03 July 2016

Trial By Fire Recap

As I mentioned yesterday, I participated in a historical cooking competition Trial by Fire.

The basic rules are that the medieval dishes must be prepared under camping conditions.

Unfortunately, because the prep took longer than I thought, I could only complete one dish (the apple pastys)
in the 4 hours available, though I did complete all the dishes in the 2 hours following.

Note to self:  I am never going to do two baked dishes in Trial by Fire again.  Camping ovens turn out to be a choke point, and my camp oven was balky, so between the two of these, I ran out of time.

All the recipes turned out well, though.

Recipes are below
Pastys are made with a shortcrust (non-rising) dough, and is the core of any pasty recipe.

Shortcrust Dough
500 gstrong bread flour
120 gsolid fat (shortening, lard, suet, or schmaltz)
25 gunsalted margarine or butter
5 gsalt
175 gcold water (important, because you want little bits of fat to make the dough flaky and tender)
Mix salt and flour, and then grate the frozen fat and margarine into the flour, and work until it resembles coarse cookie crumbs.

Slowly add the ice cold water, and work the dough until it pulls together enough to pull off the walls of the mixing container.

Place dough in a cold place (cooler or refrigerator) for at least an hour tightly wrapped so that it can come together.

Making multiple batches instead of making larger batches unless you are using an industrial strength stand mixer, it gets unmanagable

Beef Filling
450 gquality beef (skirt steak is preferred)
450 gred potato
250 gSwede (Rutabaga)
4 tspchopped garlic
salt and pepper to taste

Slice ingredients to about a ⅛" thickness by ½" x ½".

Roll out he dough into 4 equal balls, and then flatten into disks about ⅛"-¼" thick, and then add filling by layering, from bottom to top, with Swede, beef, potato, onion, and garlic, putting salt and pepper on each layer as you lay them out.

Seal with an egg wash , and crimp along the side (Cornish) or along the top (Devonian), cut vent holes, and then paint the top side of the pasty with an egg wash.

Bake at 400°F for hour, until the pastry is a golden brown, and shiny from the egg wash.
Allow to rest for at least 10 minutes before eating. Otherwise, you will likely burn your mouth.
It is traditional to eat with a hot English mustard, both this and a Dijon are next to the pasties.

Chicken Filling

As per the beef filling, except for brining the1 lb of chicken strips for 30 min to 2 hours.

2 cupswater
1 tbspkosher salt (half that if table salt)
1½ tbsp brown sugar
¼ tsporagano
½ tspmarjoram

Fruit Dessert Pastys

It's pretty much the same as the meat pastys, except that you divide the shortcrust dough into 8 rather than 4 to make smaller pasties.

Also, sprinkle granulated sugar on the top of the pastys before cutting vents in the pastys and check at about 45 minutes, as it cooks faster.

Apple filling
1Granny Smith apples, peeled and cut thin
1 tsplemon juice
1 tspcrushed ginger (can also use 1 cube of the frozen)
½ tspcinnamon
1 tsparrowroot
1small pinch kosher salt
Mix lemon juice, salt, and arrowroot thoroughly, and then toss with the rest of ingredients and allow to marinate.

Blackberry filling
½ cupblackberries
1 tsplemon juice
1 tspcrushed ginger (can also use 1 cube of the frozen)
1 tsparrowroot
1small pinch kosher salt


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