Rustic steak and mushroom pie

Rustic steak and mushroom pie

Ingredients:

  • 2 sheets shortcrust pastry
  • 2 sheets puff pastry
  • 800g beef rump steak (with most fat removed), diced
  • 1 cup button mushrooms, peeled and sliced
  • 1 onion
  • 1/2 cup liquid vegetable stock
  • 1/4 cup red wine (I used Jacob’s Creek Cabernet Sauvignon 2009)
  • 2 tabs salt-reduced gravy powder (roast beef flavour, or similar)
  • 1 tab cornflour
  • Salt and pepper

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180° C (fan-forced) or 200° C (convection).
  2. Grease and flour a pie dish. If using frozen pastry, put the sheets out to thaw.
  3. Place a sheet of shortcrust pasty in the dish. Fill in any gaps with the second pastry sheet.
  4. Trim the pastry in the dish, leaving a 2 cm overhang.
  5. Cover with baking paper, and use either pastry beads or rice to weigh down the pastry.
  6. Blind bake the pastry for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and set aside.
  7. Dice the onion and fry in a pan until soft and clear.
  8. Add the meat and wine to the pan. Cook until just brown, then add the mushrooms.
  9. Allow meat to cook for a further 2 minutes at low heat, stirring occasionally.
  10. Without draining the pan, scoop out the meat, mushrooms and onion and set aside.
  11. In the same pan, add gravy powder to the remaining liquid and stir.
  12. Add vegetable stock gradually, stirring constantly, until desired consistency is achieved.
  13. Taste and check if the gravy needs salt. Add pepper (and salt if required).
  14. If gravy is not thickening scoop some liquid from the pan to a cup, add the cornflour and stir until smooth. Return the liquid to the pan and stir well.
  15. Once gravy is thick, return the meat mixture to the pan and stir until combined.
  16. Pour the meat and gravy mixture into the pie crust.
  17. Place a puff pastry sheet on top of the pie (you may need 2 sheets to cover the pie).
  18. Trim edges and push them down with the prongs of a fork.
  19. Cut leftover puff pastry into 3 leaf shapes, and place in centre of pie to decorate.
  20. Use a skewer to make a hole in the middle of the pie for air to escape.
  21. Cook for 20-30 minutes, or until golden brown.
  22. Allow pie to cool for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Heart-shaped strawberry hand pies

Heart-shaped strawberry hand pies

Ingredients:

  • Perfect pastry dough (see the recipe)
  • 3 cups strawberries, de-stemmed and roughly chopped
  • 6 tabs raw sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp cornflour
  • 2 tabs Chambord, or other berry liqueur (optional)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tab water
  • 1/4 cup icing sugar, to decorate
  • Freshly whipped cream, to serve

Fresh strawberries

Method:

  1. Preheat your oven to 200° C. Line two baking trays with baking paper and set aside.
  2. In a saucepan, combine strawberries, sugar, berry liqueur and vanilla until sugar dissolves and strawberries disintegrate.
  3. Drain some excess juice (approximately 1/4 cup) from the saucepan to a small bowl; return the saucepan to the heat.
  4. Add cornflour to the separated juice; stir until completely mixed. Add cornflour mix to the saucepan and stir until strawberry mixture is thick; remove from the heat and allow to cool.
  5. On a lightly floured surface, roll out half of the prepared pastry dough to 1/8 inch thickness.
  6. Use a 6 inch heart-shaped cookie cutter to cut heart shapes in the pastry. Roll out the remaining half of the dough and repeat. Form any excess dough back into a ball, roll out and cut again until dough is used up.
  7. Whisk egg and water together in a small bowl; lightly brush around each heart.
  8. On half of the hearts only, place 2 to 3 tablespoons of the cooled strawberry filling.
  9. Cover each ‘filled’ heart with one of the remaining hearts; use a fork to gently press the edges together to seal. Pierce the top of each pie with a sharp skewer to allow steam to escape.
  10. Brush the tops of each pie with the egg wash and bake for 20 minutes, or until the pies are golden brown.
  11. Cool the pies on a wire rack, then use a sieve to dust them with icing sugar.
  12. Serve with freshly whipped cream.

Perfect flaky pastry

Perfect flaky pastry

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups plain flour
  • 2 tabs caster sugar
  • 170g cold (hard) butter, cut into small cubes
  • 1/3 cup cold (hard) coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup ice water

Method:

  1. In a food processor fitted with a steel blade, add the flour and sugar. Pulse until combined.
  2. Add the butter and hard coconut oil. Pulse until the butter cubes are pea-sized.
  3. Using a low processer speed, pour the ice water down the processor feeder. Pulse until the dough begins to form a ball.
  4. Place the dough on a floured surface and roll into a ball. If some dry flour remains, just sprinkle it with a little more water and knead until combined with the ball.
  5. For pies with a top and bottom crust, cut the dough in half; otherwise leave whole. Wrap the dough in cling wrap and refrigerate for no less than thirty minutes.

Quiche Lorraine

Quiche Lorraine

Ingredients:

  • 1 and 3/4 cups plain flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 150g (5 oz) butter
  • 1 egg yolk
  • A few drops of lemon juice
  • 4-5 tabs water
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 rashers of bacon, chopped
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1 can evaporated milk
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 cup matured cheese, grated

Method:

  1. Sift flour and salt. Rub in butter. Add egg yolk, lemon juice and enough water to make a stiff dough. Turn onto a floured surface and knead lightly. Roll out to fit flan tin. Line tin with pastry.
  2. Lightly fry onion and bacon until soft and golden; allow to cool.
  3. Place eggs, evaporated milk and seasonings in a bowl and beat well.
  4. Place onion and garlic in flan. Sprinkle grated cheese over the top.
  5. Pour the egg mixture carefully over the rest of the ingredients in the flan tin.
  6. Cook for 35-40 minutes in oven at 180°C, or until set.
  7. Serve hot or cold with a fresh green salad.

Note:  This recipe can be adapted by adding capsicum, spinach or semi-dried tomatoes.

(photo credit: celticblade via photopin cc)

Spinach and bacon parcels

Spinach bacon parcels

Ingredients:

  • 4-6 leaves of fresh silverbeet
  • 3-4 eggs
  • 500g bacon, diced small
  • 1 cup grated cheese
  • 1 cup fresh (or 1/2 cup dry) breadcrumbs
  • 1 tbsp parmesan cheese
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or finely chopped
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 sheets of frozen puff pastry

Method:

  1. Trim silverbeet off the stalks and wash well; shred and cook until collapsed; drain well.
  2. Remove rind and surplus fat from the bacon and cut up small. Cook in a saucepan until nice and brown.
  3. Add the chopped onion and garlic and cook until onion is clear. Allow to cool.
  4. Grate the cheese and put out pastry sheets to defrost. Prepare fresh breadcrumbs if using.
  5. Put breadcrumbs, cheese, and silverbeet into the saucepan with the bacon and stir; then add the eggs and seasonings and stir well. Mixture should be moist but not runny.
  6. Divide mixture into four portions and place each portion onto one side of the pastry square. Spread the mixture to within 2cms of the edge of pastry on two sides to form a triangle. Do not wet edges as puff pastry will seal better if not wet. Fold over and seal.
  7. Bake on greased trays in a hot oven until cooked.

Note:  These pastries are nice hot or cold, and can be made smaller for an entrée or snack.

(photo credit: penguincakes via photopin cc)