Something tells me that not many people ran to their kitchens this morning and made puff pastry from scratch. Check out the updated post from yesterday for a shortcut.
Onward! Let’s fill a pie!
Wait! First we have to talk about ghee. What’s ghee you ask? Yeah…I had to Google it too. Ghee is a clarified butter often used in South Asian cooking. And rather than buy a huge jar of it that I would never ever finish, I decided to make my own from scratch. I found a recipe by Alton Brown and altered it a bit. How hard could it be?
It…did not go well. I burnt the first batch and made the mistake of pouring it into the closest container I could find, which was a glass tumbler. Within seconds the top of the glass had separated from the bottom and the hot, stinky, ruined ghee went everywhere. Wasted butter and broken glass.
It took several batches of burnt ghee for me to figure out the secret to success: Don’t multitask! AND make it the night before. It keeps well and doesn’t need to be refrigerated. So the night before the contest I made the ghee, strained it into a ceramic mug, covered it and left it on the counter. And it was perfect. It looked kind of like greasy Cream of Wheat the next day (totally normal) but easily melted back to a liquid.
Milk solids are weird.
6 tablespoons unsalted butter (to render 4-5 tablespoons of ghee)
Place butter in medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring butter to boil. This takes approximately 2 to 3 minutes. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium. The butter will form a foam which will disappear. Ghee is done when a second foam forms on top of butter, and the butter turns golden. Approximately 7 to 8 minutes. Brown milk solids will be in bottom of pan. Gently pour into heatproof container through fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth. Store in airtight container being sure to keep free from moisture. Ghee does not need refrigeration and will keep in airtight container for up to 1 month. (Food Network)
Great! The ghee is done! Now onto the rest of the filling!
A note about recipe prep: If you’ve ever seen a cooking show you know that you can’t cook along side the chef. Why? Because they have every ingredient measured, every pan or appliance positioned and every tool at the ready. I always thought having the ingredients pre-measured and lying out in tiny ramekins was just because they only have twenty-two minutes to get three or four recipes done. They’re on a time crunch. Turns out it not only saves time but helps me stay organized, keeps the stress level down and allows less room for error. Because once all the ingredients are measured, you can double check to be sure nothing is missing!
Thankfully I recently purchased some ramekins for no other reason than they were on sale for $0.50 each. Now they have purpose!
4 tablespoons ghee
2 large potatoes, peeled and diced to ¼”
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1 large yellow onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 teaspoon fresh ginger
1 teaspoons garam masala
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro (aka fresh coriander)
½ teaspoon turmeric
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 ½ cups frozen peas, thawed
salt and pepper to taste
Heat the ghee in a large frying pan and add your potatoes, garlic, onion and ginger. Reduce heat to low and cover the pan to sweat the mixture about 10 minutes stirring every few minutes. Do not brown or the filling with take on a different flavor (this happened to me during test pie #2). Add the rest of the ingredients and keep it covered until the vegetables are tender.
Transfer the filling to a plate to cool. I put mine in the freezer uncovered for about 10-15 minutes then flipped it onto another plate and replaced it in the freezer so the filling on the bottom could have a chance to cool.
Remove dough from fridge. Turn on to a floured surface and sprinkle with flour. I like to begin rolling from the middle of the dough making one pass up and one down. Then I lift the dough, make a quarter turn and repeat. The dough will not roll out into a perfect circle or even a circle at all, which is fine. Bring on the jagged edges! The dough should be about 16” in diameter.
Transfer the dough to a pie plate by folding it in half or draping it over your rolling pin. To settle the dough in the plate, lift the excess dough and allow it to sink into the sides of the plate. Use your fingers if necessary but avoid pressing the dough into the plate. It should fall in place fairly easily. Once the dough is resting in the plate, gently fold the edges inward and put it back in the fridge for about 20 minutes.
Remember that the puff pastry dough has to go into the oven cold in order for the butter to create enough steam to create beautiful, flaky layers. This is why we are chilling the dough over and over again and letting the filling cool before assembling the pie.
Prepare your egg wash.
FINALLY, unfold the dough, load your pie with cooled/chilled filling and replace the folds to cover the filling. It doesn’t have to be perfect and probably won’t cover the entire pie. It should look a little rustic. Brush your dough generously with the egg wash and get it in the oven! Bake the pie for 45 minutes to an hour checking it every 15 minutes. If it starts to look too brown cover it loosely with a foil tent.
Allow it to cool about 15 minutes. Serve warm and enjoy!
SIDENOTE: Having just reread this myself, I realize this pie is a LOT of work. But I didn’t enter the contest with the intention of bringing a mediocre pie. I knew that wouldn’t cut it. It’s a contest. People bring it! This is why I tested the recipe twice before the contest. I wanted it to be something people loved. And a pie that I’ll want to make over and over again.
Now I just have to find 4.5 hours and stockpile some more of that dough.
I’ve talked enough about pie for a few days. How about some Cake?
322 of 365 for postaday2011