Well all good things must come to an end, and here is the last instalment of my Emsypickle’s GBBO Challenge! I loved watching the final of the show, and it was clear quite early on which of the 3 final challenges I would try my hand at. A three tiered wedding cake seemed slightly excessive haha, and whilst I enjoyed watching the pretzel technical challenge, I fancied making something a bit more substantial, so Picnic Pie it was! I love a good pie me! I had a look on the BBC Good Food website and cane across the delicious sounding Chicken and Stuffing Picnic Pie and was sold!
I loved that it uses a suet pastry as this is not something I’ve tried out before, and the flavours sounded immense – chicken, stuffing and sausage meat – what’s not to love?! I decided to add some mushrooms too (I’m obsessed with mushrooms!) and halved the ingredients in the actual recipe as it would only be myself and boyfriend eating it. I decided to pop it in a loaf tin too, to mirror the pies Ruby, Frances and Kimberley made a bit more closely.
I was so happy with how it turned out! I was concerned when rolling out the pastry that it would be too thin, but it held pretty well. It did have a slightly soggy bottom, where the pastry was a little bit thin in places, so next time I will make sure I roll it out slightly thicker, or perhaps make more dough and double line the base. The sides held up well when it was popped out of the tin (phew!) though when I cut into the pie one side did slip slightly – again because the dough was a bit too thin.
The pastry dough was really fun to make – it was very elastic which was nice to play with! It also tasted delicious – quite thick and rich. The filling was also absolutely delicious, with all of the meat nice and moist and packed full of flavour. I am really glad I added the mushrooms to add another dimension of taste, however I think next time I will experiment with different favours and colours to make it look a bit more interesting when it’s cut into, though it did have clear layers as was briefed on the show.
So here’s how I did it:
1) Season the chicken breasts then heat up the oil in a frying pan on a high heat. Add the chicken to the pan and cook quickly until browned on both sides then set aside. (It doesn’t matter if the chicken is not cooked all the way through).
HINT: Lay your browned chicken on kitchen roll, to soak up excess moisture. Too much moisture makes a soggy bottom!
2) Chop up your mushrooms, and then fry them in butter in the chicken pan. Season them well with salt, pepper and mixed herbs. Once they start to go brown, set them aside, again on a few layers of kitchen roll to absorb any excess moisture.
3) Skin your sausages and mush the meat together in a bowl. Season well with mixed herbs, salt pepper to give the meat extra flavour.
4) Set aside 1 tbsp. of the dry stuffing mix for later. Empty the rest into a bowl, and then add half the amount of water stated on the packet. Put this to one side whilst you make the pastry.
5) Sift the flour into a large bowl. Add the butter, the suet and 1/2 tsp of salt. Use your fingers to rub the ingredients together to form breadcrumbs.
HINT: Remember to be quite light fingered, using just the tips of your fingers to make the breadcrumbs. Don’t be tempted to squidge all the ingredients to make a dough already!
6) Once your perfect breadcrumbs are formed, stir the mix with a fork whilst you slowly dribble in 75ml of cold water. The dough should come together, and may be quite a wet mix. Tip the dough onto a floured work surface and knead the dough together until it’s quite soft and smooth.
7) Oil your tin and then separate a third of the dough, wrap it in cling film and pop it in the fridge. Roll the other section of the dough out big enough to line your tin, and gently place it in the tin, leaving an overlap over the top edges.
8) Time to get filling! Start by spooning in the made up stuffing – packing it down well. Then add a layer of chicken – cutting pieces to fit like a jigsaw if necessary, so it’s a solid layer. Then add the mushrooms over the top. Next smooth the sausage meat on top. Finally scatter the set aside tbsp. of dry stuffing mix over the sausage meat layer. Now the filling is in, brush the top edge of the pastry with beaten egg.
9) Take your set aside dough, and roll out big enough to fit over the top of your tin. Gently lift it over on top of the pie. Seal the lid in place by folding the overhang from the tinned pastry over onto the lid. Decorate the edges by crimping with a fork and cut a small hole in the middle of the lid to let all the steam escape whilst cooking. Brush all over with the beaten egg (and make sure you don’t throw the left over away – you’ll need it in a bit!)
10) Place in the oven – Gas Mark 6 / 200oC for 50 minutes. Then brush all over with egg again, and place back in the oven for another 10 minutes. Leave it to cool in the tin before turning out and serving! (It can also be frozen for 3 months for more picnic pie deliciousness at a later date!)
I live in Brixton in London. I eat out far too much, am always planning my next trip and have a borderline unhealthy obsession with Harry Potter.