Autumn Pie. Leftover roast chicken, smoky bacon, and an assortment of seasonal vegetables in a creamy sauce, all packed into a buttery homemade pastry. Do I even need to go on or should I just skip to the instructions?! It is an absolutely delicious dinner, its cosy, tummy warming comfort food at its best, and you’ll even get to see just how easy it is to make your own shortcrust pastry. Which I very excitedly used my new autumn leaf shaped cookie cutters to make the crust. You can buy these on Amazon. I will be honest, it is quite a faff to make. But, if your organised, its no problems. I’d recommend making up your pie filling during the day, popping it in the fridge until its needed. Then its just a case of popping it all together just before dinner. Anyway, I’ll jut get on and tell you how you can make it up too.
Here’s what you’ll need:
For the pastry –
550g plain flour,
200g cold salted butter,
pinch of salt,
roughly two tablespoons of cold water.
For the filling-
Plug of olive oil,
Roughly 250g cooked chicken. I used a little bit under that in leftover roast chicken.
1/3 Peeled & cubed Butternut squash,
3 sticks of celery,
3 slices of smoky bacon, diced.
300ml chicken stock,
150ml creme fraische,
salt and pepper to taste.
You’ll also need:
Cookie cutters (leaf shapes) or a sharp knife and leaf template cutouts.
And here’s what you need to do:
First we’re going to make up your pie filling, we’re doing this first because it will need to cool completely before being put into your pastry pie case.
So, to do this, first pop a little oil into a pan and fry up your smoky bacon pieces. once they’ve started to golden, take them out and put to the side.
Next, police up your vegetables into chunks, before popping into your pan and cooking for a good 10-15 minutes, stirring regularly.
Once your vegetables have started to soften, trip in your cooked bacon, your chicken stock and cook on a high heat for another 10/15 minutes. Or until the liquid has started to reduce. Before pouring in your cremes friasch, turning the heat down and simmering for another 10 minutes.
You’ll notice, that the liquid you poured over your vegetables, by now has thickened into a sauce – a very delicious sauce. Take your pie filling of the heat, pour into a bowl and set aside to cool, staring it over after about 5 minutes.
Now, its time to start on your pastry, i’m making up a classic shortcrust pastry. This is so easy to make up. The key is, not to over handle it. you can make it using just your hands, but I find it can become a bit tough, because of being over handled. So I like to use a blender. Simple pour your flour, butter and salt into your blender and pulse, until your flour has turned into golden crumbs. it will take 3 or four minutes, but be patient.
Now, pour in one tablespoon of water and using a knife push the shortcrust crumbs together, then add the rest of your water before tipping the whole thing out onto a floured surface. At this point you will need to handle it, push all of your pastry together, giving it a good roll between your palms to create a solid ball of pastry.
Wrap in clingfilm and pop in the fridge for 20 minutes/ half an hour.
By now, your pastry will be firm and your filling cooled. So you can put your pie together. Start by halving your pastry ball. If you find your pastry is too firm, too cold. You can pop it into the microwave for 5/10 seconds. this will make it more easy to work without having to handle it. Once its softened and ready to work with, simply roll your half out on a floured surface, making sure its big enough for your pie dish. Then simply lay it in your pie dish, pinching the edges of the pastry to the edges of your pie dish.
Just before you make the rest of the pie up, you’ll need to complete the filling, you can do this by throwing in all that cooked chicken. I used a half a roast chicken I had left over from Sunday dinner, its perfect for using up leftovers.
Next, pour your filling into your pastry bottom, spreading it all out evenly.
And now comes the fun bit. Well… fun for me. I get to use my new pastry cutters. Roll out your remaining pastry half and using your leaf cutters (if you have them) or using a sharp knife and freehand cutting out. And lay your pastry autumn leaves out over your filling.
Before long you should have a full crust of leaf loveliness.
Finally, wash over the top of your pie with a mix of egg & milk.
Now you can bake, place it on a shelf close to the top of your over (but not at the top) on 180 (fan) for around 35 minutes. or until your pie crust is a lovely golden shade.
Its the perfect cosy dinner on any chilly Autumn evening.
The little woman pretends.