Comfort food meets picnic food with these mini chicken pies, which are flavoured with thyme and tarragon and encased in buttery shortcrust pastry.
Make the filling. Heat the oil and butter in a saucepan over a medium heat, until the butter has melted and the oil is bubbling. Add the diced chicken thighs and fry, turning occasionally, for 5–8 minutes, until golden all over. Add the pancetta lardons and toss them to coat them in the oil and juices. Add the leek and spring onions and fry for a further 10 minutes, until softened. Add the garlic and mushrooms and cook for 2–3 minutes, until softened.
Tip in the flour and stir to ensure the meat and vegetables are well coated. Cook out the flour for 2–3 minutes, then add the chicken stock to cover. Bring the liquid to the boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover with a lid, and simmer for 30 minutes, until cooked through and there is no sign of pink meat.
Add the crème fraîche and herbs, then season the filling with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat and leave to cool completely (while you make and chill the pastry should be long enough).
Make the pastry. Place the flour, butter and salt in a food processor. Pulse for 2–3 seconds at a time until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. One tablespoon at a time, 5–6 tablespoons of water until the mixture comes together to a dough. Tip the dough onto a lightly floured work surface, bring it together into a ball, then flatten it slightly. Wrap it and chill it for 15 minutes.
Heat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/400°F/Gas 6. Remove the pastry from the fridge. Cut off two thirds of the pastry and roll this out on a lightly floured work surface until 3mm thick. Using the 10cm cutter, cut out 12 pastry discs and press these into the hollows in the muffin tin. Mould to ensure an even thickness all around.
Divide the cooled filling between the 12 pastry cases, pressing it down well. Brush the edge of each filled pastry case with a little beaten egg.
Roll out the remaining pastry on a lightly floured work surface until 3mm thick. Using the 8.5cm cutter, cut out 12 pastry lids. Use a skewer or cocktail stick to pierce a hole in each lid, then place one lid on top of each filled case, pressing the edges together to seal to make a pie. Brush the tops with the remaining beaten egg.
Bake the pies for 20–25 minutes, until the pastry is crisp and golden. Leave to cool slightly, then using the edible black pen, draw a clock face on each pie lid to decorate.