When is a pie not a pie? And why do people get so mad about it? Surely pastry meeting another gorgeous thing can only be celebrated, but no, people feel very strongly about this. Pie fascism is real.
Which brings me on to pie rage. People aren’t happy with people not encasing a pie filling in pastry and calling it a PIE. But folks, it is, and even if you feel it isn’t, feel free to surround this gorgeous chicken curry filling with pastry. I made this pie two ways, entirely enclosed in shortcrust pastry top and bottom, and with a puff pastry top, no bottom. I prefer the puff pastry lid.
There need to be some rules around food but real and good food also needs to be championed and embraced. So no cream in my carbonara, I love the naked flavours of the real thing with just egg yolks, guanciale, pecorino and black pepper. In France my croissants will always be straight as an actual croissant law says that curved ones are made with margarine and not real butter. But pie? Yes, we can have proper pork pies and everything that history has gifted us. We can protect those that need it, the Melton Mowbray Pork Pie already has protected denomination of origin status (PDO). In this world of ours right now, there is so much wrong to shout about, and it ain’t pies with just a top and no bottom.
To be clear, in my kitchen:
A pie with pastry on the top and bottom – a pie.
A pie with pastry cooked on top of the filling – a pie.
A pie with a separately cooked piece of pastry placed on top out of the oven – a pie filling wearing a pastry beret.
I love a curry pie. A simple curry, chicken is good but any curry is suitable. Chicken thigh, marinaded in yogurt and spices meets a simple sauce, some tomato and some creme fraiche. The cream fraiche gives it both richness and lightness at once. It comes together quickly (although it is best if you can let the chicken sit in the spiced yogurt for a while.
Pie decorating has become a bit of an art. My pie art is very simple, I aspire to be better. But the little things work well too. A pie that declares itself PIE is a lovely thing, and even better when it gives itself a star. That is what my lovely pie does here.
It is Pie Week, embrace it. Who needs an excuse anyway?!
- 500g chicken thigh, skin and bone removed, diced into one inch chunks
- 3 tbsp natural yogurt (Greek yogurt or coconut yogurt work here too)
- 1 tbsp turmeric
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp Kashmiri chilli (adapt to taste)
- 1/2 tsp ground coriander
- 1/2 tsp garam masala
- 1/2 tsp fenugreek
- 6 cardamom pods, lightly bashed
- 5 tbsp creme fraiche
- 400m good tomato passata
- 1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 inch ginger, peeled and finely chopped
- neutral oil for frying
- puff pastry - enough to cover a 20cm pie, or little pies if you like! I used shop bought pre rolled
- 1 egg
- salt and pepper, fresh coriander
- this will make a 20cm pie, but I sometimes make a few small pies