Monday, April 25, 2011

Daring Kitchen Edible food containers

This month’s Daring Kitchen Challenge comes from Renata of of Testado, Provado & Aprovado! was our Daring Cooks’ April 2011 hostess. Renata challenged us to think “outside the plate” and create our own edible containers! Prizes are being awarded to the most creative edible container and filling, so vote on your favorite from April 17th to May 16th at Daring Kitchen

Time has not been my friend and every idea I came up with had already been done. Early on I made a pie not terribly original but made and that has to count. Despite my intentions this proved to be my only piece for this challenge.

One of the original edible food containers surely is pastry such as a pie, pasty or dumpling. There is evidence of pies in the Eygptian tomb of Pharaoh Ramesses II, 1304 to 1237 BC. The 1st century Roman cookbook Apicius make various mention of various recipes which involve a pie case. The earliest European pie-like recipes refer to coffyns (the word actually used for a basket or box), with straight sealed sides and a top; open top pies were referred to as traps. Asian dumplings and wontons are said to date back over four millennia. However, the first mention in literature dates back to the Song Dynasty (960-1280 AD) in ancient China reporting the guotie (pot stickers) as being exceptionally good for the human soul.
The Cornish and Welsh miners wives invented the pasty, down the mines the miners ate the inside and threw away the part of the pastry that had gotten dirty from their hands. Some of that dirt was coal dust and arsenic.
All this information comes from Wikipedia so if it is not 100% accurate sorry about that.
My first piece is a pie. Moroccan Chicken with Almonds and Currants in shortcrust pastry.
My favourite shortcrust pastry recipe is
200 grams plain flour
50 grams cornflour
125 grams butter
pinch of salt
I put all this in my food processor blitz it until the butter is combined enough to look like bread crumbs.
then add 1 egg and 1 tablespoon of water and blitz again until it forms a ball. This is enough for a 10" 25cm pastry base.
for a lighter base add 1 teaspoon baking powder.
For a sweet base add 2 tablespoons of caster sugar with the flour.

Moroccan Chicken
• 1 kilo chicken thighs diced and tossed in plain four
• 2 tbsp olive oil
• 2 tbsp butter
• 1 tsp cayenne pepper
• 1 tsp ground black pepper
• 1.5 tbsp paprika
• 1.5 tbsp ground ginger
• 1 tbsp turmeric
• 2 tbsp ground cinnamon
• 1 tsp strands saffron, soaked in cold water
• 1 large onion, finely diced
• 1 cloves garlic, finely chopped
• 570 ml tomato juice
• 50 g currants/100 grams diced dried apricots/100 grams dates diced soaked in chicken stock
• 600 ml chicken stock
• 1 tbsp clear honey
• 85 g blanched flaked almonds toasted
• ½ cup freshly chopped parsley
Fry floured chicken in oil and butter, add spices and vegetables cook until onion is cooked add the rest of the ingredients (except the almonds and parsley) and simmer gently until liquid reduced and thickened.
Sprinkle with toasted almonds and parsley and serve with rice or cous cous. Or chill and then put into pastry cases for a pie.
To make the pies either line greased muffin tins for an individual size pie or just one big pie plate with shortcrust or puff pastry. For the individual pies sometimes I use premade puff pastry. I simply cut the squares into ¼ ‘s and put them into ½ cup size muffin tins, fill and fold the edges in. For a large pie roll out ½ the pastry into a 20 cm pie plate.
Chill it well and then fill with the cold pie filling.
Brush the edge with egg wash then put the rolled out pastry top on. Cut a 2 cm or 1” slit in the top. Brush with egg wash and cook for 45 minutes in a 180° Celsius oven or until the pastry is cooked.
Serve the pie with a green salad.

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