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Game of Thrones fan, this is for you!

First of all, don’t come knocking on my door that I spoil the plot for you because if you truly are a Game of Thrones’ fan, then you should be up-to-date and watched the last episode by now. But just in case, if you haven’t watched Episode 2 in Season 4, then look away now. That’s right, the episode that everyone been waiting for! Oh my god, it was rather unexpected as it was so frustrating to watch all the bantering during the wedding, and then – BOOM! There was a round of applause in our living room, fist pumped in the air as I kept shouting, “Yes! Yes! Yes!!!”

And one of the best scenes in that episode has to be when King Joffrey slashed that humungous pigeon pie with a sword. How good did that pigeon pie look? Seriously, I’ll eat that!

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Footage from Game of Thrones

This episode had just way too much awesomeness and I was totally inspired to make my own pigeon pie! Okay, maybe not with pigeon but chicken. So here I present you, my take on the Game of Thrones Faux Pigeon Pie!

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Can I just say that this pie truly fit for a king? *boom-tish!* At least my pie is at a more manageable size, without live pigeons flying out (or accidentally hack them in half as they were flying out), and definitely won’t kill you after eating it either! 

Timing couldn’t be more perfect, I was so inspired and decided to tackle this challenging task over the long Easter weekend with the abundance of mushrooms we foraged from the state forest.

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We went mushroom foraging at Belanglo State Forest over the weekend and were rewarded with a bucket load of Saffron milk cap (Lactarius delicious) mushrooms, or more commonly known as pine mushrooms. We usually go to Oberon for mushroom hunting which is a lot further away, hence this time we gave Belanglo pine forest a try simply because it’s closer, and the pine mushrooms were aplenty here as well.

Among all the other poisonous colourful mushrooms, the saffron milk caps are very easy to identify. Usually the top of the mushroom is flat or sunken a little in centre with very dull orange colour and few grey specks. Once you cut the stipe, you will notice the vibrant saffron colour ring and also the gills are bright orange. But if you are unsure, best to go with someone who has foraged before and know what they are doing. If not, you know what people say, “If in doubt, leave without”.

Saffron milk caps are little firmer than most mushrooms in the market, it is quite meaty and still with bit of crunch to it after cooked, so it is a nice substitute for meat. Despite its beautiful colour, sadly to say that these mushrooms have very subtle flavour close to none. Its colour does lend itself to whatever dish you cook in, and also don’t freak out when you go to toilet after eating them – yep, it will be “orange”.

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If you are going to attempt making this pie, then please allow yourself one and a half day in the kitchen. I spent the night before preparing the pie filling, as you will need to cook them and let them set in the fridge overnight, so the next day you can fill the pie case easily with the cold meat filling without hot gravy running everywhere and also will met the pastry.

Then, you will be spending the whole following day making pastry, rolling pastry, decorating pastry and baking pastry. My piece of advice, take your time and do it properly; you will make more mistakes by rushing it and will end up with more work until you fed up with it. I know because I learned from my mistakes. As I was making the ‘crown’, I impatiently removed it from the tin while it was still half cooked and disaster struck; the whole crown piece crumbled and broke into pieces in the oven as I was trying to it up. Rookie mistake. I ended up had to make a new batch of pastry dough and started all over again.

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For this pie, I made two types of short crust pastries for it. For better eating with a shorter, buttery, flaky pastry, I added lard to the short crust pastry. But for decorations, you need a strong, firm dough that able to hold the shape and doesn’t collapse or melt too much when baking. So I only used a very simple short crust pastry of just flour, butter and water, and kneaded it few times to make the dough stronger. My advice is to keep your pastry chilled and firm at all time, so it will still hold its shape when baking in oven.

You do not want a failed faux pigeon pie now, do you? Or else, OFF WITH YOUR HEAD!

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Footage from Game of Thrones

Let’s watch this awesome clip one more time.

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Game of Thrones Faux Pigeon Pie

1 free range chicken
200ml Chicken Stock
50g unsalted butter softened
3 tablespoon olive oil
100g (about 1 cup) leek, white part only, thinly sliced
500g saffron milkcaps mushrooms (or button mushroom), cut into small cubes
¼ cup all-purpose plain flour
200ml cream

1 tablespoon flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 egg

Short crust lard pastry
500g all-purpose plain flour, extra for dusting
150g cold unsalted butter, cut into 2cm cubes
100g lard
1/4 cup cold water

Short crust pastry
250g all-purporse plain flour, extra for dusting
125g cold unsalted butter, cut into 2cm cubes
2 tablespoons cold water

Method

1. Debone the chicken, use the meat from breasts and legs for this recipe, save wings and carcass for another dish. Remove skins then cut the meat into small 2cm chunks.

2.  Heat chicken stock over a medium high-heat in a small pot, turn heat down low to stop it from boiling.

3. Melt butter in a large heavy based 4-litre pot or wok over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon olive oil to inhibit burning. Add leek and mushrooms, sautéed for 10 minutes until leek is translucent and mushroom is soft. Sprinkle the flour over the mushrooms and cook for a further couple of minutes. Gradually stir in the hot stock until no lumps, then add the cream. Add herbs and stir well, simmer gently over low heat until the mixture has thickened.

4. Meanwhile, heat remaining olive oil in a frypan over high heat. In batches, fry chicken pieces until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes. Add cooked chicken to the mushroom. Season accordingly and reduce the sauce further if is still watery, it should be very thick. Pour filling into a large tray and let it cools completely. Then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight to let it set.

5. To make the lard pastry, place all ingredients in a food processor, process mixture in PULSE mode 4-5 times until butter is now in smaller chunks. Now keep pulsing for a few more times while pouring cold water in a steady stream into the mixture until the mixture almost come together. Do not over mix. Tip mixture onto a floured surface, gently gather all loose crumbs together to form a soft dough, knead and fold the dough gently into a 1-inch disk. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and let it set in refrigerator for 30 minutes. Then repeat step 5 with short crust pastry, it should be a firmer dough.

6. Cut 2/3 of the lard pastry and place the remaining dough back in the refrigerator. Roll pastry out until it is wide enough to cover the bottom and sides of a 20-cm springform tin. Drape pastry over tin, press the edges gently with a lump of excess dough to make sure there are no gaps. Let excess pastry hang over the edges of the tin, then roll the rolling pin over the top of the tin to cut off the excess pastry and remove. Pierce pastry base with a fork all over and transfer to refrigerator to let it set for 20 minutes.

7. Preheat oven to 200C,  blind bake the pastry case for 20 minutes. It is very important to use pastry weights. Remove the pastry weights and then bake the case for a further 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let it cool completely. Fill pastry case with chicken and mushroom filling, press down firmly to fill all the gaps but be very gentle not to break the pastry. Transfer to refrigerator to let it set.

8. To make pastry decorations, cut half of the short crust pastry and roll into a long strip, about 8cm wide and 50cm long. Use a smaller cake tin or a Chiffon tin, brush the outside of tin with water, then drape pastry over the tin, dab some water on the seam and seal pastry to make a ring. Carefully transfer pastry to freezer and let it set for 10 minutes or until it is firm. 

9. In the mean time, roll the remaining pastry out and cut into long strips and leaves, you can make whatever decorations you like for the pie and also the crown. Also gather all the excess dough together and make a pigeon. Transfer all pastry decorations into refrigerator and let it set for 20 minutes or until ready to be used.

10. Then take the pastry ring on tin out of freezer, slowly cut the pastry into a crown. Decorate crown with motifs you have cut out, make sure to use water as glue. Place the “crown” back in freezer, for 10 minutes to let it set once again.

11. Reheat oven to 220C, prepare egg wash by whisking egg and 1 tablespoon together. Wrap “crown” in aluminium foil and place crown together with the pigeon on a baking tray, bake it for 25 minutes. Gently remove foil, brush crown and pigeon with egg wash, reduce heat to 200C bake for further 15 minutes. Keep an eye so you don’t burn it. Remove from oven and let it cool completely before removing crown from the tin.

12. Reheat oven to 220C. Take the pie out from the refrigerator, carefully remove the springform tin (you can leave the tin base) and finger crossed the pie doesn’t collapse. Roll the remaining lard pastry until is wide enough to cover the top of the pie. Brush the rim of the pie with water then drape the pastry over, pinch edges to seal the pie.

13. Here’s the fun part, decorate the sides and top of pie with the pastry you cut out earlier, remember to brush pastry with water so the stick to the pie. Once done, brush the whole pie with egg wash, cut a small cross on top of pie to let steam out. Place the pie (together with the tin base) on a baking tray, bake pie in oven for 25 minutes. Reduce heat to 200C, and bake for a further 20 minutes. Test the temperature by inserting a thermometer into the cross on top and it should give you a reading above 74C, then is ready. If the pastry brown too quick, reduce the heat down to 180C and let it bake until it reaches the optimum temperature. Remove pie from oven and let it rest for 10 minutes.

14. Transfer pie to serving plate or board, place crown and pigeon on top of pie, and serve while it’s still hot.