The Keston Kitchen...... on location
This edition of midnight baking comes to you live and direct from Vancouver, BC.
I am in the Kitchen of Mrs Gemma Stobbe – cousin, cook, mum of two and all round domestic goddess. We are also joined by cousin number two, the gorgeous, athletic Mrs Amy Jonston-Kakebeke, who has come from her downtown apartment to the sleepy suburbs of White Rock for a dose of domesticity.
Holidays are a great time to try a little baking – mainly because you have some time and don't have to do it at midnight. But also because you can experiment with the delicious local ingredients or your new surroundings... and in Beautiful British Columbia I have struck gold. A drive into the country on Sunday yielded many fruit - we screeched the car to a halt beside a roadside stall selling huge blueberries, juicy peaches and succulent apricots. All freshly picked that morning without a pesticide or supermarket insight.
(And for Rachael and Charlotte's sake I just have to mention the corn that also grows in BC– rows of super-sweet corn as far as the eye can see. De-lish.)
Returning home with more fruit that we could eat, there was only one thing to do – bake a pie (which, I was assured, is a very Canadian dish - as well as being a classically British pud, I reminded the ex-pats).
We used a combo of BC fruit, substituted some of the sugar for maple syrup – and voila – a very Canadian pie. Or a 3 Cousin Canadian Pie, as us ladies like to call it. And I am pleased to announce that it was enjoyed equally by adults and the under-5s alike. Best served warm with some real vanilla ice cream. AWESOME – as the Canadians would say.
Oh, and as I feel duty bound to be honest on this blog, I have to confess that the home-made pastry was a bit of a nightmare. Note to self – never try to make pastry in 35 degree heat. Just buy it from the store! The end result tasted good even if it did look a little rustic. And if I had mastered the fine art of pastry this early in my baking career, where would I go from here?!
A big thank you to my two gorgeous co-chefs – for help with the pie AND for a totally awesome holiday.
Jules in BC signing off
3 Cousin Canadian Pie
For the filling:
3 cups of pitted and sliced fresh peaches, nectarines, apricots (or whatever juicy fruit you have in the bowl)
2 cups of fresh blueberries
1/2 cup sugar
¼ cup maple syrup
1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup flour
2 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces.
(A cup is ½ a pint)
For the pastry:
Buy some – if you want an easy life! A 500g pack of short crust should do the trick.
Otherwise, Delia helpfully takes you through, step by step: http://www.deliaonline.com/how-to-cook/baking/how-to-make-shortcrust-pastry.html
Preheat the oven to fan 180C/ conventional 200C/gas 6. Roll out pastry on a lightly floured surface and use to line a shallow loose-bottomed 25cm pie dish. Make sure the pastry comes above the rim - it may shrink in baking and the filling could spill. Chill for 30 minutes.
NB – if you want some decorative pastry on top of the pie, cut out some shapes with pastry cutters (or your own design with a knife if you are feeling creative – a la my maple leaf!) and chill those in the fridge too.
Prick the base of the chilled pastry case all over with a fork, then line with greaseproof paper and fill with baking beans. Bake blind for 15 minutes. (You do not need to pre-bake the pastry shapes that will be on top of the pie). Remove the paper and beans and bake for a further 5-10 minutes until the pastry is golden. Remove from the oven and leave to cool slightly before filling.
Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, mix the f ruit, lemon juice, sugar, maple syrup, flour and spices.
Spoon the filling into the pie shell and dot with the pieces of butter. Place the pastry shapes on top (if using) and brush with milk.
Bake for 5 minutes, reduce heat to 180 and bake for a further 30 minutes until the filling is tender and bubbling and the pastry is golden.