Piece of pie

By Lexi Henderson

Designer Lexi Henderson proves her worth as a pie-making maestro. MiNDFOOD reports.

I’m not sure whether I should be more flattered or offended after watching my MiNDFOOD chums express complete shock at my ability to create something more than a falafel wrap. In fact, I’m pretty sure they still don’t wholly believe I did it.

I don’t profess to be a great cook, probably not even a good cook, but I am a very enthusiastic cook. I’m a massive food geek, really. Cookbooks, the food channel, blogs, aprons, novelty salt and pepper grinders, even Tupperware; I dig it all. But the latter item, especially, inspires a moment of “Oh my god I’m turning into my mother.”

My most recent cooking obsession has been the good old Shepherd’s Pie. Even my dad, a rather patriotic English-man, has been a quite impressed by my cookery efforts. But eventually the novelty of the lovable marriage between Worcestershire and mashed potato wore off. So what next? The seemingly humble, yet deceptively posh brother: Chicken, Tarragon & Mushroom Pie, from Scott Thomas’ Chef Behind The Bar.

Fancy.    

I’m off to a good start with prep, no cuts or major mishaps. On to browning the chicken, then sweating the onions and mushrooms, sprinkle the tarragon, add and reduce the wine and pour in an overdose of cream. Then I wait, and wait … and wait. Thankfully I find pottering around a slowly bubbling pan incredibly relaxing, and the smell of tarragon and chicken can’t be bad for the soul.

Assembly time comes and I opt to make one big mother of a pie instead of little individual ones as suggested by Scott Thomas. Carefully I pile the mixture over a layer of puff pastry and blanket it with another. A quick brush with some egg wash and a preschool attempt at pastry adornment, then into the oven. I didn’t drop it, which is a vast improvement on my last pie attempt.

My lovely obliging sister whips up some seeded mustard mash (her specialty) while I clean up and gracefully chug back some pinot gris (my specialty).

The pie comes out of the oven half an hour later, bubbling and quite visually pleasing – all I could have asked for. Some sprigs of thyme, a snip of tarragon, et voila! It has been a proud moment for clumsy enthusiasts everywhere. Piece of pie.

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