GBBO - Season 13, Mighty Meals

GBBO Season 13 – Week 8 Showstopper: 3D Pie Scene

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 13 Challenges.

Since replicating Season 8 of the Great British Bake Off wasn’t enough, I decided to try my hand at a different season! This time, I am working on season 13 which is the most recent season! This season had some great bake ideas as well as some not-so-great ones (but we’ll get there when we get there).

So, I figured, let’s do this all again! One of the big challenges I wanted to attempt this time around was coming up with original ideas for the signature and showstopper challenges instead of doing a recreation. On your mark… Get set… Bake!

It is time for the showstopper of pastry week: a 3D pie scene. This pastry pie scene is supposed to be based off a childhood story or nursery rhyme. I think I did a little bit of a stretch for this one because my scene is from Wind in the Willows.

Wind in the Willows is a story I watched often growing up. It is something that is very much a part of me, and I thought it would be the perfect childhood story to turn into a 3D pie scene. I particularly wanted to focus on the journey of one Mr. Toad. For this, I wanted to capture the crashed car, the tower where he was imprisoned, and the boat that he used to escape.

I made three different pies to create the scene. One pie was made with salmon, another was a vegetarian mushroom and brussels sprouts pie, and the last was a apple and pumpkin pie.

Check out the Season 13 Great British Bake Off Page to see other bakes from this series or the Make section for more recipes! Leave a comment below and let me know what you think and how the recipe works for you!


This recipe required a lot of ingredients which is hardly a surprise since I was effectively making three pies. I ended up with so much food from making these recipes and that is not a bad thing! And while I did need a multitude of ingredients, all of the pie crusts were the same, so I ended up needing a lot of flour.


The Hot Water Crust Pastry

Since the pastry for all three pies are the same, I figured I should make a section just to talk about making pastry. This feels better than repeating myself three times. I really like hot water crust pastry because it is durable and easily shaped (or so I thought). This is the goal since I want to make a pie scene at the end of all of this.

The dough generally started out all the same, some mixture of all-purpose flour, bread flour, and butter. As I continued to bake the pies, I shifted the ratios of all-purpose flour to bread flour. I started with more all-purpose flour but then shifted to increase the bread flour.

This increase in bread flour was to strengthen the pastry and let it stand freely a little more. I will talk about this more in a later section, but I did struggle with creating freestanding structures a bit. Which is why I shifting the amount of bread flour in the pastry.

The butter was rubbed into the pastry to create a breadcrumb like texture of mix in the bowl. And a mess on my hands. Then I switched gears and focused on the stove.

In a pan, I combined water, vegetable shortening, and salt. I kept the mixture of low heat until all the vegetable shortening had melted. Then I turned the heat up to medium and allowed the mixture to come to a rolling boil. With the liquids up to temperature, I poured it into the flour mix.

Finally, I used a spoon to mix the wet into the dry. It was too hot to handle with just my hands alone. When the dough cooled down, I got my hands in and kneaded the dough together and ready for the pies.

Salmon and Spinach Pie

The first pie that I wanted to make is the car pie. This is beginning of Mr. Toads story with the car being drive and then crashed. And a crashed car means that I can mess it up and call it on purpose. Totally a galaxy brain moves. Definitely on purpose.

The first step for making this pie was baking the salmon. I decided to use salmon that did not have the skin because I felt I wouldn’t be able to cut the skin of salmon into a pie that easily. I put the salmon filets on a sheet of aluminum foil before brushing it with a mixture of melted butter and minced garlic.

Then it was time to make the crust of the salmon. I mixed some spices including paprika, cumin, and brown sugar. I sprinkled this on top and placed the fish in the oven. The brown sugar added so much and the caramelization of the fish tasted so good.

While the fish cooled, I sautéed some onion, spinach, and peas in a shallow pan. I probably should have used a bigger pan, but it all worked out in the end. Then I chopped up the salmon and added it to the spinach mixture. 

Finally, I shaped the dough into the general shape of a car and put the filling inside. The dough was difficult to shape because the high walls kept collapsing without any support. And pinching the dough at all the seams proved to be a challenge. I also made four pastry circles to simulate the wheels broken off the car in the pie scene.

Mushroom and Brussels Sprout Pie

The next pie that I wanted to make for the pie scene is the mushroom and brussels sprout pie. This is the tower where Mr. Toad was imprisoned. I started by blending a bunch of mushrooms. Like maybe too many mushrooms. But I wanted to do a ground beef like thing but with mushrooms.

I first sauteed some onions and then added in the mushrooms. I wanted the water to reduce on the mushrooms to really get that ground texture. Adding some salt at this step helped the process. While the mushrooms were cooking, I placed the cubed potatoes into water and began to boil them. I really wanted the potatoes to be soft. A crunchy potato is no good.

After the mushrooms had simmered down and the potatoes had boiled until soft, I added the cubed brussels sprout and potatoes into the mushrooms. I added frozen brussels sprouts and never again. Some vegetables are fine frozen. Brussels sprouts are not one of them.

Lastly, I dumped a bunch of spices into the pan and mixed it all together. And the filling is done! I let it cool while I shaped the dough.

I originally wanted to make a castle, but I decided to curb my ambitions. Then I decided just to make the tower for the pie scene. Creating one long tube out of dough seemed like an insurmountable task. I tried multiple times, but I could not find a good solution.

So, I decided to make four shorter pies, like short cylinders, to create the “blocks” of the tower. This was the best solution especially since I was creating a non-conventional shape. I did attempt to add the classic tower top to the smallest pie. It did not really want to stay.

Apple and Pumpkin Pie

The last pie that needed to be made for this 3D pie scene was the apple and pumpkin pie shaped into a boat. Given that we are in the US Thanksgiving month, I wanted to combine the two classic pie flavors: apple and pumpkin.

This pie was the easier to create as the filling did not need to be cooked ahead of time. They needed to be mixed! I started by throwing apple slices, sugar, flour, lime juice, and cinnamon. I ended up doing this mixing by hand because the apple slices made it difficult to maneuver. The bowl might also have been too small.

Speaking of too small bowls, I ended up putting the pumpkin mix in a too small bowl to! After adding all the ingredients into the bowl, I just stared at the mass that I had created. I tried to whisk the ingredients together, but they just splashed out of the bowl. So, I transferred bowls and finished mixing. 

Then it was time to shape the pastry dough. I tried to make a boat like shape before putting the dough into the refrigerator (which was a major mistake). When I pulled the dough out, I added the apple mixture along the bottom and then poured the pumpkin mixture on top.

The refrigerated dough was a problem when it came to crimping the lid. It did not want to attach… Not sure why. And some of the seams decided to split as well so it kind of splodged out when baking.


This project was interesting. It was not exactly my cup of tea. I like pastry but pies are not in my normal wheelhouse. If I had more time (or energy), I would have painted the pastry to make it a little more colorful. But I think the image of the pie scene that I wanted is still prominent.

And the flavors tasted good! I think I might have overcooked the mushrooms a little bit, but they still tasted yummy. The star for me was actually the apple and pumpkin pie. While it was a little crumblier compared to the other pies, the filling was absolutely delicious. I would love to make this pie again.


The Importance of Pacing

Large projects take a lot of time and energy. They are effectively a marathon. In a hot kitchen because the oven and most of the burners on the stove are on. Pacing is important because it helps get me through a slog of a time. Too much too fast means that I burn out and then I’m stuck tired with still half a marathon to run.


Hot Water Crust Pie Trio

These three pies are a delicious combination of savory and sweet pies. This trio includes a salmon pie, a vegetarian pie, and an apple and pumpkin pie.
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 4 hours
Resting Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 6 hours 30 minutes
Course Dinner, Lunch, Main Course, Meal


Salmon and Spinach Pie

  • 2 ½ Cup All-Purpose Flour
  • ½ Cup Bread Flour
  • 1/3 Cup Unsalted Butter
  • 1/3 Cup Water
  • ½ Cup Vegetable Shortening
  • 1 ½ Tsp Salt
  • 2 Salmon Filets
  • 1 ½ Cup Spinach or 1 10 oz. package of frozen spinach
  • 1 ½ Cup Peas
  • 1 Medium Onion
  • 5 Tablespoon Unsalted Butter divided
  • 2 Cloves Garlic minced
  • 1 Tablespoon Brown Sugar
  • 1 Teaspoon Italian Seasoning
  • 2 Teaspoon Ground Paprika divided
  • 2 Teaspoon Garlic Powder divided
  • 2 Teaspoon Ground Cumin divided
  • 1 Teaspoon Garam Masala
  • 1 ¾ Teaspoon Salt divided
  • Ground Black Pepper to Taste

Mushroom and Brussel Sprout Pie

  • 2 ½ Cup All-Purpose Flour
  • ½ Cup Bread Flour
  • 1/3 Cup Unsalted Butter
  • 1/3 Cup Water
  • ½ Cup Vegetable Shortening
  • 1 ½ Tsp Salt
  • 4 Small Red Potatoes chopped into cubes
  • 2 Cup Mushroom diced
  • 1 ½ Cup Brussels Sprouts cubed
  • 1 Medium Onion
  • 2 Tablespoon Unsalted Butter
  • 2 Teaspoon Old Bay
  • 1 Teaspoon Chili Powder
  • 1 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt
  • Ground Black Pepper to Taste

Apple and Pumpkin Pie

  • 2 ½ Cup All-Purpose Flour
  • ½ Cup Bread Flour
  • 1/3 Cup Unsalted Butter
  • 1/3 Cup Water
  • ½ Cup Vegetable Shortening
  • 1 ½ Tsp Salt
  • 2 Cups Thinly Sliced Green Apples
  • 1 ½ Cup Pumpkin Puree
  • 1 Cup Evaporated Milk
  • ¾ Cup Sugar divided
  • 2 Teaspoon All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 Teaspoon Lemon Juice
  • 1 ¼ Teaspoon Cinnamon divided
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 Tablespoon Unsalted Butter melted
  • ¼ Teaspoon Salt
  • ¼ Teaspoon Nutmeg


Hot Water Crust Pastry (note: all three pies use the same pie crust, make the pie crust for all the pies)

  • In a large bowl, rub together All-Purpose Flour, Bread Flour, and Butter until a breadcrumb like texture is reached.
  • In a saucepan, over low heat, combine water, vegetable shortening, and salt. Heat until shortening is melted but do not bring the mixture to a boil.
  • Bring the pan to a rolling boil. Take off heat and pour the liquid into the flour immediately.
  • Mix with a spoon until the dough is cool enough to handle. Knead until the dough has a smooth texture and is fully incorporated.
  • Divide the dough into two balls. One should be ¼ of the dough and the other should be 3/4 of the dough. Roll the ¾ dough ball out to a ¼ inch thickness. Line the inside of a cake tin to cover all of the interior surfaces. The pastry is forgiving and patching will be okay.
  • Let the pastry chill until the filling is ready.

Salmon and Spinach Pie Filling

  • Preheat the oven to 375° Fahrenheit.
  • Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place salmon, skin side down if cooking with skin.
  • Combine 3 tablespoon of melted butter, garlic cloves, and brush the salmon with the butter.
  • Mix together brown sugar, Italian seasoning, 1 teaspoon ground paprika, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon ground cumin, ¾ teaspoon salt, and black pepper as desired. Sprinkle on top of the Salmon.
  • Bake the Salmon for 15-22 minutes or until flakey. Cut Salmon into chunks.
  • In a large saucepan, add 2 tablespoon of butter and melt over medium heat. Add onions and cook until lightly browned.
  • Add in spinach, peas, 1 teaspoon garlic paprika, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon cumin, 1 teaspoon garam masala, 1 teaspoon salt, and black pepper as desired. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and add in salmon chunks. Allow to cool.
  • Fill prepared pastry. Roll out remaining ¼ dough ball into a circle, place on top of the pie, and crimp the lid to the sides. Create a steam hole in the center of the top of the pie. Chill until the oven is ready.
  • Heat oven to 400° Fahrenheit. Bake for 45-60 minutes.

Mushroom & Brussels Sprout Pie Filling

  • Fill a large pot with water and add some salt. Bring to a boil. Add in potatoes and let cook for 5-10 minutes or until soft (but not easily turned into mash).
  • In a large saucepan, add butter and let melt over medium heat. Add onions and cook until lightly browned.
  • Add in mushrooms and brussels sprouts and cook for 3-5 minutes. Add in potatoes and *spices* and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Let cool.
  • Fill prepared pastry. Roll out remaining ¼ dough ball into a circle, place on top of the pie, and crimp the lid to the sides. Create a steam hole in the center of the top of the pie. Chill until the oven is ready.
  • Heat oven to 400° Fahrenheit. Bake for 45-60 minutes.

Apple & Pumpkin Pie Filling

  • Combine apples, ¼ cup sugar, all-purpose flour, lemon juice, and ¼ teaspoon cinnamon. Place in the bottom of the pie shell.
  • In a large bowl, mix together pumpkin puree, evaporated milk, ½ cup sugar, eggs, meted butter, ¾ teaspoon cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg. Pour over the apples.
  • Fill prepared pastry. Roll out remaining ¼ dough ball into a circle, place on top of the pie, and crimp the lid to the sides. Create a steam hole in the center of the top of the pie. Chill until the oven is ready.
  • Heat oven to 400° Fahrenheit. Bake for 45-60 minutes.


The pies can be prepared at the same time and all cooked at once if desired.
For a less crumbly dough, use 2/3 cup water.
Keyword Pies

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