No bread is an island

...entire of itself. (With apologies to John Donne!)
I live and breathe breadmaking. I’m an evangelist who would like everyone to make his or her own bread. I want to demystify breadmaking and show it as the easy everyday craft that it is. To this end I endeavour to make my recipes as simple and as foolproof as I possibly can.

I call my blog 'No bread is an island' because every bread is connected to another bread. So a spicy fruit bun with a cross on top is a hot cross bun. This fruit dough will also make a fruit loaf - or Chelsea buns or a Swedish tea ring...
I'm also a vegan, so I have lots of vegan recipes on here - and I'm adding more all the time.

Monday, 8 October 2018


A Thai chilli non carne pie!

The other half ended up in the freezer
As a vegan, I often find myself thinking out of the box, and here's a pastry which uses no milk, butter, marge or lard. Consequently, there is no need for that tiresome technique known as 'rubbing in' which is supposed to make something like 'breadcrumbs'. 

No need, either, for resting the pastry in the fridge - this is a 'quick pastry'. Or for 'baking blind' - there's no need for any of that faff. Instead, the ingredients are mixed into a dough - kneaded for a few seconds to distribute the ingredients properly - then rolled out and popped into a pie dish. If there is an easier method, I'd like to hear of it!

8th October 2018
I've made this pastry many times since I posted this, and I've long ago abandoned the cartouche method. Nowadays I simply place the bottom piece of pastry onto a suitable size of baking paper then lower the paper into the pie dish, pressing into the corners. Otherwise everything is the same - I've just had the last quarter of my latest pie, with a Thai chilli non carne filling. There's always a tinge of regret when you finish off the past piece.

8th January 2015
To attempt to show just how easy this procedure it, I've taken a few pics of the steps along the way:

First you need to line your pie dish - take a square of baking paper (parchment) a little bigger than the dish

Fold it in four.

Then one more fold
Measure the triangle of baking paper - which should go from the middle of the tin, right up the side then trim the paper
I'm assuming you have your pie filling ready - have it warmed up so that the pie will cook quicker.

(Here's a Thai curry recipe I used in this pie.

And here's a ratatouille pie.

Finally, an apple pie recipe. These all use a yeast-risen dough - today's recipe is just a variation on this.)

Firstly, prepare your pie dish - I used a shallow cake tin - by making a 'cartouche' from baking parchment.

Take a square of parchment a little bigger than your dish and fold it in half, then fold again into a square. Now, from the point where the two folds meet, fold it once more, making a triangle. Place the point in the middle of the dish, and press the triangle across the dish and up the side. Give it another couple of centimetres or so, then cut off the excess paper.

Place the paper down into the dish, pressing the paper into the edges.

200g (1 mug) self raising flour 
1 teaspoon bouillon powder (or 1/4 tsp salt)*
1 teaspoon curry powder (this is optional, I add curry powder to everything!)*
125g (1/3rd mug) water
25g veg oil (I use the oil from a jar of s-d-tomatoes)*

(*If you're making a fruit pie, simply substitute a dessertspoon of sugar for the bouillon powder/salt and the curry powder. And I'd recommend you use olive oil.)
Bouillon powder and curry powder shown separately, but mix the dry ingredients together before adding water, to avoid a streaky look to your dough

Water first, then the oil
Mix into a dough using a stiff palette knife or a table knife. Once it forms into a dough, get your hands in. Add more flour or water to obtain a soft, squeezable dough. Place on the worktop (without flour) and knead (flatten and fold) for about 30 seconds. If it needs more flour, add some back in the bowl, then bring it out and knead a little more.

Divide the dough into 2/3rds and 1/3rd...

…roughly, then form into 'bun shapes'

Not quite centred - you can do better that this!
Form them both into bun shapes and roll the largest one out almost to the edges of the cartouche.

Lift up the cartouche and gently lower it into the pie dish, pressing the pastry into the corners:

Press the pastry into the corners
Now, pour your filling into the dish, right to the top. 

Take the second piece of dough and roll it out into a circle to fit the top of the pie and place it on top

Once again, I'm sure you can do a neater job!
Then, using the back of a knife, and holding the paper out of the way, trim the edges of the pie. If you hold the knife at the right angle, the top and bottom will be joined by the action of trimming. (I neglected to take a pic of this before baking - but you can see it is a little neater!) 

With a pie made from a bread dough, there's no need to cut slits in the top - I've no idea why!

Bake the pie at 200/220C for around 15-20 minutes, turning it round halfway through.
Use the edges of the cartouche to lift the pie out of the dish

And slide it off onto a wire cooling rack

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