So as I mentioned the other day, I’ve started a pastry course run by Puff the Bakery. Week one is custard week, and I have already made a trifle from scratch learning how to make a Genoese sponge and creme Diplomat. The next class is creme Anglaise and fruit pie. Or, in my case, just the fruit pie as I forgot about the creme Anglaise!
I’m not a huge fan of cooked fruit – I prefer by fruit tart and crunchy rather than soft and sweet – but I wanted to give this a go to see if I could do it, which is the whole reason I signed up for the course really!
I decided to pair rhubarb and raspberry with the buttery flaky pastry: I think the tartness of both really appeals to my tastebuds, plus I thought it might make me forget about the soft texture for a little while. I also added a little cinnamon and nutmeg to add some warmth.
With the fruit prepared I started shaping the pastry, but this proved a harder job than I’d anticipated. Flaky pastry has large bits of butter in it, and it’s really important to keep them cold and whole as that’s how you get a really puffy and flaky crust. Unfortunately, the temperature in my kitchen was around 32C due to the oven baking some cookies when I was shaping the dough, and it caused it to get very soft and sticky, very quickly. This delayed things a lot as I would get it out, shape a little, then have to put it back in the fridge.
Eventually, I had a dough that seemed quite firm, so I started filling the pie, carefully latticing the top and crimping the edges. I had to work really quick here, as I could feel the edges were soft and sticky, and sure enough, when I put the pie in the oven the crust started to droop down.
Although it looked great, I didn’t really have high hopes for this. Presentation has never been my strong suit, and I tried really hard to get this to look nice. Once it started drooping in the oven I really thought this would be another delicious disaster.
I was so happy! Yes there were some burnt bits, and it looked a bit rustic, but I’m so pleased with how it turned out.
I put it by the window to cool, fully expecting Bugs Bunny to turn up from after following the smell: the house smelt amazing, and I couldn’t wait to try a bit.
I served it with some ice cream whilst the pie was still warm and drizzled a little of the juices from the fruit I had saved from earlier. The flavour was incredible – tart and warm, and slightly sweet. The pastry on top was crispy and flaky, but the dough underneath was a little undercooked, I think it was too thick.
I would definitely make this again, the soft fruit isn’t entirely to my taste, but the flavours were incredible. I’m looking forward to making a peach galette with the remaining pastry at the weekend and seeing how that turns out, and seeing what next weeks lessons have to offer!