Individual Steak and Mushroom Pies


 
Individual steak and mushroom pies - flaky pastry encases a rich meaty filling with a flavourful gravy
Individual steak and mushroom pies - flaky pastry encases a rich meaty filling with a flavourful gravy
Individual steak and mushroom pies - flaky pastry encases a rich meaty filling with a flavourful gravy
Individual steak and mushroom pies - flaky pastry encases a rich meaty filling with a flavourful gravy
Individual steak and mushroom pies - flaky pastry encases a rich meaty filling with a flavourful gravy
Individual steak and mushroom pies - flaky pastry encases a rich meaty filling with a flavourful gravy
Individual steak and mushroom pies - flaky pastry encases a rich meaty filling with a flavourful gravy
Individual steak and mushroom pies - flaky pastry encases a rich meaty filling with a flavourful gravy

Hi! I'm back! I've only been gone for two weeks, but loads and loads has happened in that time! We got back from the wedding / our road trip up Cape Cod, both of which were SO AMAZING. I had planned on getting a few posts up while we were up at the place we were staying for the wedding, but got all caught up in making an army of wedding cake / food / winery tours / catching up with everyone I hadn't seen in forever! I hauled some serious ass to get a bunch of things shot before we left (salted caramel apple babka and home-made Jelly tips, uhhhh hello!), so I have a couple of delicious recipes coming your way very soon! We got back a few days ago, but i've been having some me time / hiding from the internet for a little bit just to have a wee break!

I have been sitting on this recipe for a while, waiting for it to cool down a little before I shared it. Having your oven on for 3 hours in the middle of summer isn't the most ideal of situations, and I endured a very sweaty few days testing and re testing these when it was well over 30˚ outside. Don't do it. 

While most food in the States is fairly similar to what we have back home, one of the things that they haven't seemed to catch onto very much is individual meat pies. If I asked you if you wanted a pie in NZ, this is what I would be referring to - a flaky crusted pie, filled with a savoury meat filling. You can buy pies at almost every bakery / corner store / petrol station in New Zealand, and as far as I am concerned, they are they ultimate comfort food. They are hugely popular as lunch for tradesmen / builders back home, or as a quick hungover pick me up. 

You can get pies at a couple of places here in NYC, but I have found that they aren't quite the same - they don't quite hit the spot, so I set out to make something for myself! I went with a fairly simple filling - a classic steak and mushroom. The filling is totally cooked down to a meaty rich gravy situation, before being assembled along with the pastry crust and lid. These can be made in bulk and frozen, or they would be perfect for a dinner party served alongside a side salad. Enjoy!

A few wee notes:

  • If possible, give your pie filling time to cool completely in the fridge - it makes the assembly process much easier when everything is cold!
  • You will need to re-roll some of the dough to make enough lids for the pies - pop it in the fridge for 10 minutes or so before re rolling
  • I made this in my dutch oven which meant I could sear the meat etc on the stove and then transfer, but you can easily do it in a frying pan / casserole dish set up!
  • cooked pies freeze really well, just reheat them in the oven!
  • I used these mini pie dishes - they are super cheap, and my fave!
  • This mixture would likely make 1 - 2 larger pies.
 

 

Individual Steak and Mushroom Pies
- Makes Eight 5 inch (13cm) Pies -

Pie dough
5 cups (620g) Flour
Pinch of Salt
4 sticks (450gg) cold butter, cut into cubes
1 cup (240ml) cold water
1 cup ice
1/4 cup (60ml) Apple cider vinegar

Filling
1kg (2.2lbs) braising steak such as brisket, fat removed, diced into 1cm chunks
2 large onions, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
450g (16oz) button mushrooms, finely chopped
1 Tbsp fresh thyme
3-4 rashers thick-cut bacon, finely chopped
5 cups (1.25L) beef stock
salt and pepper to season
6 Tbsp (54g) Corn Starch
1 cup (240ml) water

Egg wash - 1 egg whisked with 1 Tbsp water

- PROCESS -

PIE DOUGH

This is best made in two batches - do the first with half of the ingredients (2.5 cups flour, pinch of salt, 2 sticks butter), then repeat with the second half. Divide each batch into two before wrapping and resting. The apple cider vinegar / ice mixture is enough for both batches.

Place half of the flour and salt into a large bowl. Cut butter into chunks, and add to the flour. Toss lightly to coat. Working quickly, using a pastry blender or  your fingers,  cut the butter into the flour mixture until there are only pea-sized chunks left. You want a few lumps of butter remaining to keep the pastry nice and tender.

Combine ice, water and cider vinegar in a bowl. Sprinkle a few tablespoons of the ice water into the flour and butter mixture, and using a stiff spatula or your hands, mix in well. Continue adding water a tablespoon at a time ( I normally need about 8-10 tbsp) until you have a dough that holds together well, but is not too wet. Squeeze together with your fingertips to make a homogenous dough. Shape into two rectangles and wrap in plastic wrap.

Repeat the process with the second half of ingredients. Rest in the fridge for at least two hours, or preferably overnight. 

FILLING

You can either cook the beef etc in a frying pan and transfer to an oven safe casserole dish or something similar, or if you have a cast iron dutch oven, you can cook off the ingredients on the stove, then transfer the whole thing to the oven

Preheat the oven to 350˚f / 180˚c. Place a large cast iron dutch oven (mine is a 5.5 quart), over high heat. Once heated, add a glug of olive oil, and add half of the beef. Cook until golden brown on all sides. Remove and set aside. Repeat with the second half of the beef, and set aside with the first half. 

Reduce the heat to medium. Add another glug of oil to the pan, and add the onion, garlic, and a big pinch of salt. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring often, until the onions are translucent. Add the mushrooms and cook for a further 5 minutes. 

If you are using a frying pan and transferring to a casserole dish, transfer now, then add the thyme, bacon, and stock. Season well with salt and pepper. 

Cover the dish and transfer to the oven. Bake for 2 hours, stirring occasionally, until the meat is tender and the gravy is bubbling.

Carefully remove from the oven. In a small bowl, mix the water and corn starch until smooth. Stir into the pie filling. Return to the oven, and bake, uncovered, for 45-55 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes or so, until the gravy has thickened. 

Remove from the oven and allow to cool to completely, or, if preparing ahead, store in the fridge until using. (It is ideal if the mixture is cold when assembling the pies, so if possible, give it some time in the fridge if you can)

ASSEMBLY AND BAKING

On a lightly floured surface, roll out one of the rectangles of dough to approximately 1/4 inch (6mm) thickness. Line each pie dish, leaving a little dough overhanging. Re-roll scraps if needed to finish lining all of the dishes, or use a little of the second rectangle of dough. 

Place the dishes on a baking sheet, and rest in the fridge for about 10 minutes to firm up the pastry. 

Divide the filling between the lined dishes, fill each dish with enough filling to just reach the top of the dish (see photo for reference). You may have a little bit leftover. 

Roll out the second rectangle of dough to 1/4 inch thick. Cut a circle a little wider than the pie dish, and place over the filling. Trim the dough so it is flush with the edge of the pans, and seal the top crust to the bottom by crimping with a fork. Cut a vent in the top crust. 

Repeat with the rest of the pies, re-rolling scraps of pastry if needed. 

Rest the pies in the fridge for 20 minutes. While they are resting, preheat the oven to 350˚f / 180˚c. Brush the tops of the pies with eggwash. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until the pies are golden brown and the filling is bubbly. Remove from the oven and cool slightly before serving. Leftovers can be frozen.

Individual steak and mushroom pies - flaky pastry encases a rich meaty filling with a flavourful gravy

Overnight Cinnamon Buns with Cream Cheese Frosting


 
Overnight Cinnamon Buns with Cream Cheese Frosting - Pillowy brioche that is prepared the night before, then rolled out the next morning, stuffed with cinnamon sugar and toasted peanuts, then smothered in cream cheese frosting while still warm. The perfect treat to please a crowd.
Overnight Cinnamon Buns with Cream Cheese Frosting - Pillowy brioche that is prepared the night before, then rolled out the next morning, stuffed with cinnamon sugar and toasted peanuts, then smothered in cream cheese frosting while still warm. The perfect treat to please a crowd.
Overnight Cinnamon Buns with Cream Cheese Frosting - Pillowy brioche that is prepared the night before, then rolled out the next morning, stuffed with cinnamon sugar and toasted peanuts, then smothered in cream cheese frosting while still warm. The perfect treat to please a crowd.
Overnight Cinnamon Buns with Cream Cheese Frosting - Pillowy brioche that is prepared the night before, then rolled out the next morning, stuffed with cinnamon sugar and toasted peanuts, then smothered in cream cheese frosting while still warm. The perfect treat to please a crowd.
Overnight Cinnamon Buns with Cream Cheese Frosting - Pillowy brioche that is prepared the night before, then rolled out the next morning, stuffed with cinnamon sugar and toasted peanuts, then smothered in cream cheese frosting while still warm. The perfect treat to please a crowd.
Overnight Cinnamon Buns with Cream Cheese Frosting - Pillowy brioche that is prepared the night before, then rolled out the next morning, stuffed with cinnamon sugar and toasted peanuts, then smothered in cream cheese frosting while still warm. The perfect treat to please a crowd.
Overnight Cinnamon Buns with Cream Cheese Frosting - Pillowy brioche that is prepared the night before, then rolled out the next morning, stuffed with cinnamon sugar and toasted peanuts, then smothered in cream cheese frosting while still warm. The perfect treat to please a crowd.
Overnight Cinnamon Buns with Cream Cheese Frosting - Pillowy brioche that is prepared the night before, then rolled out the next morning, stuffed with cinnamon sugar and toasted peanuts, then smothered in cream cheese frosting while still warm. The perfect treat to please a crowd.
Overnight Cinnamon Buns with Cream Cheese Frosting - Pillowy brioche that is prepared the night before, then rolled out the next morning, stuffed with cinnamon sugar and toasted peanuts, then smothered in cream cheese frosting while still warm. The perfect treat to please a crowd.

Breakfast time is the part of my birthday that I look forward to the most. I almost always end up awake before everyone else (which is predictable when you wake up at 6am every morning anyway), and I like to take a little second with just me before everyone else gets up.

This year I popped out for a quick walk on the beach, then woke Rich up and made him come for a walk into Montauk Town to buy a rolling pin, because cinnamon rolls were the first order of the day. An hour later the house was filled with the amazing smell of freshly baked cinnamon rolls, which I loaded up with cream cheese frosting as soon as they came out of the oven. We ate them straight out of the tray, as soon as they were cool enough to touch. It was an awesome start to what would be an epic birthday. 

The best part about these rolls were that the dough was made the night before and left to rise in the fridge overnight, meaning that the working time in the morning was kept to a minimum. The house we were staying at didn't have a mixer, so I mixed these by hand - it took a little longer, but still worked just as well! Once they had gone to bed with the rest of us, the next morning I rolled them out, then I filled them with a simple mix, melted butter, cinnamon sugar, and a solid dose of pecans. They then have a quick rest in the pan while the oven is preheating, before being baked until they are golden brown. Total time from waking up to cinnamon rolls in your belly is only about an hour and a half. More than ideal. The dough is light and fluffy, the filling sweet and flavoursome, with a little crunch from the pecans, and the cream cheese frosting can't be skipped. 

A few wee notes:

  • I used an overnight brioche recipe here, but if you really can't wait and you need cinnamon buns immediately, you can use this dough recipe here (which does make more, so increase your pan size a little)
  • A stand mixer comes in handy, but you absolutely don't need one, plus you get a solid arm workout to boot
  • Leave out the pecans if that isn't your jam.
  • The frosting makes enough for a generous layer, and it is quite sweet, so feel free to cut back a little on it if you don't want it as intense (it's good though, you should keep it all on there)
 

 

Overnight Cinnamon Buns with Cream Cheese Frosting
- Makes about 8 -

Brioche dough adapted slightly from The Brick Kitchen

Brioche Dough
1 cup (250ml) whole milk, lukewarm
1/4 cup (50g) sugar, divided
1 1/2 tsp active dried yeast
1 stick (113g) unsalted butter
500g (17.6oz) bread flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
2 large eggs, at room temperature

Filling
1 stick unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups (250g) brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 Tbsp Cinnamon
1 cup toasted pecans, roughly chopped

Egg wash - 1 egg whisked with 1 Tbsp water

Cream Cheese Frosting
2 cups (250g) powdered sugar, sifted
1 8oz (200g) package cream cheese, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla bean paste

 

- PROCESS -

BRIOCHE DOUGH

Place the warm milk, 2 Tbsp sugar, and yeast in a small bowl and whisk briefly to combine. Leave to stand for 5-10 minutes or until foamy. Meanwhile, melt the butter either in increments in the microwave, or in a small pot. Set aside to cool.

Place the flour, remaining 2 Tbsp sugar, salt, and vanilla bean paste in a large bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Mix briefly to combine. Add the milk and yeast mixture, melted cooled butter, and the eggs. Mix 8-10 minutes on low speed, until it becomes smooth and glossy, and begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl. If you are doing this by hand, mix vigorously with a wooden spoon for 10-12 minutes, or until the mixture becomes smooth and glossy and begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl. The mixture will be very wet, but do not worry!

Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap, and place in the fridge to prove overnight.

FILLING AND ASSEMBLY

The next day, preheat the oven to 350˚f / 180˚c. Line a 9" or 10" springform pan with parchment paper. Melt the butter, and set aside to cool slightly. Combine the brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon in a bowl.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and roll into a rectangle 16" x 24" (40cm x 60cm), flipping once or twice and lightly dusting with more flour as needed. Place with the long side facing you. 

Brush the surface of the dough all over with the melted butter, then evenly sprinkle the brown sugar cinnamon mixture over the dough, patting down with your hands to make sure that it sticks. Sprinkle the pecans over the sugar mixture, then drizzle the remaining butter over evenly. 

Starting with the long side of the dough, roll up into a tight spiral log. Using a serrated knife, cut into 8 evenly sized pieces, and arrange in the prepared tin. 

Cover the buns lightly with plastic wrap and allow them to sit in a warm place while the oven finishes preheating - about 15 minutes, or until slightly puffy. 

Brush the surface of the buns all over with egg wash. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until golden brown, and the middle bun is holding up on its own. While the buns are baking, make the frosting.

Remove from the oven and stand for 10 minutes before frosting with the cream cheese frosting.

CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

Place the powdered sugar and cream cheese into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or into a large bowl. Beat on high for 1-2 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and beat well until combined. Spread generously over the warm rolls.

Serve immediately. Leftovers are best served warmed slightly in the microwave before eating.

 

Overnight Cinnamon Buns with Cream Cheese Frosting - Pillowy brioche that is prepared the night before, then rolled out the next morning, stuffed with cinnamon sugar and toasted peanuts, then smothered in cream cheese frosting while still warm. The perfect treat to please a crowd.

Greek Style Pita Bread Nachos


 
Greek Style Pita Bread Nachos
Greek Style Pita Bread Nachos
Greek Style Pita Bread Nachos
Greek Style Pita Bread Nachos
Greek Style Pita Bread Nachos

Word on the street is that it's almost Football Season! Despite my Poppa's incredibly enthusiastic attempts to explain the rules of American Football to me every time I go and stay, I don't think I will ever quite grasp the rules. There are just so many people, so much swapping, flag throwing, and weird lines on the field for someone like me who grew up in a rugby mad country. We went to a game when we first moved to NYC and it's even more confusing watching it in real life than it is on TV. 

The part I like the best about watching it though, or any game in general, are the snacks. I can always get behind some good game snacks. I come from a sports-mad family who are willing to get up at any hour to watch New Zealand play. While I've never been particularly interested in the game itself (have you ever watched a full game of cricket on TV? I wouldn't recommend, sometimes it goes for FIVE DAYS), I have always been all about the food that goes alongside whatever sport happens to be on. Back home, gatherings are often centered around watching the rugby - people will get together for dinner, then cram themselves into a room to yell at the TV for a few hours. With snacks. Always with snacks. If I have anything to do with it anyway. 

This month I have teamed up with Blue Moose of Boulder to share with you the perfect game snack idea! I decided to go with a simple riff on Nachos and use a base of home made pita chips, loaded up with Roasted Red pepper hummus, red onion, red pepper, tomato, and feta. The dish goes for a quick spin in the oven, then is finished with cucumber and parsley when it comes out. If you are an olive person (which I am not), you could add some of those too! This dish comes together quickly, and is perfect to serve a crowd. The components can easily be prepared ahead of time, then assembled when you are ready. It would also be perfect for a quick weeknight dinner, or light weekend lunch! Who doesn't love Nachos?

 

 

Greek Style Pita Bread Nachos
- Serves 3-4 people -

6 - 8 medium pita breads (the thin ones are the best), or 1-2 bags pita chips
Olive oil to brush pita breads
Flaky sea salt
1 container Blue Moose of Boulder Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
1/2 medium red onion, very finely diced
1 red pepper, finely diced
1 medium tomato, finely diced
6 oz (170g) feta, crumbled
1 small cucumber, chopped into cubes
Chopped parsley to garnish
 

- PROCESS -

Preheat the oven to 400˚f / 180˚c. Brush each side of the pita breads with olive oil, and cut into 8-10 wedges. Arrange on a baking sheet and sprinkle with salt. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until lightly golden and crunchy. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before transferring to a 9" x 13" baking dish. 

Dollop the container of hummus evenly over the pita chips, then evenly layer the onion, red pepper, tomato and feta over the top. 

Bake in the oven for 9-10 minutes, until the hummus and toppings are warmed through. 

Top with the cucumber, and chopped parsley. Serve immediately.

 

Thank you so much to Blue Moose of Boulder for sponsoring this post! All opinions are my own.