Sunday, November 25, 2012

Turkey Meat Pie with Peas

Another Thanksgiving celebrated with my family. Oddly, this was only the second time I attempted roasting a turkey for Thanksgiving. And the secret to a flavorful big bird is nothing else but Butter! Although I like to remind myself of healthy eating on a daily basis, I take exception on celebration days and Holidays.If it is butter and cream that completes and make the best food for any celebration, they are top in my grocery list!

We managed to eat only half of our 12lb Thanksgiving Turkey and I used up the rest for Congee and this Pie today. As there was nothing to cook from scratch, this pie is very easy and fast to make as long as you have enough left over of the turkey meat and its gravy. You can add frozen mixed vegetables instead of peas only to make this pie a more hefty lunch. This pie is made in a 6 inch tart pan, but if you have bigger pie pans and more leftover turkey meat than I do, the pie dough can be doubled. 

Pie Dough 
2 Cups All Purpose Flour
1/2 Cup (1 stick) Cold butter, cut into cubes
1 Large Egg

1.  Process the flour with the butter cubes together in the food Processor for 1 minute.
2. Beat in the egg and mix till everything comes together to form a dough.
3. Grease a 6 inch tart/pie plate.
4. Roll out the dough to 1/4 inch thick and line the tart/pie pan. There will be about half of the dough left. Roll this out too to use for the top part of the pie.
5. Preheat oven to 375F.

450g Shredded Turkey Meat
1/2 cup of the Leftover gravy
1/2 cup of Frozen Peas or Vegetables
4 sage leaves, julienned
1 egg for Egg wash
Salt & Black Pepper to season

1. In a large bowl, mix the turkey meat with the frozen peas/vegetables.
2. Pour in the gravy and sage leaves to mix thoroughly. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Spoon the filling into the lined tart/pie plate and spread evenly.
4. Take the extra dough and lay on top of the filling and pinch it to the sides to join with the dough in the pie plate. Make a few slits on the surface.
5. Place the tart/pie pan on another baking sheet and apply egg wash and bake for 1 hour. After the first 30 mins, remove from oven and apply more egg wash. Finish up baking. Turn off the oven. Any gravy oozing out from the pie is fine.
6. Let the pie sit inside the oven for another 10 mins and serve hot/warm.

Serves 6

Friday, November 23, 2012

Cranberry and Peach Pie

This year's Thanksgiving celebration felt a little bit too early. The reason is that this American celebration of Thanks is usually assumed and celebrated on the very last Thursday of November but the fact is it is  celebrated on the fourth Thursday of every November. Oddly, this year's November has 5 Thursdays and so November 22 was the actual date instead the one I assumed on November 29. Having said that, I am thankful too that there is another extra week for me to settle down before the busy Christmas month of December ushers in which eventually will speed away to 2013! Time really flies and I am running after every day.

This year we celebrated Thanksgiving at home and by ourselves. It is great to enjoy the new house and to utilize my bigger kitchen efficiently. I took upon myself to bake, roast, cut, stuffed and cleaned up for the dinner while everyone else just went about doing their things. Too much apples during the last two months didn't entice me to bake an apple pie and I resorted to making something out of the cranberries again. And this time I think I got the perfect combination of tart and sweet when I thought of canned peaches that are soaked in syrup! Canned peaches takes baking very well and they do not break down mushy but still give that very soft texture like baked apples.

My other half loves his Apple Pie and perhaps the most choosy eater in this house! Skepticism did existed in my thoughts of whether this will go down his palate and to my delight, he ate almost half of the 8 inch pie by himself despite already gulping down a hefty turkey dinner! And then came the kids and all I was left with was this last piece that I managed to snap picture of or else there was no proof of how luscious it looked and tasted :). This recipe didn't require much ingredients and faster to make than all my previous apple pies.

Pie Shell
1 cup All Purpose Flour
1 cup Cake Flour
3/4 cup cold butter (1 stick plus 1/2 stick)
2 Large eggs

1. Mix the flour together in a mixer.
2. Cut the butter into small cubes and beat them into the flour mixture till crumbly.
3. Beat in the eggs to mix well and form a dough.Grease the 8 or 9 inch pie/tart pan with butter. Roll out the dough to the pie plate's size and line it with sides pinched in and decorate as you wish. Cover with cling plastic and rest it in the fridge while you prepare the filling. Place extra dough in the fridge.

Cranberry & Peach Filling
350g Fresh Cranberries
800g Canned Peach, drained and cut into cubes but not too small
1 Cup Brown Sugar
1 Cup of the Syrup from the Canned Peaches
1/8 tsp Cinnamon
4 tbsp Cornflour

1. Simmer the cranberries in the Syrup for 10 mins. Do not cook till mushy and remove from the stove as soon as some of them starting to pop. Pour into a large bowl and let it cool off for 15 mins.
2. Add in the peaches, brown sugar, Corn flour and Cinnamon. Mix together thoroughly. Let the mixture sit and macerate while preparing the pie shell.

To Assemble
1. Preheat the oven to 400F.
2. Roll out the left over pie dough in whole or cut to strips to form lattice. .
3. Spoon in and spread the fruit filling onto the pie dough inside the pie/tart pan.You can choose to cover the top with the left over dough or make lattice shape.
5. Reduce the temperature to 350F and bake for a further 30 mins. Cover the pie loosely with aluminum foil.The pie filling might look slightly watery, almost gravy texture but it will harden up later. Remove the foil and bake for further 10 mins. Turn off the oven and let the pie sit inside for a further 10 mins. Remove and let it cool in the pie plate. This pie is best served warm.

Serves 6 to 8 person

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Almond & Cranberry Tart

The wrath of Sandy was terrible. I count my Blessings for being spared the big damages as suffered by the folks down in New Jersey and New York . Other than toppled trees and alot of mess outside in the yard, nothing terrible nor devastating around my neighborhood area. Another Halloween day ruined like last year, carved pumpkins rotting away and Trick or Treat postponed to a later date...forecasted to be a cold night too! Sigh....I am really not ready for the winter!
But one thing I am looking forward to is X'mas and end of year cooking and baking! And I just love the mood for X'mas with its white, red and green colors that adorn everything from house decorations to the pine trees and snow outside! Although I am not a very big fan of snow, a little white powder coating outside when everyone feels merry and thankful feels peaceful.

Cranberry is such a beautiful red and when cooked down into jam, it beats the usual strawberry and raspberry jams in terms of taste and color. I used up the remaining packet of fresh cranberries from my previous Muffins and cook them all down to jam to fill these tartlets. A pinch of nutmeg spice makes these tartlets wonderful and something different from the usual Apple pie. The tart base was made up with ground almond which bakes and browns faster than the usual flour based tart but the taste is superb with a very smooth melt in your mouth crunch and full of the nut flavor. I used both cups and the weighing scale in my baking and weighing, hence the cups and metric measurements in writing up this recipe.


Almond Tart
1 & 1/4 cup All Purpose Flour
1/4 cup Almond flour
1/8 cup Confectioner Sugar
1 stick (4oz) Cold Butter
1 egg

1. Sift the flour, Almond flour and confectioner sugar into a large bowl or food processor.
2. Cut the butter into smaller cubes and mix into the flour bowl. If using hands, crumble the butter into the flour till resembling crumbs. If using food processor, pulse together for about 20 seconds till cubes of butter is not present. Beat in the egg just enough to form a soft dough. Cover and let it rest in the fridge for 30 mins.

Cranberry Jam Filling
250g fresh cranberry
125g Sugar (don't skim on this...the cranberry is super tart if you do!)
1 pinch of grated nutmeg
1/4 cup plus 1/8 cup Orange juice

1. Put everything into a small saucepan. Bring it up to a boil and lower the heat to simmer.
2. Cook for about 20 mins, till the cranberry breaks down and keep stirring. Remove from heat and let cool completely.

To Assemble
1. Grease an 8 inch removable bottom tart pan all over with butter or use five of 4 inches tartlet pans.
2. Preheat the oven to 350F.
3. Remove the tart dough from the fridge. Let it sit at room temperature for 5 mins and start to roll out to the size of the tart pan/s. The dough may easily tear apart when rolling, if you prefer , you can roughly roll it out and line the tart pan and free handly patch up with pieces in the pan.
4. Spoon the cranberry jam into the lined tart pan. Sprinkle with slivered almonds and bake for 25 mins (for smaller pans) or 30 mins (for 8 inch pan).
5. Remove from oven immediately as the almond tart burns easily once past the cooking time. Let it cool inside the tart pan for 10 mins and remove to cool completely.

Serves: 6 or 8