Dingle Lamb Pie
There’s been too much cake in our house recently. I don’t know how two birthdays could generate so much cake, but they did. I feel completely caked out. So much so, that I decided to make something savoury. Main courses aren’t usually my department in the kitchen. In fact, I’ve only ever gone savoury once before for Let’s Bake the Books. but I thought I’d give the Dingle Lamb Pie from Paul Hollywood’s British Baking a try. It’s a lamb and vegetable pie with a bottom and a top, so avoiding the ‘soggy bottom’ would be a challenge.
I started with the pastry. First, I mixed plain flour and salt together. Then I added small cubes of cold butter and cold lard and rubbed them in with my glorious pastry blender.
I used the blender to mix in the fat until I reached the breadcrumb stage.
Next, I added some iced water and mixed it in until my pastry had formed a dough. The recipe says you’ll need around 4 tablespoons. I added about three and a half. My dough could probably have taken more water, but I’m always worried about it being too wet. If it just about comes together, that’s good enough for me.
I wrapped my dough in foil (I didn’t have any clingfilm) and put it into the fridge.
To make the filling, I finely chopped and onion and carrot, and cut two smallish potatoes into little dice. Usually I wouldn’t chop and slice so finely, but I was baking for the blog so I thought I’d better follow the instructions.
I heated a tablespoon of sunflower oil in a pan and cooked the vegetables with some salt until they were just starting to soften. I took them out of the pan, turned up the heat, and added another tablespoon of oil. Then I added some pieces of lamb shoulder and cooked them until they were brown all over. I lowered the heat and added some flour, which I cooked for a minute.
When the flour had cooked, I added stock. The recipe requires lamb stock, but I couldn’t find any. Well, I say I couldn’t find any. What I really mean is that there wasn’t any in Tesco. There was beef, chicken and vegetable stock in the cupboard, and I went with beef. As well as the stock, I added some Worcester sauce, salt and pepper and some fresh thyme. They did have fresh thyme in Tesco. Bags of it for 75p and plants for £1.25. I hate those bags of fresh herbs. You buy them for a recipe that needs a teaspoon or tablespoon and the rest go into the bin. I decided to go with the plant. If I could keep it alive, perhaps we’d be able to use it for more than one meal. It’s been five days now and it’s still going. I’m optimistic.
Once all of the ingredients were in the pan, I gave it a stir and left it to simmer for 40 minutes. When it was cooked, I left it until I was ready to put the pie together.
I assembled the dingle lamb pie once the children had gone to bed, so the pastry had rested for several hours and the filling was truly cold.
I took the pastry out of the fridge, cut a third off, tried to make the remainder into a nice circle shape, and started to roll. It was a bit on the crumbly side and, I don’t know how, but I ended up with pastry in the shape of Ireland. It wouldn’t fit into my pie dish like that. I cut off Northern Ireland and Donegal and put it just east of Dublin. I managed to stick the two pieces together somehow and, equally, miraculously, managed to get the whole thing into my pie dish in one piece. Granted, the pastry was a bit thin around the edge in some places and needed a bit of patching but, all in all, it was OK. I should have taken a picture, but it was dark, I had pastry all over my fingers, and I was a bit annoyed at how long it all seemed to be taking, so I didn’t.
I rolled out the final third of the pastry to make a lid. Everything was fine this time.
I put my cold filling into the lined pie dish and put the lid over the top. I was supposed to brush the edges with egg to make them stick, but I hadn’t read the recipe carefully enough. My dish was more of a flan dish, than the enamel pie dish used in the recipe, so I didn’t really have a very big edge to brush anyway.
I squeezed the edges together with my fingers, cut three slits in the top, and brushed it with beaten egg.
I put my dingle lamb pie into the oven at 180° fan. I wasn’t quite sure what the temperature should be, because Paul Hollywood doesn’t give a specific fan oven setting. The gas setting was Mark 6 though and, when I checked a conversion table, this said 200° in a conventional oven, so I decreased the temperature. A lot of bother to bake a pie. I don’t understand why the recipe didn’t include a fan oven temperature. Perhaps you’re not supposed to bake pies on the fan setting but, if not, why not say so?
Anyway, after all that, I think the oven may have been too low after all. Or perhaps it was because I wasn’t using a proper enamel pie dish. Either way, my pie took fifteen minutes longer to cook than the maximum time given in the recipe (which was 35 minutes). Well, it took that time to turn a nice golden brown.
Was it worth it?
At the time, I did think that it was hard work. Making the pastry, making the filling, putting it all together… I wasn’t feeling particularly great though, and I think everything seemed like hard work that day. Any other day and making pastry is a breeze.
The dingle lamb pie did taste really good. The pastry was lovely and crumbly and I don’t think the bottom was soggy, although I did serve it with gravy, so I couldn’t really tell. I think you’ll be seeing a lot more savoury pies on Let’s Bake the Books in the future.