Chicken, Leek and Sun dried Tomato Pesto Pie with Homemade Rough Puff Pastry


 
Chicken, Leek and Sun dried Tomato Pesto Pie with Homemade Rough Puff Pastry - creamy chicken and leek filling is tucked into a flaky tender homemade rough puff pastry. Perfect to feed a crowd.
Chicken, Leek and Sun dried Tomato Pesto Pie with Homemade Rough Puff Pastry - creamy chicken and leek filling is tucked into a flaky tender homemade rough puff pastry. Perfect to feed a crowd.
Chicken, Leek and Sun dried Tomato Pesto Pie with Homemade Rough Puff Pastry - creamy chicken and leek filling is tucked into a flaky tender homemade rough puff pastry. Perfect to feed a crowd.
Chicken, Leek and Sun dried Tomato Pesto Pie with Homemade Rough Puff Pastry - creamy chicken and leek filling is tucked into a flaky tender homemade rough puff pastry. Perfect to feed a crowd.
Chicken, Leek and Sun dried Tomato Pesto Pie with Homemade Rough Puff Pastry - creamy chicken and leek filling is tucked into a flaky tender homemade rough puff pastry. Perfect to feed a crowd.
Chicken, Leek and Sun dried Tomato Pesto Pie with Homemade Rough Puff Pastry - creamy chicken and leek filling is tucked into a flaky tender homemade rough puff pastry. Perfect to feed a crowd.

It got a tiny bit cold for a wee minute here in NYC and so I immediately had to make a chicken pie. There's something about it - for Rich it is a total taste of home, and I just love the cozy way it makes the house smell (even if I did have to turn the air con on toward the end because it was heating up the house too much). 

I mixed things up a bit this time and went for a chicken, leek and sun dried tomato pesto pie. Leeks are so underrated - they give a very subtle onion flavour, and cook down to be lovely and soft, giving substance to the filling without being overwhelming. I also added the usual suspects - bacon, celery and carrot, then thickened the filling with a little flour, chicken stock and cream. The last step which really helped elevate this to the next level was a big dollop of Filippo Berio Sun dried Tomato Pesto, which added another flavour profile into the mix to give this a tiny twist on the standard chicken pie.

A regular pie dough is usually my go to for a savoury pie, but I have been wanting to try making rough puff (I always want it to be called Ruff Puff!) for a long time now, so figured this would be a great time to do it! There are loads and loads of recipes for it on the internet, all with their own methods and ingredient ratios, so I figured I might as well go ahead and add my own! Traditional puff pastry is super fun to make but it is a little time consuming and can be tricky in the summer due to the butter melting quickly. Rough puff is a great alternative - it is much more forgiving, and a little less time consuming to make. It does still involve a little time in terms of resting and chilling the dough, but the actual active time is very small. I think this is going to be my new go to for a savoury pie - it is flaky and tender, and bakes up to be amazingly golden brown. It is 100% worth the effort, promise. 

This is the third recipe I am bringing to you in partnership with Filippo Berio! Seeing as autumn is maybe finally around the corner, I wanted to share a recipe for something a little cozy and comforting. Next weekend I am going up to Bridgehampton to check out the Filippo Berio booth at the Hampton Classic - I will be posting on IG stories so you can follow along!  

A few wee tips:

  • I kind of combined the recipe of a rough puff but incorporated some of the folds that a traditional puff pastry has. It's way way less stressful to make, because you don't have to worry about your butter block being too warm or cold and breaking up and coming to the surface.

  • I used a food processor to grate my frozen butter which worked great (grate? I'll stop now) but if you grate by hand, put your grater in the freezer for a wee bit before you start so it is nice and cold. If you can though, I would absolutely recommend using the whizz!

  • The pastry will look super shaggy at the beginning but I promise that it will be lovely and smooth by the time you are finished with your turns. I do a total of 6 turns - if your dough is cool enough and you work quickly you can usually get away with doing two at a time, but if you are working in the summer, you may have to pop it back in the fridge just for a little bit. Don't be intimidated - because there's no butter to break up because it's all incorporated, a quick rest in the fridge fixes everything!

  • If you want to make this with store bought puff pastry, you will need about 1kg. Home made pie dough will also work amazingly! This quantity will work - leave out the sugar. I did do a fairly tight lattice, which means that you need double the area of the top of the pie to make enough strips (full size of the top for the horizontal, and full for the vertical) which means the top is quite crust heavy, but I love a good pastry to filling ratio, so you can do a wider lattice if you would like less pastry.

  • I put a bottom crust on this but if you like you could just do a top crust and do it as a big pot pie - add a little strip of pastry around the edge of the tin and fold down over the filling a little so that the top crust has something to join onto.

  • The Rough puff gets a bit hard to work with if it gets too warm from the filling, so ideally give your filling a little time to cool before you assemble.

  • This is great to make ahead - you can prep the filling and then assemble the pie, then just pop it in the fridge until you are ready. It will likely need an extra 10-15 minutes in the oven to compensate for this, but just keep an eye on it. You want the filling to be bubbling when you take it out. Don't egg wash it until just before you bake.

  • I used Filippo Berio's Sun dried Tomato pesto in this recipe, which really elevated the flavours, but if you aren't able to get sundried tomato, a tablespoon of dried or a small handful of fresh thyme is a great alternative.

 

 

Chicken, Leek and Sun dried Tomato Pesto Pie with Homemade Rough Puff Pastry 

- Makes one large pie - serves 6-10 depending on serving size -

Pastry recipe slightly adapted from Epicurious

Rough Puff Pastry
450g Unsalted Butter, frozen (if your butter does not come in sticks, chop into a few pieces before freezing)
450g all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp salt
1 cup ice water

Filling
200g (0.4lb) bacon, finely chopped
800g (1.8lb) boneless, skinless chicken breast, chopped into small pieces
2 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
2 large leeks (approximately 500g chopped), Chopped into fine half moons
2 large carrots, finely chopped
3 ribs celery, finely chopped
75g (1/2 cup) all-purpose flour
2 cups (500ml) chicken stock
3/4 cup (190ml) heavy cream
150g Filippo Berio Sun dried Tomato Pesto


Egg wash - 1 egg whisked with 1 Tbsp water
 

- PROCESS -

ROUGH PUFF PASTRY

Sift together the flour and salt in a large bowl. Grate the butter either in a food processor or by hand, and toss with the flour. Add half a cup of the ice water, and mix by hand to combine. Add extra water, a few tablespoons at a time, until you have a cohesive dough that holds together when gently squeezed. Be careful not to add too much water. 

Turn out the dough onto a piece of plastic wrap, and shape into a rough rectangle. It will be shaggy and not smooth. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and place on a sheet pan. Chill in the fridge for an hour. 

Remove the dough and place on a lightly floured surface. Roll into a rectangle approximately 13" x 20" (30cm x 50cm). Brush any excess flour off the surface. Starting with a short side, fold the dough into thirds like a letter - bring one third up, and then fold the second third over it. Roll the dough out again and repeat the folding process. Wrap in the plastic wrap, place on the sheet pan and chill for 30-40 minutes. 

Repeat the rolling and chilling process two more times - each time you remove the dough from the fridge, perform two rounds of rolling out and folding. In total you will give the dough 6 folds, in 3 sessions. 

Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and leave to chill for a few hours before using, or ideally overnight. 

FILLING

Place a large frying pan, cast iron skillet or dutch oven over medium high heat. Add the bacon to the cold pan, and cook until just golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside, reserving fat for cooking the chicken. 

Working in two batches, cook the chicken until golden brown and cooked through. Remove and set aside. 

Add the butter to the pan, and allow to melt, then add the leeks, carrots, and celery. Cover the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10-15 minutes, until the leeks are soft and the carrots are tender. Season well with salt and pepper. 

If you are working with a small frying pan, transfer the leek mixture into a large pot and place over medium heat. Add the flour, and stir well to combine. Add the chicken stock and cream, and mix well. Cook until the mixture thickens slightly, then add the bacon and chicken and stir to incorporate. Add the sun dried tomato pesto, and mix well. Set the mixture aside to cool slightly. If you would like to speed up the cooling process you can transfer to a shallow baking dish. 

ASSEMBLY

Preheat the oven to 375˚f / 190˚c. Have your baking tin ready - I used a 13" x 10" enamel baking dish, but a 9" x 13" baking tin would work great too. Remove the puff pastry from the fridge and divide into two, with one piece larger than the other (about a 1/3 to 2/3 split). Wrap up the larger piece and return to the fridge. 

Roll out the smaller piece of pastry on a lightly floured surface, to a few inches larger than your baking tin, and line the bottom and the sides with the pastry, allowing a little overhang. Freeze briefly for 5-10 minutes to help firm up. 

Add the cooled chicken filling to the pastry lined tin, smoothing down with a spoon. 

Roll out the second piece of pastry on a lightly floured surface (it may help to divide it in two and roll out each piece individually), and using a pizza roller or pastry wheel, cut lattice strips. I find that the easiest way to make sure I have enough is to divide the pastry into two, and roll out each to about the same size as the surface of the pie, before cutting into strips. That way you should have enough horizontal and vertical strips. Lattice your pie as desired - I did a simple lattice, but treated two strips as one to give a double strip lattice effect. If you have extra pastry you can make some braids to go around the edge, or you can just trim the pastry flush with the edge of the pan and then fold it inward, crimping lightly. 

Brush the pastry with the egg wash. Bake for 45-55 minutes, until the pastry is a deep golden brown and the filling is bubbling. Allow to stand for 10 minutes before serving. 

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge. 

Chicken, Leek and Sun dried Tomato Pesto Pie with Homemade Rough Puff Pastry - creamy chicken and leek filling is tucked into a flaky tender homemade rough puff pastry. Perfect to feed a crowd.

Thank you so much to Filippo Berio for Sponsoring this post! All opinions are my own. 

Chili Pesto, Mushroom, Roasted Red Pepper and Halloumi Tarts with Homemade Puff Pastry


 
Chili Pesto, Mushroom, Roasted Red Pepper and Halloumi Tarts with Homemade Puff Pastry. The perfect appetizer or summer dinner - make these whatever size you want, they are bound to be a crowd pleaser! #mushroomtart #halloumi #chili #chilli #pesto #puffpastry #tart
Chili Pesto, Mushroom, Roasted Red Pepper and Halloumi Tarts with Homemade Puff Pastry. The perfect appetizer or summer dinner - make these whatever size you want, they are bound to be a crowd pleaser! #mushroomtart #halloumi #chili #chilli #pesto #puffpastry #tart
Chili Pesto, Mushroom, Roasted Red Pepper and Halloumi Tarts with Homemade Puff Pastry. The perfect appetizer or summer dinner - make these whatever size you want, they are bound to be a crowd pleaser! #mushroomtart #halloumi #chili #chilli #pesto #puffpastry #tart
Chili Pesto, Mushroom, Roasted Red Pepper and Halloumi Tarts with Homemade Puff Pastry. The perfect appetizer or summer dinner - make these whatever size you want, they are bound to be a crowd pleaser! #mushroomtart #halloumi #chili #chilli #pesto #puffpastry #tart
Chili Pesto, Mushroom, Roasted Red Pepper and Halloumi Tarts with Homemade Puff Pastry. The perfect appetizer or summer dinner - make these whatever size you want, they are bound to be a crowd pleaser! #mushroomtart #halloumi #chili #chilli #pesto #puffpastry #tart
Chili Pesto, Mushroom, Roasted Red Pepper and Halloumi Tarts with Homemade Puff Pastry. The perfect appetizer or summer dinner - make these whatever size you want, they are bound to be a crowd pleaser! #mushroomtart #halloumi #chili #chilli #pesto #puffpastry #tart

I often get asked what happens to all the food I make. This ranges from people being curious, to aggressively accusing me of being 'incredibly wasteful' (isn't the internet fun sometimes?). It all gets eaten - we eat some at home, give some to our doormen, take it to friends, or Rich takes it to the Studio. It usually gets eaten at varying speeds, depending on what it is, or how many times I've tried to feed it to people before (fourth time round of a recipe test they tend to get pretty sick of it), but nothing goes to waste. Sure, I've creeped out the guy fixing our balcony a couple of times by offering him a cookie out the window, but everyone always appreciates it. These tarts? They were gone in about half an hour of me arriving at the studio with a box full. Which has got to be a good sign, right?

This is the second post of four in partnership with Filippo Berio! Last week we had a Roasted Garlic, Tomato and Ricotta Brioche knot, which went down super well, and now I'm back with another recipe inspired by their Pestonality Tour - Chili Pesto, Mushroom, Roasted Red Pepper and Halloumi Tarts, with a homemade puff pastry. They look and sound a teeny bit complicated, but I promise you all the components are super easy to make, can be prepared ahead, and come together so amazingly into the perfect little handheld flavour party. 

Last Saturday Rich and I took the train up to Riverhead on Long Island to visit Filippo Berio at the Rose and Bubbly festival. It was an amazing wee day out (I always forget how much I love getting out of the city), and we had an amazing time tasting all of the pestos, right in the middle of a beautiful vineyard! Guests were able to try the pestos, along with taking the Filippo Berio Pestonality quiz, which will be available very soon on their website! I popped a few of my fave photos from the day at the bottom of this post. 

Back to these wee tarts! I wanted to come up with something to incorporate the Hot Chili version of the pesto, and these tarts do just that! I started with some homemade puff pastry, which, if you are up for it, is a super fun wee project, and actually not as hard as most people think. If you like, you can absolutely use store bought puff here too. I then rolled it out, cut it into rectangles, then spread with a thin layer of hot chili pesto, before topping it with a mushroom and garlic mixture, and some roasted red pepper strips. Once baked, it was topped with some fried halloumi cubes, and finished with a wee sprig of thyme. 

A few wee tips:

  • If you aren't keen on making your own puff pastry, you can definitely use store bought! I used 700g for this recipe. I have added a link to the recipe here 
  • Most of the components for this can be made ahead - the peppers can be roasted ahead, and the mushroom mixture can also be done ahead.
  • You can add the halloumi on before you bake if you like, but I prefer it fried so added it once it was already baked. Feta would work great too.
  • Feel free to customise these to your liking! They could be done with any type of filling that you like!
 

 

Chili Pesto, Mushroom, Roasted Red Pepper and Halloumi Tarts with Homemade Puff Pastry

- Makes  12 tarts -

Puff Pastry Recipe from The Fearless Baker

Puff Pastry
Butter Block
453g (1 lb) unsalted butter, at room temperature
71g (2/3 cup) Bread Flour

Dough
397 (3 3/13 cups) bread flour
198g (1 2/3 cups) All-purpose flour
6g (1 1/2 tsp) fine sea salt
113g (8 Tbsp) unsalted butter, at room temperature
287g (1 cup plus 3 Tbsp) cool water

Tart Filling
4 large red bell peppers
1 small onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
300g button mushrooms, finely chopped
1 jar Filippo Berio Hot Chili Pesto
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
1 x 200g block halloumi, Sliced
Fresh Thyme Sprigs to garnish (optional)

Egg wash: 1 egg whisked with 1 tbsp water

 

- PROCESS -

PUFF PASTRY

To make the butter block, combine the butter and bread flour  and mix until well combined. On a 13" x 18" piece of parchment paper, spread the butter into a 6" x 9" rectangle that is approximately 1/2" thick, using an offset spatula to square off the edges. Fold the remaining parchment paper down, using a bench scraper to square off the edges again (very square butter is very helpful!). Place in the fridge for 20-30 minutes, until it is between 60˚f and 70˚f (15˚c to 20˚c). 

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the bread flour, all-purpose flour, and salt. Add the butter and vanilla, and mix on low until the butter is fully incorporated into the mixture. Add the water, and mix until a dough forms, 5-6 minutes. Increase the speed, and mix on high for 2-3 minutes until smooth.

Turn out onto a piece of plastic wrap, and pat into a rectangle with your hands. Wrap in the plastic and rest in the refrigerator for 40-50 minutes. 

Once it has reached the ideal temperature, bring both the butter block and the dough out of the fridge. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to a rectangle approximately 12" x 10". Place the butter block on the bottom half of the dough (you should have about half an inch space around the edges), and fold over the dough to 'lock' in the butter, pressing down the edges to seal it in. Tuck any excess underneath. Wrap in plastic wrap, place on the baking sheet, and rest in the fridge for 20-30 minutes. 

Remove the dough from the fridge. You are now going to begin the folding process. You will do a four fold, a three fold, a four fold, and another three fold.

Turn #1: 4-fold

On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to a 13" x 18" rectangle, using a bench scraper to keep the edges tightly squared off. Turn the dough so a long edge is facing you. Take the left edge of the dough, and fold 3/4 of the way across the dough, lining up the edges. Fold the right edge to meet the left, about 1/4 of the way across. Fold the dough in half, left side over right. Transfer to the baking sheet, brush off extra flour, and cover with plastic wrap. Rest for another 30 minutes.

Turn #2: 3-fold

Remove the dough from the fridge. On a lightly floured surface, repeat the rolling process - roll to 13" x 19", and square the edges. Turn so a long edge is facing you. Fold the left side of the dough 1/3 of the way across, then fold the right side of the dough over the left (so you have 3 layers of dough). Place on the baking sheet, brush off flour, cover and refrigerate. Rest for 30 minutes.

Turn #3: 4-fold

Repeat the process for a 4-fold as explained above, taking care to square the edges. Cover and rest for 30 minutes.

Turn #4: 3-fold

This is your final fold. Roll out, square off, and repeat the instructions for a 3-fold above. Cover, and rest for 30 minutes. 

Divide the pastry in half. Wrap each half tightly in plastic wrap and store in the fridge until ready to use. You will only use one of the pieces for this recipe - store the other piece, tightly wrapped, in the freezer or fridge for another project.

FILLINGS

To make the roasted red peppers, preheat the oven to 400˚f / 200˚c. Line a quarter baking sheet with tin foil. Place the peppers, whole, on the baking sheet and lightly drizzle with oil. Bake for 45 minutes, or until the skin is starting to darken and lift away from the flesh. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely on the baking sheet before peeling the peppers and removing the skin and stalk. Divide the flesh from each pepper into 3 or 4 pieces, and cut into strips. Place into an airtight container until ready to use. 

To make the mushrooms, heat a skillet or frying pan over medium heat. Add a good drizzle of olive oil, then add the onions and garlic, and cook for one minute, stirring frequently. Season with salt and pepper. Add the mushrooms and thyme, and cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring frequently and adding more oil if needed, until the mushrooms are cooked and beginning to go golden brown. Season well. Remove from the heat and set aside until ready to use - store in an airtight container in the fridge if preparing ahead. 

ASSEMBLY

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. On a lightly floured surface, roll out your puff pastry to a rectangle 5mm (1/4") in thickness. If you are using pre rolled store bought pastry, lightly roll to remove any creases. Using a pastry cutter or very sharp knife, cut rectangles 8cm x 12cm (3" x 5"), and transfer to the baking sheet, leaving a little space between each. You should get approximately 12 rectangles. Transfer the baking sheet to the fridge for at least 30 minutes. 

Preheat the oven to 400˚f / 180˚c. Using a sharp knife, score a rectangle 1cm in from the edge of the pastry, taking care not to cut right through. Repeat with the remaining rectangles of pastry. 

Spread about 1 tsp (or a little less if you do not want them too spicy) of Hot Chili pesto on each tart, keeping inside the scored border. Top with 1 Tbsp of the mushroom mixture, and a few of the strips of roasted red pepper. Brush the outer exposed edge of pastry with egg wash. 

Bake the tarts for 15-18 minutes, until the pastry is puffy and golden brown. While the tarts are baking, fry the halloumi in a skillet or frying pan over medium heat, until golden brown on both sides. Cut into cubes. 

Once the tarts are baked, remove from the oven, and top each with a few cubes of halloumi. Garnish with a sprig of thyme if desired. Serve warm. 

Store leftovers in an airtight container. Best eaten on the day that they are made.

Chili Pesto, Mushroom, Roasted Red Pepper and Halloumi Tarts with Homemade Puff Pastry. The perfect appetizer or summer dinner - make these whatever size you want, they are bound to be a crowd pleaser! #mushroomtart #halloumi #chili #chilli #pesto #puffpastry #tart
Chili Pesto, Mushroom, Roasted Red Pepper and Halloumi Tarts with Homemade Puff Pastry. The perfect appetizer or summer dinner - make these whatever size you want, they are bound to be a crowd pleaser! #mushroomtart #halloumi #chili #chilli #pesto #puffpastry #tart
Chili Pesto, Mushroom, Roasted Red Pepper and Halloumi Tarts with Homemade Puff Pastry. The perfect appetizer or summer dinner - make these whatever size you want, they are bound to be a crowd pleaser! #mushroomtart #halloumi #chili #chilli #pesto #puffpastry #tart

Thank you so much to Filippo Berio for sponsoring this post! All opinions are my own. 

Spinach, Feta, Red Pepper and Fennel Seed Scones


 
Spinach, Feta, Red Pepper, and Fennel Seed Scones. Perfect for a quick morning tea, a savory brunch option, or a light casual lunch.
Spinach, Feta, Red Pepper, and Fennel Seed Scones. Perfect for a quick morning tea, a savory brunch option, or a light casual lunch.
Spinach, Feta, Red Pepper, and Fennel Seed Scones. Perfect for a quick morning tea, a savory brunch option, or a light casual lunch.
Spinach, Feta, Red Pepper, and Fennel Seed Scones. Perfect for a quick morning tea, a savory brunch option, or a light casual lunch.
Spinach, Feta, Red Pepper, and Fennel Seed Scones. Perfect for a quick morning tea, a savory brunch option, or a light casual lunch.
Spinach, Feta, Red Pepper, and Fennel Seed Scones. Perfect for a quick morning tea, a savory brunch option, or a light casual lunch.
Spinach, Feta, Red Pepper, and Fennel Seed Scones. Perfect for a quick morning tea, a savory brunch option, or a light casual lunch.
Spinach, Feta, Red Pepper, and Fennel Seed Scones. Perfect for a quick morning tea, a savory brunch option, or a light casual lunch.
Spinach, Feta, Red Pepper, and Fennel Seed Scones. Perfect for a quick morning tea, a savory brunch option, or a light casual lunch.

 

One of the things that gets super confusing when you move countries is holidays. Christmas and New Year etc are always the same (mind you I got asked the other day if when it's July in America, if it's also July in NZ, so go figure), but things like Father's day etc are often at very different times. This leads to some frantic googling every now and then, just to make sure you haven't missed anything back home. I've found buying my diary from NZ helps with this too, but the internet still catches me out every now and then when I see all the Dad pics and then realise the dates are different. 

Just to make things more confusing, our Mother's day is the same as in the US. So I figured seeing as it's a worldwide celebration of sorts, I will add my contribution of food ideas to the internet. It seems as if 'Mother's day brunch' is a thing over here - for our Mum it was always just a cup of tea in bed with a piece of badly buttered toast, but brunch is always something that I can get behind. My own Mum is actually here in NYC with me right at this very second! She hasn't been here for close to four years, so I am having the best time showing her all of the things that have changed since she was last here. It's the best.

Scones for breakfast are one of my fave things! I grew up in a house where emergency scones were whipped up on the regular - our house was somewhat of a community train station with people popping in to say hi or to have a cup of tea all the time. Savoury scones are so under rated - you can add whatever you like to them, they come together fairly quickly, and are perfect to whip up in the morning for a morning tea or a light lunch. That goes for scones in general, but I do think that Savoury scones need a little more loving. 

I love the combination of Spinach, Feta, Red Pepper and Fennel seed, although it happens less than I would like around here, because I am married to a staunch cheese and bacon dude. However I figured these were too good not to share with you, and so Rich had to suck it up just this one time. The process for making these is very similar to regular scones, except you fry up all the delicious things first, leave them to cool slightly, then incorporate them in just before you add the milk. They are so delicious fresh out of the oven, but will be just as awesome the next day, warmed slightly and served with loads of good quality butter. Happy Scone-ing!

A few wee tips:

  • These are super versatile - feel free to play around with the fillings, but just be aware that you may have to adjust the amount of milk accordingly - for example if you left out the feta, you would need a little more milk to replace the moisture.
  • With that being said - you may need more or less milk depending on the water content of your feta, the size of your red pepper etc. I like to add most of the milk and give it a mix, then see if I need the rest, just to prevent them being too wet.
  • I find that freezing the butter in little cubes works best for me! Make sure that your scone contents are fairly cool before you add them to the flour and butter mixture, in order to reduce the amount of melting that happens. I either cool the mix in the pan, stirring frequently to release heat, or I spread into a shallow dish. 
  • These keep in an airtight container fairly well! They are best eaten fresh, but if you want to have them the next day too, send them for a spin in the microwave first. 
 

 

Spinach, Feta, Red Pepper, and Fennel Seed Scones

- Makes about 8 large scones -

2 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
1 medium red pepper (capscicum), diced
225g (8oz) feta cheese, crumbled
300g baby spinach, roughly chopped
Salt and Pepper to season
4 cups (600g) all-purpose flour
5 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 sticks butter, cut into small cubes and frozen for 10-15 min
1/2 cup (120ml) whole milk
Cream to brush

 

- PROCESS -

Preheat the oven to 400˚f / 200˚c. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 

In a non-stick skillet or frying pan, toast the fennel seeds over medium heat, moving constantly, until they are lightly toasted and beginning to smell fragrant. Remove and set aside. Return the skillet to the stove, and heat a little olive oil over high heat. 

Add the chopped onion, and cook for 2 minutes, stirring often. Add the red pepper, and cook for another 2 minutes, or until starting to soften. Add the spinach, and cook until wilted. Season the mixture well with salt and pepper. Remove the pan from the heat, and allow to cool for 15-20 minutes until cooled, or just warm. Add the crumbled feta and toasted fennel seeds. 

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder. Add the butter, and rub in with your fingertips until well combined, with a few lumps remaining. Add the cooled spinach and red pepper mixture, and stir gently to incorporate. Add most of the milk, and mix with your hands or a wooden spoon to combine. Add the remainder if required (This will vary on the size of your pepper etc) - the mixture should be wet enough that it sticks together, but not so wet that it is sticky and gloopy. 

Turn the mixture out onto a floured surface, and pat into a rectangle. Gently fold the top third of the dough down to two thirds of the way down, and then fold the bottom third on top of it - as if you were folding a letter. Pat the dough out into a rectangle again, turn the dough 90 degrees, and repeat the letter fold again. Repeat one more time, before patting out into a rectangle approx 2 inches thick.

Cut the dough into 8 even pieces. Lightly dust the bottoms with flour, and space evenly on the baking sheet. Brush the tops of the scones with cream or milk. 

Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the scones have risen, and have turned a light golden brown. Allow to cool on a wire rack before serving.

 

Spinach, Feta, Red Pepper, and Fennel Seed Scones. Perfect for a quick morning tea, a savory brunch option, or a light casual lunch.