Baking | Tribute to The Queen of All Daring Bakers, Lis … and Savoury Phyllo Chicken Pot Pies #tributetolis #daringbakers

“Once a Daring Baker, always a Daring Baker. It’s the best baking community on the web!”

Daring BakersHow do you begin to pay a tribute to someone who made a lot of us who or what we are today! We woke up to the tragic news that that the very largehearted & fun, the cornerstone of the best group for bakers ever created, the Daring Bakers,  Lisa passed away. With the lovely Ivonne, Lisa inspired, she cajoled, she filled in, she encouraged, she whipped us along, whisking us into a homogenous group … one of the best baking communities ever created on the web.

RIP Lis, The Queen of All Daring Bakers

Lisa Cifelli of La Mia Cucina, co-founder of The Daring Kitchen (originally The Daring Bakers) passed away unexpectedly a few days ago. Anyone who had the pleasure of knowing Lis, understands how much she will be missed. Her big heart, incredible sense of humor, epic emails, and mad organization skills were legendary. Bless her eternally cotton socks! {Kelly P}

Baklava with phyllo from scratch

In November 2006, Lisa of La Mia Cucina and Ivonne of Cream Puffs in Venice decided to challenge themselves to bake pretzels for the very first time using the same recipe. They each went ahead and posted about it on November 18, 2006. Having enjoyed that experience tremendously, they decided to try it again the next month, this time choosing to bake biscotti. And to make matters even better, they were joined by a few more food bloggers. As the months went by, their baking group continued to grow, until it was finally decided that this “little baking group” had to have a name and The Daring Bakers were born! The Daring Cooks were formed in 2009 as a way to learn how to become better home cooks. The idea spread like wildfire with 1000’s of people who also wished to learn more joined in on the monthly challenges.

Today, The Daring Bakers and The Daring Cooks span the world as bakers/cooks of all nationalities come together once a month to try something new in the kitchen!

Homemade evaporated milk for Tres LechesI am the baker that I am only because of the Daring Bakers. It’s been a steep upward climb at times. We’ve been through 18 pages of recipe for Julia Childs French Loaf  in Feb ’08. We’ve giggled & wept together, have whispered behind the scenes, gasped in horror when one of us let the cat out of the bag on twitter before the sacred posting date! What a community!

Daring Bakers 2In the spirit of this fabulous, close knit community, we’ve come together, some still with the group, some who left a while ago, and lots of new DBr’s … united together to pay a tribute to the Queen of Daring Bakers! {Thank you for doing this Kelly P} I have made some of my best food blogger friends thanks to the DBs. Lis and Ivonne created something magical on the web; something that has never been replicated!

Daring Bakers I say it to myself every month, I love being a Daring Baker! I miss a few as I struggle to cut out carbs, attempt to go wheat free, yet the temptation is always there. Looking back at previous challenges, the first one still comes to mind, as real as it was happening yesterday. Dark Chocolate Beetroot Cake with Peanut Butter Filling  I was chuffed to be accepted as a Daring Baker way back in January 2008. The very first challenge was a Lemon Meringue Pie. It was the ‘dark baking ages‘ in India at the time; I was very new to meringues and such. Oh how I wept. I still remember the emails exchanged with Lis and the encouragement and inspiration she offered. My pie wept, and I with it. Thought they’d chuck me out of the group. Felt like I had failed a major!

Lis stopped by to say…  “Pure genius going with the lil hearts on the crust! Would you mind if I did that one day? :) Well I’m sorry it didn’t turn out as you intended, but it sure did turn out pretty! Welcome to the DB’ers! xoxo

The camaraderie grew as a bunch of us chatted away behind the screens, discussing challenges in loud whispers. Meeta, Jamie, Ilva, Hilda, Dharam, Val, Kelly P, Barbara, Rosa, Jasmine, Judy, Andrea, Susan, Aparna, Coco … so many others! 

Oh those days! Some of my all time favourite challenges were …

Povitica ... A Croatian Sweet Walnut BreadPovitica {one of my most pinned and visited posts}, Momofukus Infamous Crack PieSans Rival CakeFilled Pate a Choux SwansBaklava with phyllo from scratch,Stollen PuddingDutch Crunch Bread or TijgerbroodTiramisu, Croquembouche

Daring Bakers

Jaconde imprime /entremetsMango Pastel de Tres LechesGingerbread HouseBattenbergDark Chocolate Beetroot Cake with Peanut Butter icing …and so so many more. We struggled sometimes, we conquered each time. Every  challenge meaningful.

Lighter Chicken Pot Pies with homemade phylloI missed posting the October challenge. I thought I would skip it, then got very tempted, succumbed past the date … and then procrastinated a little as the pictures sat in the camera. Had the post sched for this weekend. RIP beautiful lady! The Kitchen has taught me a lot!

Lighter Chicken Pot Pies with homemade phyllo Lighter Chicken Pot Pies with homemade phyllo … inspiration can strike anytime, this time from another Daring Baker, Suma in Bangalore. She pinged me the other day wondering why I hadn’t done it, given that it was savoury and I love everything savoury!

Hannah of Rise and Shine was our October 2013 Daring Bakers’ hostess and she challenged us to bake our own double crusted savory pot pies. Using any from-scratch crust and filling we choose, we were allowed to get completely creative with our recipe, showing off the savory flavors and fillings from our own home or region.

Lighter Chicken Pot Pies with homemade phyllo I am steering clear of all purpose flour in my baking, and personally have been off wheat for over 6 months in an attempt to sort out some allergies. Mr PAB too has recently joined me, so I was a guinea pig short.

Lighter Chicken Pot Pies with homemade phyllo The daughter is on a diet, low carbs etc … but I could see she would love this. We love pot pies at home. The boy of course is game for anything and everything pot pie, chicken, pastry. Just churn out delicious bakes day after day… and he is a happy camper. The pies were everything good!!

[print_this]Recipe: Lighter Chicken Pot Pies with homemade phyllo
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Summary: Fun and light, these Savoury Phyllo Chicken Pot Pies are crisp and rustic! You can assemble them ahead of time, and bake them before serving.

Prep Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes {plus resting time}

  • Phyllo pastry
  • 250g all purpose flour
  • 160g luke warm water
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 25g olive oil
  • Creamy Garlic Gravy
  • 45g butter
  • 20g flour
  • 180ml 2% milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 45 gm shredded cheddar cheese
  • Filling
  • 250g cooked chicken, chopped {coked in Italian spices}
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 8 onion scapes, chopped fine
  • 2 medium bell peppers, julliened
  • 1 bunch fresh basil, chiffonaded
  • 1tbsp olive oil
  • Topping
  • Sea salt, smoked paprika, dried oregano (for topping)
  • Brushing
  • About 1/4 cup melted butter/clarified butter


  1. Phyllo pastry
  2. Place all ingredients in bowl of Thermomix or food processor and knead to a soft silky dough. Remove and allow to rest for at least an hour. {You can chill if the weather is warm. Keeps wrapped in clingwrap for 1 week in the fridge}
  3. Creamy Garlic Gravy
  4. Melt your butter over medium heat in a medium saucepan. Sprinkle flour over the butter and whisk together.
  5. Cook for a short minute as it bubbles, then pour in the milk. Whisk and bring it to boil, then stir in salt and garlic. Whisk until it’s as thick as honey, which should take about a minute. Remove from the heat and stir in cheese. Set aside while you prepare the components for your filling.
  6. Filling
  7. Heat olive oil in pan. Add the onions and onion scapes and sweta for about two minutes until soft. Add the bell peppers and stir fry for a minute. 
  8. Toss into cooked chicken with the basil. Mix well
  9. Fold into the creamy garlic sauce.
  10. Assembling
  11. Preheat oven to 180C
  12. Divide the phyllo dough into 16-20 little balls. 16 will make 4 small pot pies, 20 will make 5 slightly smaller ones. Roll the dough in flour lightly and keep covered.
  13. Keep the melted butter handy.
  14. On a well floured surface, take one ball at a time, and roll out as thin as thin as you can. It should be almost transparent. The dough is very flexible so shouldn’t tear. Use plain flour as required. The dough should be almost an 8″ circle. Brush with melted butter and place in baking tin with the sides hanging over. Repeat for 2 more balls of dough, brushing in between each layer with melted butter.
  15. Divide the filling into the number of pies you plan to make.
  16. Place a portion of the filling in the centre of the pastry, draw the sides in to cover the filling. Pinch to seal. Brush with butter. Sprinkle over paprika, dried oregano and sea salt.
  17. Repeat with the other pastry.
  18. Bake for about 45 minutes until the pastry is nice and golden and crisp to touch. Rest for about 15 minutes before serving {Warning: the filling can be very hot. Please exercise caution especially if serving to kids}


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About me: I am a freelance food writer, recipe developer and photographer. Food is my passion - baking, cooking, developing recipes, making recipes healthier, using fresh seasonal produce and local products, keeping a check on my carbon footprint and being a responsible foodie! I enjoy food styling, food photography, recipe development and product reviews. I express this through my food photographs which I style and the recipes I blog. My strength lies in 'Doing Food From Scratch'; it must taste as good as it looks, and be healthy too. Baking in India, often my biggest challenge is the non-availability of baking ingredients, and this has now become a platform to get creative on. I enjoy cooking immensely as well.


  • wonderful tribute. your words just shows how much this club meant to you. Rest in pease Lisa.
    Dixya @ Food, Pleasure, and Health´s last blog post ..Fitness Friday : Using a Foam Roller for Stretching {Guest Post}My Profile

  • 2 years ago

    Deeba, I am always so impressed by your work. Lis would love this tribute! It is wonderful that you are still going strong here and as much as I don’t visit many food sites these days, I love seeing tidbits of what you’re working on at FB. In the spirit of all things Daring Baker, I’ll whisper to you that I made a gorgeous lemon meringue pie for my brother’s birthday a year ago and when I picked it up to move it to a different place on the table (I’d just finished snapping a few photos) it saw it begin to slide from the tray it was on — almost in slow motion — and watched it land upside down, of course, on one of the diningroom chairs. I scraped up the ruined meringue, slathered it back on the pie, and got out my blow torch. Voila! Not one tear shed, but there were looks of horror from my son & husband over it. It would have made a great story on the old blog! Best to you!
    kellypea´s last blog post ..Tribute to the Queen of All Daring Bakers, Lis.My Profile

    • 2 years ago

      ROFL KP… sounds like Julia Childs 10 second rule! My husband would have passed out in horror had he seen me scraping a pie off a dining chair! The kids are braver and in the spirit of good food, would have probably scraped it off the ground too!! The spirit of the DB never dies. Thank you for doing this. It brought a flood of good old memories right back!!

  • 2 years ago

    Deeba, you are right, it was so much fun! I hope your family knows what a treasure they have in you. You are so talented.

  • 2 years ago

    Beautiful tribute with beautiful memories.

  • 2 years ago

    A beautiful tribute plus you really really captured exactly what the Daring Bakers was to all of us – the challenge, yes, but the community, the friendship and the support. Lovely and moving, Deeba. And a wonderful pot pie that i will be making. xo
    Jamie´s last blog post ..Aloo Paratha for Bread Baking BabesMy Profile

  • Hilda
    2 years ago

    I *heart* you, Deeba. This is a lovely tribute to one of the funniest, sweetest people ever.

  • What a lovely tribute. Your DB posts are always spectacular. I’m sure Lis loved having you participate and appreciated your friendship. We’re blessed that this crazy world of food blogging has allow others to come into and brighten our lives. Thanks for your friendship.
    Barbara @ Barbara Bakes´s last blog post ..Bundt Cake Roundup for National Bundt Cake DayMy Profile

  • 2 years ago

    The blogging community has lost a very special lady. We all learned so much with a sense of style, humility and humour,and ALWAYS laughter and fun. Some of us may no longer be Daring Bakers but we are still those fledgling bloggers in spirit who rose to every challenge at “dawns crack”. Thank you Lis. Look at all the gorgeous challenges you conquered Deeba!
    belllini´s last blog post ..Operation Truffle in Loving Memory of the Queen of the Daring BakersMy Profile

  • 2 years ago

    My dear Deeba what lovely tribute all look beautiful ,I remember Lis and now I went to her blog she had a lovely blog, sorry your loss and know you love her so much:)xoxoxoxoxo
    gloria´s last blog post ..cranberries and polenta cakeMy Profile

  • 2 years ago

    Beautifully written. It was amazing how so many people were brought together, inspired, learned, and became friends because of one beautiful woman. She will be missed!
    Jenni´s last blog post ..A Daring FarewellMy Profile

  • 2 years ago

    Dear Deeba, such a lovely tribute to Lisa. She will be missed.
    Lizzy (Good Things)´s last blog post ..Honey and Thyme Baked CamembertMy Profile

  • 2 years ago

    G’day! Gorgeous photos and what a lovely tribute to a wonderful person we we blessed to have been connected through!
    It is bittersweet to read all of these wonderful tributes to Lis, shared one and feel glad and sad through each one!
    Cheers! Joanne
    Joanne T Ferguson´s last blog post ..nic&rocco’s Sweet Sensations Cookbook Dedicated to Their MumsMy Profile

  • 2 years ago

    I’d never dare to try to make my own phyllo, but you’ve inspired me, Deeba!
    These pot pie bundles are as adorable as they are tasty.
    My hubby would love them!
    I think I’ll make them tonight. Thanks! xoxo
    Coco in the Kitchen´s last blog post ..Apple Cherry Chicken with Mom’s Potato-Bottomed RiceMy Profile

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