Hi everyone! Happy July! For my column this month I am sharing with you an apricot pie with homemade vanilla bean ice cream. Triple vanilla bean ice cream in fact! (It does require an ice cream bowl attachment to your electric mixer, so I hope you have one and if not you’ll be inspired to get one).
Apricot pie was my absolute favorite when I was a kid. Nothing else compared. The funny thing was that for me it was a winter dish, we always made it during the cooler months even though apricots aren’t readily available until the summer.
Apricot Pie: Pastry 500g plain, all purpose, flour 250g cold butter, cubed 2 eggs, at room temperature 1 teaspoon salt 5 tablespoons cold water Whisked egg to coat the pastry
Filling 1.5kg tinned apricots, chopped 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, or 1 vanilla bean seeds removed. 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 2 tablespoons brown sugar 2 tablespoons corn starch
Fresh raspberries and ice cream to serve
Method Place the flour onto a clean surface and make a well in the centre. Place in the middle the butter, eggs and salt. Using your fingertips mix the butter, eggs and salt together, then slowly draw in small amounts of flour until the mixture resembles a grainy texture. Once mixed, add cold water, two tablespoons at a time, followed by the last tablespoon. Keep mixing the dough until it begins to hold together.
Knead the dough a couple of times until smooth. Roll the pastry into a disk and refrigerate covered for at least 20 minutes. Meanwhile, chop the fruit into bit sized pieces and place into a large bowl. Add vanilla and cinnamon and mix well.
In a small bowl combine the brown sugar and corn starch until completely mixed. Set aside. By the way, the props were given to me on loan from Robert Gordon Australia.
Preheat the oven to 180 C.
Remove the pastry from the fridge and halve. Keep one half in the fridge. Roll out the first half to 2-3cm thickness. Using a greased pie tin, press the pastry into the pie tin, leaving a sufficient amount of overhang. Prick the entire base with a fork and allow to rest in the fridge for 20 mins. Roll out the rest of the pastry to a 2-3cm thickness. Using a pastry cutter, cut lattice pieces to an even size. (If you are not feeling adventurous you can have a solid top case without the lattice work. Just roll out into a disk and set over the top of the pie once filled).
Remove the pie tin from the fridge and sprinkle one third of the brown sugar/corn starch mixture over the base. Add half of the pie filling, followed by another third of the sugar/corn starch mixture. Add the remaining filling then sprinkle the remaining sugar/corn starch mixture over the top. Place the lattice pieces over the filling from top to bottom. Peeling back every second lattice piece, place your lattice pieces from side to side, alternating to get a cross work pattern. Trim the sides of the top and bottom of the pastry with a pastry knife or sharp scissors so the sides are flush with the pie tin. Place the pie in the fridge to settle.
For those of you feeling daunted by pastry, I can totally understand those feelings I had it for many years too. The turning point for me was this pastry recipe, just fool proof every time. The more you work with it, the most you understand it and there becomes a sense of knowing when it feels right.
Cooking should be fun, so if you aren’t game to try the lattice work, that is totally ok. A simple disk on top of the pie with a small hole cut in the middle is absolutely divine too. Simplicity is perfection right?
If you do feel game for trying the lattice work, because it is actually easier than you think, then my advice for first timers is to make 1.5 times the pastry recipe calls for. (I’ve added some notes at the end of the post). This will give you more pastry to play with whilst you roll, cut and figure out what you’re doing. There might be some pastry wastage, but it ensures your pieces for the lattice are even in thickness and size, not only for cooking the crust evenly but also for your own confidence in cutting the lattice work.
TIP: Need some help with how to create the lattice? Check out this video.
Using the left over pieces, roll into a disk the size of the pie tin. Cut thin strips to make the braided boarder, cut about 9-12 strips. Using three strips per braid, pinch the tip of the strips together, then braid. Once you have braided the length, pinch the end together. You’ll need around 3-4 braids.
Baste the pie with egg wash and place on the braided boarder. Coat it as well with egg wash.
Place in the oven at 180 C for 45-60 mins, or until golden brown.
Triple Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
1 1/2 cups milk (full fat) 3 vanilla beans, seeds removed 4 egg yolks 1/2 cup caster sugar 300mls pure cream
Method In a small saucepan, heat the milk and vanilla seeds and bean pods gently over a medium heat. Once bubbles start to appear around the sides, remove and allow to infuse for a further 5 minutes.
In an electric mixer, beat the egg yolks and sugar until the mixture is pale and creamy.
Remove the bean pods and add the cream. Gently stir.
Slowly add the milk/cream mixture to the egg mixture and continue to beat until fully combined.
Store the mixture in the fridge for at least 4 hours or until completely chilled.
Using an ice cream mixing attachment and direction/settings for your machine, add the mixture slowly and churn for the requirements of your machine. Remove once mixture has increased in size and is light and fluffy, and allow to freeze in an airtight container overnight.
Once frozen, scoop and serve with the apricot pie.
Notes: Make the ice-cream the day before you are to serve it to ensure it has frozen completely unless you have an industrial ice cream machine.
Ice cream recipe makes approximately 1L. Check your machine for instructions and adjust accordingly.
For newbie pie bakers, make it easier on yourself by making 1.5 times the pastry recipe if your attempting the lattice work:
750g plain, all purpose, flour 375g cold butter, cubed 3 eggs, at room temperature 1 1/2 teaspoon salt 8 tablespoons cold water
This month I’ve shared two recipes with you, firstly because pie and ice cream were made for each other, but also as I will be away in August so I won't have a column up for you again until September. See you again end of summer! - Rachel
(Photos, text, recipes: Rachel Korinek)