Launch Par-tay!

We have learned a valuable lesson. The best way to get a long-worked on and awaited blog finally published and released to all of the internet is to schedule a party to celebrate it.

It’s also the best way to ensure you don’t sleep for a week, but I digress.

We’ve hosted many lovely dinners in our backyard over the years, mostly at the request of friends and their special occasions.  It’s a small yard, but perfectly cozy for a well-lit dinner party.  And this time it was our turn to shine.

We decided to do a 5-course plated seating menu and invite 20 friends to showcase local, seasonal produce, organic high-quality meats and the best of a purely homemade ethic, all things that Pike to Pine values.

It was a night filled with food, friends, wine, a short power outage when we overloaded the breaker, and sweets.  Can’t wait to do it again!

Summer backyard dinner under the lights.

 

Our Menu

Selection of Homemade Charcuterie

roasted pancetta, chicken liver parfait, cured lamb, bread, jam, and pickles

Charcuterie board

Beet Salad

beet leaves stuffed with ricotta, golden beets, crisp skins, watercress, arugula, fresh herbs

Plated beet salads, ready to go

Mini Fish Pie

sorrel, caramelized lemon, tarragon mayonnaise

Mini fish pie

Pig

roasted loin, smoked shoulder, rolled and stuffed braised belly, crackling, kohlrabi, cherry pork reduction

Pork five ways

Homemade Root Beer Ice Cream

poached peaches and cookies

Poached pear, root beer ice cream and cookies

As favors, we sent guests home with lavender and elderflower marshmallows.  You know, in case they were still hungry!

Lavender and elderflower marshmallows

 

How To Make Mini Fish Pies:

For the pastry:

This pastry recipe also works well for savory tarts, quiches and meat pies.  This amount will make enough for 25-30 hand pies, or three thin-crust 9-inch tart bases.

600 g (or 21oz)  plain flour, plus extra for dusting

75 g (or 2.65oz) or cold unsalted butter, cubed, plus extra for greasing

75 g (or 2.65oz) bacon fat

250 g (or 8.8oz) cold water

  1. Cut the butter and bacon fat into ½ inch cubes
  2. Add the flour, salt, butter and bacon fat to a food processor and pulse for about 15-30 seconds, or until the mixture looks like fine bread crumbs
  3. Slowly add the cold water until the mixture forms a mass, about 15-30 seconds
  4. Remove from food processor, wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least an hour before rolling.  Can remain chilled for a day or two, if you’d like to make it in advance.  This dough can also be frozen very successfully

For the filling:

600 g (or 21oz) tinned Matiz sardines in olive oil

800 g (or 28oz) salmon

200 g (or 7oz) heavy cream

100 g (or 3.5oz) capers

200 g (or 7oz) dill

20 g of salt (to taste)

10 g white pepper (to taste)

  1.     Remove the salmon skin and bones and cut into ¼ inch dice
  2.     Remove the sardines from the tins and roughly chop, keep a little of the oil
  3.     Chop the dill and capers
  4.     Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, including the cream, salt, and pepper. Mix thoroughly
  5.     Heat a frying pan and test fry a small piece of the mixture to check for seasoning.  Add seasoning as needed
  6.     Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour, so it firms up.  If you’d like to make it in advance, it’s best to use within two days

Making the mini hand pies:

  1. Preheat your oven to 360 F
  2. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry until it is around 2-3 mm thickness
  3. Cut out small circular shapes that are 8-9 cm/ 3-4 inches using a circular cutting mould. (If you don’t have one, you can use a cup and a paring knife). I like to cut all the disc shapes out at once and lay them on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper
  4. Beat an egg and use a pastry brush to give the outer rim of the disc an egg wash, no more than 1 cm or ½ inch
  5. Using a tablespoon, add some of the chilled fish mixture to the center of each disc.  Resist the urge to overfill, as you’ll need to close the pastry comfortably around the filling
  6. Using your thumb and index finger, close the disc on itself and crimp the edges together until you have closed all the edges and the disc now looks like a small Cornish pasty
  7. When you have all the pies made, brush them with the egg wash and bake at 360 F for 25-30 minutes
  8. I like to pull them out and add a second coat of egg wash after 10-15 minutes for an extra brown finish to the pies.  Return to oven for a total baking time of 25-30 minutes
  9. Remove from the oven and rest for 5 minutes before serving

The pies taste amazing served with tarragon mayonnaise and caramelized lemons.  To caramelize the lemons – segment out a lemon, dust each segment with just a little powdered sugar, and fire with a culinary torch until blackened.

You can also add a small salad (sorrel lends a lovely acidity) and chive blossoms to finish.

Mini fish pie