Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Distraction from Rainstorm and Reglementation Pie

The latest item on my list of things to do someday is to go to a flavor-tripping party, which was featured in the NYT today. The trick is to get miracle fruit, which rewires your taste buds so that your receptors for sour tastes shut down and things like pickles and tequila taste sweet. Aside from being a total trip, it'd be a great way to clean out my cupboards at the end of this year when I'm left with oatmeal, a can of lentils, and broccoli - it's social and practical at the same time! (I don't know where I'd get miracle fruit at Oxford, so if anyone's coming over and wants to swallow a condom full of them or something, that'd be swell. The worst that could happen is that it would burst and you'd throw up, but even then it would taste pretty good so it's sort of a win-win.)

Barring that, I just went to a dinner party where the desserts were variations on the Falling In Love Chocolate Mousse Pie and Pregnant Miserable Self-Pitying Loser Pie from Waitress, which I saw (and really liked!) last summer in DC. (We were going to go see Emily Skinner and Marc Kudisch in The Witches of Eastwick, but it was sold out and Waitress was a surprisingly good consolation prize.) The pies were perfect, which is why I sort of feel like I'm going to throw up and I'm reviewing H.L. Hart and Max Weber until I've digested enough to go to bed. That might be awhile, so here are recipes to play along at home. My healthy blend of euphoria and misery, as always, loves company.

1 packet (450g) shortcrust pastry
200g blueberries
190g caster sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon cornflour
100ml water
3 eggs, beaten
170g demerara sugar
280ml glucose syrup
170ml double cream
6 tablespoons butter, melted
125g uncooked rolled oats
100g finely chopped fruitcake
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tbsp brandy

1. Line a 25cm loose-based tin with approximately two thirds of the shortcrust pastry. Reserve the trimmings. Chill the pastry case in the fridge until ready to use.

2. Heat the blueberries, 40g of the caster sugar and the lemon juice in a saucepan until the juices begin to run from the fruit. Mix the cornflour with the water, then stir a little of the hot juices from the pan into the cornflour mixture. Stir this mixture back into the pan and continue stirring until thickened. Set aside to cool.

3. Pre-heat the oven to 180C/ Gas Mark 4.

4. In a large mixing bowl, combine the eggs, demerara sugar, remaining caster sugar, glucose syrup, cream, butter, oats, fruitcake and vanilla extract. Mix well and stir in the blueberry mixture. Pour into the prepared pastry case.

5. Roll out the remaining pastry and cut into long strips about 2cm wide. Create a lattice on top of the blueberry filling, by laying out the strips of pastry at 2 cm intervals across the pie, turning the pie 90 degrees and adding a second row of pastry strips to form a criss-cross pattern.

6. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 45 minutes or until browned and set.

7. Pour the brandy onto the hot pie and set fire to it carefully with a match. Allow the alcohol to burn off and serve.

Makes 8 servings.

1 x 20cm cooked sweet pastry case
1 (400g) can condensed milk
170ml water
150g caster sugar
40g cocoa
20g cornflour
30g plain chocolate
570 ml double cream, stiffly whipped, plus extra for decoration

1. In large saucepan, combine the condensed milk, water, caster sugar, cocoa and cornflour, whisking until smooth.

2. Over a medium heat, add the chocolate and stir continuously until it melts and the mixture thickens. Remove from the heat and beat until smooth. Leave to cool and refrigerate for 15 minutes before folding in the double cream.

3. Pour the mixture into prepared pastry case and chill for 4 hours or until set. Decorate with whipped cream and serve.

Makes 6 servings.

(And thanks to Beauty and the Dirt for the recipes!)

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