Pies and Tarts may be the most appetising thing on any menu, but they can be devilishly difficult to craft. Goodthing the Great British Bake Off is on and we can just nick their recipes rather than struggling with our own home made pastries!
Paul Hollywood’s Mini Pear Pies
This recipe turns the fruit tart on its head with stunning results. You can flavour the syrup with whatever spices you like.
For the rough puff pastry
200g/7ozplain flour, plus extra for rolling
100g/3½ozbutter, in a block, frozen
1 free-rangeegg, beaten
2 tbsp granulatedsugar
For the poached pears
6 large, firmpears(preferably ones that are straight and tall)
500ml/18fl oz drywhite wine
1orange, zest only
For the rough puff pastry, measure the flour into a bowl and grate the butter and lard into the flour. Use a knife to coat the butter and lard in the flour. Add 120-150ml/4-5fl oz cold water and mix until it comes together to form a firm dough.
Roll out the pastry on a floured work surface to a rectangle. Fold the top third down and then fold the bottom third up and over. Turn it 90 degrees (a quarter turn) and repeat the rolling and folding. Set aside, covered, in the fridge for 20 minutes.
Repeat the rolling, folding and chilling twice more so you have a total of four folds and turns. Set aside, wrapped in cling film, in the fridge until ready to use.
Meanwhile, for the poached pears, peel the pears, keeping the stems intact. Tip the caster sugar into a large saucepan with 400ml/14fl oz water, the white wine, cinnamon and orange zest and slowly bring to the boil, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Boil for three minutes.
Add the pears to the pan. Bring back to the boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes. Reserving the syrup, remove the pears from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside to cool on kitchen paper. Using a melon baller or small teaspoon remove the core from the pears.
Return the syrup to the heat and boil rapidly for 10-15 minutes until the volume of the liquid is reduced by half and the syrup is thick. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
When the fruit and syrup are cool, roll out the chilled pastry to a rectangle measuring 60x20cm/23½x8in and a thickness of no more than 5mm/¼in.
Using a sharp knife and a ruler cut the pastry into long strips 8mm/⅓in wide. You will need about 18-20 strips.
Brush the pears with the cooled sugar syrup and starting from the bottom, wrap the pastry strips around the pears. When you come to the end of the pastry strip, brush the end lightly with syrup and press to adhere to the next pastry strip. Continue wrapping until you reach the top of the pear. (Three strips should cover each pear). Tuck the end of the last pastry piece behind the previous dough spiral.
Cut out six leaf shapes from the remaining pastry. Draw veins on the leaves with a sharp knife and stick one leaf below the stem of each pastry pear, with a little sugar syrup.
Preheat the oven to 200C/180C(Fan)/400F/Gas 6. Place the pastry covered pears on a baking tray. Brush the pastry with beaten egg and sprinkle with the granulated sugar. Bake for 25-30 minutes.
Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 10-15 minutes then serve with a drizzle of the reduced sugar syrup.
Kate’s Rhubarb and Custard Tart with an Almond and Rosemary Pastry
Ground almonds make the pastry tricky to work with but add a wonderful flavour and texture to this rhubarb and custard tart.
Equipment and preparation: for this recipe you will need a 23cm/9in loose bottomed flan tin and a hand blender or a food processor.
For the pastry
150g/5½ozplain flour, plus extra for dusting
150g/5½oz cold unsaltedbutter, cubed, plus extra for greasing
4 sprigs freshrosemary, finely chopped
1 largeegg yolk
For the rhubarb sauce
500g/1lb 2ozrhubarb(as red as possible), chopped into chunks
1 free-range egg, beaten foregg wash
For the custard
4 largeegg yolks
600ml/20fl ozdouble cream
For the pastry, sift the flour into a large bowl and add the cold butter. Using your fingertips gently rub the butter into the flour until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.
Stir in the almonds, rosemary and sugar. (You could use a food processor and pulse a few times instead of doing it by hand.) Add the yolk and bring together with your fingers but don’t overwork.
Wrap in cling film and place in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 170C/325F/Gas 3. Place a 23cm/9in fluted flan tin on a baking tray.
For the rhubarb sauce, put the rhubarb, sugar, cinnamon and four tablespoons of water in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Simmer until the rhubarb is soft, then remove from the heat and allow to cool a little.
Discard the cinnamon and, using a hand held blender or food processor, blend the rhubarb to a purée. Pass through a sieve and pour into a squeezy sauce bottle or piping bag and set aside to cool.
On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the pastry thinly. (It will be very hard to work with but you can patch it up in the tin if it tears.) Line the tin with the pastry, making sure the edges aren’t too thick. Alternatively, shape the pastry into a disc, place in the tin and the use your fingers to press the pastry into the shape of the tin. Transfer to the fridge to chill for a few minutes.
Meanwhile, cut a piece of baking parchment large enough to line the pastry. Scrunch it up into a ball then open it out. This softens it, ready for blind baking the pastry case.
Remove the pastry case from the fridge and prick all over with a fork. Put the softened baking parchment inside and fill with baking beans or uncooked rice. Make sure the edges of the pastry case are covered with the baking parchment and it is overhanging – this will protect the pastry from burning. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the pastry is dry and pale golden-brown.
Remove the baking parchment and beans. Brush the egg wash over the pastry and return to the oven for another 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
Turn the oven down to 160C/325F/Gas 3.
For the custard, whisk the eggs and sugar together in a bowl. In a saucepan, bring the cream to the boil then add it to the egg and sugar mixture. Whisk until well combined and the sugar is dissolved. Pass through a fine sieve into a jug.
Once the pastry case is cool, pipe a thick swirl of rhubarb purée into the pastry case. Pour half of the custard over the rhubarb before transferring the pastry case to the middle shelf of the oven. Carefully pour in the remaining custard while the tart is in the oven (this will prevent the filling spilling over the pastry when you lift it into the oven).
Bake for 10 minutes, then carefully remove the tart (the filling will still be very wobbly) and squeeze the remaining rhubarb purée in a big swirl over the custard. Return the tart to the oven and bake for a further 25 minutes, or until the custard is set but still has a gently wobble in the centre. Leave to cool in the tin before turning out.
Grate the nutmeg over the top and serve.
Luis’ Tropical Manchester tart
Tropical fruits replace the more traditional raspberry jam in this custard tart. Serve it cold with whipped cream.
For the pastry
220g/8ozplain flour, plus extra for dusting
90g/3¼oz cold unsaltedbutter, cut into 5mm cubes
2 medium free-rangeegg yolks
1 medium free-range egg, beaten, foregg wash
For the filling
6 medium free-rangeeggs
2oranges, zest of three and juice of two
2limes, zest only
1 large ripemango, peeled, stone removed
1½ tbsp spicedrum
200ml/7fl ozdouble cream
For the decoration
4 tbspdesiccated coconut
100g/3½oz physalis (Cape gooseberries), leaves removed
Preheat the oven to 220C/425F/Gas 7. Grease and line a 23cm/9in tart tin.
For the pastry, put the flour and icing sugar in the bowl of a food processor and pulse briefly to mix. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
Tip the mixture out into a large mixing bowl and add the egg yolks and two tablespoons of cold water. Mix with your hands until the mixture comes together.
On a lightly floured work surface, briefly knead the dough to bring the pastry together. Flatten to a thick circle, wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for 20 minutes.
On a generously floured work surface roll out the pastry to a circle about 3mm thick and big enough to line the tart tin with some excess.
Line the tart tin with the pastry, using a rolling pin to help you lift the pastry. Gently push the pastry into the edges and leave any excess overhanging the tin. Place the tart tin on a baking tray.
Prick the base of the pastry all over with a fork. Rest the pastry case in the fridge for 10 minutes.
When the pastry is chilled, line it with four sheets of cling film or a scrunched up piece of baking parchment. Completely fill with baking beans (or dry pulses) and blind bake for 20 minutes on the middle shelf of the oven.
Remove from oven and lift out the baking beans using the cling film or baking parchment. Brush the pastry case with egg wash.
Return to the oven for eight minutes, or until the pastry looks dry and golden-brown.
Lower the oven temperature to 140C/275F/Gas 1.
For the filling, in a large heatproof bowl add the eggs, orange zest, lime zest and 150g/5½oz of the caster sugar. Stir gently until the sugar is dissolved – try to avoid getting too much air into the mixture.
In a food processor, blend half of the mango to a purée. Pass through a sieve to remove any fibres and measure out 50g/1¾oz of purée (any leftover purée can be stored in the fridge for 2-3 days and used in smoothies, sorbets or as a sauce for desserts).
Cut the passionfruits in half and pass the pulp through a sieve into a measuring jug. Add orange juice to make 100ml/3½fl oz of passionfruit and juice combined. Pour into the egg mixture along with the rum, mango purée and double cream. Stir gently until well mixed. Set aside.
For the pastry, trim the excess pastry from the sides using a sharp knife.
Meanwhile, place the bowl of filling over a pan of gently simmering water (do not let the water touch the bowl). Stir continuously until the mixture reaches 55C/130F on a cook’s thermometer.
Pour the filling in the warmed tart case and bake for 25 minutes, until just set but with a wobble in the centre. (When cooked, the filling should be 70C/160F in the centre.)
Remove from the oven and set aside to cool for 10 minutes. Remove the tin and place the tart on a cooling rack. When it is completely cool, put the tart on a serving plate.
For the decoration, scatter the desiccated coconut in a pattern in the middle of the tart. Neatly slice the remaining mango and arrange the slices around the edge of the tart. Finish with the physalis placed evenly around the tart.
In Short: Week 5 is Pie Week on BBC One’s The Great British Bake Off and this week there are a host of delicious recipes to choose from