Thursday, January 20, 2011

Meat Pies & Pavlova

Morgan helped cooked dinner on Thursday. The plan had been to make Pumpkin Soup and Meat Pies to go with the book we've been using for his unit study this week, but when dinner time rolled around last night it was hot and I knew there was no way anyone was going to indulge in a bowl of soup. Add pumpkin to the soup and I was going to have an entire table of unhappy people and one sad child who'd gone to the effort of making it. The upside is, we'll have at least another week with the same book Morgan is using so we decided to put off the pumpkin soup until next week and went with just the meat pies and pavlova instead. There was much debate on which kind of meat pie to make, and I actually had the recipe out to make one similar to a steak and kidney pie.. except, you know minus the kidney because frankly I'm just not into eating organs. I have a hard enough time keeping the "regular" kinda meat down.

In the end we went with a traditional mince style meat pie. The thing is, an Aussie Meat Pie is kinda like an American Pizza. There is a traditional flavor, but you can find just about anything in/on them. Morgan was mortified to learn that steak and kidney pie was a real deal, but then again he wasn't too keen on egg and bacon pie either despite his addiction to bacon.

Traditional Aussie Meat Pie

500 g  lean mince (ground beef)
1 T olive oil
1 medium onion, minced (we use leek)
3/4 c broth (we use homemade)
1 T Grayvox (powdered gravy mix; cornflour/starch can be used)
1 T barbecue sauce (homemade works)
1/4 c tomato sauce/ketchup (we used bottled this time)
2 T Worcestershire sauce
1 t Vegemite, optional (I don't use it because the yeast content gives me migraines)

2-3 pieces of shortcut pastry or homemade pie dough
2 pieces of puff pastry
1 egg, beaten

Put a baking sheet in your oven and turn it on to 220 C. Place the oil in a sauce pan over medium-high heat and add the onion; cook 2-3 minutes or until leek is soft. Add mince and cook, breaking up with a spoon, until no longer pink. In a small bowl mix the Grayvox or Cornflour with 1 tablespoon of the broth to make a paste; add the rest of the broth and the various "sauces"; add to pan and mix well. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook until thick.

Lightly grease 6 small pie tins (roughly 5cm) and then cut the 2 pieces of Shortcrust Pastry to line the pans. When the meat mixture is thick place 1/2 cup of mixture into each pie shell. Use the Puff Pastry to cover each pie. I used the scraps to cover one of our pies because I just didn't want to waste all the little bits. Same with the pie shell for one, I pieced them back together to avoid wasting it.

Place your little pies on the baking sheet, brush the tops with a beaten egg and bake for 20-25 minutes or until crusts are puffed and golden.

We'd plan to make a pavlova incase no one liked the soup, but considering we don't use cane sugar we had a small hiccup deciding how to sweeten it. The plan was to use coconut sugar, but when I opened the cupboard it appeared we were nearly out! So, I used what little I did have with a bit of fructose that was in the cupboard. Honestly, I'm not fond of the later but it's good in a pinch.


6 egg whites
1 t cream of tarter
1 1/3 c sugar (like I said we used coconut sugar and fructose)
1 T cornflour
1 t vanilla

Preheat your oven to 100 C. Trace a dinner sized plate circle onto a piece of baking paper down place the paper on your baking tray, pencil side down. Dust lightly with 1 t of cornflour. Whip your egg whites and cream of tarter until soft peaks form. Add sugar 1 T at a time beating constantly until glossy and peaks are stiff. Add last 3 t of cornflour with the last Tablespoon of sugar. Fold in Vanilla.

Spoon meringue onto baking paper using the circle as a guide. Make the edges slightly higher then the center. Bake for 1.25 - 1.50 hours or until dry and crisp. Leave the oven door slightly ajar until pavlova is cool. Once completely cool top with whipped cream and fruit or as desired.

Notes:  Here's the thing about coconut sugar and fructose. Fructose is an okay substitute for us, as in we don't react too poorly to it, but it's not so great for baking with in my opinion. My reasoning is that it makes things very sponge like and soft. The problem with coconut sugar is that it melts when hot and doesn't get crisp until it's cooled. That made judging the doneness of this pavlova hardwork!

I'm planning to make another one again and try just using coconut sugar and see if judging for doneness will be easier. As for this one. the base was dry to the touch, but top wasn't and after 90 minutes I thought it was done and pulled it out so I could cook the kids lunch. However, after it sat on the stove for 40 minutes I noticed what I thought was "soft sugar" was still wet pavlova. So once lunch was cooked I popped it back in the oven on 100 for another half hour and that seemed to do it. 

The extra 30 minutes didn't burn it, but once it was done that time the pavlova sunk considerably. It's not abnormal for one to sink a bit after they cool, but I honestly think the sinking was the fault of the fructose as I've used it in a couple of other things and the exact same ending result has happened! I could be wrong, it's not a sweetener we've used much as I find it overly sweet and I'm just not keen on how it works. 

All that to say, that this disappeared rather quickly and there were a few squawks over who was going to get the last piece that made it safely into the fridge. We topped ours with homemade cherry sauce (fresh cherries we mashed and cooked into a sauce) and a bit of freshly whipped cream. I think had it been more "crunchy" when done I would have just topped it with plain fresh fruit. 

May I just say that Morgan adores his night in the kitchen and was delighted that we all greedily ate what he prepared. I'll also say that everyone thinks it's great when I'm experimenting with new recipes because they get to consume more of said food. And for the record, we've been experimenting with brownies for about 18 months now..

1 comment:

Butterfly said...

Mmmmmm! Those pies look incredible. I'm adding this to Mr 6's list, as he'll be starting on the same study path (with Wombat Stew and Australian Book Traveller) in a couple of weeks.

We would have started it together with Miss 5 this week, but she is now preparing to go to 'real' school. I'm happy for her but sad that she'll miss this great study. Still deciding whether we'll wait for her, and see if she joins us again in Term 2.

I also liked the post you did about Animal classification ... thanks for all the ideas.