Chicken Pesto Pot Pies

These chicken and pesto pot pies are absolutely delicious and surprisingly quick, as they use both pre-bought pesto and pastry. Feel free to add/change the veggies as you like.

Ingredients (makes 6)
450-500g chicken thighs, chopped
40g butter
1 leek (white part only), thinly sliced
½ carrot, chopped finely
1 clove of garlic, chopped finely
4 button mushrooms, sliced
2 tablespoons plain flour
¾ cup chicken stock
¾ cup thickened cream
2 tablespoons basil pesto
2 sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed
Milk, to brush

Method
Pan fry your chicken over a medium-high heat until just cooked through. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 180°C (160 fan-forced).

Melt the butter in a pan over medium-low heat. Add the leek and carrot and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until soft. Add the garlic and mushrooms and cook for 1 minute, then add the flour and stir for a further minute. Gradually stir in the chicken stock, then bring the mixture to simmer. Add the cream and cook for 3 minutes, stirring, until thickened. Allow to cool slightly, then stir in pesto and season to taste. Add the cooked chicken and stir to combine.

Using your ramekins as a stencil, cut 6 pie lids from the puff pastry sheets. Fill each ramekin with the pie mixture and then top with a pastry lid. Make a small hole in the centre to allow steam to escape. Decorate as desired using pastry offcuts (I put initials on mine). Brush each pie lid with milk. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden. Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from ‘Chicken Pesto Pies’ in delicious. More Please (2010)

Lime Meringue Pie

To celebrate my five year anniversary of working in the Public Service and winning an exciting new employment policy role, I decided to treat myself and buy a kitchenaid (not sponsored, I’m just a long time admirer and now proud owner!) Of course, it couldn’t be just any kitchenaid, it had to be one of their beautiful new pastel shades. I tossed up between the rose pink and ice blue, but ultimately decided on the gorgeous blue.

In order to christen it properly, I knew I had to make something with meringue to take advantage of not having to hold beaters while the eggwhites are whipping. Mum’s lime tree is absolutely chokkas at the moment, so a lime meringue pie was the obvious choice.

The pie is zesty, sweet and packed with lime flavour. Enjoy!

Ingredients (serves 8)
Pastry
1½ cups plain flour
3 tspns icing sugar
140g cold butter, chopped
1 egg yolk
2 tblspns water

Lime filling
½ cup cornflour
1 cup caster sugar
½ cup lime juice
1¼ cups water
2 tspns finely grated lime rind
3 egg yolks
50g butter
Green food colouring (if desired)

Meringue
3 egg whites
½ cup caster sugar

Method
Put flour, icing sugar, butter, yolk and water into a food processor and process until just come together. Press dough into a ball, knead gently on a floured surface until smooth; cover, refrigerate 30 mins.

Preheat oven to 180°C fan-forced. Grease a 24cm flan tin. After resting, roll dough on floured surface until it is large enough to line the tin. Lift pastry into tin, ease into sides and trim the edge.

Place tin on an oven tray, line pastry with baking paper and fill with pie weights or uncooked rice. Bake for 10mins then remove baking paper and weights and bake, uncovered for a further 10 mins or until pastry case is browned lightly. Leave to cool. Reduce oven temperature to 160°C fan-forced.

To make filling: combine corn flour and sugar in a medium saucepan. Gradually stir in lime juice and water. Stir over heat until mixture boils and thickens (mixture should be very thick, jelly-like). Reduce heat, simmer, stirring for 30 secs. Remove from heat and quickly stir in egg yolks, butter and rind. Stir until smooth. If you wish to make the filling greener, add a few drops of food colouring. Leave until it cools to room temperature.

Once at room temperature, spread filling into pastry case.

To make meringue: beat egg whites in a medium bowl with electric mixer until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar, beating until dissolved after each addition. Mixture should be smooth and glossy.

Top pie with meringue mixture (I like to make it look rustic with mounds of differing heights) and bake for 5 – 10 mins at 160°C fan-forced until browned lightly. Stand for 5 mins before serving.

Enjoy!

Adapted from ‘The Women’s Weekly’ Lemon Meringue Pie

Passionfruit Pie

The combination of buttery pastry, tangy passionfruit and creamy white chocolate in this pie is absolutely delicious! This is a fairly time-consuming recipe so definitely one I reserve for special occasions. I would recommend using a mixture of fresh and frozen passionfruit pulp to keep it economical unless you have an abundance of fresh passionfruit (in which case, feel free to send some my way!)

Ingredients (serves 12)
White chocolate ganache
125g white chocolate, chopped
½ cup thickened cream

Pastry
1¾ cups plain flour
¼ cup icing sugar mixture
125g cold unsalted butter, cubed
1 egg, lightly beaten

Passionfruit syrup
Pulp of 4 passionfruit
¼ cup caster sugar

Passionfruit crème pâtissière
Pulp of 8 passionfruit
400ml thickened cream
1 teaspoon vanilla paste
1 wide strip lemon zest
4 egg yolks
125g caster sugar
⅓ cup cornflour
50g butter, cubed

Method

To make the ganache, microwave the white chocolate in short bursts until melted. Add the cream and refrigerate for 2 hours until thickened.

For the pastry, place the flour and icing sugar into a food processor and add the butter. Process in short bursts until the mixture has a fine crumb consistency. Add the egg and process until the mixture just starts to come together. Turn out onto a clean bench and gather the dough together. Press into a thick disc, wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate for 15 minutes.

When the dough has chilled, roll it out on a sheet of non-stick baking paper to fit a 26cm loose-based non-stick flan tin. Carefully line the tin with the pastry, easing it into the corners. Trim any overhanging pastry, prick small holes with a fork and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced).

Cover the pastry with a sheet of non-stick baking paper and fill it with pastry weights. Blind bake the pastry for 15 minutes, remove the weights and paper, and bake for a further 10-15 minutes or until light golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool completely.

To make the passionfruit syrup, place the passionfruit pulp and sugar in a small saucepan with half a cup of water. Stir over low heat to dissolve the sugar, then bring to the boil, skimming the froth off the top as you go. Boil for about 2 minutes, until thick and syrupy, then remove from the heat.

For the crème pâtissière, place the passionfruit pulp into a strainer over a bowl and leave it to strain. Heat the cream in a saucepan with the vanill and lemon zest until it is just about to boil. Whisk the egg yolks and sugar in a bowl until light and creamy. Strain the cream and pour over the egg yolk mixture, whisking constantly. Add the cornflour and stir over very low heat for approx. 5 minutes. As the mixture starts to thicken, whisk more quickly until it is very thick and smooth. Cover with clingfilm and refrigerate for 20-30 minutes or until the mixture is just warmer than room temperature. Beat in the butter and the strained passionfruit juice.  

Fill the pastry with the passionfruit crème pâtissière mixture, refrigerate for 5-10 minutes and then spread the white chocolate ganache over the top. Drizzle with the passionfruit syrup and refrigerate for about 4 hours.

Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Julie Goodwin’s ‘Passionfruit puddle pie’ in My Family Table.

Mini Lemon Meringue Pies

These adorable mini lemon meringue pies make entertaining simple. I use bought miniature pastry cases, filled them with the simplest ever homemade lemon curd and topped them with a dollop of meringue – delicious! The best part is, the recipe makes more lemon curd than is required for the pies so you will have plenty to use in cakes, on scones, to give as a gift, or to eat with a spoon (no shame!)

Note: for best results, make the lemon curd the day ahead

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Ingredients (makes 32 mini pies)
For the lemon curd
1 cup white sugar
3 eggs
1 cup fresh lemon juice (approx. 4-5 lemons)
zest of 2 lemons
½ cup butter, melted

30 x 5cm tart shells (I use the Baylies Epicurean Delights brand)
2 egg whites
½ cup caster sugar

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To make the curd,whisk together the sugar and eggs in a large microwave safe bowl until thoroughly combined. Whisk in lemon juice, zest and melted butter.

Cook in the microwave on full power for 50 second intervals, whisking after each interval. You will know your lemon curd is ready when it coats the back of a metal spoon (approximately 3-5 50 second intervals).

Pour into a sterile jar or container and allow to cool to room temperature before covering it with a lid and storing it in the refrigerator.

To assemble the pies, preheat oven 200°C (180°C fan-forced).

Place egg whites in a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Gradually add the sugar, beating until it dissolved between additions. Spoon meringue into a piping bag with a large star tip nozzle.

Place pastry cases onto a baking tray and carefully fill each with lemon curd. Pipe stars of meringue onto each pie.

Bake in the oven for 8-10 minutes or until the meringue is lightly browned.

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Lemon curd recipe adapted from My Baking Addiction and meringue recipe from 9 Honey Kitchen.

 

Apple Pie

This cheat’s apple pie uses pre-made pastry which allows you to spend more time decorating. I used pink lady apples because that’s what we had in the house, but it would work well with granny smith apples instead (but you may want to add in a little more sugar). Happy baking!

Ingredients (serves 8)
5 medium apples peeled, cored and chopped into cubes
½ cup water
¼ cup caster sugar
2 teaspoons lemon rind
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 egg, lightly beaten

Method

Grease a 25cm pie dish. Preheat oven to 180°C. 

Peel, core and chop your apples. Place the apples and the water in a large saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for about 6-7 minutes or until the apples soften. Drain all water. Stir in sugar, lemon rind and cinnamon.

Line pie dish with pastry (you may need to join 2 pieces together) and prick the bottom with a fork. Top with baking paper and pie weights or rice and bake for approximately 20-25 minutes or until lightly golden. Remove the pie weights and allow to cool.

Meanwhile, use the offcuts from the first 2 pieces of pastry to cut out leaves and flowers using cookie cutters.

Using the third piece of pastry, cut 6 thin strips, 2 thick strips and 6 very thin strips (to form 2 braids). Use the excess pastry to cut more leaves and flowers.

Spoon the apple mixture into the cooled pie base. Top with pastry strips and braids in a woven lattice design. Use the pastry leaves and flowers to decorate the edges. Gently brush the pastry with the beaten egg.

Bake for 25-35 minutes or until pastry is golden and crisp. Serve with cream or ice-cream. Enjoy!

Adapted from the Australian Women’s Weekly ‘Apple Pie’.

Pumpkin Pies with a Brûlée Topping

Thanksgiving is almost upon us and while my family doesn’t celebrate it, we have developed a fondness for pumpkin pie since the first pumpkin pie I made for “Chrisgiving” in 2014. To change things up this year, I decided to make individual pies for everyone and for crunch, added a brûlée topping. Yum!

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It was my first time using a blowtorch so some bits got a little darker than anticipated – lots of fun though! 

Ingredients (makes 8)
Pastry
1 ⅔ cups plain flour, sifted
110g butter, chilled
110g pure icing sugar
1 egg yolk

Filling
2 cups pumpkin puree (made by roasting 1 whole butternut pumpkin (skinless), blitzing it into a smooth paste in a blender and then putting it in a sieve for an hour to remove the excess juice)
3 large eggs
½ cup sugar
⅓ cup brown sugar
¾ cup cream
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
A pinch of salt
1 quick grind of pepper

Brûlée Topping
Caster sugar

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Method
For the pastry, place flour, butter and icing sugar in a food processor and process until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add egg yolk and 2 tblspns cold water and process until the mixture comes together in a smooth ball. Enclose in a plastic wrap and chill for 30mins.

Preheat the oven to 190°C. Grease 8 10cm loose-bottomed tart pans well with margarine and canola oil spray.

Roll out pastry on a lightly floured surface and lift pastry into a tin, easing into the sides & trimming the excess. Repeat with the remaining tins. Chill the pastry in the tins for 15mins. Line the pastry with baking paper and fill with pastry weights. Blind-bake for 10mins, then remove paper and weights and return to the oven for 5mins or until crisp and lightly golden. Allow to cool slightly.

Meanwhile, whisk eggs and sugar until smooth. Add the pumpkin puree, cream, vanilla and spices and stir until all incorporated.

Remove the baking paper and pie weights and pour mixture into pastry cases. Bake pies in the oven for 10 minutes before reducing the heat to 160°C fan-forced and baking for a further 20-25 minutes, or until the filling has set.

Allow to cool completely before gently removing pies from the tins. These can be served without the brûlée topping as mini pumpkin pies.

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To create the brûlée topping, sprinkle the tops of the pies liberally with caster sugar and then heat with a blowtorch until the sugar has melted and formed a crisp coating. Serve with ice cream or whipped cream. Enjoy!

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Pastry recipe adapted from the delicious. ‘Sweet’ cookbook and pumpkin pie filling recipe from Inspired Taste.net

 

Thanksgiving Pumpkin Pie

Pic from Inspired Taste.net (mine got eaten too quickly!)
Pic from Inspired Taste (mine got eaten too quickly!)

Even though Thanksgiving isn’t really a holiday celebrated here in Australia, this year my family decided to get in on the action anyway as a number of us will be away over Christmas (and we like to party with or without good reason). So, in keeping with tradition, I made a pumpkin pie for dessert. I had no idea what to expect having never tried one before, but gave a highly rated recipe I found online a go and was really pleased with the result. If I didn’t know there was pumpkin in there (and it wasn’t orange) I wouldn’t pick it because it’s really the vanilla and spices that come to the fore, with the pumpkin providing a creamy, sweet back note. Pumpkin-y or not it was delicious and I’ll probably make it again when pumpkins are in season.

Ingredients (serves 8-10)
Pastry
1 ½ cups plain flour
3 tspns icing sugar
140g cold butter, chopped
1 egg yolk
2 tblspoons water

Filling
2 cups pumpkin puree (made by roasting pumpkins, scooping out the flesh, blitzing it into a smooth paste in a blender and then putting it in a sieve for an hour or so to remove the excess juice)
3 large eggs
½ cup sugar
⅓ cup brown sugar
¾ cup cream
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
A pinch of salt
1 quick grind of pepper (i.e. a really small amount, sounds odd but it works!)

Method
To make the pastry, put the flour, icing sugar, butter, yolk & water into a food processor and process until it just comes together. Press into a ball, knead gently on a floured surface until smooth & then refrigerate, covered in clingfilm, for 30 mins.

Preheat the oven to 200°C fan-forced. Lightly grease a 23cm flan tin or pie dish.

When the pastry has chilled, roll dough on a floured surface until large enough to line the tin (I often have a bit left over). Lift pastry into tin, ease into the sides & then trim the excess.

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Cover the pastry with a sheet of baking paper and fill with pie weights or uncooked rice. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk eggs and sugar until smooth. Add the pumpkin puree, cream, vanilla and spices and stir until all incorporated.

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Pour mixture into pastry case (obviously remove the baking paper and pie weights first!!) and smooth over the top. I ended up having a bit of pumpkin filling left over that I might use in muffins or something (if I don’t eat it all first :P)

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Bake pie in the oven for 10 minutes before reducing the heat to 160°C fan-forced for around 30-40 minutes, or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.

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Let cool completely before transferring to a serving platter and then serve at room temperature with whipped cream or ice cream. Enjoy!

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Pic from Inspired Taste (mine got eaten too quickly!)

Pastry recipe from the Australian Women’s Weekly Lemon Meringue Pie Recipe & Filling Recipe from Inspired Taste.net

Tangy Lemon Tart

Since moving to Adelaide, I’ve been lucky enough to have access to an abundance of homegrown lemons. In our rental house in 2013, our lemon tree provided perfect fruit almost all year round, and my Aunt & Uncle also grow outstanding citrus and always seem to have plenty to give away. This has meant lots of experimentation with lemon desserts and this one has to be one of my most popular! This tart has a strong, slightly tart lemon flavour and  gorgeously short, melt-in-your-mouth pastry. Serve dusted with icing sugar and with thickened cream or ice cream for a perfect dinner party dessert.

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Ingredients (Serves 12)
Pastry
2 cups plain flour
½ cup icing sugar, sifted
180g cold unsalted butter, chopped
1 egg, lightly beaten

Filling
5 eggs
3 egg yolks
150g caster sugar
200ml freshly squeezed lemon juice, strained
100ml freshly squeezed orange juice, strained
250ml pouring cream

Icing sugar, to dust
Double cream or vanilla ice cream, to serve

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Method
To make the pastry, process the flour, icing sugar & butter in a food processor until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the egg and process until the mix just comes together. Form the pastry into a disc, wrap in glad wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced). Spray a 27cm tart pan with a removable base with cooking oil. Roll out pastry on a lightly floured surface until 4mm thick and use to line the prepared pan. Trim the edge, then line with baking paper and fill with pastry weights (or dried rice). Bake for 15mins then remove weights and paper and cook for a further 5mins until golden. Set aside.

Reduce oven to 150°C.

To make lemon filling, place eggs, yolks & sugar into a bowl and stir until just combined (try to avoid creating bubbles). Gently stir in lemon and orange juices. Pour cream into a small saucepan and bring almost to the boil, then stir it into egg mixture. Using a fine sieve, strain lemon filling into a jug. Place tart shell onto an oven tray and pour in the filling.

Bake for 15mins, then carefully rotate to ensure even cooking. Bake for a further 10mins or until just set. To check, gently shake the tart; it should be slightly wobbly in the centre.

Cool the tart to room temperature, then dust with icing sugar and serve with double cream or ice cream.

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Adapted from Matt Moran’s Lemon Tart featured in MasterChef Magazine – Issue 3, July 2010.

Key Lime Pie

Happy Pi Day everyone! And what an exciting one it is (3.14.15).
This pie is perfectly seasonal – being both a pie (for Pi day) and a fabulous shade of green which is appropriate for St. Patrick’s Day next week 🙂
It’s also very easy to make and a delicious way to take advantage of the abundance of limes we are lucky to have at this time of the year.

Ingredients (serves 8-10)
135g digestive biscuits, finely crushed
60g caster sugar
75g butter, softened
1x 400g can sweetened condensed milk
125ml fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons grated lime zest
2 eggs, separated
Green food colouring (optional)
300ml thickened cream

Method
Preheat oven to 170°C. In a shallow 20-23cm pie dish, press combined biscuit crumbs, sugar & butter into the base and up this sides, making a small rim.

In a medium bowl, whisk condensed milk with lime juice, zest and egg yolks until the mixture thickens. Add 1-2 drops of green food colouring.

In a small bowl with electric mixer on full power, beat egg whites to stiff peaks. Gently fold into lime mixture.

Pour lime filling into the biscuit crust and smooth the top.

Bake the pie for 15-20 mins or until lime filling is just firm.

Cool pie in this dish and then refrigerate until chilled, approximately 3 hours.

Whip cream in a small bowl until stiff peaks form. Pipe a border of cream around the edge of the pie and top with h lime wedges if desired. Enjoy!

Adapted from Mary Berry’s ‘Key lime Pie’ in Step By Step Desserts and Confections.