Monthly Archives: July 2016

Classic American Pies

July 17, 2016

 

After watching episodes of the infamous Gilmore Girls television series back-to-back (thanks to Netflix), I’ve found myself drooling over the classic American food that features substantially in almost every scene of this show. Towering club sandwiches, larger than life hamburgers & fries, a hefty plate of pancakes floating in maple syrup, I’m sure you’re all familiar with the food that most people associate with American cuisine. However, there’s one thing that I feel is sometimes overlooked by non-American onlookers like myself – the humble pie. It’s not so common here in the UK to order a cup of coffee with a slice of pie on the side, but it seems that the Americans regard their pies as highly as the British do their cakes, so in light of this revelation, I decided to give some recipes a go to see what all the fuss was about!
If you scroll down you’ll find a recipe for Pecan Pie and another for Banana Cream Pie. Initially I looked up a few recipes for each pie online to get a general idea of the methods. I’ve tweaked and combined elements of the recipes I found to hopefully give a better overall result.

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Pecan Pie Recipe

Ingredients for the crust:
175g plain flour
2 tsp caster sugar
1/8 tsp salt
110g unsalted butter
1 egg
plus extra flour for rolling the dough

Ingredients for the filling:
70g unsalted butter
225g light brown sugar
300g maple syrup
1/2 tsp salt
300g pecans (halved)
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 eggs

Method:
1. In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, sugar and salt. Use your fingers to work the butter into the dry ingredients until you have a mixture resembling breadcrumbs.
2. Add the egg and stir using a fork. If the dough is still a little too dry, add no more than a tablespoon of cold water into the mixture.
3. Form the dough into a disc and wrap in clingfilm. Refrigerate until completely chilled, for at least 1 hour.
4. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a 12-inch circle, to be transferred to a 9-inch pie/tart tray. Trim the edges and make sure there are no holes in the pastry where the filling could potentially leak out. Freeze the pie shell for 30 minutes.
5. Preheat the oven to 200c. Put a piece of parchment paper over the pie shell and fill with baking beans. Bake the pastry for about 20 minutes, until the dough is set. Remove from the oven and remove the beans and parchment paper, returning the pie shell to bake for a further 10 minutes, until golden brown.
6. Reduce the oven temperature to 180c.
7. To make the filling, in a medium saucepan combine the butter, brown sugar, syrup and salt. Bring it to a boil over medium heat stirring constantly. Continue to boil for 1 minute. Remove saucepan from heat and stir in the pecans and vanilla. Set aside to cool slightly for about 5 minutes. Whisk the beaten eggs into the filling until smooth.
8. Put the pie shell on a sheet pan and pour the filling into the crust.
9. Bake the pie on the lowest oven rack until the edges are set but the centre is still slightly loose, about 40-45 minutes. Cool on a rack and serve slightly warm (with ice cream!) or at room temperature.

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Banana Cream Pie Recipe

Ingredients for the crust:
175g plain flour
1/4 tsp salt
100g butter
3 tbsp ice water

Ingredients for the filling:
200g caster sugar
40g plain flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 pint milk
3 egg yolks
30g unsalted butter
1 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
3-4 sliced bananas
150ml double cream (optional)

Method:
1. In a large bowl, combine the flour and salt. Using your fingers, mix in the butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
2. Sprinkle in the ice water 1 tbsp at a time, mixing lightly with a fork after each spoonful, until the dough just holds together.
3. Shape the dough into a disc, wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate for 30 minutes (at least).
4. Preheat the oven to 200c. On a floured surface, roll the dough into a 12-inch round to be transferred to a 9-inch pie tray. Trim the edge and patch up any gaps/ holes with the excess dough.
5. Line the pie shell with parchment paper and fill with baking beans. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Remove the paper and the beans and bake the shell for a further 15-18 minutes until golden. Cool on a wire rack.
6. Preheat the oven to 175c. To make the filling, combine the sugar, flour and salt. Add the milk gradually whilst stirring gently. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until the mixture starts to bubble. Keep stirring and cook for 2 more minutes then remove the pan from the heat.
7. Stir a small quantity of the hot mixture into the beaten egg yolks and immediately add the egg yolk mixture to the rest of the hot mixture. Cook for 2 more minutes and keep stirring. Remove the mix from the stove, add the butter and vanilla. Stir until the mixture is smooth.
8. Place the sliced banana pieces into the base of the cooled pie shell and top with the custard mixture. Bake for 12-15 minutes, then chill for at least one hour before serving.
9. Optionally, lightly whisk the double cream and dollop in the centre of the pie. Decorate with left over pieces of banana before serving.

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I strongly urge you to try making these, they’re so delicious!

Rae x