Shepherd’s Potpies with Cauliflower Mash

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Reprinted with permission from Magpie © 2015 by Holly Ricciardi, Running Press, a member of the Perseus Books Group.
The usual shepherd’s pie is a large casserole-type situation blanketed with mashed potato. At Magpie, we reworked the idea into an individual portion topped with cauliflower mash, which is comfortingly creamy and rich but less bulky than potato—and it adds a serving of vegetables to the picture as well.
MAKES 8 (4-inch / 10-cm) POTPIES
1 recipe Magpie Dough for Flaky Piecrust (page 17), chilled overnight
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 carrots, sliced 1/4-inch thick
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup dry sherry
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups / 473 ml low-sodium beef stock
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 cup / 250 g frozen petite peas
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Cauliflower Mash (See Step 9, below)
French’s Fried Onions, for serving

Step 1

Follow these instructions to roll, pan, and bake the potpie shells.
Makes 8 Shells
1) Weigh
312 grams / 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
28 grams / 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
6 grams / 1 teaspoon fine salt
170 grams / 3/4 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes and frozen
60 grams / 1/4 cup vegetable shortening, preferably in baking stick form, frozen, cut into 1/4-inch pieces, and put back in the freezer
130 grams / 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon ice-cold water
2) Mix
Combine the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse the machine 3 times to blend. Scatter the frozen butter cubes over the flour mixture. Pulse the machine 5 to 7 times, holding each pulse for 5 full seconds, to cut all of the butter into pea-size pieces. Scatter the pieces of frozen shortening over the flour-and-butter mixture. Pulse the machine 4 more 1-second pulses to blend the shortening with the flour. The mixture will resemble coarse cornmeal, but will be a bit more floury and riddled with pale butter bits (no pure-white shortening should be visible).
Turn the mixture out into a large mixing bowl, and make a small well
in the center.
If you find a few butter clumps that are closer to marble size than pea size (about 1/4 inch in diameter), carefully pick them out and give them a quick smoosh with your fingers. Pour the cold water into the well. Use a curved bowl scraper to lightly scoop the flour mixture up and over the water, covering the water to help get the absorption started. Continue mixing by scraping the flour up from the sides and bottom of the bowl into the center, rotating the bowl as you mix, and occasionally pausing to clean off the scraper with your finger or the side of the bowl, until the mixture begins to gather into clumps but is still very crumbly. (If you are working in very dry conditions and the ingredients remain very floury and refuse to clump together at this stage, add another tablespoon of ice-cold water.)
Lightly gather the clumps with your fingers and use your palm to fold over and press the dough a few times, until it just begins to come together into a single large mass. It will be a raggedy wad, moist but not damp, that barely holds together; this is exactly as it should be—all it needs is a good night’s rest in the fridge.
For single- and double-crust pies, mini pies, potpies, or hand pies: Divide the dough into 2 equal portions, gently shape each portion into a flat disk 1-1/2 to 2 inches thick, and wrap each tightly with plastic wrap. For quiche, leave the dough in one piece, flatten it into a single large disk 1-1/2 to 2 inches thick, and wrap tightly with plastic wrap.
3) Chill
No ifs, ands, or buts, the dough must have its beauty sleep. That means 8 hours in the refrigerator at the very least. Extra rest is just fine; feel free to let the wrapped dough sit in the fridge for up to 3 days before rolling. (The dough may discolor slightly. No worries. This is merely oxidization and will not affect the flavor or appearance of your finished piecrust.)
Note: At this stage, the wrapped dough can be put in a freezer bag and frozen for up to 2 months. Defrost overnight in the refrigerator before rolling.

Step 2

Divide each disk of chilled dough into four equal portions; flatten each portion into a disk, then roll out into eight 7-inch circles that are 1/4 inch thick. Set the rounds on a parchment-lined baking sheet and chill 30 minutes before panning.

Step 3

Fit each chilled 7-inch circle of dough into a 4½ x 2-inch (11 x 5-cm) springform pan, pleating here and there as needed to fit and pressing lightly to snug the dough up against the bottom and sides of the pan. If there is any overhanging dough, simply fold it in, making sure the top edge is even all around.
Chill the panned dough in the freezer until firm, 15 to 20 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C) with a rack in the center. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut eight 8-inch squares of aluminum foil or parchment paper.

Step 4

Line the shells with the foil squares, gently smoothing and pleating the foil into place up close against the bottom and sides of each crust and leaving the corners of the foil standing straight up. Fill each shell to the rim of the crust with beans, stirring with a finger to settle the beans and topping up as needed.
Set the pans on the parchment-lined baking sheet. Slide the sheet into the oven and bake the shells 30 minutes, rotating halfway through the baking time.
Set the sheet on a wire rack and let the shells cool all the way to room temperature before carefully gathering the corners of each foil square together to lift out the beans.

Step 5

Prebaking—also known as blind baking—is used for two types of pies: those with no-bake fillings (such as mousse), and those with fillings that do get baked but at low temperatures that aren’t sufficient to fully bake the crust (lemon curd, for example, and all Magpie quiches). Weights are needed to hold the panned shell in place and prevent the crust from shrinking while it bakes. The Magpie way: Line with parchment or foil and fill to the brim with dried beans.

Step 6

Set the baking sheet on a wire rack and let the shells cool to room temperature while you make the filling. Brown the ground beef in a large saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring to crumble, until it is cooked through. Drain off the rendered fat and set the meat aside. Return the saucepan to the stove and melt the butter over medium
heat. Add the onions, celery, and carrots and sauté until they begin to take on a golden color. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute, just until fragrant. Add the sherry and cook until evaporated, stirring to scrape up the tasty brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the flour and stir well to coat the vegetables. Continue cooking, stirring constantly, for 1 more minute. Whisk in the beef stock, Worcestershire sauce, and thyme. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to low, add the cooked beef and the peas, and simmer 10 to 12 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender and the sauce has thickened.

Step 7

Take the pan off of the heat and stir in the parsley, salt, and pepper. (At this point the filling can be cooled, transferred to airtight containers, and refrigerated for up to 1 week or frozen for up to 1 month. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight; gently rewarm in the microwave or in a saucepan on the stovetop.)

Step 8

To assemble the potpies, preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C) with a rack in the center. Carefully unmold the potpie shells, set them on a baking sheet, and rewarm in the oven for 5 to 7 minutes. Divide the hot filling among the warm shells, top with hot cauliflower mash, sprinkle with some of the fried onions, and serve.

Step 9

Cauliflower Mash
Puréeing in two batches rather than all at once makes it easier to get the mash silky smooth. The mash can be made ahead, cooled, and transferred to airtight containers, then refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen up to 1 month. Reheat gently.
1 medium head cauliflower, cut into florets
3 ounces / 85 g cream cheese, cubed, divided
2 ounces / 57 g unsalted butter, cubed, divided
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the florets and cook until tender, 7 to 10 minutes. Drain well. Transfer half of the hot cauliflower florets to the bowl of a food processor fitted with a standard blade. Add half of the cream cheese, half of the butter, and a big pinch of kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Purée until completely smooth, 2 to 3 minutes, stopping to scrape down the sides a few times. Add the remaining cauliflower, cream cheese, and butter and purée another minute, or until completely smooth. Taste to see if any additional salt and pepper are needed. Keep warm or reheat gently before topping the potpies.

Step 10

This recipe is excerpted with permission from "Magpie: Sweets and Savories from Philadelphia's Favorite Pie Boutique" by Holly Ricciardi (Running Press).

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