Pie … Biscuits … and Some Thoughts

There’s nothing quite like watching The Great Bake Off shows to inspire me to reach for the butter, sugar, eggs, flour and milk. It’s not just the recipes that are inspiring, it’s the wonderful camaraderie of the contestants. The Great Australian Bakeoff embodies a love of, and delight in, the sharing and creation of edible goods. The most delightful friendliness, co-operation and encouragement engendered in the baking shed is so uplifting that the bakers never appear to be in competition with each other. Recently, my reminiscing about Olivia’s meat pie, and wondering if I could adapt it for my own use, took me on a journey to find her recipe for hot water pastry.

In the long ago times, I would quite often make both small and family sized meat pies, and fruit pies too, all from scratch, and they were good. Things change and it’s been a long time since I’ve made pastry, and I don’t recall making hot water pastry previously. So this was another experiment! I halved the recipe as my fillings were smaller and set about getting both the pastry and the filling done and put aside to cool, taking breaks as needed for rejuvenation.

The resultant beef and mushroom pie was spectacular! The very small amount of pastry left after rolling out the base and lid were shaped into the leaves on top. The experiment was a success and the recipe will be made again, probably in a smaller size so we’re not eating meat pie for too many consecutive meals. I froze a couple of portions to check how well the pastry will hold up to freezing for future meal options, these have not yet been tried. I’m really hoping it will be viable. The pastry, and filling, were as good cold as they were hot, which is, to me, the sign of a good pastry.

While my pie might not win any prizes, the experiment was worth undertaking and more than adequate for a home cooked meal or, in this case, eight. These are the days I wish I did not have to monitor carb intake so carefully! Who am I trying to fool! I am always cranky and frustrated at having to be constantly mindful of checking everything, and monitoring the carb intake. Still, I try to see the better part is that I can still partake of such tasty delights as long as I’m careful on what goes in a recipe so I can better monitor my own portions.

Cooking from scratch is so very rewarding for the effort, even though I simply do not have the stamina I once had. The fact that I can make flavoursome, nutritious and enjoyable edibles that I can modify to fit within my dietary needs means so very much to me.

Biscuits and cakes can remain a treat because I reduce the amounts of sugar, thus reducing the carb content. More protein, in the form of eggs or protein powder, can be added to offset the flour carbohydrate content. The Strawberry Jam I recently made has been such a delightful addition to my repertoire of sweet treats. Used first to fill a Victoria Sponge with unsweetened cream, it was decided it must be tested in Jam Drops. And so it was! The Jam Drops are pretty nice too, but I could be biased on that one.

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