Monday, June 28, 2010

Chocolate and Pistachio Cream Pie

I am one day behind on my beloved routine. Grand Mama has arrived to stay for the rest of the week, so in honour of her stay I decided to postpone the recipe Mr Hooper selected at random. The cookbook this week is 'pie' by Angela Boggiano. When I worked as a nanny in London a few years ago, I ran a bit of a side project making pies to sell at the fancy pants school my kids went to. I made chicken, fish and cottage pies all organic and low in salt and fat, I managed to sell a few and even got some repeat business, which was a great boost to my ego. Although short lived, I did enjoy the thrill of manufacturing, all be it on a small scale. I will delve further into pies one day soon, and share my recipes that were great for kids.

Anyway, back to the recipe, another dessert, which is getting awfully suspicious, I suspect there is some skulduggery with the 'random' selection process. Chocolate and Pistachio Cream Pie, doesn't it just scream...'I WILL MAKE YOU FAT!' Another pastry adventure, oh dear.

I didn't end up using the pastry recipe in the book, this was because the recipe called for lard, of which I had none (well in the culinary sense). So I turned to my ever trusted Stephanie Alexander 'the cook's companion'.

THE PASTRY (shortcrust)
180g cold unsalted BUTTER(I only had salted)
240g plain FLOUR
zest of one ORANGE
pinch of SALT (I left this out)
1/4 cup WATER
MILK, to glaze

Mix the zest through the flour. I decided to grate the butter, so measured it out and wrapped it in tin foil. To avoid the butter softening the tin foil gives you something to hang onto while you grate. So I grated the butter on top of the flour and using a knife mixed thoroughly until I had very rough bread crumbs. Still using the knife I very slowly mixed in the water, until I had a damp crumbly mixture. I brought it all together briefly with my hands, made into a ball and wrapped with glad wrap. It sat in the fridge for about a day/night until I used it.

150g CASTER SUGAR (plus a little extra for sprinkling)
150ml thick CREAM
150g dark CHOCOLATE, finely chopped
25g PISTACHIO nuts, toasted and roughly chopped

This recipe required a rectangular fluted tart tin (36 x 11cm), but I didn't have one, so I instead used a 24cm diameter circular tart tin. Divide the pastry into about one bigger lump, leaving a smaller lump for the lid. Roll out the big lump and line the tart tin, cover with glad wrap and put in the fridge. Roll out the small lump making sure there is enough to make a lid and wrap in glad wrap and into the fridge.

Heat oven to 180C.

Place the eggs and sugar in a bowl and beat together. At this point things went a bit down hill. I just gave it a whisk, but the Grand Mama informed me afterwards I should have beaten, until thick, something the book could have mentioned. So to the eggs/sugar add the chocolate and pistachio's, pour into the case.

Brush the rim with some milk and position the lid over the top. Press the edges to seal, I rolled the rolling pin over the rim, which worked really well, and is handy for trimming the edges. Make a steam hole in the centre (one swift stab with a knife), glaze with milk and sprinkle with sugar. In the oven for 30-35 minutes.

I had over flow which I suspect was a result of the filling being too runny. But other then the pastry being a bit gooey around the edges, this pie came out pretty good. The pistachio's weren't too much of a feature and it was very rich, a slither was about all you needed, with a dollop of vanilla ice cream or cream fraiche. I think it could also be nice served cold with a strong cup of delicious coffee.

The Grand Mama is busy tidying up my water logged vegetable garden so I had better get out there and lend a hand.

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