Tag Archives: pastry pie

Banoffee Pie

Make this one out of love for the name of the dessert, if not the banana-toffee combination 🙂

 

Q. Ever wondered where the phrase “to go bananas” came from?
A. Why try when banana pancakes, choco-banana cakes, banana splits, and banoffee pies are all capable of driving you crazy?”
The Fact: Banoffee Pie was invented in 1972 at the Hungry Monk restaurant in England. It is rumored to be Mrs Thatcher’s favourite pudding.
The Inspiration: It was 10pm on the 11th of August, the eve of my birthday. As weird as it sounds, I love baking my own birthday cake, but this time, I wanted something different… “Why not some pie?”… thought I (rhyme attempt alert!).

The Ingredients

Makes 12 – 15 servings
The Base
  • 100 g melted butter
  • 250 g digestive biscuits; crushed (wrap up the biscuits in a soft cloth and beat it up any way you like; it can be a lot of fun)

The Toffee Filling

  • 100 g butter
  • 100 g Demerera sugar or any other soft brown sugar (avoid the regular white sugar because it makes the dessert too sweet)
  • 400 g condensed milk (sweetened)

The Topping

  • 6 – 8 ripe, but firm bananas (make sure that the bananas are sweet or the topping ends up being quite tasteless)
  • 250 g whipping cream

The Method

  • Take a 9-inch, loose-bottomed pie pan/tart pan and tip the crushed biscuits into it.
  • Add the melted butter to the crushed biscuits and mix well. Using the back of a spoon,  press the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of the pan, firmly, to form the pie shell. Chill in the refrigerator until the filling is ready.

Biscuit base pie crust

  • Place a frying pan or a skillet on the fire, on medium heat. Add the brown sugar to the pan. As the sugar starts to melt, add the butter.
  •  Butter and brown sugar blend
  • Stir together lightly and then leave undisturbed till the sides begin to melt. Nudge the edges from time to time, but avoid disturbing the melting process. Remember that you want the lovely burnt caramel colour and aroma; don’t worry about burning the sugar too far as long as the stove is on medium heat and not on high. The colour of the toffee depends on the colour of the caramel. 

Butter and brown sugar blend

Butter and brown sugar blend for banoffee pie

  • When the sugar has completely melted, add the condensed milk and bring the mixture to a boil on medium heat, stirring continuously. Turn off the heat as soon as the now-formed toffee takes on the right colour.

Toffee for banoffee pie

  • Pour the toffee into the biscuit base and leave undisturbed to cool. Move to the refrigerator and leave until the toffee becomes firm. This should take a few hours if the toffee has been cooled sufficiently before refrigerating.

Toffee for banoffee pie

Toffee for banoffee pie

  • After the toffee is firm, slice the bananas and place them over the toffee layer. Avoid slicing the bananas too much in advance because they’ll turn black due to oxidation, and won’t make a pretty plate.

Sliced bananas

Sliced bananas decorated for banoffee pie

  • Quickly whip up the cream and place it over the bananas. You can add your layers in any way you like it and can vary the thickness of each layer too.
  • Chill the dessert before serving it, if not, it makes the servings difficult and messy to cut through.

     

    Eat away. Bon appétit! 🙂

Banoffee Pie

The Perfect Pie Crust/Short-Crust Pastry

The perfect pie crust is golden brown when baked, buttery, soft and flaky, and practically melts in your mouth when you bite into it. Can you taste it already?

 

“Only very clever men can bite pie without breaking crust.” — Carl Sagan
The Fact:  The Ancient Egyptians around 2,500BC are known to have eaten pies made with ground oats or wheat wrapped around a filling of honey or figs.
The Inspiration: There’s something quite beautiful about making the short-crust pastry pie. It’s gorgeous to look at, beautifully simple to make, and quite an experience to eat the perfect pie. I started out quite badly but am quite proud to have mastered the art. I really hope you do too 🙂

The Ingredients

Makes 1 pie with 6 – 8 portions

For a Pie Crust WITH A COVER

  • 2½ cups (350 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (226 g pr ½ lb) frozen or chilled butter
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup (120 ml) cold water
  • Optional: 2 tablespoon (30 grams) granulated white sugar (Add the sugar only when making a sweet pie/tart/quiche; not for the savoury ones).

OR

For an OPEN TOP Pie Crust

  • 1¼ cup (175 g) all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup (115 g or ¼ lb) frozen or chilled butter
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) cold water
  • Optional: 2 tablespoon (30 grams) granulated white sugar (Add the sugar only when making a sweet pie/tart/quiche; not for the savoury ones).

The Method

The secret to getting the perfect, flaky pie crust is to make sure that the butter is very cold and just out of the fridge and to try and use your fingers as little as possible to prevent your body heat from melting the butter.

Making the Pie Crust

  • Take the butter out of the fridge and quickly chop the butter into ½ inch pieces. Pop the butter cubes back into the freezer/fridge until you get the other ingredients in place.
  • Measure and whisk together the flour, sugar (optional) and salt.
  • Pop the butter cubes into the flour mixture and with a light hand, knead the butter into the flour, until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Remember not to overdo this step since the longer your fingers touch the mixture, the faster the butter melts, which is what you do not want. Alternately, you could use a food processor.

Butter and flour resembling coarsemeal

What this step does is it coats the flour molecules (or the glutenin and gliadin) with fat, preventing them from absorbing too much water in the next step. Water when in contact with wheat flour forms gluten, which makes dough elastic. But for preparations such as pies and tarts you do not want too much gluten to form because it makes the dough tough and gives it structure, which works for breads but not for soft, flaky crusts.

  • Sprinkle the cold water across the mixture and gently bring the dough together. Do not pour in the water. Stop when the dough just holds together, if pinched. If necessary, add more water. Do not knead or process more than a minute. Form a ball of the dough.

Ball of dough

  • Divide into 2 portions if making a cover for the pie, if not, leave as is. Lightly flatten each ball using your palms. To prevent the dough from sticking to your palms, sprinkle the dough with loose flour.

Flattened dough disc

  • Cover the disk (two in case of a covered pie) with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about one hour before using. If you do not cover the disk, it will harden and cracks will form, making it difficult for you to roll the pie.
  • After sufficient chilling, remove one portion of the dough from the fridge and place it on a lightly floured counter. Lightly press the heel of your palm into the dough to soften it. This also flattens the butter into the pastry layers. Leave the dough to soften a little at room temperature.
  • Sprinkle the rolling pin with some flour to prevent the dough from sticking. Using a rolling pin, roll the pastry into a 12-inch circle. As you roll, keep turning the pastry circle a little each time. This will allow you to roll out a uniform pie. Also, always roll from the centre of the pastry, outwards.

Rolled out pie

  • Gently transfer the rolled pastry circle to a 9 inch pie pan. You can do this easily by folding half of the pastry circle over the rolling pin, then moving the rolling pin to the pie pan and unfolding it. Brush off excess flour and trim the edges of the pastry to fit the pie pan. Cover with plastic wrap once more and chill in the refrigerator.
  • In the same way, roll out the second pastry disc. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator.

Pie Crust

Blind Baking the Pie Crust

Blind baking is partially baking the pastry base before adding the filling. Although this process is completely optional, it creates a stronger crust that can hold moist filling without getting soggy. Blink baking is also done when the filling needs less time to cook than the pastry.

  • After the pie pan has chilled for about an hour or more, preheat the oven to 200ºC/400ºF.
  • Remove the pie pan from the fridge (leave the cover in) and fill it up with dried beans, dried lentils, dried rice or pie weights; something that will weigh the base down and prevent it from rising (air bubbles will leave the pie weakened). Pop it into the oven.

Half-baked pie base

  • Bake for approximately 15 minutes (for a pastry containing sugar, 10 minutes). The key is to remove the pie pan when the pie develops a light golden brown.
  • Remove from the oven and allow it to cool for about 5 minutes before you pour in the filling.

You’re done! Now pour in the filling and continue with your recipe.

Pie with a cover

Sausage Potato Quiche

The quiche has always been one of those fascinating kitchen creations that has an exotic appeal with a sprinkling of humility. I’m not sure whether it’s the many variations of the dish, its humble beginnings in Germany and France, its popularity after World War II, or the sheer simplicity of the dish. Just can’t seem to put my finger on it…

 

“Real Men Don’t Eat Quiche”— A book by Bruce Feirstein; a bestseller satirizing stereotypes of masculinity
The Fact:  Why is the Quiche Lorraine named so? It is believed that Quiche Lorraine is a recipe traditionally from Lorraine, France, near the border with Germany. In reality, the classic Quiche originated in Lothringen, Germany, a region initially under German rule; however, it was renamed Lorraine when it came under French control. In fact, the word ‘quiche’ is derived from the German word for cake, ‘kuchen.’
The Inspiration: My fascination with the “quiche” began when I was 16 and was introduced to a quaint little French café that opened up next to the college I went to. A little late, I agree, but quiche was just not a regular in my house. I still remember spotting the quiche as a cute little something with pretty, wavy edges, and beautiful, golden brown bacon bits sprinkled over it… I just had to give it a try! And with that introduction, began my love affair with quiches and tarts and pies and short crust pastries, and the eagerness to master them all. To me, this dish is really not so much about the taste; it’s about the beauty in its simplicity—the simplicity in the ingredients, the preparation and the result.

The Ingredients

This dish makes 6 – 8 servings.

Pie Crust or Short-Crust Pastry

  • 1¼ cup (175 g) all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup butter (115 g or ¼ lb) frozen or chilled butter
  • ¼ to ½ cup (60 – 120 ml) cold water
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Quiche Filling

  • 3 large potatoes; grated, using a regular cheese grater

Grated potatoes

  • 2 cups of diced, chopped or minced sausages
  • 1 cup of chopped bacon

For a vegetarian/vegan quiche, simply drop the sausages and bacon or then, add any other ingredient you like.

Chopped bacon and sausages

  • ½ cup of diced bell peppers (Use a combination of yellow and red for a pretty quiche)
  • 1 cup diced mushrooms
  • About 15 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped (I love garlic and usually use a lot of it.)

Finely chopped garlic

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Salt to taste

Egg Custard

  • 3 large or 4 small eggs
  • 2/3rd cup milk
  • A pinch of salt for each egg

The Method

Making the Short-Crust Pastry or Quiche Crust

  • Click here to read up on how to make the perfect short-crust pastry, pie crust or quiche crust.

Pie Crust

Making the Filling

  • Heat a skillet or frying pan on medium heat. Add the butter to the pan and allow it to simmer lightly. Do not burn the butter or allow it to turn brown.
  • Toss in the finely chopped garlic and allow it to brown slightly.

Garlic in butter

  • Add the bacon and let it release some lovely flavor into the pan as the fat melts. Allow the bacon to brown.

Bacon and garlic in butter

  • If you haven’t already grated the potatoes, now’s the time to do it. Remember to sprinkle a few pinches of salt over the grated potatoes. Give it a toss. Keep it aside.
  • Add the mushrooms and let them cook in the butter and fat, while absorbing the flavours in the pan. Mushrooms also release a lot of water. Allow the water to dry up as much as possible.
  • Now, toss in the chopped/minced sausages and the shredded potatoes.
  • After about 2 minutes, add the diced bell peppers.
  • Sautee the ingredients for a few minutes, or until all the water has dried up.
  • Season the mixture with salt, freshly ground pepper, and a sprinkling of sugar. You could even add a soup cube for more taste, but if you do, remember to adjust the salt.
  • Take the skillet off the heat and allow the mixture to cool down a little

The quiche filling

For a vegetarian/vegan quiche, simply drop the sausages and bacon or then, add any other ingredient you like.

Making the egg custard

  • Whisk the eggs, the milk and the salt together. You’re done.

Assembling the quiche

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  • Take the ready pie base. Sprinkle the sausage filling into it. Pour the egg custard over the filling.

Pie crust with the filling

  • Sprinkle a little shredded cheese over it. This is completely optional 🙂
  • Bake for about 40-50 minutes, until the top is golden and the egg custard is set.

Serve hot and enjoy! You can refrigerate leftovers for later as well.

Bon appétit!

A piece of quiche