AT A GLANCE
"This was a constant on my Paramount menus from the very beginning to the restaurant's final night, selling out on a nightly basis," says Christine Manfield. "People still stop me and request it. It pays homage to the French Pithiviers, a hand-moulded dome, while its filling is a nod to Chinese flavours. Where the humble meat pie holds special significance for many Australians, this version elevates it to a refined status. Don't be daunted by the process - the workload can be spread across a couple of days and the result is a triumph, so please persevere." Manfield suggests making the pastry and balls of duck-mushroom filling the day before, and then rolling out the pastry rounds and assembling the pies on the day of baking.
|01||Prick duck skin with a skewer. Combine Sichuan pepper, five-spice and 2 tsp sea salt in a bowl, then rub into duck. Heat 2 tbsp oil in deep frying pan large enough to hold duck in a single layer over medium-high heat and fry duck, skin-side down, until browned (2-3 minutes), turn and cook other side for 2 minutes. Set duck aside, tip fat out of pan, add remaining oil and onion and sauté until onion is softened and translucent (4-5 minutes). Add garlic, ginger, chilli and spring onion and fry until softened and just starting to colour (6-8 minutes). Add whole spices and fry for another minute or so until fragrant. Add stock, bring to the boil, add duck in single layer so it’s covered by stock, reduce heat to low and simmer until duck is tender (50 minutes to 1 hour). Remove duck from stock (reserve stock), then, when cool enough to handle, remove meat from bones (discard skin, bones and sinew). Finely chop and set aside.|
|02||Strain stock through a fine sieve, cool, then refrigerate until fat sets on the surface (2-3 hours). Skim off fat, discard and refrigerate stock until required.|
|03||For mushroom mixture, heat oil in a frying pan and sauté onion, garlic and ginger until fragrant (3-4 minutes). Stir in mushrooms and toss to coat, then sauté until softened (8-10 minutes). Season with five-spice salt and 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper, stir to combine and remove from heat. Stir in the spring onion and parsley, cool slightly, then add to duck meat and mix well with your hands. Roll into 8 balls roughly the size of a tennis ball, place on a tray, cover and refrigerate until cooled and firm (2-3 hours).|
|04||For the crème fraîche pastry, process flour, butter and 1 tsp sea salt in a food processor until mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs – don’t overwork. Add crème fraîche and pulse until just incorporated. Tip out onto a bench, form into a disc about 3cm thick, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate to rest for 2 hours.|
|05||Cut pastry into 4 even pieces. Keep remaining pieces refrigerated as you work with each; roll out each and cut out two 11cm-diameter rounds for the 8 lids, place on a lightly floured tray and refrigerate. Re-roll pastry and cut out eight 7cm-diameter rounds for the pie bases, place on a lightly floured tray and refrigerate for 20 minutes.|
|06||Working with a pastry base and lid at a time and keeping remaining pastry rounds chilled, lay a small pastry round (base) on a lightly floured surface, brush edges with eggwash and place a ball of duck mixture in the centre. Place a larger pastry round (lid) over the top, gently mould pastry over duck mixture with your hands, press edges with a fork to seal, then trim edges with a paring knife. Place on an oven tray lined with baking paper and refrigerate while you assemble the remaining pies. Brush pastry with eggwash and score seven arcs from centre of lid down the dome with a paring knife, then refrigerate for 1 hour to rest.|
|07||Meanwhile, for ginger glaze, fry onion, chilli and chopped ginger in oil over medium-high heat until soft and translucent (2-3 minutes). Add spices and fry until fragrant (1 minute). Deglaze pan with ginger wine and Shaoxing wine, and boil until reduced by half (3-4 minutes). Add 300ml reserved duck stock and bring to the boil, then reduce heat to medium and simmer until reduced by half (40-45 minutes). Strain through a fine sieve and season with salt to taste. Just before serving, bring to a simmer, adding julienned ginger at the last minute.|
|08||Preheat oven to 200C. Bake pies until golden brown (18-20 minutes). Serve with ginger glaze.|
A GUTSY GAMAY – MY FAVOURITES ARE FROM SORRENBERG OR RAVENSWORTH.