Friday, 9 March 2012

Dan Lepard's Spelt Rough Puff Pastry

When does someone else's recipe become yours?  I often ponder this question when I make 'my' chicken pie.  Because I learned the recipe from my ex.  And he got really miffed one day when I referred to it as my chicken pie.  That was ten years ago.  I'm not sure I've made any significant changes to the recipe until today but is it now my chicken pie.  Or is it his?  Or is it half Dan Lepard's because I made his rough puff to top it with whereas I'd normally use shop-bought.  Just some random pondering.

Lots of butter and a touch of flour
Anyway, today, I decided to tackle the black art of pastry making.  Shop-bought pastry is pretty good and consistent so why go to the trouble of making your own?  Now I've mastered shortcrust, I wouldn't buy shop bought again, but is it worth the time faff that goes into making puff and filo?  Well I don't think I would ever have the time and the patience to make my own filo like the amazing Lauren of Around the World In Eighty Bakes.  But having tried so many successful recipes from Short and Sweet, I felt confident that I could have a good go at it.

It's beginning to look a lot like pastry
And it's pretty simple, all told.  Except for the rolling bit.  You need big muscles for that when you do the first roll after each chilling.  But other than it taking a bit of time, it was a really enjoyable activity.  Even with a nearly two-year-old wreaking mayhem in the kitchen with orange playdough, pastry cutters and my ceramic baking beans (they need to be moved to a higher shelf!) 

It's also important to pay attention to the tip about ensuring the board is evenly and completely floured.  I probably used as much flour to prevent the pastry from sticking as I actually put into the pastry.

The recipe uses a small amount of spelt or wholemeal flour (I went with wholemeal) which gives the pastry a lovely nutty taste and makes you feel like you're eating something vaguely healthy (despite the copious amounts of butter in it).  
Fresh from the oven
I used about a third of the pastry - some to top a pie and the spare went into making a giant apple turnover for my pie-hating husband (he'll only eat steak and kidney pies from the chippie).  I will say that the puff on the turnover was better than it was on my pie but the pastry still tasted great.  I'd definitely go to the effort of making my own again if I'm making pie as I only make it when we have guests.  The rest got frozen - I cut it into two small blocks so I can try using some for one of Dan's savoury tart recipes on another occasion.  

Wish I had better lighting in my house...flash, bang, wallop!

Can definitely recommend the recipe.  And I'm sure the All Butter Puff would be fab too - will make some once I've used up the rest of the spelt pastry.  Seriously, anyone whole loves to bake should own a copy of Short and Sweet.  And if you're on Twitter, follow the lovely @Dan_Lepard because he's ace.

If you fancy trying the chicken pie filling, this is the original recipe which I got in lieu of half of my old house

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 500g chicken breasts, cubed
  • 2 leeks, washed, trimmed and finely shredded
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 250g baby button mushrooms, halved
  • 200ml double cream
  • 2 tsp Knorr Touch of Taste stock (or in the old days, a Knorr stock cube crumbled)
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  1. 500g puff pastry, rolled to fit your pie dish
  2. Heat the oil in a large frying pan and fry the chicken until it is white, but not browned.
  3. Add the garlic and mushrooms to the pan and continue to fry for 3-4 minutes until the chicken and mushrooms are browned.
  4. Stir the cream and stock into the pan and reduce slightly.  Season to taste.
  5. Place in a pie dish and leave to cool slightly before topping with the pastry.


  1. yum! what a great way to celebrate the end of National Pie Week! Everything I have made from Short and Sweet has been spot on (even the ones with out pictures). Congrats to you!!!

  2. I'm definitely converted! Some of the Twitterverse are thinking of doing a Short and Sweet inspired bakeoff if you're interested in being added to the list x


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