"Heart"-y Meat Pies

February 8, 2015

I'm completely in love with the reality cooking show The Great British Baking Show. It has a lovely group of contestants, nail-biting competition, beautiful food and gives an education on pastries from around the world. And it has some serious eye candy (in the food, of course). A must watch---for all you Top Chef, Chopped, Cupcake Wars lovers.
When the show featured meat pies, my eyes lit up immediately. I was a huge fan of meat pies when I spent a few weeks in New Zealand years ago. On the show, their choice of pie crust intrigued me: hot water crust pastry, which is not common on this side of the Atlantic. Unlike pie dough, it is made with boiling water. It's sturdy and the perfect vessel for a meaty filling.
My first attempt with hot water crust pastry was a challenge. I found it very stiff and not easy to work with. Then I found another recipe that incorporated shortening, which yielded a more pliable dough that was much easier to knead.
I had some fun with the fillings. I looked to a traditional British filling with sausage but then also decided to make a Korean-inspired filling that came from my previous adventure with Frito Pie.

By adding some hearts as decorations, it instantly becomes a loving Valentine's Day treat for loved ones, if you feel so inclined to bake a special gift for the holiday.
Kimchi Turkey Pie
1 tbs canola oil
1 tsp sesame oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tbs ginger, grated
1/2 lb ground turkey
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
1 tbs soy sauce
1 tsp brown sugar
splash of Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup chicken broth
1/2 tsp cornstarch
1/2 cup of kimchi, chopped
1 green onion, chopped
1/2 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
a handful of chopped cilantro

this recipe for Hot-Water Crust Pastry Dough--which yields 10 small pies (I would up the salt to a total of 1/2 tsp)
1 egg, beaten for egg wash

1. Prepare Hot-Water Crust Pastry Dough. While it is in the fridge, prepare turkey filling.
2. Heat oils in pan over medium heat. Add garlic and ginger and heat for 30 seconds. Then add in ground turkey and green bell pepper. Break up meat with back of wooden spoon and cook until no longer pink.
3. Add in soy sauce and brown sugar to pan and stir to combine. Then mix chicken broth and cornstarch in a separate bowl. Then add mixture to pan. Stir and heat through until the mixture thickens.
4. Add in kimchi, stir and heat for another 2 minutes. 
5. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease muffin tin with non-stick spray. Roll out dough after it has firmed up in the refrigerator to a 1/4 inch thick. Use a 4 inch diameter cup to cut out the crust for the bottom of the pie. Then cut out a smaller circle with a 2 inch diameter cup for the lids. 
6. Place larger dough circle into muffin tin. Scoop turkey filling into dough until filled. Place lid on top and crimp until sealed. Repeat with remaining dough. Brush tops with egg wash. 
7. Bake in oven for 30 minutes or until dough turns a tannish-brown color, not dark brown and not golden. 
8. Remove from oven, cool in the muffin tins for 10 minutes. Enjoy! 

Sausage, Apple, Potato and Leek Pie Filling adapted from Eva in the Kitchen
1/2 tbs butter
1/2 lb mild Italian sausage, removed from casings
1 small Russet potato, peeled and cut into small cubes
1 leek, green parts removed and cut into rings 
1/2 apple, peeled and cubed
1 tbs mustard
1 tbs Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup chicken broth
1. Heat butter in a pan over medium heat. Add in sausage and cook until it has browned. Add in potato and cook until potato has softened. 
2. Add in leeks, apple and cook until softened. Stir in mustard, Worcestershire sauce and broth. Cook until liquids have mostly evaporated. 
3. Add to hot water crust pastry and enjoy! 

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