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Clover-leaf pies

Sunday, January 8, 2012

That's it, the oven is finally done in. It has baked its last pie.
But unlike hammering the proverbial final nail in the coffin, with the oven, it was a screw that gave out.
First, the right side of the handle bar on the door came off. I got a screwdriver and reattached the handle. This was while the oven was on and a tray of pies was baking.
When the pies were done, I pulled on the handle again to open the door. This was when the left side came off. Only this time, it wasn't a loose screw – the handle had broken off. I had to pull gingerly on the section still left in the door to open it. 
The oven demonstrates its true waywardness
I have used my oven a lot in the past 12 years and it has served me well, but it hasn't been in tiptop condition for a while – it provided the (re)name of this blog, after all. The temperature is all wonky – it doesn't heat well from the bottom and overheats at the top. I've learnt how to adapt to the oven, but really, it should have been replaced a long time ago. I hope the one to be installed will be as lucky as a four-leaf clover.
But back to the pies. The filling is a bit of this and a little of that left over from Christmas lunch. The pastry is made with cream cheese and the original recipe, from Dan Lepard at The Guardian, is for a pot pie topping, but it's sturdy enough to use for hand pies as well.
In the top picture, the pies are resting on a large dinner plate so each pie is a substantial portion. Each is in the shape of a clover leaflet or flower petal. To do this:
1. Divide the pastry into four equal portions.
2. Roll out a portion into a 20cm circle.
3. Cut the circle in half through the diameter to make two half-moons.
4. Place filling on one side of each half-moon. Brush egg glaze around the edges.
5. Fold the other half over the filling to form quadrants. Press or crimp the open edges to seal.
Light and flaky but strong enough to hold a good amount of filling
Light Cream Cheese Pastry
Enough for 8 hand pies

400g plain flour
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
150g unsalted butter, chilled and cut into cubes
150g cream cheese
1 egg
1 beaten egg, for glazing

Work the butter and cheese through the sifted dry ingredients in a bowl with your hands, then add the egg and knead to a smooth dough; or if you have a big sturdy food processor, simply add all the ingredients at once and combine, or in batches. Wrap in cling film and chill for 10 minutes. 
To use: Roll the pastry into sheets 5mm thick, cut out into desired shapes and fill. Brush the edges with beaten egg; enclose the filling. Brush the top with glaze and cut vents. Sprinkle with seeds, if desired. Place on a greased baking tray and bake at 200°C until puffy and golden, about 25 minutes.

A few pastries from the past:


  1. This sounds like a delicious bake indeed! Adding cream cheese makes a more sturdy crust I think, same goes for pineapple tarts shell:D

  2. I agree Jeannie, and the cream cheese also adds flavour, right? Delicious!


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