Sunday, January 20, 2008

Jamie At Home: Episode 2, Pastry

Jamie Oliver is working with pastry today, and the show starts off with less emphasis on the garden. I guess I was wrong thinking dough grew on a bush. This is why I don’t bake.

He starts inside with a primer on his shortcut pastry. Jamie’s making both a sweet pastry and a savory one. For the sweet, he combines butter, icing sugar and all-purpose flour using his hands, also working in a couple of eggs. For the savory version, he uses the food processor, pulsing flour, lard (ugh, I hate finding out what goes into pastry for this very reason), and spiked with fresh thyme, cheddar cheese, a couple of eggs and a splash of milk.

His tips about the pastry is to not knead it like you would for bread dough. Pastry should be crumbly, so Jamie says to treat it like building a mudpie (just patting it together). Then you wrap it up and rest it in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes before using.

Now that he has his pastry dough done, Jamie moves into the tool shed (sounds like he’s been a bad boy, yeah?) and gets working on his favorite pie, a Blackberry and Apple Pie. (You can find the complete recipe here on the Food Network site.)

He slices up some green apples, and tosses them with unrefined sugar, a few pieces of stem ginger from the jar and frozen blackberries. Then he gets a pie dish and places the sweet pastry dough into the pan, then throws in the fruits. He covers it up with another sheet of pastry and uses an egg wash (an egg sometimes whisked with a bit of water) to seal the pie. He tops it off with a sprinkle of cinnamon and sugar on top. After cutting some slits for ventilation, he places his pie into the oven at 350 degrees for 50 minutes.

When he brings out the pie, first of all he has a lot of smoke in his tool shed. That oven is on fire! Then all the liquid of the fruit has broken through the pie crust and it looks like a flood of berry juice. I love my Jamie but I have to say this pie looks like a mess. I think he should have sprinkled in some flour with the fruits to act as a thickening agent so that the liquid wouldn’t look so wet. The pie, after it sits for awhile, doesn’t look too bad but it almost seems like a crumble instead of a pie. That’s just a lot of juice. Jamie serves up a piece of his pie with supermarket-bought custard.

Next he makes a Steak, Guinness and Cheese Pie. He slices up three onions and sautés it with a sprig of rosemary. Then he adds three cloves of garlic, about a tablespoon of butter, two stalks of celery, two carrots, mushrooms (looks like crimini), and brisket beef all melding together in the pan. He adds water to top off the meat and puts everything in the oven at 350 degree to simmer for two hours. He’s basically making the meat filling but says it should be slightly on the dry side instead of like a stew.

He’s using pre-bought puff pastry, and that’s a man of my own heart because I always use frozen puff pastry sheets. It just makes life so much easier, and it’s pretty tasty. He places the puff pastry sheet into a pie dish that looks more like a bowl. Then adds the beef filling. He adds more cheese then rolls out more puff pastry for the lid. And again with egg wash to seal the pie and coat the top to give it a brown color. He scores the lid lightly and then folds up the sides from the bottom and it actually really has this rustic look that I kind of like. He bakes it for 40 minutes at (guess what?) 350 degrees. (I think his oven is stuck at that temperature in this episode.)

Jamie warms up some frozen peas to serve with his beef pie. How English. When he brings out the pie, the puff pastry really puffed up and by scoring it earlier, it really creates this interesting design for the top crust. I like it. Looks hearty. He tosses some of his peas on top and it looks really pretty.

For his final dish with pastry dough, he makes an Italian Ham, Nettle and Spinach Tart. It’s like a quiche, but rectangle and flat.

Jamie brings out his savory pastry dough and spreads it out, placing it onto a rectangular baking tray. He cooks it partially at 350 degrees.

Then he works on the filling, sautéing onion with olive oil, then adds spinach, then leaves of nettles. I have to say, I’ve never eaten nettle. I think you sometimes see it at restaurants here. But I wonder if it’s more an English thing? It kind of looks like dandelion greens.

He seasons his mixture with salt, pepper and grated nutmeg. Then he adds fresh marjoram.

Next he makes the egg mixture with crème fraiche, parmesan cheese and three eggs. This gets all mixed together with salt and pepper in a bowl.

When he brings out the partially baked pastry, he spreads out his spinach mixture on top, then sprinkles pieces of boiled ham. Then he pours in the egg mixture, letting it flow to fill in everywhere. He throws more marjoram and parmesan on top and bakes it for just 12 minutes since it’s such a thin baking tray.

When it comes out, it looks thick and nicely golden brown. Jamie gets some baby watercress and tosses it with olive oil and lemon juice, and throws that on top of a piece of his tart. It looks like something from a fancy café. Brilliant.

Must be a British Thing:
Just some clarification on some of the terms Jamie uses.

Icing sugar=confectioner’s sugar

Stem ginger=Candied ginger in a jar

Grease-proof paper=wax paper

Jamieisms heard in this episode:

Crackin’ (amazing)

Shaky shaky

Nubs (clumps, as in “nubs of butter”)

Jamie At Home airs on Saturday at 9:30 a.m. on the Food Network. Visit Jamie’s Web site at More on the accompanying book for the series here.

Photos courtesy of the London Telegraph.

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