MOLLY YEH’S WEDDING PIE

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CONGRATULATIONS, MOLLY.

YEH!

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“your pie”

lyrics adapted from bernie taupin

it’s a little bit lovely, this filling inside
i’m not one of those who can take just one slice
i don’t have much money eggboy, but what I will do…
I’d move to this Dakota farm house, just for you

if i was a domestic goddess… but then again, no
or a woman who makes potions on a food-network show
i know it’s not much but it’s the best i can do
my gift is my pies and this one’s for you

and you can tell everybody this is your pie
it may be quite simple but now that it’s done
i hope you don’t mind
i hope you don’t mind that i put down in slices
how wonderful life is now you’re in my world

~

hair smelled like hummus and feet white in flours
i made many messes the day you… made me one promise
the snow will be falling when i make this pie
and i’ll too be in white on my sweet twenty-five

so excuse me forgetting, but these things i do
you see i’ve forgotten if they’re… one cup or two?
anyway the thing is you’re what i choose
a sweet oh quiet farm boy… the day i saw you

and you can tell everybody this is your pie
it may be quite simple but wait till you try
i hope you don’t mind
i hope you don’t mind that i put down in slices
how wonderful life is now you’re in my world

~

i hope you don’t mind
i hope you don’t mind that i put down in piiiieees~
how wonderful life is…
now i’m in your world

for molly
the closest thing to sunshine a stranger can be

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This recipe is also a marriage between  a traditional Chinese wedding pie, and the techniques of an old-school British pork pie.  Despite the long recipe, because you know I’m wordy, this recipe is actually extremely easy.  The pie crust is very low-maintenance, not temperature/time-sensitive like the typical butter pie-crust.  The dough is made with boiling water which killed most of the gluten already so it will not require the most gentle hands in the business either.  The pie is meant to be eaten cold, filled with (in this case) wild mushrooms and truffle minced pork (or you can use chicken), and jello-stock with added gelatin, which also makes it perfect for events.  The only time-consuming part, obviously, is cutting out the traditional Chinese wedding pattern on top of the pie.

In Chinese, the word xi/喜, means all happy occurrences in life.  But when you put two of the same character together, 喜喜/double happiness, then it’s referring specifically to weddings, which is the character in the center of the pattern, surrounded by flowers and two love-birds/鴛鴦 on the bottom.  Here is the patter to be printed on a 8 1/2″ × 11″ paper (the diameter of the pie should be 8″):

I’ve made this pie twice and here are a few tips that I learnt which will make the cut-out-job easier.  Before cutting, flash-freeze the rolled out dough that’s going to be cut (the rest of the pie-crust doesn’t need to be cold), until it’s cold but not hard, and every time it gets too soft/hard to work with, pop it back into the freezer for another 20 min.  This will make an enormous difference.  Then, DO NOT use any kitchen knives for this job.  Use small, cleaned craft-blade for cutting, and wooden skewers to punch out small holes.

Then for the two holes that you cut out on the top of the pie, for pouring the stock inside.  For the first pie I did, I cut out two square-holes hidden inside the 喜喜 character, then on the second pie, I did two round holes closer to the edge of the pie, hidden underneath the flower patter.  I would suggest doing it the second way, closer to the edge of the pie, as that’s where most of the empty cavity will be.  The holes closer to the center of the pie, may be blocked due to the expansion of the filling during cooking.

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MOLLY YEH’S WEDDING PIE

5 hours

Yield: One 8" pork pie

Ingredients

    PIE CRUST:
  • 4 cups (500 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 14 tbsp (200 grams) unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 cup (240 grams/240 ml) boiling water
  • WILD MUSHROOMS AND TRUFFLE PORK FILLING:
  • 1/4 cup dried porcini + 1/2 cup hot water
  • 14 oz (400 grams) assorted wild mushrooms
  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground white pepper
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 19.4 oz (550 grams) ground pork shoulder
  • 1/2 medium-size onion, finely diced
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp ground truffle paste, or 1 1/2 tbsp truffle oil
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground white pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • MUSHROOM STOCK:
  • 2 cups (475 grams) homemade or storebought chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup (60 grams) mushroom soaking liquid
  • 3 tbsp powdered gelatin
  • 1/2 tsp truffle paste, or truffle oil

Instructions

  1. Before you start the recipe, cut out the attached pattern on a piece of paper.
  2. TO MAKE THE PIE CRUST: Combine all-purpose flour, unsalted butter and salt in a large bowl (or stand-mixer bowl with pedal attachment). While stirring with a fork (or the stand-mixer running on low speed), add the boiling water and mix until a dough forms. Knead the dough for a couple min just until all the butter has evenly incorporated into the dough. Don't over-work it. The dough will be warm and very soft, but not sticky.
  3. Dust working-surface and the dough with flour, then divide the dough in 1/2, then divide 1 portion of it into 1/4 again. Wrap the 1/2, and a 1/4 with plastic-wrap and set aside in the fridge. Now roll the 1/4 portion of the dough out, dusting with flours if needed, into a circle about 1/8" (3 mm) thick. Overlay the cut-pattern over the top and trim the dough down to a slightly larger circle. Flash-freeze the dough for 30 min before working on it.
  4. TO MAKE THE FILLING: Soak dried porcini in 1/2 cup of hot water until soften. Drain and reserve the soaking liquid. Clean and trim the stems off the mushrooms (the weight in the recipe is AFTER TRIMMING), the slice thinly, combine with soaked porcini, and divide into 2 batches (overcrowding mushrooms in skillet will deter browning). Heat 4 tbsp of olive oil in a skillet over high heat, until really hot. Scatter the mushrooms (*don't season at this point*) in the hot pan, then don't move them for 1~2 min, until the first side is deeply browned (moving them too much will cause sweating). Fold the mushrooms over and brown the other side, then remove from the skillet and repeat with the second batch (add more olive oil if needed). Once the second batch is properly browned, add the first batch back into the skillet, along with minced garlic, thyme leaves, ground black/white pepper, chopped parsley and salt. Cook for another min until fragrant.
  5. In a food-processor or on chopping board, mince the cooked mushrooms until finely chopped, then transfer to a large bowl. In the same bowl, add ground pork shoulder, diced onion, cornstarch, truffle paste (or truffle oil), salt and ground white/black pepper. Mix evenly then set aside.
  6. TO MAKE THE PIE: Once the rolled out dough in the freezer is cold (*but not hard*), you can overlay the cut-out pattern on the top and start cutting. Use a small craft-blade, NOT a kitchen knife. And for those small holes, simply punch a cleaned wooden skewer into the dough all the way through. Every time when the dough gets soft and hard to work with, flash-freeze for another 20 min, then continue. Once finished, keep the cut-out dough cold in the fridge.
  7. Preheat the oven on 355F/180C.
  8. Take the other 1/4 of the dough, and roll it into a circle about 1/4" thick (*this is the bottom of the pie so it needs to be thicker to prevent leakage*). Then roll the 1/2 of the dough into a large circle slightly thicker than 1/8". Pile the filling onto the center of the smaller circle (*keep in mind that you are making an 8" pie so spread the filling out into close diameter*), then brush the edge with egg-wash. Drape the large circle over the top, then pinch the edges tightly together (like making a giant ravioli). Leave about 1/4" around the edge and trim off the rest of the dough (keep the scraps!). Tuck the edges underneath, making sure there's no tears or holes.
  9. Line the bottom and edges of a 8" cake-mold with removable bottom. Carefully transfer the pie into the mold, then gently with your hands or another flat-bottom pan, press the pie down to fit the edges of the mold with the top as levelled as you can. Pick 2 locations near the edge of the pie, in correspondence with the cut-out pattern, then remove two 1/2" circles from the crust (this is for pouring stock into the pie later on) with a mini biscuit-cutter. Brush the top of the pie with egg-wash, then position the cut-out dough right in the center. The way it covers the 2 mini holes should be symmetrical. Brush the overall surface again with egg-wash.
  10. Bake in the oven for 50 min. The top of the pie should only just starting to brown. Take the pie out then remove the sides of the mold (however your cake-mold works) and parchments. Carefully, without breaking the crust, slide the pie onto another baking-sheet (to catch any drippings or leakage), then brush the sides with egg-wash. Return to the oven and bake for another 25~30 min until browned on all sides (*turn to top heat for the last 10 min if needed*). If any liquid or oil is leaking on the sides, don't panic, it happens.
  11. Let the pie cool for 20 min, then chill in the fridge until it's not hot anymore (warm is fine). Meanwhile, heat chicken stock, mushroom soaking liquid, gelatin and truffle paste in a pot over medium-low heat. Stir until all the gelatin has melted.
  12. Now just as a precaution, roll the scrap-dough into a thin rope and seal the bottom-edges of the pie to prevent leaking. Pour the stock into the pie through the 2 mini holes, just a little bit at a time, until the stock doesn't go down anymore (suggesting the cavity inside the pie is filled). Chill the pie in the fridge until completely cooled down (you may be able to pour more stock into the pie as it chills), and that the stock has solidified.
  13. Serve with Dijon mustard.

Notes

If the crowd is not pork-friendly, you can substitute ground pork with ground chicken.

The pie can be made the day ahead, but I haven't tried freezing it yet.

http://ladyandpups.com/2014/11/30/molly-yehs-wedding-pie/

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