Packed full of flavour, this twist on the traditional hand-raised picnic pie is sure to impress your friends and family. Sweet and tangy curried chicken is layered between an aromatic potato curry, with slices of sweet potato, and encased in a spiced hot-water crust.
Start the chicken curry filling. Place the chicken thighs, garlic cloves, chilli powder and 3 tablespoons of ketchup in a bowl. Mix until the chicken is coated in the paste, then cover the bowl and leave the chicken to marinate for 30 minutes at room temperature, or overnight in the fridge if you can.
Make the potato curry filling. Tip the potatoes into a large saucepan and cover them with cold water. Add the salt and place the pan over a medium–high heat. Bring the water to the boil, then reduce the heat and leave the potatoes to simmer for 10 minutes, until tender.
Meanwhile, heat the coconut oil in a sauté pan, add the lentils and all the spices and fry over a low heat for 2–3 minutes, until fragrant. Add the onion and cook for a further 5–10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until translucent, but not coloured. Stir in the garlic and ginger and cook for 2–3 minutes to soften.
When the potatoes are tender, drain them and tip them into the pan with the onions and spices. Increase the heat to medium and fry for 2–3 minutes, then add the peanuts and sugar, and season with salt and pepper. Remove the pan from the heat and set the mixture aside to cool to room temperature.
Continue to make the chicken curry filling. Heat the coconut oil in a sauté pan over a medium heat. Add the sweet-potato slices and fry them over a medium–high heat for 5 minutes, until they begin to soften. Remove the sweet potato from the pan using a slotted spoon and set aside.
Reduce the heat to medium and add the onion. Fry for 5–10 minutes, until translucent and beginning to turn lightly golden. Add the ground coriander and cook for 30 seconds to release the fragrance.
Add the chicken thighs and the residual marinade to the pan and stir the chicken to coat it in the onion and spice mixture. Stir in the remaining 1 tablespoon of ketchup and the cider vinegar and simmer for 20 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through. Remove the pan from the heat and leave to cool completely.
Meanwhile, make the hot-water crust. Heat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/400°F/Gas 6. Combine both flours in a mixing bowl, then add the butter and rub it in lightly using your fingertips.
Pour 310ml of water into a small pan and add the lard, salt, spices and pepper. Heat gently until the lard has melted, then bring the mixture to the boil. Immediately remove the pan from the heat and pour the hot mixture onto the flours. Using a wooden spoon, quickly mix everything together to make a dough. As soon as the dough is cool enough to handle, tip it out onto a floured work surface and knead it just until smooth and even.
Cut off a quarter of the pastry and wrap it tightly in cling film. Cut a third of the remaining large piece of pastry and wrap that tightly in cling film, too. Roll out the remaining pastry until it is 4mm thick and large enough to line your chosen tin with an overhang. Carefully lift the pastry into the tin and press it onto the base and sides, smoothing out any wrinkles. Leave the excess pastry hanging over the rim.
Roll out the wrapped third of pastry until it is 4mm thick and slightly larger than the top of your tin, to form the lid.
Spoon half the potato curry into the pastry-lined tin, pressing it down and making sure the surface is level. Arrange half the sweet potato slices on top of the potato curry. Spoon on all of the chicken curry – again, pressing it down well. Arrange the remaining sweet potato slices in another layer and top with the remaining potato curry, packing it tightly to form a domed shape.
Brush the edge of the pastry case with some of the beaten egg, then lie the pastry lid on top. Press the edges of the case and lid together firmly to seal. Trim off the excess pastry and crimp the edges neatly to seal. Make two holes in the pastry lid with a sharp knife as steam holes.
Roll out the remaining pastry until 4mm thick. Use the leaf-shaped cutter to stamp out small leaves, then roll the trimmings into little berries. Arrange the leaves down the centre of the pie, using a little of the beaten egg to stick them in place. Brush the pastry lid all over with the remaining beaten egg.
Place the pie inside a roasting tin to catch any juices that may escape, and transfer it all to the oven to bake the pie for 20 minutes. Then, lower the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/350°F/Gas 4 and bake for a further 1 hour, until the pastry is a rich golden brown.
Leave the pie until it is completely cold before removing it from the tin. Serve it in slices at room temperature.