there’s something deeply comforting about pie. and a warm one at that. it is the combination of textures from that crust and custard filling, and versatility in terms of type, be it fruit, meat or vegetable, and flavor, be it dessert or savoury. i don’t know of anyone who does not fancy a good apple pie though the jury may be out on pumpkin pie. my personal favorite is a warm apple pie on a cold wintry day, and a chicken pot pie, the definitive salve to my soul. to me, baking pie at home meant hard work. and i often wondered how one worked their way through a lattice pie and other indigenous innovative designs. the only one time i remember having baked pie was pairing with my baker sister-in-law and having chosen a rather ambitious fig almond pie that i now come to remember wasn’t bad considering the constraints we had to work around in terms of limited pantry ingredients and baking implements.
some hundred Pinterest pins later on ‘how to bake that perfect butter pie crust’, i still couldn’t garner the courage to bake one myself. but the compulsive pinning did not stop. and then came the awakening with my brother sending me a link to Nigella Lawson’s pecan pie and a chance to register for a cookalong contest with the reward being a signed copy of any one of Nigella’s books! now who wouldn’t want that?! i quickly went through the recipe making mental notes of the ingredients and taking stock of my pantry. i decided i was going to take on this challenge with or without the reward.
as always, Nigella’s recipes do not disappoint. her pecan pie crust calls for no expertise whatsoever, made from flour, oil and milk! the rest of the pie filling is as simple as it can get. i don’t get pecans where i come from and had to therefore settle for a mix of walnuts, almonds and some leftover hazelnuts from one of her other classic recipes i’d last baked. the result was simply amazing – a delicious dessert pie best served warm, with a generous scoop of some plain vanilla ice cream if you please. i think this makes a great winter dessert for a fairly large family gathering.
- 225 grams plain flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 125 grams vegetable oil
- 60 mLfull fat milk
- 150 grams golden syrup
- 100 grams soft butter
- 200 grams soft light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 350 grams mixed nuts
- 3 large eggs
- preheat your oven to 180°C. in a large bowl, mix the flour, salt, oil and milk to form a rough dough.
- tip out into a 25cm / 10 inches diameter flan dish, and press the dough patiently over the base and the sides of the dish, slightly coming up over the top if possible. put in the freezer.
- melt the syrup, butter and brown sugar over a lowish heat in a saucepan.
- add the vanilla, stir, then take off the heat and let it stand for 10 minutes.
- take the pastry-lined flan dish out of the freezer, and arrange the nuts on it.
- whisk the eggs into the slightly cooled sugary syrup until it looks like a caramel mixture, then pour it over the nuts.
- bake in the oven for 40 minutes, or until the filling has set and the pastry is golden.
my entry to the cookalong contest is registered. fingers crossed! if nothing i’ll still be glad i got myself to finally bake one!