Pies are said to have originated in the Neolithic age around 9500 BC, based on discoveries made by archaeologists. The Greeks were the first to cook meats mixed with other ingredients in open pastry shells called ‘artocreas’. The recipe then gradually spread to the Romans. In fact, it was the Romans who first published a recipe for a ‘rye-crusted goat cheese and honey pie’.
Today, pies are a hot favourite across the world and depending on a particular region’s cuisine, it can be sweet or savoury, with varied fillings – spanning meats, vegetables and even fruits.
For the pastry
Flour – 375 gms
Butter – 180 gms
Cold water – 90 ml
Egg – 1 pc; beaten
Salt – a pinch
For the chicken filling
Butter – 30 gms
Mushrooms – 60 gms; chopped
Onion – 1 pc; finely chopped
Garam masala – 1tsp
Flour – 2 tbsps
Chicken stock – 180 ml
Chicken – 300 gms; roasted and chopped
Sweet corn kernels – 50 gms
Pepper – a big pinch; fresh and roughly ground
Salt – to taste
To make the chicken filling
- Melt the butter in a pan, add the onions and fry till transparent.
- Add the mushrooms and fry for about 4 to 5 mins.
- Add the garam masala.
- Stir in the flour and cook for 2 mins.
- Add the diced chicken and corn, and stir.
- Add the chicken stock, salt and pepper.
- Bring to a boil stirring constantly.
- Reduce heat and simmer for 3 mins till it acquires a thick consistency.
- Remove from flame and keep aside to cool.
To make the pastry
- Work the flour and butter with your fingertips till the dough resembles bread crumbs.
- Add the salt and then the cold water to form a firm pliable dough.
- Divide the dough into the number of pie tins you wish to fill.
- Press each pastry dough into each tin. Make sure it is evenly lined and covers up to the rim of the tin.
- Divide the remaining pastry and roll out each portion to make a lid for the pie.
- Scoop the cold chicken filling into the pie tin.
- Dampen the edges of the pastry in the tin and cover it with the pastry lid. Use your thumb to press both the pastry edges together to seal it completely.
- Cut off the excess pastry and shape it to make leaves which can be placed on top of the pies for decoration.
- Make a small hole in the centre of the pie to let out the steam.
- Brush each pastry with the beaten egg.
- Bake at 180 degrees for about 45-55 mins until pastry is golden in colour.
- Remove from the pie tin once cooled.
The recipe may seem time consuming and a wee bit cumbersome, but the end result will be worth the effort. Do share with us your experience of making these delicious chicken pies in the comments section below.