So, Sam and I were thinking … what is our favorite kind of pie? A tough one if you ask me. We pondered for a long time and made ourselves kinda hungry (thinking can do that to you), but couldn’t decide on just one type. So it was decided… this weekend was to be pie weekend!!! The original plan was to make 3 pies, but even with friends coming over for dinner that was a whole lot of pie to eat our way through, so I managed to convince Sam that 2 pies would suffice – more than one pie a day seems a little extravagant.
Limited to only 2 pies, it didn’t take long for us to decide on what we should make. For the first, we figured that as thanksgiving is on the horizon and pumpkins are everywhere you look, pumpkin pie is a pretty good start. The second, well I think we all might agree that the humble apple pie is king but you’ll have to wait a few hours for us to digest the pumpkin pie to see that post :D.
Now a couple of weekends ago Sam and I went away for the weekend to a land without internet (scary I know :S ), and left without cookbooks or the web I had to guess how to make sweet shortcrust pasty. It turned out so good that we decided to use the same recipe for our pies. It’s a pretty butter heavy mix which makes it amazingly short and taste a bit like shortbread, which is a darned good way for pastry to be if you ask me.
For the pumpkin pie filling, yes there are lots of pumpkins about at this time of year, but we here can’t help but get a little sentimental about all things American and doesn’t get too much more America in the fall than cracking open a can of Libby’s canned pumpkin, so we went for the easy option on this one.
150g plain flour
150g cold butter
1 medium egg
1 tablespoon milk
1. Mix – In the bowl of a stand mixer mix the flour and butter on a medium speed until it just forms a breadcrumb like consistency. Add half the egg and milk and continue to mix until the dough just forms into a ball. It’s super important not to over-mix or the pastry wont be good and shorty and crumbly when cooked.
2. Chill – Wrap in clingfilm and leave to chill in the fridge for half an hour before you make your pies.
3. Roll – Grease a 9 inch pie tin and set aside. Take one of the pieces of pasty dough out of the fridge and roll out on a lightly floured surface into a 12″ circle (this sounds a whole lot easier than it actually is so don’t panic if it doesn’t go to plan the first time around). Lift half the round of pastry on top of your rolling pin then carefully lift onto the pie tin. Press down the corners to ensure the tin is well lined then cut off the excess dough, leaving about and inch overhang to allow for shrinkage. Put the prepared crust in the fridge to rest (this will help stop the pastry from shrinking in the oven).
4. Make pretty things – Time to rock out your creative side. You can have a little fun with the excess pastry dough, making any kind of pretty edge decorations you can think of. We plaited some and made little circles with the rest, but enjoy yourself see what you can come up with 😀
5. Blind bake – Take the prepared pie crust out of the fridge and fill with a large piece of baking parchment filled with baking beans (we used rice). This will stop the pastry from rising and moving out of shape. Pop in the oven at 200ºC for 15 minutes. This will have almost cooked the pastry through and shrunk it as much as it is going to. Take the crust out of the oven and remove the parchment filled with baking beans. Now it’s time to trim off all the excess pastry and make things look pretty. With a sharp knife just run around the edge, knocking off all the raggy edges (whilst you can pop these into the trash you are probably a little peckish by now so I won’t judge you for eating some of them 😛 ). Brush the while pastry case with an egg wash (made form the remaining half egg). Carefully place all your edge decorations over the newly tidied up edge and egg wash these too. Place back in the oven for a further 5 minutes to colour up the inside of the crust.
Now you have a pie crust ready to go 😛
Pumpkin Pie (makes one 9″ pie)
1 pie crust
1 can pumpkin
2 large eggs
1/2 pint single cream
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 pinch nutmeg
1. Pie filling – In a large jug mix together all the pie filling ingredients, easy as that, nothing clever or complicated here. Place the pie crust on the middle shelf of the oven and fill to the brim with the pie filling. This avoids having to wander around the kitchen slopping pie everywhere.
2. Bake – The pie should take about 40 minutes at 190ºC or until just slightly wobbly in the middle. Remove from the oven and cool completely.