This is really only half a vintagebookcook trial. I had some wild rabbit defrosted and needed something to do with it. I had a pie recipe inspired by Arbutus, but that was the kind of pie that is “casserole with mash on top”, and I think you can guess how I feel about that. Jennie Reekie’s book has a few rabbit recipes, but they all call for “a rabbit”, and I had 300g diced. The weight of rabbits given were around the 1.25kg mark (bones included?) – so I decided to try lapin au cidre another day. But what I would do is try the the basic bunny pie mix, but put it in some proper actual pastry, so today I tried out Jennie’s recipe for paté brisée. You’d think I’d have had enough of paté, huh? Groan.
250g plain flour
Sift the flour and salt onto a working surface, which should preferably be a cold one, such as marble, although a formica working top is quite adequate (GEE I’M GLAD). Cut the butter up into small cubes. Make a well in the centre of the flour and put in the butter, egg and water. Using your fingertips, work the butter, egg and water together until it is well blended. The dough should cling together, leaving the working surface clean, so you may have to add a little more water, but do not make it too wet. Knead the dough lightly for about 3 minutes until it forms a smooth ball, then put into a polythene bag and refrigerate for at least 30minutes before using. The made-up dough can be stored in the refrigerator for a few days, but if it has been in the refrigerator for more than a few hours it is advisable to remove it about 30minutes before you wish to use it or it will be too hard to roll out. Use it as required.
– I halved the measurements and didn’t add any water.
– It seemed to be really quite wet on the addition of the egg so I sifted a little more flour on it.
– Check out my new flour sifter! Very satisfying.
– I shouldn’t have halved it as there was only enough just to cover the pie, that’s what I get for trying to be thriftyish.
– It felt quite ~*rogue*~ to sift the flour straight out onto the table rather than in bowl first, but you might have higher levels of excitement than I.
It all worked out very nicely, very buttery with a delicious flaky bit under the crust. I was a bit concerned at doing pastry without any ice water but it doesn’t seem to have suffered none. I always had my suspicions that it wasn’t essential but on saying that this is the first time I’ve made pastry in forever and I’m not sure on previous times whether I was bothered either. Paté brisee is just pastry but with an egg isn’t it. This was extremely easy, and trust me, I’m a total beginner when it comes to pastry! I wonder if some god was smiling on me because my butter wasn’t even chilled (I always keep it at room temperature in my momo butterdish). I’d easily use this recipe again for a pie crust, but first I want to try “our” (ie English short crust) pastry to see if the egg makes that much of a difference. Correct me if I’m wrong but this does seem the only difference as (from memory), shortcrust is half fat to flour, bit of ice water? (I suppose you could do half butter/half lard but you could do that for brisée as well). The French ARE decadent…
Cooked by Sarah. Here’s some pictures of the cooked bunny pie and it’s lovely gravy, just in case my earlier photo of a ball of pastry in some clingfilm wasn’t EXCITING ENOUGH FOR YOU.