After last week, wherein I wasn’t sure I liked anything I’d seen on screen, I knew this would be a much easier week. Mr C is a fan of pastry, and there was bound to be something we liked.
The options this time:
- Signature dish – Wellington
- Technical challenge – Hand-raised pie
- Showstopper – American sweet pie
I was convinced it was going to be a Wellington on my to-do list, but I’d forgotten about Mr C’s sweet tooth. The blueberry and raspberry pie made my Brendan was one of the early ones we saw, and he was entranced… until the key lime pie appeared. On the official recipes list, though, they only had the berry pie – or Chiffon Pie as it is so-called. I decided to go for that one, fully aware that it is crazy complicated and I was likely to screw it up. The thing with this is, even if it ended up as a pastry case full of raspberry and cream… no one would mind!
Step 1 – Ingredients! There were so many I had to photograph them separately.
I also had a significant problem with the pectin. First, I have never heard of it. Second, I couldn’t find it in the shops anywhere. I spent a whole morning looking for it and found nothing. Where do you get it from? In the end, with the motto mentioned above (pastry, raspberry, cream), I decided to go ahead without.
Step 2 – Make blueberry jam (minus pectin).
Step 3 – Pastry time. I didn’t think twice before plunging my hand into the flour and butter mixture. Go me!
Step 4 – For this bake, I had to purchase myself some baking beans. It really felt like I was becoming part of the baking fraternity by doing this. I’ve seen them for several years on the Bake Off but never thought I would ever have to blind bake something myself!
Step 5 – While the pastry was blind baking, I had to make the raspberry something-not-jam. So many fruits, so few unstained wooden spoons left.
Step 6 – The pastry looked nice enough, but left a pretty big gap to the tin… did I blind bake it wrong?
Step 7 – Meanwhile, I had to do weird things with the raspberry stuff – strain it, add gelatine, and then pour it into a tray to set. Also I had to make the chantilly cream (easily a heart attack in a bowl – double cream and icing sugar. Is there anything else required in the world?) and put it in a piping bag. I have not piped before. At this point, I was readily admitting that I had no idea what I was doing, but it was still good fun!
Step 8 – Assemble the layers. Blueberry in the bottom, raspberry and then cream. The recipe calls for raspberry & blueberry coulis plus cream swirly things with extra fruit on top to decorate. I ran out of fruit to make coulis and go on top (plus this was complicated enough), and my swirls… well…
When I showed it to Mr C, he laughed and said he could do better. I said he would have to have a go. So, he did. He was better than I was, managing a swirl pattern all the way round the edge, but also admitted it was harder than he’d expected.
Step 9 – Eat! You can see the blueberry leaking out, which I was expecting given the missing ingredient.
Conclusion – Overall, considering the complexity of the recipe, I’d hail this as a success. Clearly the presentation went all to pot but I was expecting that. The individual pieces were really nice, but I wasn’t sure they gelled well together. The pastry, in particular, didn’t really seem to fit with the desert, it felt more like a savoury pastry – and considering all the filling slipped off the pastry and left you eating it by itself, it wasn’t quite right.
I’m still proud of it, even though it’s not the best thing I’ve ever baked, but the more important part was the fun I had making it. Even when I wasn’t sure what I was doing, I just went with the flow. I also learned an important lesson about patience, as I was worried it was all too wobbly going into the fridge, but when it emerged, it was nice and set (except the underlying blueberry bit). Patience is a virtue!