Monday 14 July 2014

Reci-pie Review: Brazilian Pies

Well there we have it. The World Cup is over for another four years. But if you’re already suffering from World Cup withdrawal, never fear – I’ve got a pie recipe to remind you of all those good times in Brazil. I made these for a family barbecue and can strongly recommend eating them outside with a nice cold beer, but the leftovers also made a pretty good snack during the World Cup final.

WARNING: These pies contain turmeric which can be pretty hard to get out of clothes/cushions etc. so you’re probably best not giving them to anyone who’s likely to jump out of their seat with excitement while watching the match and fling their pie across the room. 

The recipe:
Pierateer RAS suggested I give this recipe a go, and I’m glad I did because it’s certainly an interesting one, with unusual pastry and a pretty unique choice of pie filling. The chicken mixture is pretty close to an Afro-Brazilian dish called Chicken Xim-Xim, which is a chicken stew with peanuts, shrimp and peanuts. Don’t be put off by the long list of ingredients – it’s not as complicated as it looks and the finished product is well worth the effort. 

The recipe is from Andy Bates and you can find it here:

The Seven Cs:

I really liked the colour of these pies – I baked them until they were golden brown but the turmeric in the filling leaked out a little bit and added a lovely yellowy colour to the edges of the pastry, which made these pies look very appealing.

The liquid in these pies is a mixture of coconut and chicken stock, so it’s more of a creamy sauce than gravy. The consistency of the filling reminded me of a creamy curry only thickened for longer – it went very well with the crispy pastry.

As with all homemade pies, you can stuff the pastry as full of delicious filling as you’d like. This meant that my pies scored pretty highly for capacity, but I did make a small error - the original recipe suggests that you bake your pies in muffin tins, but I decided to use jam tart tins and make lots of smaller pies. They were still tasty, but I think the Crust:Filling ratio would actually be slightly better in a bigger pie. That’ll teach me to think about quality rather than quantity next time I’m baking!

The pastry in this recipe, which is made with lard, eggs and egg whites, is very crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside. The filling isn’t chewy at all, just lovely and creamy with the occasional crunch from the peanuts. Yum.

When I first saw the long list of ingredients for this pie, I thought it was going to be pretty expensive. However, I was pleasantly surprised – thighs are a cheap cut when it comes to buying chicken, and ingredients like ginger and chillies can be bought in small packets or individually to keep your costs down. You also get quite a few pies for your money – I made 24 with pastry and filling to spare, so if you stick to using a muffin tin I think this recipe would easily make 12-16 pies.

If you’re feeling particularly thrifty you could make a really big batch of the filling and freeze it for future use, or even eat it with for dinner with something other than pastry (but why would you?)

This recipe is definitely a high scorer when it comes to content. It’s unusual and very, very tasty. Even better, the filling is already a meal in itself, so it’s a meal that’s been improved with a pastry case. Perfect.

These pies come out of the oven in great condition. The have a lovely rounded shape because you press them into the tin rather than cutting out the pastry, and they also have a nice solid feel to them. To make sure they’re absolutely perfect, take them out of the tin while they’re still slightly warm, otherwise the pastry sticks a little bit.   

The Ship's Cook

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