Tag Archives: pastry

Balsamic Cherry Pie

Over the festive season last year I was lucky enough to get to eat (too many) of the most delicious spiced cherries in red wine from  Bruny Island Cheese (club) and I have been chasing that taste ever since.

Cherries are one of the most versatile fruits, great fresh, stewed, jammed, savoury or sweet, and always delicious. For this pie I borrowed the amazing cherry pitter from S-J and took to gutting my cherries with maniacal glee (pro-tip: don’t wear a white shirt while you pit 1kg of cherries, it’s a blood bath). Full disclosure, I have not mastered the pitter and did have to issue a warning to my test-eaters to be on the lookout for stray pits – only 7 were found in the whole pie so that’s about a 95% success rate, I’m calling it a shaky win.

PIE!

Filling:
1 kg cherries
3 tbsps cornstarch
pinch of salt
1/2 cup white sugar (minus 2 tbsp to reserve for sprinkling)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/8 cup good quality balsamic vinegar (should be quite syrupy)
1/8 cup orange or lemon juice
1 tablespoon cold unsalted butter

Pie dough/pastry, enough for a double layer pie
I used Smitten Kitchen’s Pie Dough 101 but did the whole thing in the processor to save my bench top.

Egg Wash:
1 egg, lightly beaten
reserved white sugar

Preheat oven to 200C.

If you make your own dough, ensure that it is chilling in the fridge while you make the filling, if you’re using store bought frozen dough, make sure it’s defrosted in the fridge (needs to be pliable to line the dish).

Pick over your cherries and remove any stems and nasty fruit. Use your pitter (or a knife – be careful!) and remove all pits.

In a large bowl stir together all the pie ingredients except the butter. Mush the cherries a little as you go to release their juices. Enjoy your delightfully pink fingers and attack the cat with them. It’s good if you forget you have cherry fingers and wipe hair out of your face and discover the red smear hours later and give yourself a fright.

Roll out half of the chilled dough between two sheets of bake-paper to about 14-inch round (I never roll things perfectly round, but good luck to you). Ease it into your pie plate – remove one of the sheets of bake paper, flip the dough into the pan and use the edges of the paper to help ease the crust in. Press the base and corners to make sure there are no air bubbles. Trim the edges leaving an overhang of about 2 cm.

Pour the filling into the crust. I like a gooey pie – if you don’t you may like to hold back some of the liquid in the bottom of the bowl. Chop your butter into small cubes, scatter those on top of the filling.

Roll out the remaining dough the same way, cut into 2cm strips and layer half across the pie, leaving 2cm overhang. Take the remaining strips and weave to make the lattice. Fold the overhang under the bottom crust, pressing the edge to seal it, and crimp the edges together. Using a pastry brush, egg wash the pie crust, then sprinkle sugar over the top.

Bake the pie on the middle rack of the oven for 25 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 175C. and bake the pie for another 20 – 25 minutes, or until the crust is golden (if it starts to brown on top too quickly, tent with tin foil and continue baking). Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

I think this pie is about 200% more delicious after a night in the refrigerator and is excellent served with whipped cream and/or vanilla bean ice cream. A lemon zest infused marscapone would also be pretty delish!

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Apple Strudel (Or: I really like apples)

In a lovely coincidence, I happened to make Apple Strudel the same week that the lovely lads and ladies on the Great British Bake Off had a strudel challenge. It’s like it was meant to be. It probably had more to do with the 1kg of apples I had picked up at the market the week before that were judging me from their fancy fruitbowl. Whatever the reason, strudel was made and I carted it off to a dinner party/games night at a lovely friend’s home and it was a tasty to ending to a deliciously autumnal meal (yes, spring is here, no, I don’t accept it, AUTUMN FOR PRESIDENT).

Disclaimer: We are a cooking blog, but we are people too. I find that I have things in my life that I prefer to do that don’t involve the multi-hour process to create butter puff pastry, so I tend to buy the fanciest brand I can afford from the frozen section and call it a day. If you can actually tell the difference, you impress me, because I’ve made many kinds and I really can’t. It is just not worth it to me for a casual meal, and if you can play with store-bought and get it to do what you want, I say take that extra time you have to drink a cider, eat some good cheese and pat yourself on the back for your excellent time management choices.

One day we’ll probably do puff pastry and I’ll be all “IT’S SO WONDERFUL I DON’T KNOW WHY I DON’T MAKE IT ALL THE TIME”, and you can point me back to this post and heckle me if you like, I won’t care though, because no matter what, in the end, I’ll have a belly full of pastry!

So, back to the strudel. I have a fear of runny liquid insides ruining my strudel, so these apples are cooked twice before they are rolled inside pastry for the final filling. This means that it is a very soft filling once cooked for the second time. All the apples collapse into the raisins and disappear into your tummy in seconds.

I made two, and the four of us ate it all.

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Goats Cheese Pastries (Or: cheese makes everything better, so three cheeses must mean excellence)

Cheese is delicious, and pastry makes everything better. I don’t need to convince you of this. So without further ado, recipe time!

Goats Cheese Pastries

Time: 10 minutes prep, 20 minutes cooking

Yield: nibbles for 10 as part of a spread

4 sheets puff pastry (store bought, or knock yourself out and make your own)
150 gms goats cheese
50 gms parmesan (grated)
50 gms cheddar (grated)
4 teaspoons of honey
2 tbsp chives (chopped in short lengths)
1 tbsp thyme (finely chopped, woody stalks removed)
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper
1 egg

Line two baking trays with baking paper. Preheat oven to 220C.

Prepping the pastry

Lay your four squares of pastry out on the bench while you prep the filling. Spread 1 tsp of honey onto each sheet, spread to the edge.

Cheese filling

In a small bowl, break the goats cheese up into smaller chunks, add parmesan and cheddar and pop in the microwave for 10 – 20 seconds.

Remove from microwave and add paprika, garlic, salt and pepper, chives and thyme. Mix really well, making sure the herbs are evenly through the mixture.

Assemble

Divide the cheese mixture between two of the sheets of pastry. Spread out to 1 cm before the edge.

Take each of the two sheets of pastry with only honey on them, and place one on top of each cheese covered sheet. Push down firmly and evenly to make a kind of pastry sandwich. Pop in the fridge for 10 minutes or so if you have time.

Egg wash

In a small bowl (I used the cheese mixture bowl, and I didn’t even wash it out – REBEL), whisk the egg with a little salt and pepper until the yolk and white are all combined.

For straws

Using one of the pastry “sandwiches”, take a sharp knife and cut long strips about 1 cm wide. hold firmly at the top and bottom of the strip and twist, being careful to keep the mixture between the sheets of pastry as you twist.

Lay twisted pastry onto baking sheet pressing each end down onto the tray slightly (to stop them from untwisting). Leave at least 1 cm between each stick and using a pastry brush, cover with egg wash. Repeat until the tray is full, bake in 220C oven for 15 – 20 minutes, keeping an eye on them. When they are golden brown and crisp, remove from the oven to a wire rack to cool.

For scrolls

With the other pastry sandwich, cover the top with egg wash using your pastry brush. Starting with the side closest to you, roll away from yourself, gently keeping the roll quite tight. press the end down firmly. Place roll in fridge for 15 minutes to firm up if you have time, or live life on the edge and cut it into 1 cm thick slices and lay flat on the other baking tray. Leave about 2 cms between each round to allow for puffing. Repeat until the tray is full, bake in 220C oven for 15 – 20 minutes, keeping an eye on them. When they are golden brown and crisp, remove from the oven to a wire rack to cool.

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