Archive for cornflour

Chicken and lobster pie

Posted in Food with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 5, 2011 by Robin Gosnall

Shellfish like lobster and prawns really do go well with the delicate flavour of chicken. For slow-cooked chicken dishes it’s better to use thighs rather than breast meat as they stay more moist and succulent.

2 cooked lobsters, about 500g each
500g boned and skinned free-range chicken thighs
1 tbsp chopped parsley
1 tbsp chopped tarragon leaves
350-400g ready-made all-butter puff pastry
plain flour for dusting
1 free-range egg, beaten

For the lobster sauce:

1 tbsp vegetable oil
reserved lobster shells
4 shallots, peeled and roughly chopped
1 garlic clove, peeled and chopped
60g butter
60g plain flour
a good pinch of saffron strands
a few sprigs of tarragon
1 tbsp tomato purée
60ml white wine
500ml hot fish stock
500ml hot chicken stock
400ml double cream
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1-2 tsp cornflour (if needed)

Remove the meat from the lobster tails and claws and cut roughly into 1cm pieces. Reserve one lobster head (if making a large pie). Break the rest of the shells up a bit, using a heavy knife. Cut the chicken thighs in half, or into thirds if large. Cover and refrigerate the lobster and chicken meat.

To make the sauce, heat the oil in a heavy saucepan and fry the lobster shells, garlic and shallots over a medium heat for 5 minutes until they begin to colour lightly. Add the butter and, once melted, stir in the flour. Add the saffron, tarragon and tomato purée, then gradually stir in the white wine and the hot fish and chicken stocks.

Bring to the boil, lower the heat and simmer for about 30 minutes until the sauce has reduced by about half, then add the cream. Season lightly with salt and pepper, bring back to the boil and simmer very gently for about 20 minutes until the sauce has reduced by half again. (A simmer plate or heat-diffuser mat is useful here.)

Strain the sauce through a colander into a clean pan, moving the shells with a spoon to ensure all the sauce goes through.

Tip about one-tenth of the shells into a blender and add about a cupful of the strained sauce. Blend until smooth, then strain through a fine-meshed sieve into the sauce in the pan.

Bring the sauce back to the boil, add the chicken and simmer for 5 minutes. The sauce should be a thick coating consistency by now; if not, simmer a little longer (or dilute a little cornflour in water and stir into the sauce). Leave to cool.

Stir the lobster and chopped parsley and tarragon into the cooled sauce. Adjust the seasoning if necessary. Fill a large pie dish or 4 individual ones with the mixture.

Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface to a 5mm thickness. Trim to about 2cm larger all round than the pie dish (or cut discs large enough to cover individual dishes). Brush the edges of the pastry with a little of the beaten egg. Lay the pastry over the filling, pressing the egg-washed sides on to the rim of the dish(es).

If making a large pie, cut a cross in the centre and insert the lobster head, so it sits proud. Cut a small slit in the top of individual pies to allow steam to escape. Leave to rest in a cool place for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 200°C. Brush the pastry lid with beaten egg and bake the pie for 40-50 minutes or until golden brown (allow 10-15 minutes less for individual pies). Let the pie stand for a few minutes before serving.

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Banana and custard pie

Posted in Food with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 23, 2010 by Robin Gosnall

The classic nursery combination should go down well with the children.

For the pastry:

110g soft butter
135g caster sugar
225g strong flour, plus extra for dusting
1 tsp baking powder
a pinch of salt
125ml double cream
1 small egg beated to glaze
1 tbsp granulated sugar, for sprinkling

For the filling:

one third of a vanilla pod
200ml single cream
4 egg yolks
50g caster sugar
1 tsp cornflour
2 ripe bananas, peeled and sliced

Cream the butter and sugar, sieve the baking powder and flour together and stir into the butter mix with the salt then slowly pour in the cream until well mixed. Chill for about 30 minutes before rolling. On a floured table, roll the pastry out to about cm thick and line four approx 8-10 x 4cm deep, lightly greased, individual tart or pie tins or 1 larger one, allowing the pastry to slightly overlap the edges. Roll 4 tops to fit the pies, then leave to rest for another 30 minutes.

Split the vanilla pod in half lengthways and scrape out the seeds with a point of a knife. Put the cream, vanilla pod and seeds into a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and leave to infuse for about 10 minutes.

In a bowl mix the egg yolks, sugar and cornflour together. Remove the vanilla pod from the cream and pour on to the egg mixture and mix well with a whisk. Return to the pan and cook gently over a low heat for a few minutes, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until the custard thickens, but without letting it boil. Remove from the heat and give a final mix with a whisk and transfer to a clean bowl.

Remove the lined tart tins from the fridge for about 15 minutes then mix the bananas with the custard and spoon into the tarts (you may have some mix left over so you could make extra with pastry trimmings, or I’m sure the kids will polish it off).

Brush the edges of the pastry with the beaten egg and lay the tops on, pressing the pastry together with your thumb and forefinger to seal it then trim any excess with a knife and neaten up the edges again with your thumb and forefinger. Brush the pie tops with the beaten egg and scatter with the granulated sugar. Place on a tray and bake for about 15-25 minutes or until the pastry is golden and crisp. Leave to cool a little then serve hot or warm.

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