Extra-Flaky Cherry Pie

IMG_6700I had never been a particularly big fan of cherries growing up. I’d eat fresh when they were offered but they weren’t ever used in baking by family members. I can count my food dislikes on one hand, I pretty much love everything. Although one of my most loathed flavours is bitter almond, something that accompanies cherry in a lot of recipes. This means Cherry Bakewell tart is pushed to the side lines meaning my childhood memories of baked goods have not a cherry in sight.

When I started working in professional kitchens, one of the first things I noticed was the quality of the produce. Unlike anything you’ve ever tasted in the supermarket. Every ingredient had so much flavour, especially the fruit. Every year when cherries come into season, we receive large punnets of dark shiny cherries. Beautifully sweet and rich with their wine coloured juice, sometimes they seem too precious to do anything with other than leave them.

I’m also not an avid pie maker. Although I’ve always thought there was something so lovely about a pie that brings people together. Its humble but charming. Faced with the task at hand, I was determined to choose an extra flaky pie crust recipe. Enter Stella Parks. After much research, I chose Stella’s recipe knowing that the large butter layers and folding technique would ensure separate crisp layers.

My perfect cherry pie is crisp, buttery and golden. The filling needs to be firm enough to hold together when cut, but soft enough to that it remains silky when eaten. This turned out to be all those things. Delicious fresh. Delicious cold from the fridge. Delicious warmed in the microwave with ice cream. Delicious however you like it.

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Momofuku Milk Bar Banana Cream Pie

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People always say, ‘when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.’ I say, ‘when life gives you black overripe bananas, make Momofuku banana cream pie.’

Who knew that leaving your bananas to practically rot away in your kitchen over Christmas by mistake was a good thing?! Blackened bananas are the key ingredient to this unforgettable pie. They are the starring ingredient here, paying homage to the humble banana. This brilliant idea comes from Christina Tosi, creator of Momofuku Milk Bar.

In Tosi’s recipe, she recommends leaving your bananas to ripen until the skin is practically black. This way they become intensely flavoured, soft and with an unmistakable caramel punch to them. Not the kind of banana you’d like to eat though. Save your sweet yellow eating bananas for the hidden middle layer of sliced banana.

I absolutely love the ideas that emerge from the Milk Bar cookbook. Using humble ingredients, Christina Tosi creates approachable and unique desserts. I’m drawn to her diverse use of everyday foods; ones that you wouldn’t typically use in baking. For example, her compost cookie is packed with chocolate chips, pretzels and crisps! The Momofuku Milk Bar book will definitely be a new addition to my bookshelf.

So before you emerge in the new year a new you, healthier and vowed off sugar for the best part of January; I urge you to try this ingenious creation. Theres always room for more pie in my world.

Fun internet watching: If you want to know more about this and watch Christina herself make this pie, you can watch it in the series “The Mind of a Chef” in the episode ‘Rotten.’ A great quick watch I’d highly recommend. Click Here to watch

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A Summer Weekend Strawberry and Rhubarb Pie

IMG_2106 2IMG_2128Usually when I post on here, I plan ahead. I make whatever delicious treat I crave a week in advance and schedule a time on my days off to sit in front of my computer. Today though, I made something so ideal for this warm summer weekend that I had to post it today.

The weather here has been pure bliss; glistening sunshine that tickles the skin, ocean blue skies and a gentle breeze to cool you. My favourite kind of weather is a crisp spring or autumn morning however, this has some strong competition after today’s perfect weather.

For me, summer is about a plethora of vibrant plump fruits and vegetables. Cooking is so much easier in the warm weather. In winter you need to add other flavours to potatoes and lets face it, kind of boring root vegetables. It requires an effort. In summer though, fruits scream with their bright coloured skins and burst with lively flavours bringing your taste buds to life. No need for extras. Just let their natural, delightful sweetness charm you into long summer nights and the smoky calling of your barbecue. Continue reading “A Summer Weekend Strawberry and Rhubarb Pie”