A pie for breakfast? Anyone?
A few years ago we spent a couple of days in London with the kids. One of the most remembered things for them is English breakfast, I am expected to come up with it every once in a while.
It's been on my mind ever since the new contest was launched that I should make an English Breakfast In a Pie project. Here it comes!
Due to practical reasons (I don't like getting up early) I wanted to get done with as much of the preparatory works as possible, so I did the first phase the evening before. That's why reflections of the kitchen lamps keep popping in the photos.
For the dough
175 g butter (the colder the better)
1 pinch of salt
For the filling
50 g mascarpone
50 g double cream
2 cans of baked beans
300 g small sized mushrooms
300 g sliced bacon
3 sausages (about 400 g total)
250 g cherry tomatoes
8-10 quail eggs (or 3 “classic” eggs)
baking form (I used an oval form 30*20 cm at its longest and widest point respectively)
stand mixer / food processor / cold hands for making the dough
Put the flour and the salt into the bowl of a stand mixer, cut the butter into cubes, set the mixer on low speed and mix until crumbles are formed (pic. 1-2). Add the egg (pic.3.), keep mixing until your dough is more or less in one piece (pic. 4). Since there might be a difference in the size of the eggs, if you feel that the dough is too dry to be formed into one lump, just add 1-2 tablespoons of cold water.
Combine the flour and the salt, add ice-cold butter and rub it with your fingers until crumbles are formed. Add the egg in the middle, take a knife and just like if you were cutting something, move the knife from the side of the bowl to the center turning the bowl with your other hand. You’re dough will soon start to get assembled. Keep it up, until you’re done.
No matter which method you chose, take care not to overwork your dough. Transfer it to a lightly floured surface or a piece of parchment paper, quickly form it into a ball then flatten it. Wrap it (pic. 5-6.) and put it into the fridge for 30-60 minutes.
Step 3: Rolling and Good Night
Then roll the dough until it gets about 3 mm thick to the shape of the form you are planning to use. The shape of the form does not really matter, though it is important that the sides should be relatively high (mine was 5 cm high) so as to have space for quite a lot of filling. Prepare the pan with butter and flour. Lay the dough in the form (wind it onto the rolling pin). Don’t worry if it does not fit perfectly, just add a little extra dough where needed (pic.4.) and cut the excess parts with a knife along the rim of the form. Prick the crust with the tines of a fork (pic. 5.) so that when you blind bake your crust, it allows steam to escape, preventing the crust from puffing up. Put the whole thing into a big plastic bag and back to the fridge for the night.
Now, the good thing is that at this point you’re done with the most time consuming part of the work. Final steps are left to be done next morning.
Step 4: Blind-baking
Take your dough out of the fridge, gather all other ingredients. Preheat the oven to 180 Celsius.
Blind bake the crust until it’s light brown. Time may vary depending on your oven as well as on how cold the dough and the pan itself is. It took me about 15 minutes.
While the crust is sitting in the oven, start by steaming the sausages. I pricked them with the tip of a knife in order to discourage them from blasting. I used an electric steamer (10 minutes), but a classic “one on top of the other” steam pot should be equally good.
Whisk the eggs in two separate bowls with a fork. Add one of the eggs to the mascarpone and the double cream, combine.
Blind-baking is ready when your crust is light-brown. Right after removing the crust from the oven, coat the crust in a thin layer with the beaten egg. It will function as insulation and will prevent the crust getting soaked.
Step 5: Filling
Cut each sausage in four pieces, put them standing on top of the dough, add the mushrooms (smaller ones in one piece, bigger ones cut into two), add the baked beans, cherry tomatoes and a little salt and pepper. Pour the mascarpone and egg mixture on top. You really don’t need much, but I felt that I had to add something to keep the whole thing more or less together.
Raise the oven temperature to 200 Celsius, bake for 25 minutes.
Step 6: Bacon
Remove the dish from the oven, and crown the whole thing with sliced bacon woven pie-style on top. Place so many stripes of bacon next to each other that would cover the filling lengthwise, then fold back every second stripe, put another slice of bacon across, lay the back-folded stripes back in place. Lift the rest of the sliced bacon, lay another slice across, an so on, till the whole pan is covered. Apply egg wash on the bacon.
Put it back into the oven for approximately ten more minutes or until the bacon gets golden brown.
Remove it from the oven, crack as many quail eggs open as you wish, add it on top of the bacon, and put it back into the oven for a few minutes, until the white is not transparent any more.
Step 8: Enjoy!
Serve with your favorite green salad, for health reasons :-)
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