Jun. 25, 2016

Because it's Baking Time Again!

Welcome back!

I hope you had a great week at work and are ready to put your feet up and plan your weekend, including having friends and family round or planning a celebratory event.

This weekend, we will be baking again.  Why?  Because the smell of baking is always welcoming.  It spells comfort food and hospitality - at least, that is how I feel when I enter a place where baking is being done.  Nothing says “welcome home” better than walking through a door and getting the whiff of baked food all around you!  But what if what is baking in the oven is Cubed Yam and Onion Meat Pie?  Yes, that’s a different cattle of fish altogether isn’t it?

Why Meat Pie?  Because it’s a wonderful comfort food and snack.  It can be made and kept in the fridge for about a week and heated up in the oven when needed.  It is versatile enough as a snack for the whole family – both adults and children, as party food, for the lunch box, eaten for breakfast, as an accompaniment to lunch and dinner or even  as a light snack with a beverage before bedtime.  The list goes on …   To make these moreish meat pies, you need to make a shortcrust pastry and a yam and meat filling as shown below:-

Difficulty and servings

Easy, makes @ 10 - 16 pies

Preparation and Cooking times

Preparation time: 30 minutes, Cooking time 10 minutes + 15 minutes pastry cooling time

For the Shortcrust Pastry

You will need:

500g plain Flour

250g cold Butter or cold Margarine

Salt to taste

@40ml cold Water or 3 Ice cubes

Milk for washing the pie tops

For the Filling

You will need:

4tbs Oil

½ canned Corned Beef or 200g Minced meat

1 large Onion, chopped

2 cloves fresh Garlic, chopped

200g of Pona Yam, peeled, washed and cut into small cubes

1tsp White Pepper

11g Curry Powder (optional)

1 Stock Cube, crumbled

A sprinkle of Salt to taste (if needed)


Making the dough by hand:

  1. Pour the flour, butter or margarine and salt into a large bowl
  2. Use a knife to cut the butter or margarine into smaller pieces.  Use the tip of your fingers only (not your palms) to mix the ingredients together and aerate at the same time by lifting the mixture up into the air above the bowl and then back into the bowl. Do this for a few minutes to get air into the mixture.
  3. Once the mixture is combined and looks like coarse breadcrumbs, slowly add the cold water until it is well-combined but not dry or soggy.  Instead of the cold water, I like to drop about 3 ice cubes into the mixture at this stage and allow them to thaw and bind the mixture together. Remove the ice cubes as soon as the mixture is combined.  Wrap the dough with cling film or wrap tightly in a food bag and place in the fridge for about 15 minutes or until needed.

Making the dough with a food processor:

  1. Pour the flour, butter or margarine  and salt into the food processor and pulse until the mixture looks like coarse breadcrumbs
  2. Gently add drops of the cold water through the spout until the mixer is combined. Remove dough from the processor and wrap with cling film or wrap tightly in a food bag and place in the fridge for about 15 minutes or until needed

Making the Filling:

  1. In the meantime, heat up the oil in a large frying pan on medium heat.  Add the chopped onions and garlic and stir.  Add the meat and cook for a few minutes until tender and well mixed.  Add the Pona yam pieces and all the other ingredients. Continue cooking for a couple more minutes, adjust the seasoning and remove from the heat.

Making the Pie:

  1. This is the fun bit.  Remove the dough from the fridge and roll on a clean surface.  The thickness of the pie depends on how thick or thin you like your pastry (about  2-3 mm thick) Use the mouth of a clean glass to cut the dough, fill each with the filling and seal using the tip of a fork.  Use the fork to make a few holes on top of the pie to allow the heat to escape.
  2. Arrange the pies on a floured tray or baking sheet and wash the top of each one with the milk.  Bake in a preheated oven on 180 degrees Celsius or Gas Mark 4.
  3. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the pies are golden brown and light to the touch.  Serve hot or cold with a cup of Cardamom tea, a hot chocolate or a beverage of your choice.


Monica’s Tip:

Please note that since the filling is going inside the pie, it should not be watery or too oily otherwise it makes sealing the pie tricky.  Having said that, if the filling is too thick, you may add a tablespoon of water to soften it.

If you cannot get yams where you are, you could substitute 2 medium cubed potatoes for it.

To make the Cardamom tea, crack 2-3 Cardamom pods to break open the seeds.  Add to your tea bag in a cup and top with hot boiling water.  Leave to brew for 3-4 minutes.  Add milk and sugar or honey and enjoy!

I would like to know how you get on when you make these meat pies.  Please drop me a line with your pictures, if possible, through www.africaonyourplate.simplesite.com

Happy entertaining!

Monica Serwah Busia