Rhubarb & cus­tard slab pie

BBC Good Food - - Cover Story -

This is an Amer­i­can-style fruit pie with a sturdy fruit fill­ing, baked in a slab or sheet for easy por­tion­ing. I love the clas­sic com­bi­na­tion of rhubarb and cus­tard, but you could also use lightly stewed dessert ap­ples or pears, or sea­sonal berries.

SERVES 12 PREP 35 mins plus 1 hr chill­ing COOK 45 mins MORE EF­FORT V

For the pas­try

600g plain flour

150g ic­ing sugar

300g cold but­ter, cut into small pieces

3 egg yolks, plus 1 egg, beaten

For the fill­ing

75g in­stant cus­tard pow­der (we used Bird’s)

200g caster sugar, plus 1 tbsp 550ml whole milk

2 tsp vanilla bean paste, ex­tract or 1 vanilla pod, seeds scraped out

700g forced rhubarb, ends trimmed and cut into 2cm pieces

1 tbsp corn­flour

1 Put the flour, ic­ing sugar, but­ter and 1/2 tsp salt in a food pro­ces­sor, and blend un­til com­bined. Add the egg yolks and 2 tsp cold wa­ter, then blitz again un­til the dough starts to form clumps around the blade. Tip onto your work sur­face and knead briefly to bring the dough to­gether. Re­move about 1/3 of the dough, shape both pieces into discs and wrap. Chill for at least 30 mins. Al­ter­na­tively, mix the flour, sugar and salt in a bowl and work in the but­ter with your fin­ger­tips be­fore adding the yolks and wa­ter.

2 Mix the cus­tard pow­der and 75g of the sugar with 100ml of the milk to make a smooth paste. Warm the rest of the milk in a saucepan. Pour the warm milk over the cus­tard pow­der mix, stir and pour back into the pan with the vanilla. Heat un­til you have a re­ally thick cus­tard. Trans­fer to a bowl, cover to pre­vent a skin form­ing, and chill for at least 30 mins or un­til cold.

3 Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6 and put a bak­ing sheet on the mid­dle shelf. Toss the rhubarb, corn­flour and re­main­ing 125g sugar to­gether in a bowl. Roll out the larger of the two pieces of dough on a lightly floured sur­face, to a rec­tan­gle large enough to line the base and sides of a 25 x 35cm shal­low bak­ing tin, about 1/2cm thick. Lift the dough over your rolling pin and drape into the tin, leav­ing any ex­cess hang­ing over the edges. Stir the set cus­tard and spread over the pas­try base. Top with the rhubarb, in neat lines or ran­domly, and scat­ter any sug­ary bits over the top.

4 Roll out the smaller piece of pas­try un­til large enough to cover the top of the pie. You can ei­ther cover the pie com­pletely, leav­ing a few holes for the steam to es­cape, or cre­ate a dec­o­ra­tive top­ping (see ‘How to dec­o­rate your pie’ be­low). When you’re happy with your de­sign, brush the top with beaten egg and scat­ter over the 1 tbsp caster sugar. Place the tin on the tray on the mid­dle shelf and bake for 40-45 mins, un­til the pas­try is deep golden brown and the fill­ing is bub­bling. This pie is best served at room tem­per­a­ture or just warm, so leave to cool for at least 11/2 hrs be­fore slic­ing.

GOOD TO KNOW 1 of 5-a-day PER SERV­ING 606 kcals • fat 27g • sat­u­rates 15g • carbs 79g • sug­ars 34g • fi­bre 3g • pro­tein 9g • salt 0.7g

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