Recipes: Filling mini game pies with blackberry and red wine jelly and warming scrumpy Suffolk apple pie - perfect autumn food
- Credit: Archant
Charlotte Smith-Jarvis cooks up the ultimate autumnal comfort food - pie!
As we edge into the colder months nothing is more welcome than a big fat wedge of pie. From steak and ale, bubbling over and burnished at the edges with malty gravy, to poached chicken, swimming in a pool of earthy, creamy mushroom sauce under a delicate blanket of puff pastry - there’is something about pie that is deeply comforting and satisfying.
Try popping one of these pastry creations on the table this month. They require a little time, so are probably best reserved for weekend baking but they are worth it.
Mini raised game pies with blackberry and red wine jelly - Makes 12 mini pies
The Wild Meat Company’s mixture of wild boar, pigeon, pheasant and venison are bound here with venison mince and Suffolk sausagemeat. Surrounded by a quivering layer of sweet jelly, there’s probably nothing better than these for a posh autumn picnic. Don’t be scared of the hot water crust pastry. It’s one of the easiest types to work with (it won’t stick to everything).
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Hot water crust pastry - 500g plain flour, 1/tsp salt, 1 large egg - beaten, 200g lard, 200ml water, 1 extra egg for brushing
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Filling - 350g mixed game meat, 300g venison mince, 400g pork sausages, 2 handfuls white breadcrumbs, 1 egg beaten, 2tbsps fresh chopped parsley, 2 cloves garlic finely chopped, 1tsp fresh black pepper, 2tsp Maldon salt
Jelly - 4 leaves gelatine, 150g blackberries, 2tbsp brown sugar, red wine, 1/2tsp ground cinnamon
• Place the gelatine leaves in a small bowl of cold water and allow to soak for 10 minutes.
• While they are soaking place the blackberries, sugar and cinnamon in a pan and reduce down until the fruit is really soft. Pass the berries through a sieve to remove seeds and weigh the juice and pulp. Top up to 450ml with red wine and bring to the boil. Squeeze out the gelatine and add to the mix.
• Stir to dissolve and pour into a bowl. Allow to cool.
• For the pie filling chop the game meat very finely and mix with the other ingredients.
• For the pastry place lard and water in a pan, melt then bring to the boil. Add the salt, egg and flour and take off the boil. Stir to combine then knead together.
• Allow to cool for a couple of minutes.
• Pre-heat the oven to 200C and get out a muffin tin.
• Roll the pastry out around 5mm thick (you don’t want it thin) and cut into circles twice the size of the holes in your muffin tin (I used the lid of a water jug). Place the circles into the holes and fill three quarters with filling.
• Cut out smaller circles the size of the top of the muffin holes and pop them on top. Tuck the pastry on top around the sides of the meat to enclose it then pinch up the sides of the pastry to connect to the top.
• Brush with the egg, make a hole in the centre of each and bake in the oven for 25 minutes. Allow to cool completely then carefully pour the jelly into the hole of each, stopping when you see the jelly rise to the top.
• Set in the fridge overnight.
Scrumpy Suffolk apple pie - serves six
Every now and again I have a hankering for a pork pie. A proper one, mind. One of those white pepper laden, thick crusted varieties from Melton Mowbray.
This recipe takes the classic pork pie up a notch. Not only is there a thick layer of herby apple stuffing, but it’s served with Aspall cyder jelly which will melt into the pie and any gravy you serve with it.
Short crust pastry - 400g plain flour, 200g unsalted butter, cold water, 1 egg for brushing
Filling - 1kg fatty pork mince, 200g lean bacon finely chopped, 1tsp ground allspice, 1/2tsp ground nutmeg, 2tsp fine sea salt, 1.5tsp ground black pepper, 1tsp ground white pepper
Stuffing - 1 apple peeled and grated, 4 slices white bread pulled into large crumbs, 1 onion peeled and grated, handful chopped flat leaf parsley, 1 clove garlic, crushed
• First make the pastry. Place the butter and flour in a large bowl and rub with your fingertips until the mix is like breadcrumbs. Little by little add cold water until it comes together, roll into a ball, wrap in clingfilm and place in the fridge.
• For the filling mix all the ingredients together and set aside.
• For the jelly soak the gelatine in cold water for 10 minutes. When the time is up, pour the cyder into a pan with the stock and bring to the boil. Squeeze out the gelatine leaves and add to the mix. Stir to dissolve, pour into a shallow dish and place in the fridge to set.
• For the stuffing mix all the ingredients together.
• Line a 20cm square tin with greaseproof paper. Roll out three quarters of the pastry so it is much bigger than the tin and will overhang. Line the tin with the pastry and add the meat filling. Top with the stuffing.
• Roll out the remaining pastry to get a square that will make a lid and pop on top, tucking it in down the sides of the meat. Bring in the sides, cut away excess and pinch the sides together. Make a hole in the centre of the pie to allow steam out and decorate as you like. Brush with beaten egg and bake at 200C for 40 minutes.
• Serving suggestion: Serve with hot gravy, cubes of jelly, creamy mash and a sprinkling of peas.
Confit plum, sweet ginger and almond tarte - serves eight
When you’ve made jam. When you’ve made compote. When you’ve crumbled till you can crumble no more with those plums ripening on the tree in the garden, there is this fine tarte.
The sweet pate sable is biscuit-like and robust, revealing a creamy almond frangipane, buttery, gingery confit plums and a crumble of amaretti or ginger biscuits over the top. Serve slightly warm with a dollop of cream.
Pastry - 250g plain flour, 125g unsalted butter, 70g icing sugar, 1 egg yolk, ice cold water, 1 tsp almond extract, 1 egg beaten to brush
Confit plums - 8 plums, halved and stoned, 100ml Thorncroft pink ginger cordial, 75g unsalted butter
Frangipane - 125g unsalted butter, 2 large egg, 125g caster sugar, 125g ground almonds, 1tsp almond extract, crushed ginger biscuits to serve
• Pre-heat the oven to 210C.
• Start by making the pastry. Blend the butter and sugar together with your fingertips until no butter lumps remain. Add the egg yolk and almond extract and pinch together again. Add the flour and press together, adding a touch of iced water to combine into a light non sticky pastry. Wrap and chill for 30 minutes.
• Make the plums. Place in a wide pan with the cordial, 100ml water and the butter. Bring to the boil then simmer gently until the plums begin to soften. Turn off the heat, place the plums in a bowl and reduce the cooking juices by half. Pour the juices over the plums and leave to cool.
• Mix all the ingredients for the frangipane together.
• Now take a 22cm loose bottom tart tin and roll out the pastry on a floured surface so it is big enough to just overhang the tin. Line the tin with the pastry, cover with greaseproof paper and place in some baking beans. Bake in the pre-heated oven for eight minutes.
• Remove the paper and beans and trim the pastry edges, patching up any small holes with leftover pastry. Brush with the beaten egg and return to the oven for four minutes. Brush again with beaten egg and return to the oven for three minutes.
• Pour the frangipane into the tart case and gently remove the plums from their syrup, placing them into the tart. Bake for 20 minutes at 180C.
Serve with the leftover juices and cream, crushing some ginger biscuits over the top for added texture and taste.
Spicy veggie satay pie - serves four to six
This pie is a bit of a mish mash. It’s something I’ve made for years for vegetarian friends and has evolved over time.
The basic principals always remain the same though. It’s a lovely savoury pilaff type rice, filled with creamy satay vegetables with a kick of chilli. This can be frozen successfully once prepared before cooking. It is a really satisfying dish that even meat eaters seem to love.
Pastry - 1 pack filo pastry sheets
Rice - Oil to fry, 1 large onion finely chopped, 2tsp ground cumin, 1tsp ground turmeric, 1/2tsp ground ginger, 4 clove heads crumbled, 4 cardamom pods, 120g basmati rice, 1 vegetable stock cube mixed with 250ml water and 250ml coconut milk
Filling -150g button mushrooms, sliced, 4 cloves garlic crushed, 1 red chilli, finely chopped with seeds, 1 courgette chopped into small cubes, 1 red pepper, finely sliced, 1tsp ground ginger, 1tsp curry powder, 3tbsps smooth peanut butter, 1tsp each honey, fish sauce, soy sauce, melted butter for brushing
• Pre-heat the oven to 200C.
• Heat a little oil in a frying pan and add the onion. Saute on a gentle heat until very soft. Add the spices and cook out for a few minutes. Add the rice and stock/coconut milk/water mix and cook gently until the rice is cooked and liquid has evaporated. Pour into a bowl to cool.
• Wash out the pan, dry it and add a little more oil. Add the mushrooms, garlic, chilli, pepper and courgette and saute until soft. Add the peanut butter, fish sauce, ginger, curry powder and soy sauce and a dash of boiled water to create a thick sauce.
• Brush a 22cm springform tin with butter and place in a couple of layers of filo, passing them across each other. Brush with more butter and add another layer. Keep doing this until all the sides are covered and you’ve used up all the pastry.
• Remove the cardamom pods from the rice and spread half on the bottom of the pastry. Add all the satay vegetables then top with the remaining rice. Fold in the top of the filo and enclose, scrunching in the middle.
• Brush with more butter all over and bake for 25 minutes.
• Serving suggestion: Serve with green beans sautéed with fresh coconut and a few pinches of Madras curry powder.