So here’s what I ended up doing from my last entry, trying to come up with mincemeat pies that would better survive the shipping process, since the shortbread I used was really just too fragile.
I next tried my standard pie crust recipe, which ended up quite flaky and delicious, but was still way, way too fragile.
I finally settled on a pocket pie crust recipe as described on Alton Brown’s Good Eats show. This all-shortening dough recipe is incredibly easy to work with. Unlike other pie doughs, you want to build up the gluten in it, which makes it more durable, capable of standing up to — well — carrying a pie in your pocket. So rolling the dough out, and then rerolling it and re-re-rolling it, to use up all of the remnants to make more pies won’t hurt it a bit. (Try doing that with a regular pie dough.) Granted, it’s quite a long way from the shortbread little cups with stars in it, as described in Nigella’s television show, but these are much more practical. Of course, the proof will be in the pudding. I mailed off several packages today with a couple of these pies inside. We’ll see how well they hold up.
In addition, the way you cook the dough is very versatile. You can bake it, like I did, or pan fry the pies in a little butter (like a pot-sticker), or you can deep fat fry them. And apparently the dough works equally well for sweet or savory fillings, though I personally think the addition of a little sugar to the mix might go a long way to improving the crust, as well as perhaps adding a little more browning in the oven.
And I have a few more distant friends and relatives who I plan on sending some belated Christmas cheer to, so I’ll be making at least one more batch. This time, though, I intend on making smaller, more bite-sized pies than the ones described in the recipe. And I might even try deep frying them. We’ll see how they turn out.
If you’d like to watch the episode where the recipe is demonstrated, it’s been uploaded to Youtube and is in 2 parts — below.
Part 1 : A Pie in Every Pocket , Good Eats, S09E12
Part 2 : A Pie in Every Pocket , Good Eats, S09E12