Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Savory Pies: A Crunchy Snack!

This week I am posting a recipe, that I had made for my little S's birthday party. These little pies are really tasty and yummy finger foods.

Previously, I had made jam tarts a number of times. But had not tried savory pies or tarts as yet. Actually, I was looking for an easy recipe for a base (or tart shells) for the tarts that was not sweet.

Finally, I got a very easy recipe for short crust pastry base from Nigella Lawson's website. You can find the recipe here.

Once, my pastry base was in place, the stuffing was no challenge at all. I used the pizza sauce that I make at home and some chicken keema curry as the stuffing. Needless to say, the pies were a big hit with the kids.

Most of S's friends asked for a second....even a third helping of the pies. :)

Here is the recipe:


For the pizza sauce:
Tomatoes: 2
Garlic (chopped fine): 4-5 cloves of garlic
Salt: to taste
Sugar: to taste
Crushed black pepper: a pinch
Mixed herbs (rosemary, basil, and thyme): 1/4th teaspoon
Oil (olive oil or any neutral oil): 1 tsp

For the short crust pastry base:
Maida/ all purpose flour: 2 and a half cups
Salt: 1 teaspoon
Butter: 1 cup (chopped into pieces)
Cold water: 8 tablespoons
Oil for greasing the molds

For the stuffing:
Chicken keema curry: 1 small bowl (vegetarians can use paneer bhurji or soya keema curry)
Cheddar cheese (grated): 1/2 cup
Mozzarella cheese: 1/2 cup


Preparing the tomato pizza sauce:
1. Heat oil in a pan.
2. When the oil is heated, add the chopped garlic and stir till u get a lovely aroma of garlic. Do not over-fry or else the garlic will get burnt.
3. Next add the chopped tomatoes. Stir fry for 1-2 minutes.
4. Add salt and sugar. Cover and let cook on a medium flame. After 2 minutes, remove cover and stir. The tomatoes would have released water and become mushy. If your sauce appears dryish, at this time, you can add 2 tablespoons of tomato ketchup.
5. Once the sauce has thickened, add the mixed herbs and crushed black pepper. Take off the flame and keep aside to cool.

Preparing the short crust pastry base (or tart shell):
1. Before preparing the base, keep the plate u will use for kneading the dough, in the fridge. If you will use a stand mixer, keep the dough hooks and the mixer bowl in the fridge. This is necessary because the vessel that you need to knead dough has to be cold. Also use chilled water to knead the dough.
2. Take the Maida/APF in the chilled plate. Add salt and the cold chopped butter to the flour and mix using you fingers/ pulse on low speed in your stand mixer using the dough hook. The butter should be mixed uniformly with the dry flour uniformly. The flour, at this point, will resemble bread crumbs.
3. Now add chilled water and knead into a firm but soft dough. Wrap the dough ball with cling film and keep it in the fridge for 30 minutes.

In case you want to bake the pies the next day, you can keep the dough stored in the fridge. This dough keeps very well for 3-4 days in the fridge. Whenever you want piping hot pies, just remove the dough from the fridge, keep outside for 10 minutes and then prepare the pies. Voila!

Assembling the pies:
1. Take a small lemon-size ball from the dough. Roll the ball into a roti of about 1/4th inch thickness.

2. For baking pies. You need small ramekins. I use tin ramekins.

3. Place the base inside the ramekin and press down the sides.

4. Place a teaspoon of pizza sauce on top of the base.

5. Now add a teaspoon full of stuffing (chicken keema curry in my case). Add grated cheeses on top. Add a pinch of oregano on top (optional).

6. Cover the pie with a another piece of the dough rolled like a roti. Press down the sides.

7. Place a small cut on the surface of the piece. This is essential to help release the steam when the pie is cooking.

8. Preheat the oven at 200 degrees C for 10 minutes.

9. Bake the pies for 20 minutes or till the top is slightly golden-brown.

10. Take out of oven. Serve warm. :)

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