on a journey of your own. Join me at A Harmony of Flavors Website, Tumblr, Facebook, and Pinterest.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Getting Familiar with Puffed Pastry

Apparently, Puff Pastry and Croissant Dough are two slightly different things. ๐Ÿ˜ฒ

Who knew?

After watching both of these being made at different times on The Great British Baking Show, it all looked so simple and straightforward. I had to give it a try. One of them, at least. I opted for Croissant Pastry. So, what's the difference?

While both these pastries rely heavily on the proper encasement of the butter rolled and folded multiple times, creating steam to make the pastry rise, Paul Hollywood's recipes indicate that Croissant Pastry uses sugar and a little yeast, while Puff Pastry uses eggs, but no sugar and no yeast, relying on the multiple laaminations of butter, properly folded to create the lovely rise we expect from this type of pastry dough.
Croissants using Paul's Recipe
Croissants using Paul's Recipe

That said, I tried Paul's Croissant Pastry (click on the link for his recipe) as my first attempt. For one, I really wanted to try a homemade all-butter croissant, and for another, I wanted to be pretty sure my efforts would not be wasted, so I used croissant pastry with its little bit of yeast to give the rise a boost, just in case I should not be able to execute all that rolling and folding quite expertly enough. Either dough gains its beautifully puffed layers from properly rolling and folding the butter within the dough. And so, I call my recipe "Puffed Pastry."

A (Very) Young and Intrepid Baker

As of this writing, I am more than halfway through my 68th year of life. I state this to give some perspective. I attempted making a puff pastry a very, very long time ago. When I was in Guatemala, and still in my 20s, I was an intrepid baker. Not everything came out well, for sure. Still, I had no one to say to me that something was a difficult thing to do, or that I should be fearful of outcomes. I had my trusty Joy of Cooking, and armed with that book and its well-explained, instructional recipes, I forged ahead and made things like Choux Paste, with never a thought to anything other than a belief that I could follow directions with the best of them.

When it came to trying out a Puff Pastry recipe, well, I will say it did not have a great outcome. Looking back on that time, I am pretty sure that I would have used margarine in the recipe, and that would certainly be mistake number one! I can still recall to this day how much difficulty I had with the rolling and folding, and most particularly with keeping the margarine encased in the dough. I can still see, in my mind's eye, how it leaked at the edges or worked its way through the dough to spurt out in spots. These are definitely no-no's, when making a puffed pastry. The most important rule, outside of using a really high-quality butter, is to keep that butter well chilled and encased in the pastry at all times. 

Back to Current Day

I attempted to make Paul Hollywood's Croissants back in February of this year. I felt that at this time in my life, I certainly have had a lot more experience under my belt and surely I should be able to make this pastry turn out. I certainly know better than to use margarine! As it happens, it worked wonderfully well. 

Masking Tape and Rolling Pins

I will say up front, getting the pastry rolled into a fairly strict rectangular shape took a whole lot more work than initially anticipated. Lots more. This is of utmost importance, because it makes the folding come out neat and tidy, and getting all those flaky layers later on depends on this neat, tidy rolling and folding, a process called "lamination." What I did was to measure out the size on my countertop using masking tape at the corners of the rectangle sized areas (one for the butter and one for the pastry itself). This gave me the guide I needed; just keep rolling, neatening and tugging until it reached those corners I had marked out. Having those marks on the counter helped immensely.

I had also invested in a good maple wood, straight, 19-inch long rolling pin. I had never used any rolling pin but the one with handles on the ends, given me by my Mom for my Bridal Shower back in 1970. Getting used to a rolling pin without handles was interesting, for sure. The one really good thing was having a pin long enough so I didn't leave marks in the dough, as would have happened with my golden-oldie of a rolling pin. I will not say it would be impossible to make puffed pastry dough without that 19-inch straight rolling pin, but it wouldn't have been quite as neat. Maybe. I think. 

My Pastry, Second Time Around๐Ÿ˜š

My Croissant Pastry and Rolling Pin
My Croissant Pastry and Rolling Pin
When I opted to try out Paul's Croissant dough, I did so because I really wanted to try making croissants first. I had never had, outside of buying some at a local "patisserie," croissants made with butter. I had rolled some Pepperidge Farms Puff Pastry into croissant shapes, and used that commercial puff pastry dough for innumerable applications. But that being the ONLY puff pastry available where I live, and it being made with shortening or some such, while delicious, I wanted to know what the "real thing" might be like. 

I will say it right now. THERE IS NO COMPARISON. The butter makes such a huge difference in flavor, it's hard to credit. 

I used a couple of Paul's suggestions for making filled croissants, half of them using bacon and cheese and half using almond paste. Both of these were excellent. Would I use fillings again? Maybe. Not sure. They tasted most wonderful. But, I think in the end, I am just a purist. I would have preferred to have just the croissant to eat.

That said, Paul's recipe called for a fair amount of sugar in the dough itself. I wondered about that at the time, but just went with his recipe. The time for experimentation would likely come, but not at my first attempt. As it turned out, I felt that the croissants were just too sweet. I had never eaten a croissant whose pastry was sweet on its own. I cannot say I have such widespread experience of croissants to say that they should not be sweet like these, but to me (and me with a serious sweet tooth, mind), they were just too sweet. Duly noted, for next time.

I haven't yet gotten around to trying Paul's Puff Pastry recipe. But, in the meantime, my sister-in-law and I were watching Paul Hollywood in "City Bakes." In the episode where he is in St. Petersburg, Russia, he goes to a little pastry shop where they have an amazing assortment of savory pies, made free-form with a puffed-pastry of some kind and with a most amazing amount of decoration on them. They were stunning. I took a series of photos of the TV screen, just to have a reference, when I tried.

And, of course, I just had to try it out! ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

As it happened, I had just made a roasted turkey breast, and we had lots of leftovers. Obviously, this would be a Turkey Pie. What else would go in was yet to be determined. 

But First, the Pastry

Now that I had an application, I had to sit myself down and determine what I wanted to do for the pastry. I definitely wanted a puffed pastry of some kind and not just a yeast dough. The elaborate decorations used on top of the pies in City Bakes would not be possible with just any yeast dough. I thought about making Paul's Puff Pastry recipe, but then got cold feet when thinking about how this would rely solely on the proper rolling and folding of the butter. I felt I would rather add a little yeast, just to be safe. I wanted the dough to be beautifully golden yellow, so I wanted eggs in the dough. And sugar? I opted to use a just a little; just enough to give it great flavor, but not enough to make it taste sweet.

My version came out spectacularly well. I used most of the pastry in the creation of the Turkey Pie, what with top and bottom crust and all the decorations. Whatever pastry was left was only bits and scraps, which I carefully piled atop one another and rolled out again, though this will never be as puffed as the first time around. Still, I cut some haphazard croissant shapes from this dough and while they came out all sorts of sizes and odd shapes, they were truly delicious, just what I wanted as a croissant in flavor, and they still puffed beautifully. No complaints.  

I have no beautiful photos of the whole process, but truly, it is a matter of following directions, nothing more. I used grams to weigh my ingredients. I feel it is important to use ingredients by weight, making it so much more fool-proof. And ultimately, working as quickly as possible to keep the dough and butter cold is of the utmost importance.

Puffed Pastry Dough

Makes 12 very large croissants, or use pastry for other applications

500 grams bread flour (about 3¾ cups)
10 grams salt (about 2 teaspoons)
40 grams superfine sugar (about 3 tablespoons)
10 grams instant yeast (about 3 teaspoons)
2 cold eggs plus enough cold water to equal 300 ml., total (10 ounces, total)
300 grams fine quality European butter (about 2½ sticks)

Place the bread flour, salt, sugar and yeast into a mixer bowl. Stir to distribute the ingredients evenly. Whisk together the cold eggs with cold water and pour into the dry ingredients. Mix to bring the dough together, then knead for about 6 minutes, either by machine or by hand, as preferred. Place the dough in a bowl, covered, and refrigerate for 1 hour.

On a counter or other surface, measure out two rectangles, using masking tape at the corners to mark the measurements. One rectangle will be the measurement for the butter; 40 x 19 cm (15¾ x 7½-inches). Another rectangle will be for rolling the dough; 60 x 20 cm (24 x 8-inches).

While the dough is in the fridge, get out the cold butter. Use 2 pieces of plastic wrap or two pieces of parchment, large enough to accommodate the measurement of the butter. Place the butter between the plastic wrap or parchment. Bash the butter with your rolling pin to begin flattening it out, then gently press and roll it to fit that smaller measurement of 40 x 19 centimeters. Keep the edges as straight as possible. This may require some work, tidying the edges as the butter is rolled. Keep it to an even thickness. Leave the butter in between the plastic of parchment, figure 2, set it onto a baking sheet and place the sheet into the fridge to chill.

Once the hour has elapsed on the dough, remove from the fridge, lightly flour the surface you will be working on and quickly shape the dough into a long rectangle, figure 1. Roll the dough, straightening and tidying the sides and corners as needed, until it reaches 60 x 20 centimeters. Take the sheet with the chilled butter rectangle out of the fridge, figure 2, remove the paper or plastic from one side and flip the butter over onto one end of the dough rectangle, figure 3, where it should fit neatly almost to the edges of the top ⅔ of the dough. Remove the remaining parchment or plastic film from the top of the butter. Fold the exposed edge of dough up over half the butter, figure 3. With a knife, trim the butter, just above where the dough has been folded over, being extremely careful not to cut through the dough beneath, figure 4.
Rolling and folding cold butter into chilled dough
Lamination Sequence: Rolling and folding cold butter into chilled dough
Lift the free square of butter from the top of the dough and place it atop the lower fold of dough, neatening the edges, figure 5. Now, lift the remaining top flap of the dough and fold it down over the newly placed butter square, figure 6. The result is now a tidy square, figure 7. Figure 8 shows how the layers should look from the edges. Very carefully, press the edges of the dough to completely seal in the butter. Make a small indent in the dough with one finger to mark that this was the first roll and fold sequence. Wrap the dough in plastic film or place into a zip-top bag and into the fridge for 1 hour.
Second and subsequent turns
Second and subsequent turns

After the hour has elapsed, remove the dough from the fridge to the lightly floured surface, figure 9. Set the dough on the surface at a 90-degree angle from the last roll and fold, figure 10, so that the tri-folded edge is towards you, figure 11. Roll the dough again to a 60 x 20 cm (24 x 8-inch) rectangle, figure 12, then bring the bottom of the long rectangle up one-third, figure 13, then the top down, figure 14, to cover the top fold. Make two small finger indents in the dough to indicate the second "turn" and wrap and refrigerate the dough for one hour.

Repeat this last sequence twice more, resting the dough in the fridge for one hour between folds, then wrap the dough and refrigerate overnight. After its overnight rest, the dough is ready to be used for whatever application you might prefer.

When using puffed pastry, it should be rolled out again before working with it. Never drag a knife or twist a cutter, as this will damage the layers and cause the pastry to rise unevenly. Sharp cuts or straight down pressure from a cutter is best.

Once made, puff pastry can be frozen. Thaw completely in the fridge before using.

This amount of dough will make 12 very large croissants or 18 to 20 smaller ones.

My passion is to teach people how to create a harmony of flavors with their cooking, and help pass along my love and joy of food, both simple and exotic, plain or fancy. I continue my journey in ethnic and domestic cuisines, trying new things weekly. I would love to hear from you, to help me continue my journey to explore diverse culinary experiences and hopefully to start you on a journey of your own. Join me at A Harmony of Flavors Website, Tumblr, Facebook, and Pinterest.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Tis the Season for Pumpkin

'Tis the season for Pumpkin in all its forms. My favorite of the squash varieties, when it comes to baking, are either butternut squash or one of those big blue-green colored ones, whether called Jarradale, Jamboree or whichever name they come by. They have such lovely smooth flesh, making them ideal for things like pumpkin pie, pumpkin tarts, pumpkin loaves, pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin cookies and anything else baked with pumpkin. Another reason I love these two types of squash best for baking is that they are less watery. 

Some squash varieties
Some Squash Varieties
Most every "pumpkin" (those orange ones, be they round, flat or other) I have ever tried is stringy and/or watery, even the sugar pumpkins. I bake my squash, to avoid having any water added to the equation, but even so, the pumpkin varieties give off so much liquid that by the time you've set the cooked flesh into a colander to drain for use in a recipe, there is not much left to use. 

I try to accomplish a nice, thick puree, similar to a can of "pumpkin." Ultimately, I use either the blue Jarradale type or everyday butternut for this purpose. Just my preference. If you have great luck with another variety, then do use whatever works for you. 

And then, there are always cans of "pumpkin,"  in case you run out during the year!
Soft Pumpkin Cookies
Soft Pumpkin Cookies

So I started off using some of my stash of already baked and pureed Jarradale squash in the freezer. I do this with the big blue varieties in the fall and portion it into freezer zip-top bags in 2-cup portions, suitable for a pie. If I need less than 2 cups for a recipe, then I use the rest added into soup, which gives a nice body (not to mention great flavor) to any thin soup. This time, I decided to make Soft Pumpkin Cookies.

Lard vs Shortening vs Butter

I want to clarify on my reasons for using lard in this recipe. Firstly, I do not like using shortening, which is an unnatural product, and worse for one by far than lard or butter, which are from natural sources. (My own opinion.) I have made these cookies various times using one of all three fats. Butter tastes great, but leaves a flat cookie, just too soft. Shortening works better, keeping shape a bit more and holding their domed shape a bit better. Lard makes these cookies tender and delicate yet still retaining their pretty dome shape on baking. Ergo; lard it is, for me. Just know if you switch the fat the results will be far different. 

These cookies are, as the name states, "soft." They have a most wonderful flavor, and are as delicate as can be. They have a nice glaze icing using browned butter, making these truly irresistible. Next I want to attempt a Pumpkin Sandwich Cookie. I have the cookie part down, but was unhappy with the filling, which was too soft. Back to the drawing board with the icing part, but for now, here are my Soft Pumpkin Cookies:

Soft Pumpkin Cookies

Made 5½ dozen (2-teaspoon) drop cookies
Soft Pumpkin Cookies
Soft Pumpkin Cookies

½ cup light brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup lard (or shortening)
1 cup pureed pumpkin/squash, or canned pumpkin
zest of one orange
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups whole grain, ground Kamut Khorasan flour (or half whole wheat and half all-purpose flour)
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
½ cup ground nuts (walnuts preferred)

6 tablespoons unsalted butter (no butter substitutes!)
3 cups confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 to 3 tablespoons milk, as needed

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Have ready one or two ungreased baking sheets.

COOKIES: Combine in a mixer bowl the sugars and lard, beating until smooth. Add in the pureed pumpkin, orange zest and vanilla extract and beat to combine. In a separate bowl whisk together the flours, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and cloves. Add the dry ingredients in, beating very slowly until moistened, then beat briskly just to combine thoroughly. Add the nuts and stir to distribute.

Drop the cookies onto the baking sheet(s) using a two-teaspoon measure or cookie scoop, keeping them at least 2 inches apart. Try not to make them any larger, as they come out soft already. Bake the cookies for about 9 to 11 minutes, or until just set. Remove the cookies at once to racks to cool completely.

ICING: Heat the butter in a preferably light-colored skillet, so you can keep track of the browning process. Allow the butter to brown nicely, but not burn. Using a non-butter imitation will only burn. Pour the browned butter into the confectioners' sugar in a bowl and stir to combine. Add in the vanilla and a pinch of salt, if desired. Add milk one tablespoon at a time, only if needed to make an icing that the cookies can be dipped into, leaving with a nice coating. If too stiff, add a little more milk. Dip the tops of the cookies in the icing, then turn upright and let the icing set.

My passion is to teach people how to create a harmony of flavors with their cooking, and help pass along my love and joy of food, both simple and exotic, plain or fancy. I continue my journey in ethnic and domestic cuisines, trying new things weekly. I would love to hear from you, to help me continue my journey to explore diverse culinary experiences and hopefully to start you on a journey of your own. Join me at A Harmony of Flavors Website, Tumblr, Facebook, and Pinterest. 

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Lots and Lots of Pork

If you like pork, in all its glorious forms, then this savory Four Pork Pie is going to be just what you wanted to try.
Four Pork Pie in Hot Water Pastry Crust
Four Pork Pie in Hot Water Pastry Crust

Yes, it does take a bit of time to prepare and assemble, and quite a long while in the oven, but this is a spectacular event of a dinner. Or, it is just as good cold, or lukewarm, can easily be taken with, whether on a picnic (though no picnics for a long while in our climes), or sliced for a lunch to go with you, or whatever takes your fancy. It is large, so there will be leftovers, unless you have a large family or a few guests.

This one is made in the same manner as my Beef and Pork Pie in Hot Water Pastry, though not packed into layers inside. It will hold together enough to slice when just made, but if you really want to see a lovely slice, wait to cut it the next day.
Four Pork Pie in Hot Water Pastry Crust Day 1 and Day 2
Four Pork Pie in Hot Water Pastry Crust, Day 1 (just baked) and Day 2 (after cooling)
Cutting into the pie, still warm from the oven, made slices that were unable to stand upright. The fillings hold together well enough to place a slice on a plate, but not until the pie has chilled can it actually show the fillings in all their beauty, and stand upright with pride. The flavors are fabulous, either way. It's only a matter of choice.

Have the Filling Pre-Prepared

When making this pie, or any of these types of pie with a Hot Water Pastry Crust, the fillings must be all ready, before starting the pastry. This is because Hot Water Pastry is best worked while it is hot, and if you line your pan with the bottom pastry and do not have the filling ready to go in, then working with the top crust afterwards becomes far more difficult. Hot Water Pastry does not act at all like regular pie pastry crusts. It is quite warm and very soft, but with a slightly spongy feel. It does not lend itself to rolling out large and lifting to the pan as with a regular crust. It is (to me) much simpler to work the pastry up the pan once it is inside the pan. As the pastry cools, it becomes more difficult to work with, tending to tear more easily and stick together less well. Trust me; have your fillings already assembled.

Hot Water Crust Pastry, a la Paul Hollywood

The recipe for the Hot Water Pastry Crust, taken straight from watching The Great British Baking Show, consists of placing 150g lard and 200ml water into a saucepan and heating just to a simmer, when the lard will have melted. Granted, you do need a scale for this, though many measuring cups have milliliters marked on them. In a bowl, combine 450 grams (1 pound) of all-purpose flour and 100 grams of bread flour and rub in or cut in 75 grams of butter (⅓ cup). Once the lard and water are hot and melted, pour this into the flour mixture and mix with a spoon (it will be hot at first) until most of the flour has been mixed in, then use hands to bring it all together in a somewhat spongy feeling ball.  Use the pastry immediately.

A Part of the Filling You May Not Have on Hand

Hot Pepper Mustard Relish
Hot Pepper Mustard Relish
I happened to have some of my Hot Pepper Mustard Relish on hand. I just love this stuff. It's so delicious, it could be eaten as a dip, though it is fantastic on sandwiches and so much more. Since it is so delicious, and a little sweet and a little savory, I felt it would be a match made in heaven for pork. I used a fair amount of it, slathering it over layers of the filling as it went into the crust. I used about ¾ cup of the relish, ¼-cup at a time over three layers. If you do not have this relish on hand, you can just skip it. OR, possibly a substitute could be a mix of honey mustard with sweet pickle relish. To my mind, these flavors would also work. Just as an FYI.

Four Pork Pie in Hot Water Pastry Crust

Fills one 9-inch Springform Pan 
Four Pork Pie in Hot Water Pastry Crust
Four Pork Pie in Hot Water Pastry

Hot Water Crust Pastry (above)
8-ounces leftover pork roast, rough-chopped
8-ounces diced ham
20-ounces bulk pork sausage, fried
5-ounces bacon, cut in ¼-inch bits, fried
1 large onion, chopped, fried golden
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium sweet potato, peeled, cooked, chopped
1 chunk butternut squash (same weight as the sweet potato), cooked, chopped
3 tablespoons minced fresh sage
1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary leaves
2 large kale leaves, stems discarded, in chiffonade
3 pickled walnuts, chopped, optional

¾ cup Hot Pepper Mustard Relish, optional
1 egg plus 1 tablespoon water, whisked together for egg wash

Have ready a 9-inch springform pan.

Prepare all the meats, saute the onion and when nearly golden add the garlic for a few minutes more. Have the squash and sweet potato cooked in salted water and chopped coarsely. Place these things into a large mixing bowl. Add in the sage, rosemary and kale, along with the pickled walnuts, if available. Toss the mixture together to evenly distribute all the ingredients. Set aside.

Prepare the Hot Water Pastry as above noted. Use ⅔ of the pastry to press into and up the sides of the springform pan, ensuring there is an overhang. Work as quickly as possible, as it is easiest while warm, but make sure to patch any holes that may form. Press a third of the filling into the pastry lined pan, making sure it gets into the corners and edges. Spread about ¼-cup of the Hot Pepper Mustard Relish over this layer. Or use the suggested mix of Honey Mustard and sweet pickle relish or omit this step. Add another third of the filling mixture, pressing down evenly over the first layer, and well into the sides. Spread another ¼-cup of the Hot Pepper Mustard Relish over this layer (or one of the options). Press in the remaining filling evenly and spread with the last ¼-cup of the Hot Pepper Mustard Relish, or one of the options. 

Roll out the remaining ⅓ of the Pastry, large enough to hang over the edges of the pan. Brush just the top rim edge of the bottom crust with egg wash, then set the rolled pastry atop the pie, pressing the rim to seal the edges together. Trim away the overhang dough and set it aside to make decorative leaves or other forms  for the pie. Crimp the edges of the crust all around the pan, then make sure the crimped edges are all inside the pan, as later after partway through baking, the springform rim will be removed. If the crimped edge covers the top rim of the pan, the sides of the pan will not be easy to remove.

Cut a ½-inch hole in the center of the top crust. Roll out and cut decorative pieces for the top of the pie. Set them in place, then set the pan on a rimmed baking sheet into a preheated 350 degree oven. Bake the pie for about 70 to 75 minutes, and nicely golden. Remove from oven and increase oven temperature to 375 degrees. At this point, the pie should be strong enough to remove the springform rim. Unlatch and carefully remove the rim and set aside. Brush all over the top and sides of the pastry thoroughly with the egg wash. Place back into the oven for 10 minutes, then remove once more to apply a second coat of egg wash, then return to oven for 10 more minutes.

Allow the pie to cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing, or if time permits, cool completely. Refrigerate if you prefer to serve it chilled the following day.

My passion is to teach people how to create a harmony of flavors with their cooking, and help pass along my love and joy of food, both simple and exotic, plain or fancy. I continue my journey in ethnic and domestic cuisines, trying new things weekly. I would love to hear from you, to help me continue my journey to explore diverse culinary experiences and hopefully to start you on a journey of your own. Join me at A Harmony of Flavors Website, Tumblr, Facebook, and Pinterest.

Friday, October 5, 2018

Please Enjoy my October Newsletter

Squash, Gourds
Ah, Autumn, Friend

Autumn has arrived. Up in our area, we went straight from high 90-degree weather to 50s and 60s in a week's span of time. The poor vegetables don't know what to do. Tomatoes usually refuse to ripen, once temps hit lower than 40 at night, and we've already gotten there. So, what to do with all the remaining green tomatoes? All things that come out in Fall are now available at the Farmers' Market, like apples and squash of every variety.

As we begin moving into the colder time of year, our foods change and vary. Up north, far less is grilled, since it becomes less conducive when one must stand outside shivering to get a steak done. But other things begin coming back into the menu, like nice warm stews or chili. Below I hope you will find some interesting ideas for Fall foods to savor.

Please check "
A Harmony of Flavors" website and "A Harmony of Flavors" blog site, continually being updated with new recipes. There is a lot to choose from!
More Canning and Preserving

Not being an avid canner myself, I truly realize not everyone preserves their own food, but it is still a very time-honored way to keep foods for use on into the future.

Some things we choose to preserve by using a water bath to keep the shelf life for some few years at least. Other things are cooked in batches, but used soon, and kept in the refrigerator. At this time of year, when produce is still available, it is good to preserve for the winter months.

Some of my favorite recipes are shown clockwise from top left:
  • Green Tomato Relish. I only recently came to realize that what my mother-in-law called Green Tomato Relish, was on the same lines as what is called "Chow Chow" or "Cha Cha Sauce" in the south. The spices are similar, with some variations on the theme, as are the vegetables. Green tomatoes are not in all recipes, but can be one of various vegetables such as cabbage, onions and bell peppers; sometimes even cucumbers and / or corn. This recipe is my mother-in-law's.
  • Chow Chow. After researching differences between many different recipes for Green Tomato Relish and Chow Chow, I took what sounded best to me and created my own version of Chow Chow, and I am mightily glad I did. This recipe turned out absolutely fabulously flavored. You've got to taste it to believe how good it is!
  • S.E. Indian Green Mango Chutney. This chutney is made in small batch, as it is very simple to make. It is kept in the fridge and keeps well for a few months. Finding green mangoes in the north is not so easy, and they're never as green as what the true Indian recipes call for. Still, this chutney is lovely and has different flavors from the British style of Indian Mango Chutney.
  • Hatch Ancho Chili Sauce. This condiment sauce is most delightful over eggs, particularly if making them in some southwestern style. Using dried Hatch and Ancho chilies gives a little heat, and the flavors come together beautifully. Again, this is in small batch, but worth it to make and use quickly.
Below is a button to connect with a really great Bonus Recipe for this month.
CLICK HERE for a Bonus Recipe
Making Pretty Squash Containers

Many years ago, my niece decided to hold a Hallowe'en party, and she was going all out. I was visiting, and came up with the idea to use some of the beautiful squash available in one of their stores. I selected a variety of squash, from relatively large to fairly small, ones that would set straight and not tip, ones that were well-formed and neatly rounded, and in various colors to make them interesting among the decor. Next, I went searching for containers that would fit inside the squash. Many of these were ones in the deli area of the store. Some were containers at home. Look for containers with lids, making storage easy, later on.

To accomplish this, cut off the top of the squash to match the width of the plastic containers. This is facilitated by setting the container upside-down over top of the squash and marking its circumference, to better know where to cut later on. Next, hollow out all the seeds and alternating between a spoon and a paring knife, clean enough of the sides and bottom of the squash out, until one of the containers will set inside the squash, with the rim flush to the opening of the squash. These containers, mostly hidden inside the colorful squash, allowed for presenting foods that one would not want to get wet with the insides of the squash. They made beautiful displays on the party food tables. The three larger squash (left photo) were a small pumpkin and two larger squash. These held guacamole, French onion dip and tomato salsa. Smaller squash (right photo) held candy corn, mixed nuts and crackers.

It takes a while to whittle down the insides of the squash, but if you are craft-inclined, these will be a snap. They can be made a few days ahead. Keep the plastic containers in place in the squash to keep the squash from drying out and possibly becoming mis-shapen. After the party, the plastic containers were easily lifter out, lids snapped on and cold foods stored in the fridge.
squash, apples, soup
Another Great Use for Squash and Apples

This Butternut Squash & Apple Soup can be made for any brunch, lunch or weeknight dinner, and also dresses up nicely for a special occasion. Making this in front of a class one time, I got a lot of strange looks when I paired apples with the squash in this soup. Yet everyone agreed the apples gave the soup a lovely hint of sweetness. What can go better together than two foods that come to ripen together in the fall?

I've shown the photo here with the soup all dressed up for a fancy dinner, with drops of thinned down sour cream, dropped in a spiral pattern out from the center, then by drawing a toothpick through the droplets, they form little hearts. A sprinkle of chopped chives in the center gave a little pop of color and flavor. Try this soup; it takes little time to prepare and it's hearty and filling.
slow cooker, apple butter
Easy Slow Cooker Apple Butter

Fall is apple time, and all things apple start appearing on menus. Apple Pie, Apple Crisp, Apple Cake, Apple Fritter Loaf, and all sorts of great things made with apples. I am not a huge apple butter fan, but this recipe for Crock Pot Apple Butter is very tasty and nicely spiced. I like lots of spice in my apple butter as well as pumpkin pie. Perhaps more spice than some people would prefer. If you do not care for strongly spiced apple butter, reduce the spice quantities in the recipe, but I do urge you to try this. It's worth it, when apples are in abundance.
nigella, fenugreek, cumin, fennel, mustard, panch phoron
India's "Five-Spice," Panch Phoron

Panch Phoron is a combination of five spices, blended together to make a mixture that is commonly used in south-central India, from Bangladesh and Bengal and on south. Where Garam Masala, now very well-known all over the U.S., is northern India's spice mixture of choice and used ground, Panch Phoron is generally kept in whole-spice form when added to a dish. The mixture is an interesting blend of flavors. The general rule of thumb for mixing these spices is that all but the fenugreek are mixed in equal portions 1:1:1:1. The fenugreek, while it smells somewhat of maple syrup, does have more bitterness, so is generally added in half the amount as the other spices.

Try using this spice in dishes such as Lamb Chops with Bengali Spices, Potatoes Panch Phoron, or Sambar, a South Indian vegetable soup-like dish, often eaten for breakfast (though it would be excellent any time of day).
Chris Rawstern, A Harmony of Flavors
Autumn is here, my readers. I hope you will visit my web- and blog-sites and try some new (or old) recipes, learn something new about an herb or spice or other subject, or maybe just daydream. However it is accomplished, I endeavor to provide articles of interest. Not everyone cooks these days, due to time constraints, though I did cook meals for my family back when I had 4 youngsters and worked 2 jobs, so I know it can be done. It does require advanced planning. Many of my newer, more complex recipes have been created now that I am retired and have extra time on my hands, yet many are easy and quick. Take a look through my suggestions here in this newsletter, as well as looking through past newsletters here, for more ideas. Both my website and blog site have indexes of my recipes, for many more options.
Please forward this newsletter to any friends who may find my stories, articles and recipes of interest. Subscribe to this Newsletter by hitting the Subscribe Button below. Follow me on Facebook, check out my A Harmony of Flavors website, and A Harmony of Flavors blog. Find all my food (and lots of other) photos on Pinterest at AHOFpin.
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