Cranberry & pear pies,Chicken & red wine casserole with herby dumplings

Cranberry & pear pies


For the almond pastry

  • 350g plain flour
  • 85g ground almonds
  • 140g caster sugar, plus extra to decorate
  • 225g butter, chopped
  • 1 egg, beaten

For the filling

  • 400g cranberries, fresh or frozen
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 25g cornflour
  • 325g jar orange curd (we used Waitrose Jaffa orange curd)
  • 450g just-ripe pears, peeled, cored and chopped


  1. To make the pastry, tip the flour, almonds and sugar into a food processor then pulse in the butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Pulse in up to 5 tbsp cold water until mixture comes together as a dough. Wrap in cling film and chill for 1 hr.
  2. To make the filling, tip the cranberries into a pan with the sugar and cornflour and stir well. Stir in the orange curd, then cook for a few mins until thickened. Add the pears and cook a few mins more, stirring frequently. Cool.
  3. Heat oven to 190C/170C fan/gas 5 with a large baking sheet inside. Roll out the pastry and use to line 8 x 10cm individual Yorkshire pudding tins (or 10cm individual tart tins). Spoon in the cooled filling. Roll out the rest of the dough and stamp out 4 x 9cm rounds to make lids. Cut out the centres with a medium star cutter.
  4. Carefully cover half the pies with the pastry lids and place the stars on a baking tray. Crimp the edges of each pie (if using straight edged tins) with your finger and thumb, brush the pies and stars with the egg then dredge with sugar. Bake the stars for 8-10 mins and the pies for 15-20 mins until golden. Dredge with more sugar once out of the oven. Place a star on the open pies and serve with cream or ice cream.

Chicken & red wine casserole with herby dumplings


  • 6 part-boned chicken breasts or boned for slow cooker (see below)
  • 3 tbsp plain flour
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 onions, each peeled and cut into 8 wedges
  • 200g smoked bacon lardons
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
  • 300g large flat mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tbsp redcurrant sauce
  • 3 strips of peeled orange zest
  • 300ml red wine
  • 300ml chicken stock

    Cooking time

    Cook: 50 mins Ready in 1¾ hours

    Skill level

    Moderately easy


    Serves 6 


    1. Preheat the oven to fan 180C/ conventional 200C/gas 6. Season the chicken with salt and freshly ground black pepper, then coat lightly in a little of the flour. Heat the oil in a large ovenproof lidded casserole dish and, in batches, brown the chicken on both sides over a high heat. Remove the chicken and set aside.
    2. Reduce the heat, add the onions and lardons and cook for about 5-8 minutes so they are golden tinged. Add the garlic, then sprinkle in the plain flour and cook for 1 minute, stirring to prevent sticking.
    3. Add the mushrooms, bay leaves, redcurrant sauce and orange zest, then pour in the red wine and stock and season with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, then return the chicken to the casserole dish, making sure it is well covered with the liquid. Put on the lid and cook in the oven for 30 minutes.
    4. While the casserole is cooking, prepare the dumplings. Put the self raising flour, breadcrumbs, mustard and butter in a food processor and blitz to a crumb consistency. Add the thyme, parsley, eggs and salt and pepper. Briefly blitz until the mixture forms a fairly moist dough. Using floured hands, roll the dough into 6 large, even-sized balls.
    5. Remove the casserole from the oven when the 30 minutes is up and sit the dumplings on top. Pop the lid back on and return to the oven for a further 20 minutes, until the casserole is cooked and the dumplings have puffed up. Spoon the chicken and sauce onto six plates and top each with a dumpling. Serve with a rich, fruity red wine.