The inspiration for my three-tiered pie tower comes from the turducken, which is a chicken stuffed inside a duck stuffed inside a turkey. Rather than debone and stuff three kinds of poultry, I made a separate pie for each bird, dubbing my creation “a poultry excuse for a pie tower,” otherwise known as a Fowlty Tower. While the turkey pie is the epitome of comfort-food-in-a-crust, the duck pie is a gourmet feast of flavors. The chicken curry pie offers a nice contrast to the other two — the warmth of the curry offset by the slightly sweet mango chutney.
These mini pear pies remind me of apple dumplings, but with a twist! Instead of being wrapped in a sheet of pastry, poached pears are surrounded by a long thin spiral of rough puff, which makes the texture light and delicate. Serve them warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and your guests will sing your praises!
Blood oranges have a short growing season, so I wanted to take advantage of this purple-fleshed fruit while I could. Although the color of the custard doesn't reflect the deep jewel-tones of these citrus gems, if you close your eyes and take a bite, the sweet tangy flavor of oranges excites your tastebuds and fills all your senses with happy thoughts!
I really wanted to capture the essence of a treasure box with this biscuit (i.e., cookie) tower, or the delight a young child gets upon opening her mother’s jewelry box — all those glittering beads and sparkly jewels! And now that it’s done, I just can’t get enough of it!
Tuile is the French word for tile, and these thin, delicate cookies are often curved in the shape of a French roof tile. They can be either sweet or savory and are usually served as a garnish, or tuiles can be molded into serving dishes for ice cream or other desserts.
The challenge for this episode was to produce a traybake with layers of complementary flavors and good textures, each element made from scratch, and cut into identically sized squares or rectangles. I chose a pastry-based recipe, a rhubarb frangipane tart.
Wanting to impress the Paul and Mary in my head, I sought to produce the “subtlety of flavors” that Paul was looking for and a pie that would achieve what Mary wanted—that “every single slice will look beautiful on the plate.” I decided to create a sweet crust pastry shell with crushed lavender, fill it with coconut cream, top that with a thin layer of lime curd and garnish it with lavender-infused mascarpone whipped cream.
Hand-raised pies use a hot water crust pastry, which is made with boiling water and lard. As for the fillings, this recipe uses chicken, bacon and dried apricots seasoned with fresh thyme. They are hearty and sturdy, as long as you can get the pastry to cooperate.
For this challenge, Paul and Mary only specified that the Wellington be at least 8 inches long and be completely covered in pastry. They didn’t specify what the filling should be. I decided to use a turkey breast stuffed with cheese, wrapped in prosciutto and then pastry.