Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Creamy, Cheesy Savory Pot Pie - A Daring Bakers Challenge

When winter starts knocking on the doors, a convenient, filling, savory one pot meal bake is just the thing you need! The Daring Bakers went savory this month challenging us to bake pot-pies. Though savory pies, tarts and galettes now are quite familiar, at least by sight, name and recipe if not taste, pies with gravy are indeed  new to me. Says Hannah our hostess this month, 'An American pot pie typically has a top and bottom crust with a filling of meat, mixed vegetables and gravy. In the US, a single crusted savory pie would be closer to what we call a casserole, and in parts of the world what we call a “pot pie” would simply be known as a “pie” with many variations.'

Hannah of Rise and Shine was our October 2013 Daring Bakers’ hostess and she challenged us to bake our own double crusted savory pot pies. Using any from-scratch crust and filling we choose, we were allowed to get completely creative with our recipe, showing off the savory flavors and fillings from our own home or region. Any kind of savory filling, but with gravy!

The from-scratch crust could be pie-crust, puff pastry, filo, biscuit dough or yeast dough. Pot pies can be large enough to serve many, think cozy dinners on lazy cold winter evenings or small single serve portions with a rich filling, a nice appetizer. I fear sogginess with the other crusts, so a yeast crust was my choice. If baking this with a yeast dough  be sure it is one which bakes into a tender bread, so that you can easily cut through it or dig with your fork. Since potato flakes in the dough makes it tender, I baked with the dough for the Potato Rolls I had baked earlier.

The funny part when I made the pot pie - since I had used much more sauce and lesser veggies,  it leaked out of the dough while it baked as I watched in horror! The bread part floated right to the top later. Not exactly what our hostess had in mind, but it can't be bad really when you still have tender golden bread  floating on top of some warm, cheesy sauce, can it? The filling can be made ahead and refrigerated, the dough is hardly anything if I use my bread machine. So, isn't this a dish to play around and make often?

I made a small portion of this to fit my 2.5 cup capacity Borosil pie dish. I wasn't sure if it would stay good enough till evening, but it surprisingly was still good after a couple of hours at room temperature. 

1/4 recipe - of the dough here.  (make the full portion, freeze remaining dough once you knead) 

The amount of dough you will need depends on the size of your pie dish, or the number of servings you need. Or whether you want to make it a double crust or just a single top crust. Just roll the dough thin, 2-3mm and you should be fine. Sorry, find it hard to be specific here!

For the filling:

Vary the amounts of vegetables, cheese and sauce according to your preference. I would not use any vegetable which would leave a lot of liquid, like mushrooms or tomatoes. Less sauce, more veggies and cheese should give you a pot pie you could slice. The other way round may make for floating bread as in my case. Either ways, it should taste just fine, so don't lose sleep over it. Do check Hannah's recipe to get a better idea, with special attention to the proportion of sauce to the vegetables.

For the sauce - This makes a little more than a cup, make more rather than less, use any extra for pasta. I have used the recipe for the white sauce I make for my pasta, but thicker with more flour and cheese. You could use your recipe with your choice of cheese, use milk or part milk and part cream depending on how rich you want it to be, the portion size, the amount of cheese you will be using. The sauce needs to be thick, it gets thicker when you refrigerate, but I would not like it too floury.

All purpose flour - 1.5 tablespoons (recipe uses 3 tablespoons)
Butter - 1 tablespoon (recipe uses 3 tbsp)
Garlic, grated - 2 cloves
Cool milk (or part milk and part cream) - 240 ml / 1 cup
Cheese - 2 slices ( I used low fat Britannia processed cheese)
Dried thyme - 1/4 tsp
salt and pepper to taste

Melt the butter on low heat in a heavy bottomed pan, add the grated garlic. Saute. Tip in the flour. Whisk to blend. Cook till it turns golden and the raw smell is gone. Whisk in the milk, ensuring there are no lumps. Simmer for a couple of minutes or till thick and creamy. Take off the heat. Push through a strainer if needed. Stir in the salt, pepper, herbs and cheese. Refrigerate if not using immediately.

To assemble I have used :

Sauce (above) - 3/4 cup
Colored capsicum, chopped - 3/4 cup
Cottage cheese, cubed -  1/2 cup
Extra seasoning and herbs to taste

Make the bread dough as directed here. Let it rest till double in volume. Flour your counter or the dough will stick. Grease your pie pan generously. Deflate it and take a small orange sized ball of the dough, the amount depends on the size of your pan. Roll the dough very thin about 2 -3 mm into a big circle. The idea is to put it in the pan to line the sides, leaving lots of overhang around, dump the filling in and enclose the filling with the overhang. Paratha style. Tightly twist and snip off the excess dough. I meant to snip the top to allow the steam to escape, but forgot. I have brushed the top with egg wash. Best and safest would be to put the filling directly in the pie dish or ramekin, grease the edges of the dish in and out thoroughly and then seal the top with the rolled dough.

Decorate if you wish with the bits of dough. You could bake immediately as Hannah does or let it rest - I let it rest for about 15 minutes.

Pre-heat oven to 220 C / 425°F/gas mark 7.  Bake for about 30-35 minutes or till the top is a very good golden brown. Watch carefully as the baking temperature is high and the dough thin. Brush the top with melted butter to keep it soft. Let cool for a few minutes and serve.

Very obviously, I did not get this as its intended to be. I know I could have done a better job of the filling, used better cheese (the cottage cheese and peppers are a fav combo of mine). I could have used more veggies, more cheese, lesser sauce and got a more luxurious pie out as a whole. But we loved this as it turned out, rich enough, floating bread, sauce at the bottom and all! The egg wash added an eggy taste complimenting the dish really well. Kind of easy savory bread pudding. Thanks Hannah, this is an idea I absolutely am going to be trying again, may be also hope the dough tears - again!! 

Variations : You could try a tomato basil cheese sauce (with ready tomato puree as its thick) or with creamy basil pesto sauce, brush garlic herb butter on top. Or a rich Indian style paneer gravy or may be even pav-bhaji in a pot...oops ramekin or pie-tin! If you do not want the filling coming out, be sure that you use less sauce, more vegetables and cheese. Do not roll the dough thicker as it will be too bread-y.

Play around, this is a recipe good to have. I see this going to school this week with my kids!

The pot-pie is Yeast-spotted!


Hamaree Rasoi said...

Delicious and lovely to look at pot pie.

Smita Srivastava said...

OMG this looks so so yummy !!!

Gouri. said...

Sure to try this out.

baker in disguise said...

love the colour on top.. soo inviting!!! aaahhh winter is here.. just love how everyone ups their baking game!!

Deeba PAB said...

Thats' an especially exciting challenge. If I wasn't off wheat I would have definitely had a go. Yours looks fab, despite the floating issues. LOVE IT!

Priya Suresh said...

I can have happily this pie with some salad tonite for my dinner.

Sum said...

Looks yummmm....

Pavithra said...

I tried this last night for dinner and it came out really well, instead of white sauce I did it with pesto sauce. Everyone liked it at home.thanks for a wonderful recipe.