Ok! Second bake. Jay has now had a full week to reflect on his first bake. With so little knowledge though, it’s difficult to find causation, much less correlation, between any actions taken and what actually resulted. Nevertheless, he’s decided to scale back the difficulty a bit and try something a bit more “simple,” though, given his undeniable lack of baking knowledge, even the easier appearing recipes may prove quite challenging.
This week, Jay’s attempting Chicken Pot Pie. It’s a happy medium between cooking and baking, he figures, and the actual dough creation and bake itself are much less intensive than that of cinnamon rolls. He also figures his waistline can’t handle a full eight servings of sweet treats on a weekly basis.
Nadia has tentatively expressed her excitement for this bake. She’s always loved the warm feelings of comfort food chicken pot pie provides and knows Jay can cook but given last week’s outcome, there’s some understandable restraint in her expectations.
The recipe is borrowed from sally’s baking addiction, so thanks, Sally. It’s actually a double crust pot pie; Jay couldn’t make this too easy for himself. [picture of what my pies should look like are located there, reached out for permission to host an image here]
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 1 1/4 tsp salt 6 Tbsp unsalted butter, chilled, cubed 3/4 cup vegetable shortening, chilled 1/2 cup ice water Mix flour and salt together in a large bowl. Add the butter and shortening. Using a pastry cutter or two forks, cut the butter and shortening into the mixture until it resembles course meal. Measure 1/2 cup of water in a cup, add ice. From this, as ice has melted, measure a second 1/2 cup of water and add to mixture 1 Tbsp at a time. Stir after each addition. Stop adding water when the dough begins to form large clumps. Transfer the pie dough to a floured surface. The dough should come togther easily and not feel too sticky. Using floured hands, fold the dough into itself until the flour is fully incorporated into the fats. Form dough into a ball, divide in half. Flatten each into a 1" thick disc. Wrap each tightly in plastic wrap; refridgerate for at least two hours. 1 recipe of pie crust (above) 1 lb chicken boob 2 carrots 1 celery stalk 1/3 cup unsalted butter 1/3 cup chopped onion 1 tsp minced garlic 1/3 cup all-purpose flour 1 tsp salt 1/2 tsp pepper 1/2 tsp dried thyme 1 3/4 cups chicken broth 2/3 cup half-and-half 1 cup frozen peas 1 egg, beaten fresh time for garnish Pie crust makes two crusts. (you'll use both) In a large saucepan, combine chicken, celery, and carrots. Add water and boil for 12 minutes. Remove, drain, set aside. In a large skillet, cook the butter, onions, and garlic. Whisk flour, salt, pepper, thyme, broth, and half and half. Cook and whisk until no flour lumps remain then simmer over med-low until thick. Remove from heat, set aside. After pie dough has chilled for two+ hours, roll out half of the pie dough to about 12 inches in diameter (or size of baking dish ~9"). Carefully place dough in, tuck with fingers, make sure it's smooth. Trim overhang and cover with chicken mixture, top with frozen peas, then gravy. Roll out second crust, lay over top, trim overhang. Seal by crimping edges with a fork. Aerate with slices in the middle and brush with eggwash. Bake at 425° for 32-38 minutes or until crust is golden brown.
Jay’s initial thoughts are that this isn’t overly complicated. While he isn’t exactly brimming with confidence about this after last week’s less than desirable result, he’s largely feeling at ease because of the perceived ease of this recipe.
However, there are some potential complications to manage:
- Jay is going to attempt to make two different pies- one vegetarian for Nadia and another with the addition of bacon for himself. This means doubling the recipe in its entirety. From previous experiences, we know this process hasn’t gone super well for Jay.
- Just before beginning to bake, Jay realized the shortening has been resting in the pantry, not chilled. He threw it into the freezer (and shortly transferred it to the fridge) in the hopes to get it chilled enough before baking.
- No pastry cutter means mixing the flour and fats together with only two forks will likely be a miserable experience.
While optimism and expectations are probably running higher than they should be, this also means a greater fall if this doesn’t turn out.
Today’s bake’s beer is brought to you by Pyramid Brewing, on account of the Trail Blazers earning the West’s #8 seed in the 2017 NBA playoffs last night. 1977 was their last (and only) championship, so here’s to a Cinderella run to an NBA title and perfectly baked chicken pot pie.
Jay begins by measuring out the flour and as he’s about to add the fourth cup (due to doubling the recipe), he starts to get uneasy by the sheer amount of flour and soon-to-be dough he’s going to have to work. In fear of working it improperly, and/or unevenly, he decides to just make two batches exactly according to the recipe. 2 1/2 cups of flour is still a lot, but appears much more manageable than 5 cups.
Besides, if/when he botches one, maybe he’ll be able to remedy the second?
Wow, this process sucks. His forearm is burning from mixing the fats with the flour. More bad news- Jay didn’t account for the double batch of dough and needs more shortening.
After some hemming and hawing, Jay decides to mix this first batch of dough then run to the store for more shortening and perhaps a PASTRY CUTTER. BLESSING IN DISGUISE.
All things considered, the dough looks like it should at this point. He had to add about 3/4 cup of cold water to achieve the desired state so it’s a bit nerve-wracking since baking requires such precision. Jay’s also a bit nervous about the rolling it together and getting it to a point where it can rest and he can purchase the additional ingredients.
Wow. Things have gone as expected in a most unexpected fashion.
[Store run intermission]
A super successful grocery run produces a pastry cutter and some additional shortening. Time to blend all the things!
Fueled by with confidence due to the previous dough’s apparent success and knowing this next batch should be far easier with the pastry mixer, Jay acts like he knows what the hell he’s doing and repeats the process above to create another set of pie crusts.
It is impossible for Jay to overstate how much time and effort is saved by this miraculous tool. Thank the maker!
Preparing the cooked portion of the recipe found Jay in very familiar and comfortable territory. While he’s never made a chicken pot pie before, the cooking concepts were pretty basic- soften some veggies, make a rue for gravy, toss it all together, bake. Cool.
Aforementioned, Jay decides to make two different pot pies and doctor them up a bit, but again, this is nothing new. The boiled chicken makes Jay wince a bit (boiled meat?), but he figures he’d run with it so he at least has a baseline for this recipe should it be made again in the future. The bacon will contribute nicely to the gravy for Jay’s pot pie.
As far as the cook portion goes, it’s all as expected! Jay gets the carrot/celery/(and chicken for himself) mixtures boiled off and set them aside to cool while simultaneously cooking off garlic and onions in one pan and starting the bacon in another. It turns out to be incredibly convenient to have the gravies at different stages. Nadia’s gravy comes together well, though it’s a touch salty- which of all the seasonings to be over on for Nadia, that’s the worst!- but the bacon gravy goes off without a hitch.
With cooking over, it’s time to find what the dough has yielded. The dough discs look good and Jay begins to roll out Nadia’s bottom and top crusts. While rolling it out, it can’t get beyond six or seven inches without splitting at the ends, so he has to kinda mash it back together and create some seams. Lifting the dough to move it to the pan is also a bit of an adventure and rips in some places.
Otherwise, it’s not too bad. There’s more filling than expected, and with some of the dough not reaching the top of the pan, there’s definitely some spillage (gravy touching the pan). Oh well.
Jay gets the second crust rolled out- with the same splitting issue- and tops the pan. He crimps the edges with a fork, aerates with some fancy slits, and adorns the top with an egg wash. Nice.
Jay gets to work on his pot pie. This pairing of dough is far superior to Nadia’s (oh noes!). This one rolls out without the same splitting issue and is much easier to handle. He fits the pan easily and works it into its crevices (unlike Nadia’s -_-). He adds the filling and gravy and it’s waaaaaay too much. Uh oh. There’s naught he can do at this point, so he rolls out his second crust, crimps, aerates, egg washes, and ultimately hopes for the best.
The recipe calls for one pie to cook at 425 for 32-38 minutes. With these two behemoths, Jay’s set the original timer for 30 minutes to check, remove the foil to brown, and let cook for another 12-15 minutes.
Total cook time was about 45 minutes. Not too shabby. Maybe they’ll taste as good as the one on the right looks?
- Having the right tools for the job makes everything better
- Jay’s pretty sure that he added too much water to Nadia’s dough. Since he didn’t have the pastry cutter for her dough, when mixing water in, he used a plastic spatula and it seems to have not mixed as well. Jay added an extra 1/4 cup water to Nadia’s dough and there was a considerable difference in dough… strength(?)
- There is a difference between un/salted butters
- Baking’s hard
Score range from 0-10 Cakies and are based on the ideal chicken pot pie.
Appearance: Nadia’s pot pie- 6/10; Jay’s- 7/10 “Jay’s looks beautifully bulbous and surprisingly decent.”
Appeal: Nadia’s- 6/10; Jay’s 9/10. “Jay’s is all shiny and shit. Mine’s a little flat and pale.”
Taste: Nadia’s- 5/10 “The crust is salty and bottom not quite cooked through. Everything’s really salty and it could use more veggies.
Jay’s- 7/10 “Better salt balance, crust cooked better and is flaky, a little bit of pepper spice was kinda nice”
Overall: Nadia’s: 5/10; Jay’s- 7/10
Best part: The flavors are there
Worst part: SALT
It’s suuuuper frustrating to be done in by a cooking element, seasoning, and not the actual bake itself. Once thing of note is that salted butter was used, while the recipe from Sally’s was with unsalted butter. Jay felt a bit of guilt getting Nadia all excited for chicken pot pie only to deliver her a pile of salt 😦
Jay’s bacon chicken pot pie was much more successful from an appearance and taste point of view, though it was also a bit salty. He’s incredibly pleased with how flaky the crust came out and the flavors were spot on. Jay feels confident enough to make this again and even knows how to improve where he struggled the most. Pretty satisfactory effort, this go.