Posts Tagged ‘pate brisee’

I’ve re-discovered an old recipe for Pâte Brisée which works brilliantly with savoury pies.

It’s adapted from the Silver Palate Good Times cookbook and comes together in a flash in the food processor.  Halve the quantities if necessary, or if you only need enough pastry to cover a single pot pie.

  • 300g (2 cups) plain (AP) flour
  • 150g (1 cup) bread/bakers flour (or more plain flour)
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 250g (1 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 125ml (½ cup) ice water

1. In the bowl of a large food processor, pulse together the flours, salt and butter until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs.

2. With the machine running, add the cold water gradually until the mixture comes together in a ball.  You might not need to add all the water.

3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gently shape into a flat disc.  Wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate for at least half an hour before rolling out. The dough can also be frozen for use at a later time.

As I’m not particularly adept with a rolling pin, I prefer to roll my dough out between two sheets of parchment paper.

This batch made enough pastry to cover the tops of both the large beef and mushroom pie above and the medium vegetarian one below, with a small portion left over. Both pies were given a generous egg wash and then baked in a 200C (with fan) oven for half an hour.

There are times when only a pie will satisfy (as the old Big Ben jingle used to claim), and it’s comforting to have a reliable pastry dough for just such an occasion!

PS. I spent ages looking for these rectangular metal pie tins, and finally tracked them down at the Odgers & McClelland Exchange Stores.  They’re made by Falcon Enamelware and are quite lightweight – I think they’re originally designed for camping.   The larger one is 32cm, and results in a large enough pie for the four of us (remember that I’m feeding two starving wolves). The smaller 28cm one makes a dinner for two with leftovers.

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Sometimes…not often, but sometimes…I feel an overwhelming craving for chicken pie.

Big Boy and I concocted this recipe from the ingredients we had on hand.  It’s loosely based on a recipe from Jamie’s Dinners, and it made a wonderful Sunday lunch for the four of us.

. . . . .

Chicken, Leek and Mushroom Pie

A note on pastry: you could, of course, use purchased puff or shortcrust pastry.  Many of the recipes I read, including the one that inspired this pie, used pre-prepared frozen pastry.  But truly, pastry making is so easy!  Once the filling was simmering under Big Boy’s watchful gaze, I was able to throw the dough together in a matter of minutes.  I don’t even bother using the food processor anymore, because I find making pastry by hand so therapeutic.

Click here for a printable version of this recipe

Pâte Brisée

  • 170g cold unsalted butter
  • 320g plain (all-purpose) flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2+ tablespoons iced water

1. In a large, wide mixing bowl, place the flour and salt.  Rub the butter in until the flour turns a light yellow colour and attains a crumbly texture.  Most of the butter should be incorporated by this stage.

2. Add the cold water one tablespoon at a time, mixing with your hands until it forms a smooth textured ball.  The amount of water you need might vary each time you make this, depending on factors such as the ambient temperature and humidity.  Wrap the finished dough in cling film and allow it to rest in the fridge while you prepare the filling.


  • olive oil
  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 700g free range chicken thigh fillets, cut into pieces
  • 1 medium leek, green and white parts, washed and sliced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
  • handful of fresh thyme, leaves picked
  • 2 tablespoons plain flour
  • 150g gourmet mushrooms, chopped (I used oyster and chestnut)
  • 200ml white wine
  • 125ml milk
  • 125ml water
  • 80ml cream
  • 1 egg

1. Preheat oven to 200C with fan.

2. In a large saucepan (I used a non-stick wok), heat a generous swirl of olive oil and the butter.  Add the chicken, leek, carrot, garlic and thyme and cook slowly over a medium to medium-low heat for about 15 minutes.

3. Turn the heat up and add the flour. Stir for a couple of minutes, then add the wine, water and milk.  Add the mushrooms.  Season with salt and pepper – do this slowly.  Add a little salt at a time, then stir and cook for a minute or so before tasting.  If necessary, add more – doing it in this manner will ensure that you don’t accidentally over-season the dish.

4. Add the cream and turn the heat down to medium-low.  Simmer for a further 10 minutes or so, until the sauce is quite thick, but still loose.

Assembling the pie

1. Pour the filling into a large pie dish and allow to cool slightly.

2. On a large sheet of parchment, roll the pastry into a circle large enough to fit over the top of the pie plate.  There will probably be more pastry than you need – depending on the size of your pie dish – any leftovers can be well-wrapped and frozen for a future dish. Egg wash the edge of the dish and drape the pastry over.  Trim the edges of the pastry and push down with your fingers to seal the pie.

3. Egg wash the top of the pastry and scratch a light cross hatch over the top of the pie.  Make a small incision in the middle of the pastry to allow the steam to escape.

4. Bake the pie for 25 – 30 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown and little bits of bubbling filling are oozing through the cracks.  You might want to check it after 20 minutes to see how it’s travelling.  Once the pie is ready, let it rest for a few minutes out of the oven before cracking the top open with a large metal spoon.

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