Mini lamb pies

Cookbook Challenge 2011: Fortnight 5
Theme: Outdoors
Recipe: Mini lamb pies
From: Arabesque

Oh no! I’m late for last fortnight’s Cookbook Challenge theme, which was “outdoors”. I cooked my dish, which we took to the Avalon Airshow, but ran out of time to write the post and edit photos. Still, here I am – better late than never.

Because I had planned to take my dish to the Airshow, I needed something that I could make ahead of time, that would be okay eaten cold. I decided to make mini lamb pies, from Arabesque, to add to a little picnic that I packed for the day.

The little pies are like little pizzas. The base is made from a bread dough that includes yoghurt, which gives a soft, tangy sourness to the crust. The topping was a seasoned lamb, tomato and coriander mixture. The recipe is fairly easy to put together and makes a rather large amount – I got about 24 mini pizzas from the recipe. It took bloody ages rolling out 24 pies by the way, larger ones would have decreased the cooking time for sure! The dough is very oily, and I found it easy to work with – it rolled out thinly without any problems. Different toppings are obviously possible, though I’m not sure about the variation suggested in the book – meat and yoghurt – as the dough has a sourness to it, and I think it needs something that’s not sour to balance it out.

The day of the Airshow was hot and sunny, with a max temperature of about 28°C – a big change from the one in 2009! Since food poisoning is really uncool, I packaged up the lamb pies with the rest of our picnic food – cheese, dips, crackers and fruit, in an esky bag with a frozen ice brick. Once at the Airshow, we met up with Dany and her father Reg and stepmum Denise, and set up camp along the run way.

Dany had brought spicy meatballs with tzatiki and pita bread to add to our picnic.

Which lead to our creation: meatball in a lamb pie wrap. Fucking Genius.

And how did the lamb pies fare? I thought they were pretty good – we ate them cold, held in one hand, with minimum mess. I was really happy that the topping managed to stay on! They would be even nicer warm – the couple I “taste tested” from the oven were delicious, with a thin crispy crust.

See previous Cookbook Challenge posts here.

And see what other participants made at the Cookbook Challenge forum.

Now, how about some plane photos before we get to the recipe? (Hah, it’s my blog, you have to humour me!) 😀

Right, that’s enough! Recipe time!

Little meat pies

From Arabesque

For the dough

About 250g warm yoghurt
2 teaspoons dried yeast
pinch of sugar
50l warm water
500g strong white bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

For the meat and tomato topping

1 large onion, peeled and finely diced
600g minced lamb
3 large garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice (I didn’t have any, so used coriander)
salt and black pepper
2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
500g tomatoes (unpeeled), chopped finely
50g pinenuts (optional)

Dissolve the yeast and sugar in the water and leave for 10 minutes until frothy.

Mix the flour with the salt and oil in a large bowl, and add the yeast mixture and enough of the yoghurt to make the dough come together. Start mixing it with a fork and then work it with your hand.

Knead the dough for about 10 minutes, until it is smooth and elastic. Add a drop of oil to the bowl and roll the dough around to prevent a skin forming. Cover with oiled cling flim and leave in a warm place for 1&1/2 hours to double in bulk.

Punch down the risen dough and knead for another minute. Take small lumps of the dough (about walnut sized if making mini pies or egg sized if making larger ones) and roll out with a rolling pin. Don’t use any flour as the dough is very oily. Roll out the dough thinly and place on trays lined with baking paper.

For the topping, mix together the onion, lamb, garlic, allspice, pomegranate molasses, tomatoes and pinenuts in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper.

Take lumps of the mixture and spread it thickly on to the rolled out dough, going right up to the edges.

Preheat the oven to 200°C and bake one tray of pies at a time on the top shelf for about 15 minutes, or until browned and crisp.