Paul’s Hand-raised Pies

A technical baking challenge from Paul Hollywood. These hand raised pies are packed with diced chicken, smoked back bacon, dried apricots and fresh thyme.

Introduction

The bakers got themselves into a sticky situation with the hand-raised pies. The key is to shape the pastry as quickly as you can. The ‘dollies’ in this recipe are wooden moulds used by pie-makers to shape hand- raised pies. Alternatively, Mary suggests that you could use 2 jam jars of similar dimensions. Fill the jam jars with hot water before you remove the pastry from around them -the hot water will help the pastry come off. The recipe makes 2 pies and each will serve 3–4.

Makes 2

Ingredients

For the hot water crust pastry:
200g plain flour
40g strong white bread flour
50g unsalted butter, chilled and diced
60g lard
100ml boiling water
1 tsp salt
1 beaten egg, to glaze
For the filling:
300g uncooked chicken meat, free of skin and bones, roughly diced
300g smoked back bacon rashers, cut into narrow strips
1 tsp chopped thyme
240g dried apricots, chopped
Salt and pepper
To finish:
1 chicken stock cube
2 medium pie dollies, about 13cm wide and 7.25cm high, greased with olive oil; a baking sheet, lined with baking paper
2 leaves of gelatine (about 4g total)

Essential kit

You will need 2 medium pie dollies about 13cm wide and 7.25cm high and a baking sheet.

Instructions

To make the pastry, put both the flours in a mixing bowl and rub in the butter until the mixture looks like fine crumbs. Put the lard, boiling water and salt into a small pan and heat until the lard has melted, then pour onto the flour mixture. Stir with a wooden spoon until the mixture comes together into a dough.

Tip the warm dough onto a lightly floured worktop and gently work until it forms a smooth ball. Divide it in half. Set aside one- quarter of each portion for the lids and keep covered with clingfilm until needed. Form the rest of one portion of dough into a ball, then flatten slightly. Set a dolly on top of the flattened disc. Using your hands, mould the still warm dough around the dolly. Try to make sure the dough is the same thickness on the sides, that the dough on the base is not too thick and that there are no holes. Repeat with the other portion of dough. Set the moulded pie cases on the lined baking sheet and chill for about 20 minutes or until really firm.

Roll out the 2 saved portions of dough to make discs 13cm across, or to fit the size of the pies you’ve moulded. Make a hole in the centre of each lid, then chill them for about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, keeping the chicken and bacon strips separate, season them with salt, plenty of pepper and the thyme.

Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas 6. Take the pie cases out of the fridge and very carefully coax the hard pastry off each dolly in one piece. If the pie cases soften in handling, return them to the fridge for about 10 minutes until really firm again. Trim the top of the pie cases so the sides are of even height all around and not too tall (Paul trimmed his pies so that they were 10cm tall). Now layer up the filling: start with bacon, then add chicken and then a layer of apricots, and repeat – the filling should be well packed in.

Set a top on each pie and crimp the lid and the rim of the pastry case together with your thumb and forefinger to seal thoroughly. Set the pies on the unlined baking sheet and brush the tops with beaten egg to glaze. Bake for 50–60 minutes until the pastry is crisp and a good golden brown all over.

Dissolve the chicken stock cube in 150ml of hot water. Soak the leaves of gelatine in a small bowl of cold water for about 5 minutes until soft, then squeeze out the excess water. Whisk the gelatine into the hot but not boiling stock until melted.

Remove the cooked pies from the oven, set them on a wire rack and leave to cool. While the pies are still hot, carefully pour the stock into each pie through the hole in the pie lid to fill up any cavities (this must be done while the pies are hot, otherwise the jelly will sit on the top of the filling only). Leave to cool completely, then cover and chill in the fridge overnight so the stock has time to set to a firm jelly.

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