Plum and custard tart

I don’t bake and make dessert often enough, so I’m consciously trying to make more of an effort with this. I love this plum custard tart, and I think this would also be excellent with other fruits, such as figs. This is currently one of my favourite things I’ve been making quite a lot.

Pastry
200g plain flour
1 tbsp caster  sugar
1 tsp baking powder
125g butter, plus a samll extra piece for greasing your baking tray
1 egg
2 tbsp double cream
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400g fresh plums
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Filling
170ml double cream
1 egg
75g caster sugar
2 tsp vanilla essence

1. Prepare the plums by quartering them. Discard the stones. I find the easiest way to get the stones off is to cut the plums with a knife placing the knife on top, pushing it in as far as it goes until it reaches the stone, then running it around the full way, until you reach where the knife started from. Do the same again in a way that it makes a cross at the top. This way the cut will be quartering the plums. You can then twist the pieces off, and cut the stone off the piece it has stuck to.

2. Preheat the oven to 180°C / 356°F (fan). Grease your baking tray with butter.

3. Mix the flour, sugar and baking powder together in a bowl, then rub in the  butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.

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4. Mix the cream and egg together, then add to the dry ingredients. Stir together until mixed into a dough.

5. Place the dough into the baking tray, and shape it equally to cover the tray. Arrange the plums on top of the pastry.

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6. Bake for 25 minutes. During the the baking time, beat together the cream, sugar, egg and vanilla essence.

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7. After the 25 minutes baking time, remove from the oven. Pour the liquid over the plums and bake for a further minutes until set.

8. You can serve the tart warm or cold.

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Apple pie

There are probably as many apple pie recipes, or variations of recipes, for this favourite dessert of many nations, than there are chefs and home cooks. The below recipe is one I like. Some people prefer more filling to pastry, some like more pastry. I think this recipe gives you enough of both.

Pastry
225g butter, room temperature

50g caster sugar, plus a little bit extra for sprinkling on top
2 eggs
350g plain flour
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Filling

1 kg Bramley apples
150g caster sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
3 tbsp plain flour

1. Prepare the pastry first. Beat the butter and sugar together in a bowl until mixed. Add one whole egg, and one yolk, and save the remaining egg white for later. Beat together for one minute.The mixture will look a little bit like scrambed eggs at this point. Then add the flour little by little. Tip the dough onto floured surface, and finish working the dough by hand. Form the dough into a ball, wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for 45 minutes.

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2. Whilst the dough is in the fridge, prepare the apple filling. Quarter, core, peel and slice the apples. You want the slices to be quite thin, about 5mm thickness. Lay on a baking paper, and cover with paper towels. Let dry for about 30 minutes.

3. Mix the sugar, cinnamon and flour for the filling. Use big enough bowl, to be able to fit the apple slices later.

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4. Heat the oven to 170°C / 340°F. Cut 2/3 of the dough for the base, leaving the remaining third for the lid wrapped. Roll the base out, to be big enough to cover the pie tin, with a slight overhang. It may be a good idea to place the dough between two non-stick baking paper sheets when rolling it. Place into the tin, and roll out the lid.

5. Pat the apples dry, and put into the bowl with the sugar – cinnamon mix, and mix together well, so that all the apple slices are coated with the mixture. Tip it all onto the pie tin. Wet the pastry rim with water, using your fingers. This will help the lid to stick. Place the lid over the apples, and press edges together with the base. Stab 5 slashed with a sharp knife, and brush with beaten egg white. Sprinle with some more sugar, and bake for about 45 minutes.

6. Once baked and golden brown, let rest for about 10 minutes.

 

Rhubarb and strawberry tart

I’m more of a savory than a sweet kind of cook. I was inspired to make this sweet tart by the British Pie week, that’s been trending on Twitter. Before you get too confused though, the Finnish name for this kind of thing is a ‘pie’, which is why I thought of making it, before properly considering that in fact it’s more of a tart. I would however say pies and tarts are cousins, and I think this is a good enough entry to the pie week from me.  It’s very easy and simple to make, and you can easily change the filling ingredients to your taste.

Pastry
150g butter
1 dl sugar
1 egg
2 dl plain flour
2 dl porridge oats
2 tsp baking powder
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Filling
200g rhubarb (about 4 stalks, depending on size)
300g strawberries
1 tbsp sugar
2 dl crème fraiche
1 egg

1. Mix all the pastry ingredients together. Spread the mixture at the bottom and sides of your dish.

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2. Chop the rhubarb and strawberries into small pieces. Pour over the pastry, to fill the tart / pie. Sprinkle the sugar on top.

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3. Mix the egg with the crème fraiche. Pour the mixture over the strawberries and rhubarb.

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4. Heat the oven to 200°C / 390°F. Place the tart into the preheated oven, and bake for 30 minutes.

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Fish pie

Before moving to Britain, it was quite an alien idea to me to eat pretty much anything in a pie (the savoury kind). From chicken to steak – and to fish. Pies  are very versatile, and you can add whatever your favourite ingredients are, which make it an ideal kind of food. Your next pie might also be very different from the last. For example, I might often add ingredients depending on what I can find in my fridge, and the next time that might be something completely different. This recipe will make quite a lot of filling. You could double the amount of pastry and make eight instead of four pies, or even have some of it with pasta the next day.

makes 4 pies

320g puff pastry (I use ready to use, rolled sheet)
125g salmon, chopped into cubes
170g cod, chopped into cubes
120g smoked haddock, chopped into cubes
100g prawns
250ml milk
150ml double cream
100ml vermouth
2 bay leaves
small bunch of parsley, finely chopped
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1/4 large leek, finely chopped
1dl peas
1/4 broccoli
salt
white pepper
black pepper
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25g butter
1/2 dl plain flour
1/2 dl milk
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1 egg

1. Put the onion, leeks, bay leaves, milk, cream, vermouth and the chopped fish in a pan. Bring to boil, and simmer for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to your taste.

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2. Cut the broccoli florets into small ones. Place in a pan with hot water and boil for 30 seconds. Pour the hot water out, and cover with cold water.

3. In another pan, melt the butter, and add the flour. Mix together. This will form quite a firm dough. Pour in the milk, and mix with the dough. Ladle by ladle, add some cooking liquid from the fish, mixing to the dough, until it becomes more of a runny texture, then pour to the fish, and mix together.

4. Add the peas, drained broccoli, prawns and parsley, and stir until it’s all mixed together. Let the mixture cool.

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5. Cut the pastry into four pieces. Brush the edges of one half with the egg. Put some cooled filling on the same half, and fold the other half over. Press the edges tightly together. I use a fork, to go around the edges, pressing them firmly together. The pies will seems quite small at this stage, but will get bigger once cooked.

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6. Preheat the oven to 200°C / 390°F (fan). Brush the pies with the egg, and cook for about 20 minutes.

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