Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Karen's cooking adventures...plum tart with pistachio crumble

Inspired by a conversation about pastry-making I was involved in over the weekend, I had a go at making a pie for dessert last night. From scratch. A plum tart with pistachio crumble sprinkled on the top (the photo above shows the pie before the crumble was sprinkled on it). From this book that I have out of the library at the moment.

I've never had much joy making shortcrust pastry from scratch. It says in the profile thing on the side of my blog that I like baking sweet things but that should probably include the disclaimer "only if they're really easy."

But I was pleasantly surprised this time around. The pastry turned out very well. It was a cool day so I think that helped. This recipe also involved creaming the butter and icing sugar together first, using an electric mixer, rather than the rubbing butter into the flour method. Then I stirred in the flour and egg to bring the dough together. After it had rested I rolled it out between two pieces of baking paper. Peel off the top layer, invert the other piece of paper into the pie dish and hey presto...a pastry shell.

Well, it wasn't quite that easy. Inverting the baking paper with pastry attached was harder than it sounded. But I managed in the end. And I think the reduced handling of the dough made a big difference. It didn't crumble nearly as much as it has when I've tried to do pastry in the past.

It tasted great. It had a frangipane filling made from ground almonds. It was a bit soft when we cut into the pie (our oven has a bad habit of over-browning things so they look cooked on top but inside they're still getting there) but cooked enough to eat.

It took almost all of yesterday afternoon to make. But it was satisfying to achieve a successful home-made pastry base at last. On a cool day, there's nothing quite like eating warm pie with ice-cream on top.

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