Rachael from pizzarossa was our lovely June 2013 Daring Bakers' host and she had us whipping up delicious pies in our kitchens! Cream pies, fruit pies, chocolate pies, even crack pies! I was thrilled at the challenge because I've been fixated on baking pies and tarts for quite some time now and this challenge was yet another excuse to try something new. So, before I continue with the post, I have to say a big "thank you" to Rachael.
Now Rachel gave us four different pies to choose from for the challenge - the infamous Crack Pie made famous by David Chang in his Momofuku Milk Bar; A Chocolate and Caramel Tart, a Crostata de Marmellata (an Italian-styled fruit tart) and a traditional double-crusted Apple Pie.
I chose to make one of the four - the Crack Pie - and then make a fruit pie of my own, an Apricot Frangipane Pie (see pic above!).
First, I tried my hand at the Crack Pie. It was impossible not to try it, having heard and read so much about this utterly decadent (it's a whole lot of butter combined with a whole lot of sugar) which I am told is being sold at US$45 a pie or something to that effect. I was also encouraged, having tasted a replica of it made by my colleague and fellow Daring Baker Jane of The Wayward Oven.
Doesn't my Crack Pie look awesome in this photo?
Well, that's because it hadn't been cut yet at the time. Once I cut into it, I discovered to my horror that my filling hadn't set and was still gooey (this despite me extending the baking time substantially). Thick, rich butterscotch-y filling just oozed as I sliced and though it was delicious (and calorie laden, for sure), I was devastated.
Let me show you a photo of the goooey mess. Be warned, it's not a pretty sight.
Told ya! Not sure what went wrong. I will probably attempt to make it again once I am done grieving. Yes, I am a little dramatic over failed baking projects. Sigh.
I decided to shift my attention on my Apricot Pie which I was sure wouldn't not yield such a catastrophic result. It's a frangipane fruit pie, after all.
I chose Apricots by chance. I was planning on making a mixed berry pie but on my grocery run last weekend I saw a carton of Apricots on sale and I grabbed two immediately. I tried them as soon as I got home and was pleased to find how soft and sweet they were. Score!
After eating a couple of them, I put the apricots to good use in the Apricot Frangipane Pie ... errr, even though it kinda looks like a tart. The apricots and the almonds in the frangipane went amazingly well.
Frangipane is an almond pastry cream used in cakes, pies, pastries and tarts. It's made by simply creaming butter and sugar together and then adding in almost paste (or ground almonds), eggs and a little flour. It acts as a custard would in holding the fruit pie/tart together.
This will be my new go-to pie (whenever I see affordable apricots at the grocers, that is - imported fruit such as Apricots, Raspberries, Blueberries etc cost an arm and a leg here in Malaysia).
Apricot Frangipane Pie
For the Crust
150g all purpose flour
25g icing sugar
90g butter, cold and cubed
3-4 tbsp cold milk
For the Filling
600g fresh apricots, pitted and halved
60g brown sugar
70g ground almond
50g butter, room temp
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp plain flour
Wrap in cling film and chill for at least 30mins.
For the filling, beat the butter, ground almonds and sugar until smooth. Add the egg and extract and beat till all ingredients are incorporated well. Stir in the flour.
Once the dough has chilled, roll the dough and fit it inside the pie dish. Puncture holes at the base of the pastry with a fork and blind bake for 10-13 mins or until the pastry starts to brown and the base is no longer soft.
Using a spatula, fill the half-baked case with the frangipane cream. Arrange the apricots on the cream.
Bake for about 20-30 mins or till cream sets and the pastry is cooked.