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  • Writer's pictureCulinary Cam

A Savory for the #PieathalonX: The Ballymaloe Chicken Pie

Updated: Sep 6, 2023

Welcome to the annual pieathalon coordinated by Emily of Dinner is Served 1972. In 2018 the Pieathalon was a new-to-me event. I have since participated in the 5th, 6th, 7th, and 9th Annual Pieathalons. Here we are at year ten! We're referring to this event as #PieathalonX.

Since this whole Pieathalon thing is only once a year, I'll share the rules with my readers.

1. Pick a pie recipe from a pre-1990 cookbook.

2. Email it to Emily.

3. She assigns it randomly to another pieathlete.

4. We bake.

5. We post.

6. We share.

Today's the day! Get ready for some fun retro pie recipes. Here's what we're sharing...

My assignment this year came from Catherine at Kitchen Confidence. Let's get this party started!

I was excited to get a savory pie this year. Catherine wrote "Hi there. As I’m teaching at Ballymaloe Cookery School in Ireland at the moment, it seemed only right to send in a recipe from The Ballymaloe Cookbook by Myrtle Allen, published in 1977." Here's what I got. My assignment is the one at the top: Chicken Pie. Catherine noted that there was no recipe for puff pastry included.

Good thing I know how to make that. I made a sourdough puff pastry.

Sourdough Puff Pastry

  • 200 grams sourdough starter

  • 500 grams flour plus more for rolling

  • 60 grams organic granulated sugar

  • 2 eggs for the dough plus 1 egg for baking

  • 160 grams warm water

  • 2 sticks butter, cold

  • Also needed: rolling pin, waxed paper, baking sheet, silicone brush for the egg wash


Place all of the ingredients except the butter and one egg in a large mixing bowl. Use a wooden spoon to blend until a shaggy dough forms. Turn the dough out onto a floured workspace and knead until smooth and well-combined, approximately 4 to 5 minutes.

Place the dough in a covered container and refrigerate for at 4 hours or overnight. Once you're ready to make the puff pastry, remove the dough from the fridge and let stand at room temperature while you prepare the butter.

Flour a piece of wax paper and pound each stick of butter into rectangle on that paper. Some people use a ruler and make it very precise. I am less precise. Wrap the pounded butter and chill.

When you're ready, sprinkle a piece of parchment paper with flour and place dough on top. Roll the dough into a rectangle roughly 12"x 20". Remember, I'm less than precise, but it was around that size.

Remove one rectangle of butter from the fridge and lay it in the middle of the dough. Fold the corners of the dough in to form an envelope. It should look like this...

Using the rolling pin, roll it out to 12" x 20" again. Place the second rectangle of butter on the dough and make another envelope. Then roll it out to the 12" x 20" rectangle, but this time, fold one third of the dough over the other third, like folding a letter.

Now you have to turn the dough. Turning the dough, by rolling and folding, creates very thin layers of butter and dough. This recipe needs to be turned 4 times. If the butter pushes through a layer of dough, rub it with a little flour. If the butter seems to be melting, chill the dough between each turn. Keep the parchment, the rolling pin, and the surface of the pastry well-floured.

To turn: Rotate the package of dough and butter so that the narrower, open end is facing you, like the pages of a book. Roll the dough out to a rectangle and fold the top third down and the bottom third up, again like a letter. Rotate the dough 90 degrees so that the open end is again facing you. Repeat. Roll the dough out to a rectangle and fold the top third down and the bottom third up. That's 2 turns. Repeat two more times.

Place the dough in the fridge and let rest for 30 minutes. Remove the dough from the fridge and roll out to approximately 1/4" thick. I, then, cut one-third of that rectangle off and used it for a different purpose, including a Pi decoration for the top.

The Ballymaloe Chicken Pie

The note about 'Cooking Old Hens' reads: "The best kind are those that have laid for one season in a deep litter house. They are often very fat and full of flavour [sic]." I used an chicken certified as part of the Better Chicken Project, but did look up what a deep litter house is. I used the recipe in the cookbook as a starting point, but ended up using what I had in the kitchen which included carrots, celery, shelled edamame, potatoes, and onions.



  • whole chicken

  • bouquet garni (fresh herbs tied with 100% cotton twine)

  • 1 onion, peeled and quartered

  • water

  • 2 to 3 carrots, diced

  • 3 to 4 celery stalks, diced

  • 1 onion, peeled and diced

  • 2 cup diced potatoes

  • 1/2 cup shelled edamame

  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves


  • 3 Tablespoons butter

  • olive oil

  • 2 Tablespoons flour

  • 1-1/2 cups chicken stock (from cooking the chicken)

  • salt and pepper, to taste


  • puff pastry (see above)

  • 1 egg, beaten

  • Also needed: pie pan, pastry brush



Place the chicken in a large stockpot. Pour in enough water to cover the chicken by at least 1-inch of water. Submerge the bouquet garni and quartered onions in the water. Bring the pot to a boil and simmer for 90 minutes. Remove the chicken and let cool enough to handle. Strain out the bouquet garni and onions.

Pull the meat off of the chicken and shred the chicken. Place the meat in a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle with fresh thyme leaves.

Submerge the carrots, celery, onions, potatoes, and shelled edamame in the cooking liquid. Bring to a boil and cook until fork tender, approximately 10 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove vegetables. Place them in the bowl with the chicken. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Spoon everything into the pie pan and set aside.


Melt butter in a splash of olive oil. Whisk in the flour to create a roux. Slowly stir in the chicken stock, whisking until smooth. Simmer until desired thickness. Pour the gravy over the filling.


Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Roll puff pastry out to cover the filling. Crimp the edges and add a design with the puff pastry, if you wish.

I used a Pi cookie cutter and placed it on top. Brush the puff pastry with beaten egg.

Place in the preheated oven and bake for 35 minutes or until the pastry is puffed and browned.

Let cool for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

That's a wrap for my offering in the 10th annual Pieathalon. Hopefully we'll be back next year.

And, in case you are interested, here are a few of my previous pies for this fun event: Lattice Pineapple Pie, Chocolate Angel Pie, and Flaming Peach Pie.

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