> The Beesley Buzz: GBBO Victorian Week: Hot water crust 'fesen joon' inspired pie

GBBO Victorian Week: Hot water crust 'fesen joon' inspired pie

Can it really be week 7 of GBBO? I'm usually so out of my depth by this point in the series that there's no way I'd consider baking along. But this year I've been determined to keep trying.

Never before have I made a hot-water crust pie but I decided I would try!

When I saw that a lot of them were using game in their pies on this week's GBBO, it reminded me of my dad raving about an Iranian dish called 'fesen joon' which is a stew made with pomegranate molasses and ground walnuts. It's a really tasty rich dish and he often tells us the best one he tasted was when a friend of my mums made it with pigeon. He was so wowed by the dish that he still talks about it a good few decades later!

So although I didn't fancy using game, I did want to include pomegranate molasses because I love the unique sharp/sweet taste it has. You can now buy pomegranate molasses from Waitrose - yay!

I also wanted to use barberries which are another favourite Iranian inspired ingredient of mine. My aunt had given me some on our recent visit to Vancouver and I couldn't wait to use them. (I have previously been able to find them on Amazon too and probably good ethnic stores would stock them too). They are these gorgeous bright little red berries that also have the whole sweet/sour thing going on. I love them.
beautiful barberries
Then I came across Tamal's recipe which was Middle Eastern Game pie and as he uses pomegranate molasses and barberries too, I decided to use the same spices that he used. The rest of what I added in was quite varied based on what I had in my fridge...

Tamal's spice mix (excluding kashmiri chilli powder) - I guessed quantities: ras-al hanout, ground cinammon, ground ginger, paprika, ground cumin.

The rest of my own ingredients:
groundnut oil
1 onion - chopped
2 small carrots - chopped
3 spring onions - chopped
1 cup red lentils
handful fresh thyme
500g mince beef
Pomegranate molasses (Tamal uses 4 tbsp and I guestimated about 4 tbsp too)
Handful of dried apricots - chopped
handful of dried barberries
100g chopped walnuts
1 large courgette (as I had one growing in the garden) - chopped
A few pomegranate seeds to garnish if desired.

For the hot water crust pastry I used Ruby Tandoh's vegetarian recipe here as I don't have any lard. The recipe uses 250g plain flour, 150g butter, 60ml boiling water and a large pinch of salt. With an egg and another pinch of salt for the glaze.

I could have done with making slightly more pastry as I did wonder whether it would be enough for the 7 inch springform tin I was using and enough to create a pastry 'lid' too. It meant that I really did roll it very thin which I learnt from GBBO was a good thing but I didn't have enough left to decorate elaborately, so I had to improvise for the decorations with a small piece of frozen shortcrust pastry I had kept as leftovers from sometime ago.

I was so surprised at just how easy it was to make hot water crust pastry so I will definitely make it again. It was just a case of rubbing together butter and flour and salt, adding in the boiling water and mixing to a dough. A quick knead and then roll out on a floured surface.

The filling was plenty and I have lots leftover so will either eat separately or make another pie with it.

1. Heat a little oil and fry the spices for a short while. Add in the onion, carrot, meat and courgette.
2. Cook the red lentils according to pack instructions, then drain and add to main filling.
3. Add in thyme, pomegranate molasses, dried apricots, barberries, and walnuts.
4. Pre-heat the oven to 200C.
5. Make your short-crust pastry (see note above) and line a 7 inch springform pan with it. Save a portion for the lid.
6. Fill your pastry with the filling.
7. Roll out a pastry lid and seal your pie using egg wash.
8. If you have any spare pastry you could make a few decorations for your pie.
9. Pop in oven for 15 minutes at 200C, then reduce heat to 180C for a further 45 minutes.
10. After this time check your pie and cook for a further 30 minutes.
The pie was hot water crust pastry, the decorations are shortcrust pastry

I wasn't sure whether I needed a steam hole in my pie or not so I didn't and it worked fine. If you are making a substantial amount of larger 'decorations', then you may need to bake them separately, then egg wash them onto the pie and then pop the pie back in the oven for another 5 minutes to cook the egg wash. This is what I did with the shortcrust pastry decorations that I added to my pie.

I'm rarely impressed with myself, but I really felt pleased with this pie!

This week Mummy Mishaps #GBBOBloggers2015 linky is over at An Organised Mess.

Mummy Mishaps

We are also joining in with Silver Mushroom's Bake With Bake Off (#BWBO)


  1. Wow! You've got a great crust on your pie - it looks really inviting. I've never come across barberries before, I shall have to keep a look out for them, they look and sound really lovely.
    Angela x

  2. This looks and sounds great. Lots of ingredients I've never heard of. Glad it worked well for you

  3. I love this! Some really intriguing ingredients and such a fun design. It's making attempting a hot water crust more tempting as this definitely looks like one my family would love!

  4. Looks fantastic! Never tried pommegranite molasess before x

  5. wow what an interesting sounding pie with some really wonderful ingredients which are very new to me. I love the decoration too and your hot just pastry looks brilliant! thank you for linking up x

  6. This looks lovely - and a really interesting spice mix. I'm off to look up that ingredient listing now!! You're pastry looks much better than mine too!

  7. What great looking pastry, I bet it tasted good too. x

  8. Now that looks SO tasty, and the pastry is a great colour,I bet those flavours were delicious too!

  9. Oh my, I wish I could smell through my computer, I bet that was delicious! Your pastry is fantastic too, I love hot water crust, it's so versatile. Well done on your win in the BWBO challenge too xx

  10. thanks everyone for all the lovely comments. x


We are currently using word verification due to spam comments. Sorry for the inconvenience.
We love receiving comments and read every one even though we don't always get the chance to reply.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...