Pie of hearts

Landscape (UK) - - In the Kitchen -

Serves 8

1.4kg dark plums, de-stoned and halved

500g rich short­crust pas­try (see recipe on first page)

4 tbsp caster su­gar, plus ex­tra for sprin­kling

300ml cold wa­ter but­ter, for greas­ing flour, for dust­ing

1 tbsp full fat milk

In a large saucepan, place the plum halves with 3 tbsp su­gar and the cold wa­ter. Stir, and bring to a sim­mer. Sim­mer for 10 mins, stir­ring oc­ca­sion­ally, then al­low to cool. Pre­heat the oven to 190°C/gas mark 5 and grease a 25cm fluted round pie dish. Halve the pas­try and place one half back in the fridge. On a clean sur­face dusted with flour, roll out the re­main­ing pas­try to fit in the dish with a lit­tle to spare. Place the pas­try in the dish, mak­ing sure it over­hangs slightly so that the top pas­try layer can at­tach to it. Fill the pas­try case with the plums and pour over half of the plum liq­uid, dis­card­ing the re­main­der. On a sur­face dusted with flour, roll out the piece of pas­try from the fridge to fit the top of the dish. It should be ap­prox­i­mately 1cm thick. On a piece of thin card, cut out a heart tem­plate, ap­prox­i­mately 3cm long. Use this to cut a heart in the mid­dle of the pas­try, then cut out six oth­ers in a for­ma­tion, a lit­tle like a flower. Be care­ful not to cut the hearts too close together, as the pas­try may break when moved. Con­tinue to cut heart shapes out of the pas­try around the orig­i­nal heart clus­ter. Swiftly, move the pas­try onto the pie, mak­ing sure the hearts are in the cen­tre. Trim the edges and use a spoon han­dle to im­print a pat­tern around the edge of the pie. Brush the pie with milk, sprin­kle with 1 tbsp su­gar and bake for 30 mins un­til golden. Sprin­kle with a lit­tle more su­gar af­ter it has cooled for 5 mins, then serve.

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