Sunday 8 March 2015

British Pie Week Reci-pie: The Four Course Dinner Pie

British Pie Week Special - Could the Four Course Dinner Pie revolutionise pie eating?!

For those who aren't aware, while our main focus on Pierate - Pie Reviews is to rate commercially bought pies on the 7 Cs of pie rating, we do have our good friend The Ship's Cook who bakes pie recipes (or reci-pies) and gives them a rating on the 7 Cs of pie rating too! And while this is normally trying and testing commercially available pie recipes from cook books or websites, as a special #PiePledge for this year's British Pie Week she decided to make her own. Let's see how she got on:

My #PiePledge for British Pie Week was to try out a new pie recipe, so I thought I'd invent one all of my own! As British Pie Week drew to a close, I decided to celebrate in style with a four course meal. But of course this wasn't just any four course meal - this was a four course meal in a pie.

Yes, you read that correctly, an entire four course meal encased in delicious pastry!

The Recipe:

I did have to ask for some help on this one, as there was a pretty good chance that at least one course would leak into another through my pastry walls. Thanks to my very clever friends, I ended up with four courses that would work separately and together:

Starter - French onion soup
Main - Pork with apple and mushrooms
Pudding - Apple and raisin
Cheese course - Brie and cranberry

I started by making the pastry case and walls, out of shortcrust pastry because I thought that would be quite sturdy. I then blind baked the case while I made the fillings.

The French onion 'soup' was mostly onions slowly cooked in butter with salt, pepper and some flour, and then I made a very thick beef gravy with Worcestershire sauce to make it more like soup. The pork course was pork mince, onions, mushrooms, apple, salt, pepper and some dried herbs. The pudding (apple and raisin) was Bramley apples, raisins, ginger, cinnamon, mixed spice and brown sugar. Finally, the brie and cranberry was just that - layers of brie with cranberry sauce. I topped the whole thing off with a puff pastry lid, marked it with a series of holes to indicate courses 1- 4 and popped it in the oven until it was brown and crispy.

I'm not sure whether it's fair of me to rate my own pie, but I'm going to give it a go anyway - I'm afraid I am a bit biased and I think it was brilliant!

 The Seven Cs:

I'll be honest - this could have been a bit darker. I got over-excited and couldn't wait any longer to try the pie, so I took it out of the oven a bit early...

Mixed success here but mostly good. The onion soup section was lovely and moist, with soft onion and smooth gravy. The pork mince was a bit dry and needed some sauce. The apple and cheese layers were both moist without being too runny.

I packed this pie pretty tightly with filling, but it still felt like I was eating a lot of pastry. Still, if you're going to eat four courses of pie you probably love pastry, and I certainly didn't mind!

No unpleasant chewiness here - I think I got it right with the mix of ingredients. The fairly large pieces of onion in the soup course meant it wasn't too runny, and the addition of mushrooms to the pork and raisins to the apple added a nice texture. The cheese was soft and gooey, which is exactly how melted cheese should be.

I'm giving myself (and my friends who helped with the recipe) full marks here. It was a FOUR COURSE MEAL in a pie, and it was absolutely delicious. 

This isn't the cheapest pie ever because you have to buy quite a lot of different ingredients, but I did end up with loads of leftover fillings that didn't fit into the pie. So those are in the freezer ready for another meal, and I think the cost was worth it for the impact this pie makes.

I was really impressed with this pie. I thought it was going to collapse and end up being an onion-pork-apple-and-cheese pie but amazingly the walls stayed solid and the courses stayed separate. I even managed to get a slice of each course onto a plate so you can see them properly!

Overall, my #PiePledge was a definite success. I strongly recommend that you all go and make your own four course meal pies. Try out different ingredients and let us know what you think! Be prepared to be very full though - I know I am!

The Ship's Cook

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