My love for pie knows no bounds as Higgidy, the great pie people, well know! So, when they asked me to join their Great Higgidy Recipe Hunt, how could I refuse? We all love a good pie, right?
The biggest challenge was deciding what to make that hadn’t already been in a pie! I’ve eaten a few in my time. Do I go sweet or savoury? Do I make something up that will not be to everyone’s taste or do I play it safe? Do I make my own pastry or do I go down the frozen route (I had to ‘let it go’ though!)?
After much discussion with the other two household members whose opinions matter…no, not the cats, I mean Ross and Grace…a decision was made. It was very nearly the chocolate and banana pie but we settled on a savoury. It had to be Surf ‘N’ Turf pie with a herby crust made by my own fair hands. Thank goodness Higgidy had the very kind forethought to send me my very own apron, rolling pin, pie tin and pie bird.
The hardest thing with this pie was deciding what to do with regards to the sauce. At first I was looking at a Bernaise sauce but something about it didn’t sit right for me so I opted for a brandy sauce. Not too rich, not too runny and not too overpowering.
- 300g plain flour
- Half a teaspoon of salt
- 115g cold unsalted butter
- Half a teaspoon of fresh thyme
- Half a teaspoon of fresh oregano
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh chives
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
- 1 egg yolk beaten with 2 tbsp iced water
- 350g braising steak, slow-cooked in stock for 3 hours on high
- 150g raw jumbo king prawns
- 1 shallot, finely chopped
- 3 tbsp brandy
- 100g double cream (or clotted if you prefer it a little thicker)
- Sift the flour and salt into a bowl. Add the butter and cut it into the flour with a knife then rub the butter into the flour with your finger tips. The mixture should then look like fine breadcrumbs.
- Add all the herbs and mix together then mix in the egg yolk mixed with the iced water. Mix to a stiff, crumbly-looking paste using a palette knife. Draw together with finger tips and then turn out onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead together until the mixture is smooth and there are no cracks.
- Place in the fridge for 30 minutes to rest.
- Roll and use.
- Place a knob of butter in a frying pan and then add the chopped shallot. Cook for around 2 minutes until clear. Add the brandy then return to heat and simmer, uncovered, for 4 minutes or till most of the liquid is evaporated.
- When most of the liquid has evaporated, add cream. Bring the sauce just to boiling. Boil gently for about 4 minutes , stirring frequently then let it cool.
- Line the pie tin with the herby pastry and cut off any excess that spills over the side ready to add it to the pastry for the pie lid.
- Place your pie bird in the middle and then spread on a layer of the cooked steak. Then add the king prawns across the top. Now add the brandy sauce over the top of the meat then seal the pie with the remainder of the pastry as the lid ensuring that you pinch the pastry together for minimum leakage.
- Place on a hot baking tray in the oven and cook for around 55 minutes until the pastry is a lovely golden colour
- Serve with chips, peas and gravy.
So what about you? Are you inspired to join in with the Great Higgidy Pie Hunt? It can be creative, clever, ambitious, or a traditional family recipe that your grandma used to make which has been handed down the generations.
I have also been sent some of the secret tips over at Higgidy HQ from the Founder and Chief Pie Maker, Camilla Stephens, and have been allowed to share a few of them here with you (which are tips I took into account when making my pie!).
- You can’t rush good cooking, so take time and care with your recipe and enjoy the process – your pie will taste better for it. In particular, never hurry a meat filling – long, slow cooking will produce a rich, dark stew with glossy gravy.
- Don’t be afraid to be creative – if you have a favourite ingredient, or an idea for an unusual combination, then give it a go.
- Always let your pastry ‘relax’ or rest in the fridge for a minimum of 30 minutes – this will help prevent shrinkage when you bake your pie.
- If you preheat the tin it is going to sit on it will help to get the heat through the bottom of the pie and avoid a soggy bottom! Try and get your oven good and hot – pastry doesn’t like moderate or cool ovens, it will ‘sweat’ and turn soggy
I am really pleased to say that I took all of these tips (and more which I can’t share with you!) into account when baking my pie. I hadn’t realised how long a good pie would take me, but it was completely worth it if only to see the enjoyment on my family’s faces.
If you want to submit a recipe to the Great Higgidy Pie Hunt then pop over to their site here before 26th October 2014 and submit your recipe. They will then shortlist the ideas down to the final three in November. You will then be able to vote for your favourite, and the winning pie will be in Sainsbury’s next Spring.
Disclosure: I was sent a bag, apron, rolling pin, pie bird and tin as well as £25 in vouchers to purchase my ingredients to take part in the Pie Hunt. All opinions and images are my own and I have not been influenced in any way.