Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Desperate for a slice of Bakewell Pie

Monday night is Desperate Housewives night in my house. No questions. At 8:40pm, the TV is on, my phone is off, and my arse is parked firmly on the couch. [We're only up to episode 3 of season 2, NO PLOT SPOILERS please!!!] In the excitement tonight, I didn't make dinner (Mum made us a chicken curry and a vegetable stirfry with rice), but I felt a touch of the Bree Vandercamp coming on, so between dinner and Desperate Housewives, I rustled up a little pie.

277. Bakewell Tart with Fresh Raspberries (Weekend Lunch)

Pies take a lot less effort to make than it seems. Perfect for when you want to look Bree Vandercamp but without the hard work or the ski-slope hairdo.

As far as I can make out, Bakewell Tart is a tart with a pastry base, a layer of jam, and almond frangipane on top. Nigella's version includes fresh raspberries.

When I travelled to England 2 years ago, I had the opportunity to go to the town of Bakewell itself, but I declined. You see, I was staying with some friends in Manchester, and on that particular day, my hosts offered me the choice of either driving up to Bakewell (pie city), or spending the day shopping in Manchester city. At the time, the choice was easy. Even though I was already interested in food at that stage, I guess I wasn't quite as pie-obsessed as I am now. Today I'd be hard pressed to choose between a day of shopping and a visit to pie-central.

But back to the task at hand. I have decided to show you the pie in its layers.

1. Pastry [This is a rich shortcrust, with the addition of an egg yolk, icing sugar and ground almonds]

empty pie shell

2. Raspberry Jam

pie shell w jam

3. Fresh raspberries [Devilishly expensive in Australia - $6 for a 150gram punnet!]

pie shell w raspberries

4. Frangipane [A mixture of melted butter, beaten eggs, sugar and ground almonds]

frangipane filled

5. Flaked almonds

pie shell w almonds

Then you bake it at 200C for 35-45 minutes. In the recipe, Nigella specifies quantities for a 26cm pie dish. I didn't think we'd be able to handle all that pie, so I used my beloved 20cm pie dish, and reduced quantities by one-third. The filling ended up being the exact right amount, but I did have a decent-sized ball of pastry leftover. Which meant it was time for...

278. Periwinkles (Feeding Babies and Small Children)

I am such a douchebag - I must have made at least a dozen pies by this stage, and always have leftover pastry, but it had never occured to me, until tonight, to make the freakin' periwinkles! I usually just toss the extra pastry out.

The periwinkles are designated as a recipe to be cooked with children, but I have no children, and don't intend to bring any in, just for the sake of it, so I made these myself.

You get your leftover pastry, roll it out, spread honey over it, followed by brown sugar and cinnamon. Then you roll it up, like a sticky bun, and slice it crossways, before baking the slices for about 15 minutes.

honey drizzling


rolled up

Annoyingly, the pastry log wasn't nearly firm enough to be sliced and kept squishing as I tried to slice it. Slightly perturbed, I decided to stash the log in the freezer for about 20 minutes and then was able to slice it with slightly less drama.

Prebaking periwinkles

Once they baked, they spread terribly. I thought that they might be a failure, and thus destined for a repeat-try, but after they cooled down, they actually tasted really good.


whole baked pie

Both periwinkles and pie came out of the oven during Desperate Housewives, and cooled in the kitchen for the second half of the show. And if Desperate Housewives wasn't exciting enough, following that show was the BAFTA awards, hosted by the impossibly fabulous Stephen Fry. So we brought the pie and its accompaniments to the lounge room to eat as we watched the awards. The ceremony was so cool - I love Stephen Fry's wittily verbose delivery style, and awesome actors/filmmakers like Jake Gyllenhaal, Heath Ledger, Steve Coogan, Kristin Scott Thomas, Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Ang Lee all made appearances. How delightful!

pie + accompaniments

pie slice

And here are the remains of the pie, some raspberries, and 2 large periwinkles on the footstool in front of the TV.

Bakewell Pie is awesome. I can't believe that Laurent patisserie charges exorbitant prices for their similar mini raspberry & frangipane tarts, when they're so simple to make yourself. And so good! Almost as tasty as Jake Gyllenhaal...


Anonymous said...

Mmmmm, looks like a perfect night! And I have been wondering and wondering what exactly frangiapane is, so thanks.

domesticgoddess said...

stephen fry is an absolute legend!!! and what better way to enjoy him than by eating some fabulous pie at the same time.

and did you see jake's acceptance speech? he is too cute! :D

Anonymous said...

Mmmm nice pie Sarah!! I have tried Nigellas cranberry bakewell and ate dozens of frangipane mince pies over Christmas. Might be time for the raspberry edition. Hope it turns out as well as yours.

Anonymous said...

The pie looks soooo good! And if it really was almost as tasty as Jake Gyllenhaal I simply must try it. ;) Well done!

cin said...

you're not going to bring children into the world just so you can try out recipes like periwinkle on them? why not???

have fun tomorrow. wish I could join you guys!