Plum Pie

IMG_3288t

We’re a little lacklustre this week due to moving house. Two trips to Norwich so far, a couple more to go before I’m fully settled. It feels weird having two houses, hell, it is weird having two houses. One which I have loads of stuff to do in, and the other that I have hardly anything to do at all. Apart from bake. So I took some plums and my pie dish and my scales up to Norwich and made some pie. Baking is a welcome constant, as well as watching the West Wing – they offer comfort in a time of not really being sure what on earth I’m supposed to be doing with my time. 

One thing I did forget was my rolling pin, so the pie was decidedly rustic-looking, and then managed to spew plum juice all over the oven whilst cooking. There’s nothing like endearing yourself to your new housemates by burning plum juice onto their oven. I should’ve known better really, as plums are particularly juicy when cooked, and pastry isn’t a great sponge. Oh well. 

Next week I will be continuing my travels back and forth, trying to find a job before I go out of my mind with boredom, and baking Coffee and Chocolate Loaf. 

 

Plum Pie (from ‘Appetite’ by Nigel Slater) 

This is one of many variations of pie. Basically if you get any fruit and put pastry over the top of it, you will have this pie. 

I told you it was lacklustre. 

180g plain flour

100g butter

cold water

350g-500g plums

1. Preheat oven to 200C. Combine flour and butter until crumb-like in consistency. Slowly add water until the dough comes together. 

2. Destone and chop up plums. Place in pie dish. Roll out pastry and lay over the top of the dish. Brush pastry with milk or egg.

3. Bake for 40-45mins. Beware excessive plum juice. 

 

Advertisements

Little Blueberry Pies

More blueberries this week – once again I bought them questionably cheap from the market, and once again found a handful of squishy/mouldy ones. But it’s kind of worth it because as long as you’re using them the same day, they still work out cheaper than buying them anywhere else, even if you do have to throw some away.

These blueberry pies come from Nigel Slater’s Tender vol. II, a book filled with fruit based recipes that make me long to have the kind of garden he has, because he seems to grow pretty much everything you could think of. These have the loveliest shortbread-type pastry that is super crumbly and delicious – you could eat it by itself, never mind the blueberry filling. I tried to roll out the pastry and then realised why the recipe told me not to – long as I had worked to get the pastry into a ball in the first place, it fell apart as soon as I took a rolling pin to it. This has to be cut into pieces and then pressed into tartlet tins to best avoid inevitable crumbliness.

I wasn’t too overwhelmed by these though, to be honest. They’re nice and all, but they haven’t exactly bowled me over. That said, I haven’t tried one warm with cream yet (which I feel is how they’re probably supposed to be eaten) – just cold at lunchtime. So maybe I’ll reserve my total judgement of them.

Also, apologies, these pies aren’t exactly photogenic – photos will be uploaded soon when I take some that don’t make them look disgusting…

Next week – continuing blueberry season with Peach and Blueberry Cobbler

 

Little Blueberry Pies (from Tender, vol. II by Nigel Slater)

140g butter

1 egg yolk

230g plain flour

50g icing sugar

300g blueberries

60g ground almonds

3 tbsp redcurrant jelly

juice of half a lemon

1. Grease four 8cm tartlet tins with removable bases.

2. Rub the butter into the flour with your fingertips, then mix in the icing sugar and egg yolk. Bring the dough together and squeeze into a round, then roll into a short, fat log before putting in the fridge for half an hour to chill.

3. Set the oven at 180C/Gas 4. Toss the fruit together with the redcurrant jelly, almonds and lemon juice. Cut the pastry into four. Flatten each piece on a floured board and use to line the tart tins. Leave surplus pastry overhanging the edges. Pile the filling into the tart cases, then loosely fold over the overhanging pastry (I did not do this, see photo…).

4. Place the tarts onto a baking sheet and bake for 25 mins until the pastry is biscuit coloured and the fruit is bubbling. Dust with a little icing sugar and eat warm or cool.

Chocolate Raspberry Tart

IMG_2301t

Today is my lovely boyfriend Oli’s birthday. Earlier this week it was his colleague Holly’s birthday, and at his request I made her, what I would fairly describe as, an epic cake. A Coke layer cake from The Outsider Tart’s “Baked in America”. It took a long time to make, and it’s only the second time I’ve ever made it (although this time I actually got to taste it!!). I forgot to take a photo before it all got eaten, so the one below is courtesy of another of Oli’s colleagues. Everyone at his office was very happy, and consumed the majority of the cake (apart from one small lump that was left and Oli brought home for me). And then I realised that I’d made a pretty impressive cake for Holly, and in a few days it would be Oli’s birthday and I would have nothing anywhere near as impressive to bake for him.

photo 2

My original plan for this week was to make a raspberry and almond tart, but it just seemed too mundane to offer as a birthday cake. So I went one up, and I made chocolate and raspberry tart. Okay. It doesn’t sound that much more impressive, and I probably seem like a terrible person. But it has chocolate pastry. And I haven’t tasted it yet, but I’m pretty sure it’s going to be good. I mean, look at it! Chocolate pastry is definitely my favourite thing of the week. Where once there were walnuts, now there is the glory of chocolate pastry. I ate the offcuts. It was great.

I was supposed to use dark chocolate for this recipe, but it said how super rich it was and how you could only eat it in tiny slices, and I just thought, that is not what anyone wants from birthday cake(/tart). So I made it with milk chocolate instead, in the hopes that it will be equally tasty and more quickly consumable. I’ll let you know. Somewhat disappointingly my tart tin wasn’t deep enough to hold all the filling, so I’m going to have to make another tiny one (with plain pastry this time I think though). Luckily this week I have become indebted to my friend Seb for the amount of baking equipment he has showered me with, which included two smaller tart tins than the one I currently have. I am however starting to realise that when I move house, 95% of the stuff I take from the kitchen will be baking related.

You can find the recipe for the chocolate and raspberry tart here.

Next week: Iced apricot and blackcurrant terrine

 

Walnut, Chocolate and Honey Tart

IMG_2299t

I think often the wondrousness of walnuts is underestimated. Can we just talk about this for a minute? I mean, first, there was the caramel walnut upside down banana cake, and now there is this walnut, chocolate and honey tart. Know what they have in common? WALNUTS. Also, plenty of sugar and butter. But even so. It’s all about the walnuts. If there was ever a contender for the banana cake, it would be this tart. No word of a lie. It’s at it’s best when left at room temperature (or slightly warmer, seeing as before it started raining it was actually quite hot this week), but if you put it in the fridge it becomes like fridge cake – like, rocky road or something, which is still equally good. And it’s just sweet and gooey (apart from when refrigerated) and just delicious and full of WALNUTS.

I will stop talking about walnuts now.

This is definitely one of my favourite things that I’ve baked this year, if not ever. Did I mention how delicious it is? I’ve been drawing it out, having small, yet somewhat frequent portions of it. To be honest the only reason I haven’t finished eating it all yet is because I spent two evenings this week at Cambridge Beer Festival where I was too busy drinking beer and eating Pieminister pies to think about this tart. Although I did have a slice for breakfast this morning to cure my (mild) hangover. Which means I can now add this tart to my list of hangover cures, which otherwise consists of strawberry milkshake. Anyway, I had some exceptionally nice beer, Adnams’ Fat Sprat and Woodforde’s Flagondry and…some others… Rachel and I marked the ones we wanted to try on the beer list, but somewhat sadly and inevitably, they never have all the ones you want to drink on. Although, Rachel did have some excellent grapefruit beer. So good.

This evening I am going to eat multitudes of sausages in an attempt from my friend Susie to prove that Lincolnshire sausages are better than any other sausage, a fact that the rest of us are contesting. And so ends an incredibly unhealthy but joyous week of eating and drinking.

Next week it is Oli’s birthday, which means what I’m making is SECRET just in case he reads this (50% chance).

Go, make this tart. You’ll thank me for it. And Nigel Slater ❤

 IMG_2300t

Walnut, Chocolate and Honey Tart (adapted from Tender vol.II by Nigel Slater)

For the crust:

150g butter

200g plain flour

1 egg, beaten

For the filling:

150g butter

180g set honey

180g dark muscovado sugar

80ml double cream

1 tsp vanilla extract

140g dark chocolate, roughly chopped

200g walnuts, roughly chopped (I left mine in quite big bits, but cut them finer if you prefer less of a nutty crunch)

1. To make the pastry, cut the butter into pieces and rub into the flour, then mix in the egg to give a firm dough. Roll out and use to line a 22-24cm tart tin. Leave to rest in the fridge for at least 20 mins. Set the oven at 200C/Gas 6.

2. Cover the pastry case with baking paper and fill with baking beans. Cook in the preheated oven for about 10 mins, until the pastry is lightly coloured. Remove the paper and beans, and bake for a further 5 mins until dry to the touch.

3. For the filling, melt the butter in a large pan, add the honey and sugar and then pour in the cream and vanilla extract. Boil hard for two minutes (it will bubble up), then remove from the heat and lightly fold in the chocolate and walnuts. Pour the filling into the tart case. (It’s worth setting the tart tin on a tray, as the filling in mine bubbled over slightly).

4. Turn the oven down to 190C/Gas 5 and bake for 20 mins or until golden. Remove and leave to cool for a good half hour before serving with creme fraiche or cream, or just eaten as quickly as you possibly can before someone else eats it.

 

 

Pecan Pie (and 100 followers!)

IMAG0127t

I’ll start with a THANKS this week – I realised a few days ago that I’ve reached 100 followers – yay! Thank you for reading and liking and commenting and hanging around – it is much appreciated :).

I also have good news, and bad news. The bad news is, that my oven isn’t fixed. It seems to have some kind of intermittent fault which it doesn’t show off when the electrician comes around. That said, the electrician did believe us when we told him it was rubbish, so he’s recommended that the landlord buy us a new one. I am in full agreement with this decision. But, these things take time, so who knows when we’ll actually get a new one. All I know is that my cooking plans are continually thwarted by only having a hob to work with (although, I suppose that’s better than nothing at all and having to buy takeaway).

The good news is that I think I do actually have some recipes on my list which don’t require an oven, so I’m going to decide on one of those and hopefully it won’t derail my blogging plans too much!

On to the pecan pie!

I made pecan pie for my dear mother for Mother’s Day this year. I actually ended up making it first thing Monday morning, because by the time I got to my parents’ house after work on Sunday they were in the midst of making awesome roast dinner, and with a tiny kitchen, it’s hard for people to be doing two different things at the same time, so I figured it was best to wait. It’s been a while since I’ve baked in that kitchen, and it was kind of weird having to try and remember where everything was kept, having to ask my brother where the flour now lived etc. But it all went off without a hitch – hurrah! Part of me was expecting to get to the potential egg scramble stage and get it wrong and have to start over, but after my recent pastry cream making, I think I’ve learnt the art of adding hot liquid to eggs, and so it was all fine. One very happy mother (and father and brother and sister).

pre-syrup adding
pre-syrup adding

Pecan Pie (from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook)

200g caster sugar

250ml golden syrup (or preferably dark corn syrup if you can get hold of it)

1/2 tsp salt

3 eggs

60g unsalted butter, cubed

1/4 tsp vanilla extract

100g pecan nuts, chopped, plus extra to decorate

1. Preheat oven to 170C/Gas 3. Lightly dust a clean work surface with flour, and roll out the dough with a rolling pin. Line the prepared pie dish with the dough and trim the edges with a sharp knife. (I believe in blind-baking pastry – this recipe doesn’t call for it, but I think it’s better, so you can line the pastry with greaseproof paper, fill with baking beans (or rice) and bake it for 15 mins or so before putting the mixture in)

2. Put the sugar, corn syrup (or golden syrup) and salt in a large saucepan over medium heat. Bring to the boil, then remove from the heat and leave to cool down slightly (I left it for 10-15mins, and that seemed to work fine).

3. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs briefly with a balloon whisk until they are just mixed. Slowly pour the warm (not hot!) syrup into the eggs, stirring briskly so that you don’t allow the eggs time to scramble.

4. Add the butter and vanilla extract to the bowl and stir until the butter has melted and is evenly dispensed.

5. Put the chopped pecan nuts into the pie crust, then pour the filling on top. Arrange the pecan halves gently on top of the filling around the edge of the pie. Bake for about 50-60 mins, or until a dark caramel colour with a slightly crusty surface. (Note: it might bubble up, so don’t be surprised when you open the oven and it’s not flat – as it cools it will go back down!)

 

Next week: whatever I can find on my list that doesn’t require an oven to make.