Sunday, 12 June 2011

Pie time

I have a thing for pies. Particularly sweet pies. I think it's partly connected to my love of all things Americana, and a longing to be seated in a diner in 1950, as well as a general appreciation for all things old fashioned and rustic. Yesterday while clicking through a series of links I came across this website,, which has inspired today's baking effort. I love the whole idea of what these ladies are doing..the pies..the pie subscription service..its all fantastic. Take a look.

Anyway, I've only attempted to make my own pastry a couple of times before, never with great success, but I decided for authenticity in pie making I really ought to give it a go. I found an old recipe in a cookbook at my dad's house, also grabbed some fresh rhubarb from his garden, some apples from the supermarket, oranges from Phil and JT's garden , and thus began Rhubarb and Apple pie. I'm not a great one for following a recipe when I get an idea in my head -sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn't.


I began by cooking the apples and rhubarb on the stove with orange juice squeezed over and vanilla sugar - a gift from Phil and the girls- sprinkled in for a little sweetness. I think perhaps I cooked them a little too much and they went mushy, but it's all trial and error when you make things up as you go...

Then I made the pastry-trying for once to follow the recipe exactly, as perhaps pastry is rather fussy that way - and wrapped and refrigerated it for half an hour. Meanwhile I drained the juice off the apple and rhubarb . This in itself was success enough for me - a beautifully coloured, slightly thick, slightly tart fruit drink. Yum.

So I then rolled out my pastry,( gave my arms a wee workout doing so), and lined an old enamel pie dish with it. From time to time my parents buy me little gems they pick up in op shops, knowing I have a love for old things and old kitchen things especially. These pie dishes were a gift from my mum, and I felt they suited the  occasion perfectly. I baked the pastry blind for a little bit, but all that seemed to do was shrink it and require a little nifty hot pastry stretching ....anyone know what im doing wrong here?

Then obviously the filling went in, and a bit more vanilla sugar because most people like their fruit sweeter than the way I like it, and then I covered it over with the rest of the pastry, brushed it with milk and a little more sugar, and popped it into the oven for about 20 minutes..maybe more, I dont know, I just go by looks and feel more than time.When the pastry looked cooked and its edges were darkening, I took the rustic beauty out.

Well, it definitely looks homebaked, old fashioned, and perhaps a little, not-the-best, but on the whole I was pretty pleased. My pastry still needs work but it's definitely edible..the filling was not too mushy after all..and the orange juice gave it an extra tang that is just delicious. Im still waiting to hear what my taste testers think of it, but I for one am a happy cook today.


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