|After writing my Cherry Pie blog, unfulfilled desires for pie lingered. The mind is a devious, though predictable beast. Once we contemplate a desirable object, the mind entices us to seek it out. Unfulfilled desires can be the cause of depression, anger, and even crimes of passion…
But let’s not get too carried away here. This was about pie, not a Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Still, under the sway of pie-maya, I felt impelled to bake some. Even without cherries (they are very expensive at the moment), pie-lust pressed me to forge ahead with what I had, to bake the object of my mind’s meditation. Here’s a record of what will be remembered as … Pie Day.
I found some frozen cooked rhubarb in the freezer; and some freshly stewed Granny Smith apples in the fridge. Apple and Rhubarb Pie…mmm
I drained the apples of any residual syrup and combined them with the rhubarb. Both fruits were already sweetened, especially the thawed rhubarb, which I had cooked and frozen at peak of season.
The mixture was a bit too moist; so I added a tablespoon of custard powder, which would set the filling as it baked and infuse it with a slight vanilla flavour. It’s a good trick, fellow pie-men/women.
Now it was time to make the pastry. I combined 200g chilled and diced unsalted butter with 250g plain cake flour in a food processor. I whizzed it until it resembled breadcrumbs. I then added 125g pashka. Okay I better explain here.
I was making a basic, sweet sour cream pastry, but had no sour cream in the fridge. I did have the aforenamed Russian cream cheese dessert. Basically my pashka was drained cream cheese folded with sugar and vanilla. I added the pashka to the bread-crumbly mix and whizzed again, until it came together in one lump. No other liquid was added – just flour, butter and the sweetened cheese. If you choose to make this using sour cream, add a few tablespoons sugar as well.
Now the pastry was ready to remove from the food processor, and it required minimal handling.
Wrapped with cling wrap, it went into the fridge for 20 minutes to rest.
After resting (the pastry, not myself) I divided the pastry 70/30 and saved the 30% part aside in the fridge. The 70% pastry was rolled out and draped inside my pastry tin – not a round flan dish that I would have preferred, but a square one. Not to worry.
I made it neat, trimmed the edges and then proceeded to the next stage. Are you getting all this?
The pie shell was cooled again – this time into the freezer, which speeded up the ‘chilling out’ process.
Next I removed the chilled tin from the freezer and lined the cold, raw pie pastry with baking paper, then filled it with raw beans. This is called ‘blind baking’, and it’s done to stop the base bubbling up as it cooks. Ok, now it went into the preheated oven.
After about 30 minutes at 200 degrees C, the beans and paper were removed, the temperature was reduced to 180 degrees C, and the half-cooked pie shell was returned to the oven to cook until evenly golden-brown – if I recall another 20 minutes.
While all this baking was going on, I rolled the remaining 30% pastry out for a lattice top.
I trimmed it, then sliced it into long even strips.
The pastry top was then woven, not on the pie, but on a plate to apply to the cooked pie later. You getting all this?
I brushed the top with milk and sprinkled it with lots of raw sugar, and placed the whole raw woven-lattice-top-on-plate in the fridge to wait for the pie to cook.
The crust looked well-done, so I removed it from the oven, and set it aside. When the pie shell was cooled a little, I filled it with fruits.
I then carefully removed the cold lattice top from the fridge and in one fluid movement I draped it on top of the cooked pie base and filling.
Back it went into the oven and baked some more on 180 degrees C until done.
The top was golden and appetising. Getting closer to Pie Heaven! Soon those Pie Desires would be fulfilled at last. I removed a section, humbly chanted the appropriate mantras (as all Bhakti-yogi cooks do) and offered the results of my labour to The Supreme Pie Master.
Finally, as is the case with all well-intentioned baking adventures, this humble pie-man finally got his share.
Allez-oop! Into the pie hole!
Posted by Kurma on 15/6/10; 6:03:40 AM