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Pork, chicken and cranberry pie

29 May

Pork and chicken pie

In the excitement of last year’s Great British Bake-off,  I rashly committed to baking all of the signature bakes.

Each week, I watched with growing dread to see what overambitious baking project I’d have to tackle next. I was fine with the drizzle cakeiced biscuits and Yorkshire pudding,  and managed to turn out a passable chocolate babka.

But the thought of making Danish pastries from scratch stopped me in my tracks for months.

However, I’m nothing if not an “completer-finisher” (eventually)… Since the show ended, I’ve gone on to make lemon meringue pie and Swiss roll. And at long last… pork, chicken and cranberry pie.

Strictly speaking, I seem to recall the brief was individual meat pies, but it seemed simpler to make one large pie instead.

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Kolokithopita (courgette pie)

17 May

Kolokithopita (Greek courgette pie)

I haven’t made kolokithopita in years. This satisfying combination of courgettes, feta cheese and phyllo pastry was a regular summer visitor when I used to grow courgettes – along with pasta alle zucchini and chocolate chip zucchini bread.

Last week my younger daughter announced that she was going vegetarian for a month. I’m very happy to support her with this ambition – we eat plenty of vegetarian meals already, and when I do cook meat it is seldom the main event, so it hasn’t made much difference to what I serve her for dinner. Continue reading

Lemon meringue pie

24 Nov

Lemon meringue pie

Next on my belated list of Great British Bake-off signature bakes is a classic lemon meringue pie.

Where I grew up, most restaurants (at least the kind my family ate in), had at least three types of pie on offer.

Apple, cherry, blueberry, pumpkin, raisin, bumbleberry, saskatoon, rhubarb, pecan, peach… I’d happily order any of them, but if lemon meringue pie was on the menu, they wouldn’t get a look in.

After reviewing several recipes, I settled on this one from The Great British Book of Baking, which was published to accompany the first series of the Great British Bake-Off.

Sweet shortcrust pastry, a tangy lemon filling you could stand a fork in, and pillowy French meringue – it looked and tasted like the lemon meringue pie of my childhood. Works for me.

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Chorizo-leek phyllo tart

13 Sep

Chorizo-leek tart

We ate this chorizo-leek phyllo tart a few times over the summer. I’d cook it early in the day – tarts and quiches benefit from having enough time to cool and rest – and we’d eat for dinner with a green salad.

I’ve experimented with adding goat’s cheese, sundried tomatoes, and sliced olives, but didn’t feel the tart was improved by it.

The chorizo provides ample flavour, and without cheese, the cream and eggs bake to a silky, custard-like consistency.

Sometimes simple is best. Continue reading

Cheese byrek

29 Jun

Cheese byrek

Börek, burek, byrek, byorek… The vowels may change from country to country, but the delicious, savoury pastries found across Turkey and the Balkans are largely the same.

In Albania, spinach seems to be the most common filling for byrek. But they sounded so similar to the spanakopita I occasionally make, that I opted for a cheese version instead. Continue reading

Turkish pide

21 Jun

Pide

Pide are Turkey’s answer to pizza, and surprisingly easy to make. The dough came together in minutes, and by the time I’d made the toppings, it was risen and ready to roll.

I went with two traditional toppings – spicy ground meat and spinach and cheese – but there’s definitely scope to experiment here.

I divided the dough into four pieces, and made four largeish pide, but you could just as easily make six individual ones.

Note that the recipe below is for the amount of filling you need if you plan to make both types of pide. If you want to make only one, either freeze half the dough to use another time or double the quantity of filling. Continue reading

Chocolate tart

27 Nov

Chocolate tart

There’s been a hiatus in the Great British Bake-off project, but the girls were never going to let me get away without making the double chocolate tart.

Chocolate pastry is new to me. My go-to pastry recipes have little or no sugar, and I wasn’t confident that would be enough to balance the bitterness of the cocoa. The pastry recipe I followed starts by creaming the butter and sugar, which resulted in a biscuity-crisp crust.  Continue reading