When I was contemplating the switch from working in a private bank to working at Anchrom (our family business), a lot of things were going through my head. Whether I would like the kind of work , the working philosophy, whether Anchrom would like my way of working and so on. I was also wondering if it would be too much unnecessary proximity, to be staying with the same people at home and working with the same lot in office. But then , because of the daily 3 hour commute to and fro from office, I was missing out on a lot of stuff at home. I would be so exhausted that there would be no time to do anything else except work and getting ready for work!
So I took the plunge, and it been two great years now at Anchrom. I realised this yesterday when we had an amazing Diwali party in office. A couple of days back I announced to our people that I will be going to Paris for a month-long Patisserie course. Within a few moments of saying that out aloud, I could see an array of emotions flirting across their faces. Shock, surprise, confusion, amazement and of course happiness for me. I convinced them that this is just a hobby and I would continue to work at Anchrom for as long as I can imagine. Then I saw relief. 🙂
I also told them about my blog, and gave them Sizzle and Drizzle visiting cards. Yes, I got them printed! Pretty pink cards with a red maroon writing. (Got them printed at this website Printvenue.com, they do 100 cards at just Rs. 100. Thats right!) Then at lunchtime all of them visited the blog and loved it. I was afraid of what they might think of a month-long disappearance , but thankfully I got them over to my side with the blog.
So for Diwali party, I wanted to have some home-made goodies. For our workforce of 25 employees in the Mumbai office, we made Classic Dahi-wada and Chocolate brownies (egg and egg-free version). Topped it up with some vanilla ice-cream and chocolate sauce and I had people asking for another serving. There can’t be a better compliment than people asking for more of what you served, right?
That marks the beginning of Diwali celebrations for us. What have you guys been planning and doing this Diwali? Drop in a comment at the comments section, I would love to hear from you.
Meanwhile, for several days, Akshay has been asking me to make a chicken pot pie, reminiscent of the days he spent in USA as a student. I was quite terrified of making it, as the flaky pastry crust is difficult to achieve and the buttery vegetable thick stock filling has a tendency to get runny or harden up while baking. Or so I thought.
As if the Daring Bakers heard my plea, 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.
So last Saturday, I set up on the task of making this savory chicken pot pie. It is so creamy and lusciously rich, that the pastry crust nicely holds it together and gives it a smooth backing, without being too doughy.
Chicken Pot Pie Crust: 2 hours, including rest time in the fridge
Chicken Pot Pie Filling and Baking: about 2 hours to fill and bake.
It’s a lengthy preparation, and so you can imagine how famished everyone would be by the time you serve it. This pie serves about 8, but it can be refrigerated for upto 5 days.
What you will need:
Flaky Pie Crust:
- 3 1/2 cups all-purpose (plain) flour
- 1 tbsp brown sugar, firmly packed
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup cold shortening (I used Dalda), cut into pieces
- 3/4 cup cold salted butter
- 1 cup ice water
Chicken Pot Pie Filling:
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 large carrots, peeled and diced
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1/2 cup celery, diced
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4 tbsp butter, room temperature
- 1/3 cup flour
- 2 cups chicken stock, (I used 4 Maggi chicken stock cubes dissolved in 2 cups water)
- 1/2 cup mixture of milk and fresh cream
- 2 tbsp white/red wine
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 3 cups (400 gms) cooked chicken, chopped
- 1 cup frozen peas, not thawed
How to make it:
- Mix flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Drop in shortening and quickly grate butter directly into the bowl using a cheese grater.
- Using your fingers work butter and shortening into the flour mixture until it’s broken down into course, chunky crumbs. Stop mixing when the largest crumb is about the size of a pea.
- Using a fork, quickly stir in very cold ice water. Turn the rough dough and crumbs onto a floured surface.
- Knead just until dough starts to hold together in a rough mass, up to 10 times. 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 and pat each half into a disk. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour before use. The dough will keep good in the fridge for a full day.
- 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 the butter and flour in a small bowl with a fork.
- Heat 2 cups (500 ml) chicken stock in the empty skillet over medium-high heat. Drop the butter/flour paste into the stock and 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.
- 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 and dust under the dough again before rolling out completely to about 15 inches (38 cm) across. Hold your pie plate up to the round of dough to ensure it is large enough to fit your 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 while you 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 the filling. Trim excess dough and seal the edge crust by folding the top dough layer under the bottom and pinching the dough together with your fingers or pressing with the tines of a fork.
- Bake in the lower part of your oven until the pastry is golden brown, 45 to 50 minutes. To ensure the bottom is browned, you may choose to prop an electric oven open using the handle of a wooden spoon for the last ten minutes of the baking time. If at any point you fear the top crust is over-browning, cover with foil for the remainder of the baking time. Serve immediately while warm.
Now, though this all looks tricky, it is simple if you follow these beautiful instructions by Hannah, If you want to see step-by-step pictures, hop over to her blog Rise and Shine. She has it illustrated very neatly.
And lastly, have a wonderful Diwali with your family and friends! Make delicious food and some beautiful moments.
My best wishes to a happy new Hindu year and god bless! 🙂