Ruby’s ‘Fit for a Queen’ Pie


Series 9

For lovers of pie and lovers of curry, there is nothing better! Serve this extravaganza with a few green vegetables on the side. (Use diamond and fleur-de-lys cutters if you have them, to make the pie look really professional).

Serves: 6
Difficulty: Needs skill
Hands-On Time: 1 hr 45 mins
Baking Time: 1 hr 30 mins 
  • Ingredients
  • Method
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Step 1
Start with the chicken curry filling. Cook the potatoes in boiling water for 5 minutes, until just tender, then drain and set aside.

Step 2
Put the cardamom seeds in a spice grinder or mini food processor with the cinnamon, peppercorns, star anise, cumin seeds, and cloves. Blitz to a fine dust. 

Step 3
Pour the vegetable oil into a large deep frying pan and place over a high heat. Add the blitzed spices and the bay leaves. Heat for 1–2 minutes, until the spices begin to crackle.  

Step 4
Add the sliced onion and cook over a medium heat for about 5 minutes, until the onions are soft and golden. Add the ginger & garlic paste, chilli powder, ground coriander, ground turmeric and garam masala. Fry, stirring, for another 1–2 minutes, then add the tomatoes, tomato purée and salt and mix well. Cook over a low heat, stirring occasionally, for 8–10 minutes, until the tomatoes break down and release their juice.  

Step 5
Stir in the chopped chicken and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the boiled potatoes and cook for another 3–4 minutes, until most of the liquid has evaporated, the chicken is cooked through and you have quite a dry curry. Stir in the chopped coriander and ginger, then add the spinach leaves and allow them to wilt. Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed. Transfer the curry to a shallow baking tray and allow to cool thoroughly. 

Step 6
Meanwhile prepare the rice. Melt the butter in a frying pan over a medium heat, add the onion, salt and spices and fry, stirring, for 1–2 minutes, then add the rice and 350ml of water. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover with a well-fitting lid and simmer for 10 minutes, until the rice is tender and has absorbed all the water. Set aside to cool. Heat the oven to 220°C/200°C fan/425°F/Gas 7. 

Step 7
Make the turmeric dough. Place both flours and the ground turmeric into a large mixing bowl. Using your fingertips, rub in the diced butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.  

Step 8
Pour 200ml of water into a small pan and place over a high heat. Add the salt and lard and heat until the lard has melted (about 2 minutes). Pour the combined wet ingredients into the flour mixture and mix thoroughly using a wooden spoon. Tip the dough onto a floured worktop and knead until smooth. Roll the dough into a ball and cut off one third. Place the other two thirds back in the bowl and cover. 

Step 9
Roll out the dough until it is about 2.5mm thick and 30cm in diameter. Using the template, cut the rolled dough to give you a 30cm disc and transfer the disc to the lined baking sheet.  

Step 10
Pile the cooled rice onto the dough disc, leaving a 2cm gap around the edge. Add the chicken mixture on top and shape the filling into a neat dome with your hands. Brush the edge of the pastry with water. 

Step 11
Reserve about 100g of the remaining two thirds of dough and wrap it in cling film. Roll the remainder out to a 35cm diameter circle, or large enough to cover the filling. Drape the dough over the filling, and gently press together the edges of the 2 pastry discs, then press again with the tines of a fork to seal in the filling. Use a sharp knife to trim around the edge, reserving any trimmings. Cut a small cross in the top to allow steam to escape. Brush the pie all over with beaten egg. 

Step 12
With the reserved pastry (and any trimmings), roll out a strip of pastry about 35cm long and 5cm wide, trimming to neaten. Cut the length into 6 strips each 0.5cm wide. Plait 3 strips together and wrap the plait around half the pie. Repeat with the other 3 strips, wrapping it around the other half of the pie.  

Step 13
To make the fleurs-de-lys, re-roll the pastry if necessary and cut 6 strips each 1cm wide by about 8cm long. Shape each into a U-shape with the ends slightly curled outwards. Arrange these around the pie, then use the remaining dough to add little oval shapes in the centre of each U, and little balls of dough underneath. (Alternatively, use a fleur-de-lys cutter.) 

Step 14
Roll out the remaining pastry to a strip about 12cm long and 2cm wide. Trim to neaten, then cut diagonally to make 6 diamond shapes. (Alternatively, use a diamond-shaped cutter.) Arrange these around the top of the pie. Use the trimmings to roll a ball of pastry the size of a walnut, and use a little beaten egg to attach it to the top of the cake. Brush all the decorations with egg. 

Step 15
Bake the pie for 45 minutes, then reduce the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/350°F/Gas 4, cover the pie with foil and bake for a further 45 minutes, until golden and cooked through. 

Step 16
Remove from the oven and paint the diamonds with red food-colouring gel, the fleurs-de-lys with gold food-colouring gel, and the ball with silver.