Because sometimes celebrations should be as easy as pie
Anand has always been my personal trendsetter, as far as our bakesperiments go. He’s been the brave one, taking wider, bigger strides and doing crazy things like not buying bread for almost two years, attempting and succeeding in perfecting meringue, making ladyfingers from scratch (to make authentic tiramisu, of course!), making his own ricotta at home (to make authentic cheese cake, of course!) and also trying his hand at a latticed pie. Somewhere in November, he made this fancy looking mulberry pie. And I have been hemming and hawing about giving a latticed pie a shot, ever since. Its hard not to want to try something once Anand has tried it, and given you his precise, expert comments, tips and tricks. More recently, when I saw PK’s strawberry pie and a few weeks later tried this strawberry and fig jam in Bombay. And I knew at once, what my first lattice experiment was going to be.
As usual I need one final heave and push, to send me into a frenzy when I am embarking on something like this. A reason that will make it worth the time and effort. Crossing a milestone of sorts, was reason enough.
What I used
9″ tart tin with a removable base
For the pastry crust (makes two 8″ crusts)
100g butter frozen and cut into cubes (I stuck a 100 gms Amul pack in the freezer, overnight and chopped into squares right before I used it. Also, I am definitely cutting this down a bit next time)
1.5 cups whole wheat flour
3 tablespoons honey
Less than 1/4 cup ice cold water (start with less and add as needed)
1 teaspoon vinegar
For the strawberry and fig filling
1 1/2 cup chopped strawberries and figs (I used about 1/2 kg strawberries and 4 medium fresh figs)
1/8 cup sugar
2-3 tablespoons honey (depending on how sweet your strawberries are. I didn’t want to add too much sugar, so I supplemented it with honey)
2 tablespoons whole wheat flour (atta)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar (I think I will be skipping this next time around)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
How I made it
I first measured out the flour, honey and vinegar in a mixing bowl.Then I pulled the frozen butter out of the freezer, chopped it into half-inch squares and chucked it into the flour. I used a fork to cut it in, at first. When most of the butter was more or less broken down and the flour was at uneven coarse meal consistency, I pressed the butter between my finger tips just a bit. Anand says, it’s okay, in fact good, if there are large pieces of butter still visible. Then I drizzled the ice cold water slowly into the mix, as needed and pressed it together (not knead) to make a disc of dough, which I then divide this into two, rolled them into balls, then discs again and wrapped them in clingfilm and stuck them into the fridge for 2 hours.
Meanwhile, I got the filling ready. I chopped up the figs and strawberries. Chucked them into a bowl, along with the vanilla extract, Balsamic vinegar, flour and ground cinnamon (everything except the sugar), mixed well and put that in the fridge too.When the two hours were up, I took one of the dough discs out and rolled it out into disc, thin enough so it can line the base of the tart tin. I rolled it up on my belan and spread it across the tin, pressing it down with my fingers.I then used a fork to make semi-holes all over (not too many that the filling might leak) and stuck it back in the fridge. This, I did because it has gotten VERY hot in Goa and I could feel the dough melting away as I worked it. So I had to set the tin in the fridge twice in between, before it was fully done and ready to bake.I then mixed up the sugar into the filling and tossed it well.With the second disc of dough, I rolled out a large circle and cut strips for the lattice.Then I tipped the filling into the tart tin, and placed alternate strips across the pie, spacing them close enough so the liquid wouldn’t come oozing out when baked. I think a little closer would have been prettier, and better.I then used the remaining strips and wove them across in a lattice. I used this video as a reference.As you can see I wasn’t being very neat.I then removed the excess dough, crimped the edges, beat an egg, and used my paintbrush (anyone want to gift me a pastry brush?!) to paint the strips with the egg-wash.Then I covered the edges with foil, because Sensei Anand had also warned me that they tend to cook much faster than the rest.And then I stuck the pie back in the freezer to chill for 30 minutes, while I pre-heated the oven to 200 degrees C for 15 minutes.
Then, I stuck it in the oven, baking it at 200 degrees for 15 minutes and then lowerered the temperature to 175 degrees C for 30 minutes.
At this point the tops of my pie had still not browned, so I extended the time for 10 minutes more, and turned the top coil on for precisely two minutes at the end, so I got a light golden hue like I was aiming for.I then brought the pie out and set it to cool for 25 minutes before I dug in, because I couldn’t wait any longer. About 45-50 minutes of cooling would have done the pie some good, because the filling would have thickened a little bit and the crust would have crispened too. I de-tinned the pie, and I was extremely happy with the crust.I sliced it upServed it with ice-creamAnd stashed the rest away to savour over the weekThis is not a pretty, fancy pie. It is chunky, with a gloopy, jammy, fruity filling that is bound to ooze out. So forget about being dainty. Get dirty, dig in and enjoy!
A few notes:
- Using honey in the crust led to a softer, less firm base. I will be trying this a second time with less butter, and sugar instead of honey. I think this may help the pie hold shape a little better
- The fruit was superbly jammy and molten and wonderfully natural. For a sweeter pie, increase the sugar/honey
- Skip Balsamic vinegar, as Indian strawberries tend to be tart by default
- The dough recipe Anand shared with me makes two 8″ discs, which was manageable, but a little tight for my 9″ tin. I will amend proportions when I have made this a second time and got the exact quantity of flour