Hannah of Rise and Shine was our October 2013 Daring Bakers’ hostess and she challenged us to bake our own double crusted savory pot pies. Using any from-scratch crust and filling we choose, we were allowed to get completely creative with our recipe, showing off the savory flavors and fillings from our own home or region. While pot pies, namely the classic chicken pot pie, are thought of as something of a Minnesota tradition, most of us here have never made one from scratch in our kitchen. Typically, we’ve all had a chicken pot pie from the grocer’s freezer section, but this month we’ll be making our own!

Our challenge will be to create an American-style double crusted pot pie with any type of from-scratch crust and any type of filling we choose. An American pot pie typically has a top and bottom crust with a filling of meat, mixed vegetables and gravy. In the US, a single crusted savory pie would be closer to what we call a casserole, and in parts of the world what we call a “pot pie” would simply be known as a “pie” with many variations. Hannah provided recipes for a Classic Chicken Pot Pie, and also a Mediterranean Pizza Pot Pie. Both recipes were written by herself over time, with inspiration from a little book called Pot Pies by Beatrice Ojakangis, and also guidance from her grandma Betty’s community church cookbook from southern Minnesota.

CLASSIC CHICKEN POT PIE

Ingredients:

For the Flaky Pie Crust

3 1/2 cups ( 840 ml)(17 ¼ oz)(490 gm) all-purpose (plain) flour

1 tablespoon (15 ml) (½ oz) (13 gm) brown sugar, firmly packed

1 1/2 teaspoons (9 gm) salt

1/2 cup (120 ml) (4 oz) (115 gm) cold shortening, cut into pieces

3/4 cup (180 ml) (6 oz) (170 gm) cold unsalted butter

1 cup (240 ml) ice water

For the Chicken Pot Pie Filling

2 tablespoons (30 ml) vegetable oil

2 large carrots, peeled and diced

1 medium onion, diced

1/2 cup celery, diced

1/2 teaspoon (3 gm) salt

4 tablespoons (60 ml) (2 oz) (55 gm) butter, room temperature

1/3 cup (80 ml) (1 ½ oz) (45 gm) flour

2 cups (500 ml) chicken stock

1/2 cup (120 ml) half and half (half milk and half cream)

2 tablespoons (30 ml) white wine, light beer or chicken stock

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

3 cups (750 ml) (15 oz) (425 gm) cooked chicken, chopped

1 cup (240 ml) (4½ oz) (125 gm) frozen peas, not thawed

Method:

  • Mix flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Drop in shortening and grate butter directly into the bowl using a cheese grater.
  • Using your fingers or a fork, work butter and shortening into the flour mixture until it looks like coarse, chunky crumbs.

  • Stop mixing when the largest crumb is about the size of a pea. Using the fork, quickly stir very cold ice water in the mixture.
  • Turn the rough dough and crumbs onto a floured surface. Knead just until dough starts to hold together in a rough mass.

  • Do not over mix! You will be able to see chunks of butter in the dough and this is a good thing. Divide the dough in half.
  • Pat each half into a disk. Wrap each disk individually in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour before using them.

  • The dough will keep in the fridge for a full day, or you may freeze the dough for up to 3 months (and thaw before rolling).
  • Preheat the oven to moderately hot 200°C/400°F. Heat oil in a wide bottomed skillet or sauce pan over medium-high heat.

  • Add carrots and cook for 5 minutes, stirring often. Add onions, celery and salt and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes.
  • Transfer to a medium mixing bowl and set aside. Meanwhile, make a thick paste by mixing butter and flour in a small bowl.

  • Heat 2 cups (500 ml) chicken stock in the empty skillet over medium-high heat. Drop the butter/flour paste into the stock.
  • Whisk vigorously until it come to a simmer. Boil briefly until thick like honey. Whisk in the half and half. Turn off heat.

  • Stir in wine, thyme and black pepper. Stir together the cooked vegetables, chicken, peas and sauce until it thickens slightly.
  • Roll out one half of the chilled dough about 1/4 inch (5 mm) thick using a floured rolling pin on a well-floured surface.

  • Once your round of dough is about ten inches (25 cm) across, dust the top with flour, pick the round up from the counter.
  • Dust under the dough again before rolling out completely to about 15 inches (38 cm) or until large enough to fit pie plate.

  • To set the dough into your pie plate, fold the round of dough in half, then in half again to create a large triangle of dough.
  • Point the tip of triangle of dough into the center of the pie plate and unfold. Be careful not to stretch the dough too much.

  • However you should also ensure that you have the dough tucked into all corners. Pour the filling into the unbaked pie shell.
  • Roll out the top crust and cover filling. Trim excess dough. Seal the crust by folding the top dough layer under the bottom.

  • Pinch the dough together with your fingers or pressing with the tines of a fork. Bake the pie in the lower third of your oven.
  • It will turn golden brown after 45 to 50 minutes. Serve immediately while warm. Servings: makes one 9 1/2 inch (24 cm) pie.

Anything goes here, really, but some crust examples could be pie crust, puff pastry, filo dough or biscuit dough. The filling can be absolutely any cheesy, saucy, or gravy-based stew that you dream up. Pretty much any type of very thick stew will work.

MEDITERRANEAN PIZZA POT PIE

Ingredients:

For the Tender Pizza Pot Pie Crust

2 tablespoons (30 ml) (¾ oz) (21 gm) active dry yeast

1 teaspoon (5 ml) (5 gm) sugar

3/4 cup (180 ml) warm water

1/2 teaspoon (3 gm) salt

1 tablespoon (15 ml) oil

1 1/2 cups (360 ml) (7 ½ oz) (210 gm) bread flour, plus more for dusting

For the Creamy Garlic Gravy

3 tablespoons (45 ml) (1-2/3 oz) (45 ml) butter

3 tablespoons (45 ml) (1 oz) (26 gm) flour

1 cup (240 ml) milk

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

4 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 cup (120 ml) (1½ oz) (45 gm) shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

For the Mediterranean Pizza Filling

2 cups (500 ml) (280gm) (10 oz) cooked chicken, chopped

1 small onion, sliced into thin wedges

2 medium tomatoes, seeded and diced

1/2 cup (120 ml) (2 oz) (60 gm) shredded provolone cheese

1/2 cup (120 ml) (2 oz) (60 gm) crumbled feta cheese

1/2 cup (120 ml) (½ oz) (15 gm) tightly packed fresh spinach leaves, slivered

4 medium-large artichoke hearts, diced

1/3 cup (80 ml) (2 oz) (60 gm) kalamata olives, roughly chopped

1 teaspoon (5 ml) fresh oregano leaves

Pinch of salt, black pepper, dried oregano (for topping)

Method:

  • Mix together yeast, sugar and warm water in a medium bowl. Let it rest several minutes until foamy.
  • Add salt, oil and up to 1 1/2 cups of bread flour, one half cup at a time, mixing with a wooden spoon.

  • Continue mixing until dough picks up most of the flour and pulls together in a wad around the spoon.
  • Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Sprinkle the dough with flour and knead for several minutes.

  • The dough will turn smooth and not sticking badly to clean hands as you knead. Place in a lightly oiled bowl.
  • Cover with lightly greased plastic wrap. Place in the refrigerator overnight or prepare dough in the morning.

  • Leave in fridge until dinner. An hour before you start prepping the pizza, punch down the dough in the bowl.
  • Leave it in the bowl to rest at room temperature for an hour. Melt butter over medium heat in a saucepan.

  • Sprinkle flour over the butter and whisk together. Cook for a short minute as it bubbles, then pour in the milk.
  • Whisk and bring it to boil, then stir in salt, pepper and garlic. Whisk until it is as thick as honey for one minute.

  • Remove from the heat and stir in cheese. Set aside while you prepare the components for your filling.
  • Preheat the oven to hot 220°C/425°F/gas mark 7. Lightly grease a 10-inch (25-cm) cast iron skillet.

  • Roll out pizza dough on a floured surface with flour sprinkled on the top of the dough to prevent sticking.
  • It should spread six inches beyond the edges of your pan on all sides. Lay dough into pan, without pulling.

  • It should fit into the pan with the extra dough hanging over edges. Repair any holes that have appeared.
  • Stir together garlic sauce and filling, reserving salt, pepper and dried oregano for the top of the crust.

  • Pile all of the filling into your pan. Wrap the dough up over the top of the filling. Seal tightly in the middle.
  • Using kitchen scissors, snip away any excess dough. Sprinkle salt, pepper and dried oregano onto top.

  • Bake for 30 to 35 minutes in the lower third of your oven, until the crust is golden brown.
  • Serve immediately while warm. Servings: about 8 (one 10 inch (25 cm)pie).

Storage & Freezing Instructions: Both of these pies are best made and eaten right away. You may store leftovers in the refrigerator for several days or in the freezer for a month. Re-heat thawed leftovers covered in foil in the oven until heated through.