Should have done that from the start

Y’know, sometimes I’m a doofus.

Yesterday, I decided to try making meat pies with an oil based crust again. The goal was to make mini pies, in muffin tins, perhaps, or just little turnover hand pies.

After my first attempt was a tasty fail, and my many searches for recipes did not turn up anything I found useful, I decided to try a hot water dough I’ve made many, many times before.

It’s from this cookbook.

Sort of.

I have this as a set of 11 English language books. Which is funny, because on the back there’s a sort of an index telling what categories of recipes are in which numbered book – and there are 12 of them. Some of them are split between two books. The reason is that this was originally published in French. As a set, it would have been 12 books. Which means that everything in the English language books are shifted over from how the contents are described on their back covers.

My late MIL had the original cookbook. Back in the day, in Quebec, they had a sort of recipe card subscription, where recipes were sent every month or whatever. However, this subscription sent chapters, and people could keep just the ones they wanted. The pages were sewn together. When all the chapters were sent out, the subscribers could then take all their chapters and have them professionally bound. That’s what my MIL had. It was a thick, hardcover book, with many decades of wear and tear on it. This was the book that had the base recipe for tourtierre, a traditional meat pie, that she used (except hers was modified for her own secret recipe, which was passed on to me). It was also where the base hot water dough recipe was from. Every Christmas, my MIL would special order her secret mixture of ground meat from the butcher, complete with “top secret” and “eyes only” warnings (my late MIL was a hoot!) from the local butcher. Anywhere from 20 – 30 pounds of it, depending on how many pies she planned to give away that Christmas. In the years we were living in the same province, we would spend a couple of days with them, making tourtierre, assembly line style. The first day was to make the filling, which then sat outside overnight to cool. The next day was to make triple-recipe batches of hot water dough, over and over. Each triple-recipe batch was set outside in the snow to chill, which did not take long at all, while the next batches were being made. I usually had blender duty to mix the hot water and shortening, then helped with mixer duty to combine the dough. My husband had the job of rolling the dough balls out between two sheets of heavy duty vinyl, and other family members lined the pie tins, filled and topped them. When baking started, she could only fit 3 pies into her oven at once. After coming out of the oven, they were given some time to cool, scattered around their condo, before being set outside to freeze.

So I became very, very familiar with that hot water dough recipe, even though I couldn’t read it very well in French.

I’ve been a fan of Mdm Benoit for many years, so when I found this set of cookbooks at a charity book sale, I snapped them up. I had them for a few years before I happened to look closely through the pie dough recipes and saw one that was very, very familiar. On a hunch, I found another section and, sure enough, there was the base tourtierre recipe from my MIL’s French cookbook. I had unknowingly found an English copy of it!

Now, this hot water dough recipe uses shortening, but it gets melted into the boiling water, so I figured to give it a try using oil.

So I dug out the appropriate volume, made the dough and…

Had another tasty fail.

The dough just crumbled apart.

I was able to roll the dough out inside pans, using parchment paper to be able to move the top, and still had to push it together because it was breaking apart so much.

While this second tasty failure was in the oven, I sat and flipped through the cookbook.

I found this on the very next page after the hot water dough recipe.

I should have known. I really should have. Instead of going through dozens and dozens of internet recipes, I should have just gone to Mdm Benoit in the first place.

I would never have thought to use milk instead of water. I also find it interesting that is specifies to NOT stir after combining the water and oil.

We don’t use waxed paper, but do have parchment paper, including non-disposable versions. Either would work to roll the dough out.

If I can get a working dough recipe, I plan on making a large batch of filling, then make lots of small pies that we can stick in the freezer for quick eats.

The next time we have something thawed out that will make a good filling, I will try this recipe and see how it works!

Meanwhile, the next time I want to try something to conserve ingredients, I need to remember that the internet is not my friend. I have dozens of cookbooks, even after purging so many of our books for the move *sniffle*. Many of them are very old. Those are my fravourites, because they have really basic ingredients, and don’t assume you have access to pretty much anything, at any time.

Mdm Benoit wins again!

The Re-Farmer

3 thoughts on “Should have done that from the start

    • It was really, really hard. But we had to get the weight down for the movers. At least we were able to pass a lot of them on to people who appreciated them as much as we did, but my goodness, I’m missing so many of them right now! They would have been very useful for the things we are trying to do here.


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