My two sisters are as passionate about food as I am. It’s in our DNA. During my vacation in my home town we cooked for each other and we cooked together. It is a marvelous way to spend your vacation.
My older sister has what is known as “a dab hand with pastry”. She has a special marble counter exactly the right height for rolling pastry. She uses lard for all her pies – sweet and savory. Her pastry is so light and flaky it literally drifts on to your plate. She keeps everything chilled. Even her flour. In her opinion using a pie bird is the secret for flaky, tender pastry.
We were making chicken pot pie. My sister putting the chicken filling together and rolling out pastry.. My job – to make the béchamel sauce. The sauce that binds. To add extra flavour to the chicken pot pie I used rich chicken stock instead of milk and made it extra thick. After it was cooked I thinned it with a generous amount of cream. You do know I have a reputation for gilding the lily.
The pie bird was positioned in the centre of the filling. On went the pasty with a slit cut for the bird. The edges were crimped. A little egg wash and the crust was sprinkled with coarse sea salt. The pie bird vents excess moisture from the pie filling (whether it is chicken and vegetables or fresh fruit), and prevents a soggy pie crust . These ceramic birds are available in most well stocked kitchen shops.
Now you know my older sister’s secret for amazing pie crust. Tell your friends “a little bird told you”!