Pake: Part 1 – Pie Hard!

RECIPE #9 – Part 1 of 3

Do you like pie?  Do you like cake?  Do you sometimes find it difficult to choose between the two?  Well brace yourself, bright eyes, because I am about to change the rules of the game.  From now on you can have your cake and your pie and eat them both.

This recipe was inspired by something I saw on television once.  It’s an American invention, hard as it may be to believe.  The programme featured a man who had devised a technique of baking pies into the centres of cakes, thus creating a creature he called a pie cake, or ‘pake’.  It was a short feature, so they didn’t go into any great details about the proportions of the ingredients or if there was anything special about the techniques the man used.  However, I know how to make cakes and I know how to make pies and also I possess half a brain.  I figured that all I needed to do was combine all those elements together and I could quite easily create a pake of my very own .

The original recipe comprised a three tier cake, but I thought that was a tad excessive.  So for my attempt I limited myself to just two tiers.  Never let it be said that I don’t know how to exercise restraint – and trust me, you’re going to need all the exercise you can get after scoffing down a slice of this beast.

The first things we need to do for a pie cake is to make the pies.  Of course you could save yourself a bit of time by going out and buying some pre-made pies.  However, this is Sad Biscuit and we don’t cut corners.  We will be making our pies from scratch today so you’d better butch up Mary-Jane!

Now this recipe is far too big to handle in one blog post.  Therefore, following the example of the great Peter Jackson, I have decided to divide it into a trilogy.  It will be an epic journey.  Some of you may not make it to the end; and the ones who do will never be quite the same again…

THE SHORTCRUST PASTRY

WHAT YOU WILL NEED

Equipment:

  • A large bowl
  • A fork
  • Cling film
  • Tin foil
  • Cold hands

Ingredients:

  • 750 grams of plain flour
  • 375 grams of butter or yellow pastry fat
  • 100 grams of icing sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 level teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 egg yolks
  • A small amount of cold milk

The key to making a good shortcrust pastry is for your fingers to be like ten little Fonzies.  And what is Fonzie like?  That’s right, Yolanda; he’s cool.  The pastry, more specifically the fat inside the pastry, must be kept as cold as possible.  I have an advantage because I have poor circulation – it’s almost like a have a super power.  Being a lesser mortal, you can simulate my natural ability by running your hands under the cold tap for a minute or two and then drying them off before you hand the ingredients.

Into the bowl place all the dry ingredients – the flour, icing sugar, cinnamon, salt and bicarb and mix them together:
IMG_4642Take whichever kind of fat you would prefer to use directly from the fridge and cut it into cubes.  For shortcrust pastry butter is always best; but you can use margarine if you like.  There is a specific brand that is perfect for this sort of thing:
IMG_4641Rub the fat into the dry ingredients a couple of cubes at a time with your fingers – or (if you’re posh) you can use a food processor, until you have a mixture that resembles course breadcrumbs:
IMG_4643 IMG_4644Add the egg yolks and work them in with a fork.  Pour in a very small amount of chilled milk.  Mix it in with the fork and bring everything together by kneading it with your hands.  Be careful not to add too much milk as you don’t want the dough to get too soggy:
IMG_4645 IMG_4646What you’re aiming for is a soft and pliable ball of dough.  Don’t worry if it seems a bit crumbly and cracked; this is the nature of shortcrust and it is how it is supposed to be.  As long as it isn’t too dry or too wet it will be perfect:
IMG_4647This quantity of dough will be making two pies.  Divide the dough into two halves and press them into flat rounds with your hands.  Wrap each round first in cling film and then in tin foil, then place the pastry in the fridge to chill for at least two hours.

THE FILLING

WHAT YOU WILL NEED

Equipment:

  • Two large bowls
  • A couple of smaller bowls
  • A fork

Ingredients:

For the apple filling:

  • 1 medium Bramley apple
  • Half the juice from a fresh lemon
  • 100 grams of white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1 half teaspoon of nutmeg
  • 1 half teaspoon of salt
  • 3 tablespoons of cornflour

For the blueberry filling:

  • 200 grams of fresh blueberries
  • Half the juice from a fresh lemon
  • 100 grams of white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1 half teaspoon of salt
  • 3 tablespoons of cornflour

Squeeze the juice from one whole lemon.

For the apple filling measure all the dry ingredients into a small bowl.  Peel, core and slice one Bramley apple into a bowl and toss the slices in half the lemon juice.  Stir in the premixed sugar, spices, salt and cornflour:
IMG_4652IMG_4650IMG_4651IMG_4653 IMG_4654Set this mixture aside and prepare the blueberry filling.  Wash the blueberries, sprinkle on the remaining half of the lemon juice.  Mix together the dry ingredients, sprinkle over the blueberries, mix thoroughly and then set this mixture aside next to the apple filling:
IMG_4656IMG_4655IMG_4657 IMG_4658

BRINGING IT ALL TOGETHER

WHAT YOU WILL NEED

Equipment:

  • Two foil flan cases, 6 inches wide, 1 inch deep
  • A rolling pin
  • Clingfilm
  • A pastry brush

Ingredients:

  • The prepared pastry
  • The prepared fillings
  • 1 egg

Preheat the oven to 190˚C/375˚F/Gas Mark 5.

We’re going to be blind baking the pastry crusts.  This is a technique that will help to ensure that the moisture in your fillings does not soak into bases and leave your pies with a soggy bottoms (beg my pardon vicar!) .

Take one of the two pastry rounds from the fridge and divide it in half again.  Put one half onto some clingfilm and shape it into a roughly circle with your hands.  Place another length of clingfilm over the dough and roll it out to a thickness of 5 millimetres and an area that will fit into a 6 inch foil flan case with at least two inches of excess pastry all around:
IMG_4659 IMG_4660Remove the top layer of cling film from the rolled out pastry.  Slide your hand under the bottom layer of cling film, carefully pick up the rolled pastry and press it into the flan case.  With the clingfilm still stuck to the pastry, push the pastry into the edges of the flan case.  Do not worry of the pastry cracks; this is what shortcrust does and it just shows that you have made it properly.  You can fix any holes that appear by filling them in with off-cuts of pastry:
IMG_4661Fold the edges of the pastry over the lip of the flan case, peel away the cling film and trim away the excess pastry.  Fill in any cracks with small bits of spare dough.  Reinforce the inner edges of the crust with more spare bits of dough:
IMG_4662 IMG_4663Repeat this process for the second pie crust.  Pierce the bases of the crusts with a fork.  Whisk an egg to make an egg wash and brush it onto the pie bases:
IMG_4664 IMG_4666Place the crusts onto a baking tray and blind bake in the preheated over for around 10-15 minutes or until the crusts are golden brown.  Leave the crusts to cool for about five minutes:
IMG_4667 IMG_4668Fill the crusts with the prepared fillings; one with apple, one with blueberry.  Dot the blueberry filling with six 1 centimetre cubes of butter.  It may seem at this stage as if the pies are a smidgen overfilled.  Don’t worry, this is deliberate; when they get baked into the centres of the cakes later the fillings will compress:
IMG_4669Brush the edges of each pie with the egg wash.  Take the remaining two quarters of pastry and roll them out into rounds between two layers of cling film for each of the pies.  As before, remove the top layer of cling film.  Lift the rolled pastry and place it onto a pie (it doesn’t matter which one you cover first, they’re both going into the oven together).  With the clingfilm still stuck to the pastry, smooth out the pie lids and press the edges to seal in the fillings.  remove the clingfilm and trim off the excess pastry.  Press all the off-cuts of pastry back together into a ball, wrap in some cling film and foil and put it back into the fridge.  You will be needing this spare pastry later:
IMG_4672IMG_4670IMG_4671IMG_4673Pierce the tops of the pies with the points of a fork.  Then with the back of the fork press a crimped pattern around the edges of the pies.  This will help to reinforce the seals and also make the pies look pretty:
IMG_4674Brush the tops of the pies with some egg wash.  Put the pies onto a large baking tray and bake them in the oven for around 25 minutes until the crusts turn golden brown.  Leave the pies to cool and then place them in the fridge to chill:
IMG_4675 IMG_4676IMG_4678The fillings will probably not be cooked all the way through, but these pies are not for eating straight away.  They will be cooked further once they are entombed inside the cake batter… but that is something we will get into in part two of our trilogy:

TO BE CONTINUED

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2 thoughts on “Pake: Part 1 – Pie Hard!

  1. Pingback: Pake: Part 1 – Pie Hard! | terrificwriter

  2. Pingback: Pake: Part 2 – Pie Harder | Sad Biscuit

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