School holidays are always fun. Any kind of holiday is fun with a capital F. I’m into my second week of holidays from college and it’s going way too quick! I like to use my free days to cook some pretty epic meals just because I love cooking and experimenting in the kitchen and college gets in the way of that sometimes. However, it’s already Monday night and this is the first meal I’ve cooked in nearly two weeks of holiday… 😦 Things have actually been that busy. I’m sorry, Kitchen. I’m sorry, Bench Mixer. I’m sorry, Oven. I’m sorry for neglecting you!!
Anyhow, I managed to fit in a day dedicated to making pies. Yay! It just so happened that we had chicken thighs, chicken breasts and a block of puff pastry that I had made a few weeks ago in the freezer. So I decided to make chicken parcels with cranberry jelly and Camembert cheese. It was really really good, if I must say so myself. Almost as good as… Dare I say what everyone else is wondering? ….. Yes, almost as good as the ones you can get at Copenhagen bakery. And I’ve had that particular pie from them way too many times to know that mine was almost as good, if not better…
Oh Camembert, my love… Why are you so expensive? Don’t you know that my love for you will be that much greater if you were just a dollar cheaper? Anyway, keep reading for the recipe. Okay okay, it’s all very rough measurements. I did it by taste, that’s how cooking is meant to be, relaxing and fun! Also, the recipe is pretty long. I just like to add as much details and explain why I do this and that. 🙂
Chicken Camembert and Cranberry Pie Parcels
This recipe makes quite a large bowl of pie filling. I made about 10 individual sizes and one pretty long one and still had about 2 cups of filling left. These are all very rough measurements. I normally just estimate the amount I’ll need for two people plus leftovers for lunch the next day. 🙂
Chicken, Camembert and Cranberry Pies
- 100 grams salted butter
- 1 cup plain flour
- 750 ml whole milk ( I used up about 3/4 of a litre tall bottle of milk)
- small tsp minced garlic or garlic powder (feel free to mince your own hahaha)
- salt and white pepper to taste
- 2 cups liquid chicken stock*
- 1 1/2 tsp chicken stock powder (Lee Kum Kee is the chicken-iest!!)
- cooked chicken
- diced onions, sauteed
- Camembert cheese, cut into small chunks (I used two wheels)
- Cranberry sauce jelly (I used up nearly a whole bottle and ate the rest along the way)
- Have everything ready to go when needed and near the stove as making a roux happens very very quickly and you can burn the mixture while digging around your cutlery drawer for a spoon or whisk!
- Melt butter in large saucepan. Take saucepan off the heat and lower to medium heat. Add flour and stir quickly with a wooden spoon to avoid flour burning on the bottom of the pot. This step is important or your whole roux and pie filling will have a yucky burnt taste, unless you’re into things like that, then be my guest…
- Add milk and stir constantly with a whisk, making sure to go all around the edges too to ensure flour and butter mixture isn’t forming burnt lumps at the bottom.The mixture should start thickening after a minute and it will happen rapidly. Add the garlic, liquid chicken stock, chicken stock powder and seasonings. Taste and adjust seasoning. I personally like my roux to be quite garlicky, it is entirely up to you. If the roux gets too thick, just add a bit more milk. It should be quite thick so when you fill your pastry parcels, they don’t leak out.
- Add cooked chicken and sauteed onions and mix thoroughly.
- Chill till ready to use. This is also an important step otherwise the hot filling will just melt all the fat in the puff pastry before it is even in the oven!! No no no no. Not nice. The your puff pastry will just be pastry without the puff!
- Roll out puff pastry into squares or whatever shape and size you like. When it comes to parcels, it really is up to you!
- Add about 2 tbsp of filling or just a small pile in the middle. Now I know you think more is better here… No! I thought so too and changed my mind after I saw the poor babies when they came out of the oven. The kind bubbled out of the pastry like a volcano that erupted. Do not be tempted to add too much, I’m talking to you, Beatrix Chin!
- Add a few slices or chunks of Camembert cheese. Again, not too much or you wont be able to seal your parcels properly and you will end up with Camembert Baking Trays.
- Top with cranberry jelly. I love the contrast between the salty and sweet so I did add quite a bit. Again, it is entirely up to you!
- Brush the pastry surrounding the little mountain of filling with egg wash.
- Close the parcel. I like to fold it like an envelope and lightly pinch the edges to seal them.
- Lightly brush with egg wash and chill for at least 10 minutes so the pastry won’t shrink too much when baking.
- Add to a very hot oven, 200 degrees is good. Baking pastry in a low oven can cause the fat in your pastry to melt and leak and that just ain’t nice. Bake for about 20 minutes or so, depending on the size of your pies.
- Oops, I forgot to mention that I baked my pies on a baking tray lined with baking paper.
- Pies should be done when a nice golden brown and bottoms are cooked and brown.
* The chicken stock that I used for the roux was from when I boiled the chicken breasts and thighs earlier. 🙂
* I forgot to mention that I used about 2 and a half chicken breasts and 4 chicken thighs. I just boiled them with some salt and shredded them when they were cool.