The Great British Bake Off is one my favorite shows, inspiring new bakes, new flavors, and new techniques! Join me on my journey to bake through all the Season 8 Challenges.
Total Cooking Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
The Great British Bake Off is a classic show for bakers and those looking for a friendly competition. All the bakes on the show look delicious and I often want to try baking them myself! I finally got off the couch and into the kitchen to recreate some of the recipes from Bake Off! I chose to start with season eight of Bake Off as it is my favorite season and the one with some of my favorite challenges!
It’s a new week and that means a new theme! This time, it’s pastry week and I am ready to take a break from all the sweet desserts! The signature challenge this week is four shortcrust savory pies. Sounds like the perfect dinner to me! I was inspired by Stacey’s Old Fashioned Minced Beef Pies. Since I’m a pescatarian, I had to make some slight modifications to the pie, but I absolutely loved how they turned out! Even the journey was easy!
This post covers the shortcrust pastry and the creation of the full dish. For the filling check out this ground be’f filling post!
Not going to lie, my favorite part of a shortcrust pastry? The lack of sugar. I think I overdosed on sugar after doing the challenges from Pudding week… The main ingredients in a shortcrust pastry are flour and butter. That’s really it. I do use a little bit of salt and water but it’s mainly just the flour and butter.
Creating the Dough
For this recipe, the food processor was my best friend. It makes putting the dough together a simple and quick process. First, I added the flour and salt into the food processor so I could blend the salt into the flour and have it evenly spread. Then it was time to add the butter. I cubed the butter before adding it into the food processor. I didn’t want to give the food processor that much work to do.
And a part of me doubt it would be able to handle two and a half sticks with all that flour already in the processor. After cutting up the butter, I did chill the butter before putting it into the food processor. I wanted to give the dough the best chance to be a crumbly and delicious shortcrust.
I blitzed the flour and butter together to make a fine crumb. Then, while the food processor was still running, I added in the water to create the final dough. The food processor does an amazing job of distributing the water and creating a beautiful dough.
Shaping the Bases
After the dough came together, I divided the dough into 8 even balls. You don’t have to make them exactly even, but I did. I ended up weighing the whole ball and dividing the weight by 8 to get the exact size my pieces of dough should be. After I rolled each piece into a ball, I flattened the dough into a thick disc. I chilled the dough for about fifteen minutes to prevent the butter from melting due to being overworked.
After the 15 minutes, I removed four of the discs from the refrigerator and rolled each one out to a 2.5mm thick circle. Using these circles, I was able to line the bottom and edges of four pie dishes. I basically didn’t want to see the inside of the pie dish at all. I removed any excess dough from around the edge and then placed it back into the refrigerator to chill.
Filling and Decorating
By this point, I had already made my be’f filling and allowed it to cool (I made it before starting my pastry). I took the lined pie dishes from the fridge and filled it with the be’f filling to be full. I went right to the top. More filling is better, right? Then I brushed a beaten egg around the rim of the pastry dish. This will help the pastry adhere to itself when I add the lid.
With the remaining four pastry disc, I rolled them out into a 2.5mm thick circle. I used two of the dough discs to cover two of the pies. For the other two pastry discs, I cut into 8 relatively even strips (for both, so 16 strips in total). I wasn’t as fastidious about this as I probably should have been. Using these strips, I made a 4 by 4 lattice on top of the other two pies. Once again, any excess dough was trimmed off the edges.
Now all we have left is dough scraps! I use the excess scraps to make flower-based decorations for the pies. I attempted to make roses and leaves to keep a floral theme. I could have used food coloring with the beaten egg to “dye” the dough but that seemed like a lot of work…
The last step is simple: bake! These pies took about twenty-five minutes to bake. I think I ended up cooking them for a few extra minutes because I wanted the beautifully golden-brown color to really shine on the dough. And all that’s left to do is enjoy them! It’s recommended to eat this while hot, so I dug right in!
This pie was simple to make. The hardest part was having to find ways to busy myself when I was waiting for the dough to chill.
Am I ready for bake-off? Maybe? I think that I did well on this challenge. I’m starting to get better about decorations, but I missed something extremely simple on this one. Different thickness on pastry with cook at different timings. While the base and lid were well baked, the decorations had some trouble. More specifically the pastry under the decorations had trouble. I mean… it makes sense. More heat was needed to permeate through the decorations and that was a bit of a setup for failure.
Why Chill the Dough?
Since I was taking the dough in and out of the refrigerator while making the pastry, I thought I would answer the question, why do I need to chill the dough? Chilling the dough brings multiple benefits but the cold temperature allows any gluten strands that were built up in the dough to relax. This makes the dough easier to manipulate and prevents the dough from shrinking during the baking process. Chill also allows for moisture to spread out evenly throughout the dough and get to all parts.
Ground Be’f Savory Shortcrust Pies
- 1 Food Processor
- 4 Cups All-Purpose Flour
- ¼ Tsp Salt
- 1 ⅓ Cups Unsalted Butter chilled and diced
- ⅝ Cups Water chilled, this is between ½ and ⅔ cup
- 1 Egg beaten
- Preheat the oven to 425°F and put a large baking sheet inside to heat up.
- Put the flour and salt into a food processor. Add the butter and blitz into a fine crumb.
- Allow the machine to run, add the chilled water and let run until the dough comes together.
- Divide the pastry dough into 8 equal portions. Shape each portion into a thick disc. Wrap and chill for about 15 minutes.
- Roll out 4 of the discs into a circle about 2.5 mm thick and use to line the base offour pie ties. Trim off any excess and reserve the scraps (for decorating later). Chill for 15 minutes.
- Fill each pie with the minced be’f filling (or filling of your choice).
- Brush the pie rims with the beaten egg to allow for a tight seal.
- Roll out the remaining pastry discs to be 2.5mm thick. Cut two into circular discs to cover 2 of the pies. Cut two into 8 1.5 cm strips to make a 4 by 4 lattice to cover the other 2 pies.
- Using the remaining scraps to decorate thepies as desired. Roses work well as decorations. Use beaten egg to secure any decorations. Chill pies for 10 minutes.
- Brush each pie with the beaten egg.
- Bake the pies on the heated baking sheet for 25 minutes or until the paster is a rich golden brown.
- Serve and Enjoy!!