Pie is my favourite number…
Over my years as a London based foodie, I have developed an addiction to pies, crumbles, cobblers and anything with a crust outside and stewed fruit inside… The simple mention of this sends a tremor along my spine: Fruit and crust, a very sexy combination indeed. I still do love tarts and tartines, but I think I slightly favour a crust ON TOP rather than UNDER.
Each season offers its own enticing variations and Autumn is a season for : rhubarb, sharp apples and black currants. All three are quite acidic so in this version, I have put a little more sugar than usual to counter balance the tartness of the fruit but you can make it less sweet if you wish.
- 1 stalk of rhubarb
- Bramley or other cooking apples, 2
- Handful of frozen blackcurrant
- Cornflour, 1 Tbsp
- For the Gluten Free crust:
- Ground almond, 100g
- Chesnut flour or rice flour, 50g
- Butter, 100g
- sugar, 100g
Cut up all the fruit, mix it with the frozen berries and the cornflour – the object of the cornflour is to soak up the juice of the rhubarb to avoid a very wet pie!
Mix the flour, sugar and butter with the tip of your fingers until you have a sand-like texture. Lay the fruit in a pie dish or gratin dish. I have used frozen blackcurrants here, but you can opt for blackberries instead. They have a more subtle flavour but work deliciously toward a very British taste.
Top the fruit with the flour mix, trying to cover all of the fruit but do not worry if the lumps do not hide it perfectly. Just try and shake your sandy mix everywhere.
Put in a hot oven for 45min at 180º C.
Eat warm with some clotted cream or yogurt. If you are in France, it goes also well with a nice Faisselle or full fat fromage frais. This is the ultimate in homely, comforting puddings and with this GF version you won’t be leaving anybody out!
A patchy cover is not a problem…
Eton mess is classic and as such not to be trifled with (HiHi!): it is perfect as it is and I give you a spring version with the lovely pink rhubarb which we are getting now and some (frozen?) raspberries.
Cut up a few stalks of blushing rhubarb and leave them to melt in just a spoonful of water, over the hob. Add some sugar over the stewed fruit and cook a little to infuse. Sugar to taste but remember the mix needs to keep zingy so be timid!
Pretty in pink
Reserve until cool. The frozen or fresh raspberries can be added at that point and crushed into the rhubarb or later used to decorate the top.
Prepare a Chantilly either with your trusted siphon or a mundane whip: that is whipping cream, a spoonful of caster sugar and drop of vanilla essence. I am known for adding rum to most of my Chantilly mixes but this pudding does not need any… As I said: it is perfect as it is and should be kept that way.
Break off bits of crunchy meringue (shop bought is fine- I am hopeless at meringue making) into a sundae glass or an ice-cream bowl. Layer some rhubarb stew, then some whipped cream. Add some smaller bits of meringue and decorate with a few raspberries on top, then a last splurge of whipping cream which you whirl up with a fork for a marbled effect with the fruit sauce and serve straight away.
A very much loved classic English pudding. The more traditional version is made with strawberries and used to be served during the annual cricket match between Eton and Harrow. Now that the cricket term has started it seems a good enough reason to enjoy this- be it at a school picnic or elsewhere!
Inspired today by the lovely italo-french blog “Un dejeuner de soleil”. Go and visit for the French and Italian versions and for the gorgeous pictures.
Now go and plan a picnic for the bank holiday week-end : The baskets and rugs from last summer are ready to be unpacked and shaken out in the sunshine! We will lay ours somewhere in Richmond park, among the dears, if this lovely weather holds…
>Portobello market yesterday morning. I caught sight of the first “forced rhubarb” of the year… This signals in Britain that, against all evidence, spring is on its way… Albeit, this is not the greenish, leafy rhubarb we will get in April-May but its crimson sister, less fibrous and just as sweet. I’ve just learned that “‘forced rhubarb” is grown in dark sheds and almost by candle-light so that the stem shoots out looking for light and does not produce the large leaves you expect for the lack of light prevents the photosynthesis. Hence the harvest is of these long, crimson stalks that are as sweet as a fruit, although this is of course a vegetable.
Spring rhubarb and custard pie
- A few fresh raspberries or strawberries
- 1 roll of all butter puff pastry
- 3 or 4 stalks of rhubarb, chopped finely
- Sugar 150g
- Egg 1
- Crème fraîche 2 tablespoons
- Vanilla sugar 1 tbsp or a few drops of essence
Lay the pastry into a quiche tin. Then beat the egg with the cream and vanilla sugar and spread on top.
Cook the rhubarb in a pan with the sugar and stir for 10mn on medium flame. Do not overcook so the stems don’t des-integrate too much or loose their blush.
Spread the fruit on top of the custard mix and bake in a very hot oven at 200 C. for 10 to 15 mn. You must make sure the bottom oven is very hot so the under-pastry cooks wells and does not get soggy.
You can decorate with fresh strawberries or raspberries when in season so the pink theme is nicely highlighted in the presentation!
This is one of my children’s favourite pies…
And because the custard is already inside the pie, you don’t need to do anymore then serve it.