If you walk into the kitchen of any foodie who loves to cook, you will find not only the standard kitchenware and equipment, but also the odd whimsical tool here, some quirky cutlery there. Our kitchen is our way of expressing ourselves. It IS who we are to a great extent.
And our beloved (self-proclaimed) Great British Pie maker by Lakeland (who we call Darcy, cause it’s dark and gorgeous and British) definitely is an expression of ourselves at our laziest best.Yes, we could have gotten a pie tray for our oven (and yes, we might already have one buried somewhere), but why do that when there is a gadget we can just plug in, pre-heat for all of one minute, and have perfectly baked pies in a couple of minutes? Or baked pancakes? Or baked mini papparoti style buns (couldn’t resist)? The possibilities are endless. We know because we’re still testing the limits of this unassuming but miraculous contraption. And we’d like to take you on our obsessive, experimental journey.
To start off, we tried making basic shortcrust pies, to see if the pie maker actually does what it’s supposed to. It does. Wonderfully. When we ran out of the dough and still had filling left, we took the lazy route, and used pre-made puff pastry dough. Still wonderful.
Next up, we tried making little stuffed chicken vegetable buns using milky bun dough. Which were cooked to fluffy perfection in a couple of minutes.
Emboldened by this success, and inspired by the now famous Holland mini pancakes, we decided to try baking ours in the pie maker (it was the perfect size for these bite sized pancakes). They turned out noticeably fluffier than on the griddle. We were convinced that Darcy could do no wrong.
…so we tried making mini versions of Papparoti style buns (yes, we never learn). We figured that, when kept in an enclosed space, the probability of the buns expanding into a hot mess would be greatly reduced. But, credit to the terrible recipe we insisted on repeating, the buns reliably turned into a constricted hot mess. Having learnt our lesson, we stuck to baking mini pies and bread rolls for some time. But our inner lazy cook just wouldn’t stop with its ridiculous questions. Can’t we bake these innocent little stuffed mushrooms in the pie maker? Surely we don’t need to empty out and fire up our gas oven (which we use as storage so we can buy whimsical gadgets like these) just to bake a few mushrooms?
…and so we did. And Darcy (Pride & Prejudice style) was welcomed back into our arms.
And then we lived happily ever after, in a state of calorific kitchen bliss.
On a more serious note, this pie maker is basically like a little pie tray oven. It will bake most of the things you can bake in an oven, which was the purpose of our experimentation. If you get lazy using an oven, or would like to make bite sized appetizers quickly, this works like a dream. Because of the concentration of the heat in a small space, it bakes much faster than a regular oven. It also comes in a variety of shapes, so there is a larger pie maker, cupcake maker, cake pop maker, and several others. You can check out the local website (www.lakeland.ae) for more variety and availability. They have stores across Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
However, there are a few things you need to be aware of, if you’re planning to buy this. Firstly, ignore the instruction booklet which says you should preheat the appliance before placing the pie dough inside. It gets way too hot to do this comfortably. We usually spray the tray with some oil or butter, place the dough in and switch it on after. Once it’s done, we switch it back off, get the pies out and once it’s slightly cooled off, we put the next batch in. However, if you’re using wet batter or cookie dough there’s no harm in preheating it.
Also, the tray is not removable, so cleaning it requires some effort. We use a damp cloth and spray and it does the job.
Overall though, we absolutely adore Darcy. It has wooed us with its multi-functional use, which was not at all what we had expected from a humble Pie Maker.
Now that you’ve read about our little kitchen obsession, we’d love to hear about yours. Which random, whimsical kitchen appliance/gadget is your favorite? Share with us in the comments below!