I can't bake to save my life. I can cook almost anything just by mere taste alone, but when it comes to baking, I'm an utter and resigned failure. Which is pretty surprising because I love my breads and pastries, and I grew up surrounded by flour, dough, yeast and the wonderful aroma of freshly baked bread. My late granny had a bakery, and could bake a bread simply by touch alone, without the usage of measuring implements or recipes.
I burn brownies. My cupcakes stay flat. My cakes aren't cooked in the centre and sink horribly. I've almost just about given up on baking.
Until I saw Pauline's pie posted on Facebook. It seems too easy to make, and pretty fool-proof. I could actually give it a try... and best of all, I didn't need an oven!
I mooted the idea of purchasing the object of desire to my pie-loving hubba - he is crazy over Mrs. Mac's pies from his University in Australia days - but at $6.50 a frozen piece in Singapore, the pie does not justify the price. He's all for it, especially if it was that easy to make. We can choose how much and what to put in the pies, and it will be a very easy quick fix meal option when we're too lazy to eat out!
So... the Tefal Pie & Co seems to be the perfect solution, minus the conventional baking in an oven step!
I was actually quite reluctant to pay S$70.00 for a contraption which I may not be able to use, given my baking-challenged self. There was a bulk purchase option 2 weeks ago at Munch Ministry, but I was hesitant because I didn't have the confidence to try it out. I was afraid that it will become a white elephant in the kitchen store!
The hubba steered us to Harvey Norman at Millenia Walk last Friday evening, and asked the sales person if they have the pie maker there, without even asking me if I wanted one. After talking to the guy (who was very helpful, by the way) he promptly made the purchase and said to me:
"Happy Birthday!" with a grin.
There was only a slight problem.
It wasn't my birthday.
It wasn't my birthday.
I suppose that's how much he loves pies.
So since he was working on Saturday morning, I decided to take the plunge and dabble into pie making. The instructions seem simple. Too simple, really - and I thought that if I can't survive this, I'm going to totally give up all manner of pastry and pie attempts!
I started off making the filling.
400gr of beef, cubed (marinated with a dash of worchestershire sauce, salt, pepper and some cornstarch)
1 large onion, chopped
A handful of button mushrooms, sliced.
A cup of green peas
I sautéed the onions in butter, and added olive oil to prevent the butter from browning too much. Once the onions have caramelised, I added the mushrooms and beef cubes last, because we don't like our beef over done. This was then set aside to cool. I was given this advice a long time ago from a chef, to always allow cooked meat to 'rest' first prior to filling or serving, so as to ensure that the 'bloody' juices have time to settle and not 'bleed' onto the plate. In fillings, this is so that the pastry does not get soggy and its' crispness is maintained.
That was the easy part. Now to work with one of the foreign objects!
Me: "Should I thaw the shortcrust pastry first before use ah?"
Adeline: "If you're gonna cut and shape it... makes sense to, right?"
Have I mentioned how much I love these ladies?
So I did thaw the darn things, and took a piece out to view. Oooh!! Rolled out dough!
This certainly looks promising!
Oh look! The Tefal Pie & Co even comes with its own dough cutter complete with diagrams to illustrate which side to use! Idiot-proof, really. I was so happy to see this... because given my zero knowledge on baking, I would have looked at the contraption and wonder where I should affix it to otherwise!
And if that's not enough, a recipe mini-book is included, complete with pictures instead of words! I think there are a lot of people like me in the world... (no, not illiterate, but find baking a daunting sport) and this is just about perfect. Muffins, pies and even a chocolate lava cake. The possibilities are endless.
Needless to say... at this point, I was pretty much convinced that I can pull off the pies, after all. It doesn't look at all difficult - but I was pretty skeptical about the time it takes to bake a pie.Ten minutes? Really?
I decided to just go ahead. I gingerly laid out the pastry dough, and proceeded to cut out the shapes accordingly to make 4 pies.
I then folded the edges as per the instructions and 'lined' out the moulds, after which I filled each to the brim with the beef mix which I prepared earlier on. I covered each with another sheet of pastry. Then I closed the cover, and hoped for the best.
After ten minutes, I really did not believe that it was cooked through, and decided to play safe, adding on an extra 5 minutes to the timer. 3 minutes later... I smelled burnt crust instead of that wonderful pie smell which was wafting throughout the house previously!
Silly silly me. I hurriedly took out each pie (they slid out easily, by the way) and left it to cool. Fortunately only the edges were slightly burnt.
And here it is: My maiden attempt at pie making! I was pretty damn proud of myself... especially since Daddy and BabyMoo approved of the final product!
MummyMoo's Easy Peasy Beefy Pie.
If I can do it, so can you!
I realised that with just a little bit of dare and effort, I am able to step carefully out of my comfort zone. I did not think it was all possible, but I made an attempt and managed to dish out something which I totally previously wrote off. Fine, I cheated and bought ready made dough - but now that the prospect of pastry making is not too daunting, I am more inclined and motivated to try to do more.
Proving to myself that I can do things is a good bit of motivation for me. I'm inspired and looking forward to doing more baking, not only with the Pie & Co helper, but perhaps eventually using a 'real' oven!
**Disclaimer: I have not been compensated to write this review. We purchased this set of our own accord, and all opinions are 100% my own.