Did I ever tell you I love Moroccan food? Better yet – give me a Moroccan lamb dish and I’m over the moon. That, together with the fact that I’ve been going nuts baking sweet stuff for the past few weeks, and you get the idea for this week’s #GBBO bake off – my Moroccan lamb and apricot pie. Well, it’s Moroccan on the inside, but quite British on the outside, because I made it in the fashion of a Victorian game pie…or if you want to fastforward to today, a typical British pork pie. I ended up making a gluten free and dairy free hot water crust pastry just because I wanted to see if I can make a pie stand up by itself. And luckily for me…it did! My Moroccan lamb and apricot pie was successful in that there were no leaks, the filling was scrummy and full of Moroccan flavours and the pie was quintessentially British…oh..and the entire thing was gluten and dairy free.
When I saw that the GBBO was having “Victorian” week, of course I had to investigate what that meant. Now, I could make a fruit cake with a tennis court decoration quite easily (I do dabble in a bit of cake decorating as you may have seen on my fb page, The Baking Bug) – but I really wanted to stay away from the sweet stuff this week. Then I wanted to make the Charlotte Russe, but would have ended up eating it all myself in one sitting and that…well that just doesn’t jive with the four pounds I’ve put on since starting these challenges! So a meat pie it was.
I have never cooked game…and have never eaten British game. I do come from Trinidad where we used to joke that we “eat anything that moves” including “wild meat”….but even as a child, when my Father or his friends had “wild meet cooks” (parties where they had huge pots of highly spiced and curried wild meat for dinner) we did not eat much…and the bit that we did ate we didn’t like. Now, this is potentially because my Mother was (and is) not a wild meat (game) fan….and when you’re small you don’t really like something if your Mommy doesn’t, am I correct? Whatever the reason, it’s not a part of my diet now…and would I try pigeon? Definitely. Would I go out of my way to learn to cook it and add it to my daily, weekly or monthly menu? Probably not. But if you’re with me and you buy it, I may steal some to try. Anyway – long story short – I was not making a game pie. The next Victorian pie that I was able to find splashed all over the internet was a mince pie…but I have only ever heard of that since I came to England, and it’s usually a Christmas meal….also, the lovely Jenny Paulin had already made one so I wanted to do something slightly different. Especially since I was the one who was going to end up eating it and I just didn’t feel for mince pie.
I settled then between a chicken pot pie (Luv Luv’s favourite) or a moroccan lamb filling in a pie…so I put it to the all knowing facebook – chicken pot pie or Moroccan lamb pie? Every single person said lamb….okay…except one person (and no it was not the Luv Luv). So lamb pie it was, and until Wednesday at 8 pm when the GBBO “Victorian Week” aired, I was making a lamb pie with a short crust pastry (the same pastry I used in my frangipane, but without the sugar). I even told the beautiful Lucy Allen that as well when I met up with her for lunch. Then the show came on and I was fascinated by the concept of a hot water crust pastry. I had to research it and find out what it was…and I had to make it.
You see, the way hot water crust pastry came about was that it was not meant to necessarily be eaten. It was meant to be a container of sorts for workmen going into the fields and into the mines back in the Victorian age. It would be chockful of meat and gelatin and veggies and was supposed to be a hearty lunch in a little package. The hot water crust pastry around the stew or meat was more of a way of transporting lunch than something that was meant to be eaten. This is why a hot water crust pastry bakes so hard and firm. And the secret is getting the thickness just thick enough that it is firm enough to hold everything in and to hold itself up…..but thin enough that should you want to eat it, you can without breaking a tooth. I’m not 100% sure I got that right – mainly because I’ve never tried to eat one before I made this one…but I am assured that it’s supposed to be this … well…firm. So I consider it successful. I also consider it successful because I used the Doves Farm hot water crust pastry recipe – and all the recipes I’ve actually tried from that site seem to come out very well. So my gluten free and dairy free pie cruse was successful – and was scrummy…if you didn’t mind sucking on it for a little while 😛
As for the filling, Moroccan lamb won by a landslide – and what a lamb recipe it was! Mint and apricots, almonds and lamb all mingled together in warm goodness….I had to stop myself from eating it before I filled the pie! I am definitely making this again – perhaps to serve with cous cous and steamed veg….perhaps on a day I have a little more time. Or maybe I can make the recipe into a slow cooker recipe and have it ready when I get home from work. Scrummy. Or perhaps I can make it like a chicken pot pie and just use the shortcrust pastry to make it a bit more palatable for my and the Luv Luv’s non-British tastes….
Anyway, if you want to recreate my little masterpiece, feel free to follow the recipe here…..
This post is part of the Great Blogger Bake Off 2015 and is inspired by the Great British Bake Off 2015, Week 7 – Victorian Week!
If you liked this recipe, please also check out my other bakes for 2015…
I am also linking up with another bake off group this week in an attempt to win some lovely Silver Mushroom goodies for my kitchen.
Click on the badge below for the link to that page – some awesome stuff there I tell you!