Thursday, 29 March 2012

Tarka Dahl

I think Indian cuisine has the best vegetarian food, I could happily eat dahls, vegetable curries and paneer dishes without even noticing I was lacking meat. Tarka dahl is one of my comfort meals, something to be eaten on the sofa with a spoon or scooped up with soft naan. It's also cheap and easy, and can be used as a side dish for a more extravagant meal. What more could you want?
I've never made this from a recipe, I received some vague directions on how to cook it once and have been making it ever since, which is why I have chosen to not write in a  prescriptive recipe format.

Put some split red lentils in a saucepan with a pinch of turmeric, a few cardamom pods, a cinnamon stick and a pinch of salt. Cover with water, about twice as much water as lentils. Bring slowly to a simmer, skimming of any scum that rises to the surface. Let it cook at light simmer until the lentils have collapsed and turned to a porridge. Stir frequently during cooking, especially near the end when there is more risk of the lentils sticking to the bottom of the pot. If it looks like it is going to dry out during cooking, add a little more water, if it looks too liquid, boil it off until you have a better consistency. This really isn't precise cooking.
Heat some ghee or butter - a good spoonful- in a frying pan. When the butter/ ghee is bubbling, dd some chopped garlic and ginger, ground cumin, coriander, asfoetida and chilli to the pan and fry for about 1 minute. Tip the spice mix straight into the dal and stir in. (For 500g lentils, I use about 2tsp each ground cumin and coriander, a pinch of asfoetida and a tsp chilli powder.) Season the dahl with salt and garam masala, and a squeeze of lime juice. Eat with rice or indian bread, or as part of a larger Indian meal.

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Spaghetti Carbonara

Carbonara is so easy and quick to make, yet it is probably one of the recipes that have suffered the most corruption. Done well it is dreamy, done badly it is stodgy and bland. The worst thing I've seen done to a spaghetti carbonara is it being coated with bechamel sauce in place of mixing the pasta with the raw egg. Bottled carbonara sauce is a horrendous idea too, especially as the 'sauce' required merely involves beating some eggs.
White wine is sometimes listed as an ingredient- it'll taste nice, but I'm not sure could call it carbonara. Sometimes I add a little cream, just to gild the lily. I wouldn't buy cream especially for the dish, but if I have some in the fridge I'll happily add a tablespoon or two to the beaten eggs.
I wouldn't complain if I was served carbonara made with pancetta or lardons and parmesan instead of the original guanciale and pecorino romano- I think these are perfectly acceptable substitutions. If you could never have carbonara because cured pig jowl is never available in your local morrisons, then that would be very sad. Try to avoid rashers of bacon in place of the guanciale or pancetta- the little cubes are far nicer here. 
This recipe is probably right for about 3 or 2 hungry people.

250g spaghetti
2 eggs, plus 1 yolk
1-2 tbsp double cream
2 tbsp finely grated pecorino or parmesan
1tsp olive oil
100g diced pancetta or lardons

Put a pan of water on the heat. When it starts to boil, add a large pinch of salt and the spaghetti, and cook for as long as the pack tell you tom or until it's cooked as you like it. Beat together the eggs, cream and parmesan, and season with freshly ground black pepper. Add some salt if you like, just remember that the pancetta and parmesan will also make the dish salty.
To avoid the eggs overcooking when mixed with the pasta, I put the beaten egg mix in the fridge until I want to use it. If you have a serving bowl you can put the egg in there, and mix with the cooked pasta. Doing this as opposed to using the same (hot) saucepan you used for cooking pasta will also lessen the risk of an overcooked, grainy sauce.
Fry the pancetta or lardons in the olive oil until slightly crispy, and set aside. Once the pasta is cooked, mix quickly with egg and bacon, and serve.

Friday, 23 March 2012

Beef Massaman Curry

Although this is a Thai recipe, it lacks some of the characteristic flavours that many of us associate with Thai cooking. For a start, it is quite a mild dish, unlike most other Thai curries. The curry paste also contains a few of dried spices, which are not often used in Thai cuisine, and the resulting flavour seems almost Indian.
Even though it lacks the fire of a green curry, I think it may be my favourite variety of Thai curry, its flavour is rich and complex and is comforting whilst being anything but boring. So far I have only made it with beef, but you can also make it with chicken. Personally I think beef might be the better choice, it stands up well to the flavours, but I have eaten with with chicken in restaurants and enjoyed it too. Using beef has the added advantage of needing a long, slow cooking, which in turn does wonders for the flavours of the curry. It's even better eaten a day or too after cooking, the spices seem to mellow and deepen in the fridge.

2 400g tins coconut milk
1/2 quantity massaman curry paste
600g boneless beef, cut into small pieces- the sort of cut you would use for a casserole
1 onion, peeled and finely slice
abot 500g waxy potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-2cm cubes
2 tbsp tamarind paste
palm sugar, to taste
fish sauce, to taste
Handful of cashews or peanuts-optional

Scoop off the thick layer of the coconut milk in each tin and put in a heavy based saucepan. There should be about half left in each tin. Add the curry paste to the pan, and cook over a high heat for a few minutes. Stir in the beef and the rest of the coconut milk, and top up with water so the beef is submerged. Turn down the heat to the lowest setting and leave to simmer until almost completely tender.
About 20 minutes before you want to eat, add the potatoes and the sliced onion to the pan and cook until the potatoes are cooked through. Season with the tamarind, palm sugar and fish sauce, and stir in the nuts just before eating.


Sunday, 18 March 2012

Massaman Curry Paste

This is another Thai curry paste recipe I have added to my collection. Its good to know a few because there is a lot of overlap in the ingredients, so you won't just buy a big bag of lime leaves and leave them to sit in your freezer for a year before they get thrown out.
Massaman curry is milder than other Thai curries. I used the full 15 dried chillies and the curry I made with it was pretty fiery, so for a more authentic-tasting curry paste use less, unless of course you want the heat.
1 tsp black peppercorns
1 tbsp coriander seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
5 cardomom pods
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
10-15 small red dried chillis
1 tsp salt
1 tsp shrimp past
4 shallots
4 cloves garlic2 sticks lemongrass
3 pods fresh turmeric (optional)
4 kaffir lime leaves
1 thumb ginger or galangal
groundnut or other flavourless oil

Toast the peppercorns, cumin and coriander seeds and cardamom pods in a oil-free frying pan over a medium-high heat until they release their aroma. Remove from the pan immediately so they don't continue to cook, and crush to a fine powder in a pestle and mortar or spice grinder. Peel the garlic and turmeric and chop into large chunks. Peel and roughly chop the shallots. Remove the tough outer layers of the lemongrass, and slice into sections, peel and chop the ginger roughly. Put all the ingredients, except for the oil in a food processor and blend to a paste- you might have to to a lot of stopping and scraping down the sides of the bowl. Pour in some oil in a steady stream to help the mix come together. Keep blending until you have as smooth a paste as possible. Store, covered, in the fridge and use within one month.

Friday, 16 March 2012

Cheesecake Marbled Brownies

There is no denying that these are very rich, but somehow the contrast between the intense chocolate and smooth cheesecake batter makes it less so. Originally I was going to make a marbled brownie with a blondie batter for the contrast, but I came across this recipe from the Smitten Kitten website and was rather taken with it.
I didn't change the recipe this time, as I have never made it before, and wanted to see how it turned out.
Before baking...

...and after

This is the third brownie recipe I have blogged, so I now have a label devoted to them, which pleases me greatly.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Subiaco Station Market

Whenever I'm abroad, I will always go to a food market, and since I have been living in WA, one of my favourite things to do on a weekend is to go to Subiaco Market, just a little way out of central Perth.It's not old in terms of markets, it's only been around since the 80's, but it has established itself as something of an institution locally.

 About a third of it is comprised of fresh produce, but there is also a small butchers, a health food shop and some non food stalls which I haven't spent too much time looking at, except for the flowers, which seem exotic to someone from the UK.  There is also an area for eating, with small catering stalls. You can choose from Indian, Mexican, Ghanaian, Japanese, Malaysian and Vietnamese cuisine, as well as French crepes and Turkish gözleme. So far I have had crispy Saigon chicken from the Vietnamese stall, curry goat and palava, a smoked fish dish, from the Ghanaian stall and the last time I had lamb curry with dhal and a potato paratha from the Indian stall.

The only thing I haven't enjoyed was the palava- the flavour was far too strong for me. This is hard for someone who is proud of being a non-fussy eater to admit, but I couldn't finish it.Luckily I had something to fill me up- I always pick up an almond croissant from the Galette de France Stall- they're utterly delicious, flaky pastries stuffed with creme pâtisserie.

Subiaco isn't as grand as food markets like the Boqueira in Barcelona, or as beautiful as the Campo di Fiori in Rome. But it has real spirit and a lovely sense of community which makes every visit a treat, and it has very very nice almond croissants.

Monday, 12 March 2012

Totally Chocolatey Chocolate Chip Cookies

I  didn't just make this recipe purely because of the name, I was already going to make some sort of cookie to bring to a friend's house. But the name did make it stand out from many, many cookie recipes that the internet offers- wouldn't you want to see if it lived up to its title?
It turns out they do, they're the type of cookie that demands a glass of milk alongside to cut through the richness. They're also very easy and you can freeze them unbaked but shaped, ready to go for cookie emergencies.
In Nigella's book, she makes 12 cookies out of the dough. I made slightly smaller ones and made 18, so I cut the baking time from 18 minutes to 16. I thought my reduced size were still big, especially for something so rich, I don't think I'd want to make them any larger.

125g dark chocolate, broken into small pieces
150g plain flour
30g cocoa
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp salt
125g soft butter
50g caster sugar
75g soft brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg, fridge-cold
350g chocolate chips (the recipe stated dark, I used milk out of preference)

Preheat the oven to 170C, and line a baking sheet (I needed two baking sheets). Melt the dark chocolate, and set aside to cool slightly. Mix together the flour, cocoa, bicarbonate of soda and salt. In a mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugars together, then add the vanilla extract and egg, and then the melted chocolate. Mix in the dry ingredients, and finally the chocolate chips. Form them into balls- I did this by taking a two tablespoons, taking a spoonful of dough, and scraping it between the two spoons until a got something roughly spherical. This is technically 'quenelling', but that sounds far too pretentious for making cookies. Place on your baking sheet about 6cm apart. Don't flatten them, they will spread as they cook. Bake for 16-18 minutes. They will be soft when they come out of the oven but will firm up as they cool.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Besan Laddoo

These are the second type of Indian sweet I have attempted, the first being barfi. Besan laddoo are dense, sandy textured spheres, speckled with chopped nuts. Like the barfi, I got the recipe from Mamta's Kitchen, my go-to when I want a reliable Indian recipe.

They're not difficult to make, but toasting the gram flour to the right shade of red-brown takes a while. I got a bit worried that I had done something wrong, because my mixture stayed a stubborn yellow for a long time, but I got there eventually. Cooling the mixture before you can handle it takes a while too- it retains heat like nothing else I know.

After I removed the pan from the heat, I stirred a few drops of almond essence and orange blossom water into the mixture like I did with the barfi. This is my own (non authentic) twist, but I like it.

150-175g ghee or unsalted butter
250g chickpea flour/ gram flour/ besan
250g caster sugar
100g chopped nuts (almonds, pistachios, cashews)

Heat the ghee in a heavy bottomed saucepan. Stir in the chickpea flour, and cook, stirring all the time until it turns reddish brown. This takes a while, when it is ready the ghee will begin to separate from the flour. Stir in the sugar and nuts, and allow to cool.
When you can handle the mixture, take about 1 tablespoon of the mix, and form into a ball. You really need to compact it together when you're doing this, or it will fall apart. Repeat with the rest of the laddoo mixture. 

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Chicken and Chorizo Gumbo

This is the second gumbo recipe on this blog, the other on can be found here. I usually make a chicken and chorizo one, on good days I'll add some prawns too. Andouille, a coarse grained Cajun sausage is what I should be using, but I've yet to see it on sale. Instead I use chorizo, which isn't authentic, but its smoky-spiciness goes well in gumbo.
Gumbo can be thickened in three ways, with okra, with filé powder or with a roux. Okra is one of the few foods I really dislike and filé powder- dried and crushed sassafras leaves- is another ingredient that eludes me. So I have only made it with a roux, which according to Wikipedia is now the most popular method. This time I used pork fat for the roux, and was really pleased with the result.
According to the Gumbo Pages (and where else would you go for a gumbo recipe?) the three golden rules for making a good gumbo are:
  • use homemade stock 
  • use homemade stock
  • use homemade stock
Which explains the subject of my previous post. It does make a difference, both in texture and flavour, however I have made it with bought stock before and it is still a dish worth eating. It slightly lacks the body that homemade stock gives.
Technically gumbo is soup, but not the light-lunch variety. It is thick and bolstering, served over plain rice- definitely a meal in itself.

Edit: Some notes on making the roux.
I don't claim to be a gumbo expert; I still have a lot to learn. I was looking at some other websites devoted to cooking gumbo, which unlike The Gumbo Pages, have photos. I was struck by how much darker the roux and finished dish were than my gumbos had been. So I experimented with cooking my roux to a milk chocolate hue, previously I had not gone further than a biscuit brown. The taste at the end is richer and nuttier.
It takes a long time to get the roux to this colour, at least 30 minutes. You can't rush it, it has to be done over a low heat, and be stirred constantly, or it will burn and you have to start again. And please stir gently, splashing yourself with this roux, or Cajun napalm, gives terrible burns.
The darker the roux the thinner the soup, but even so, it is still relatively thick. The general consensus seems to be pale rouxs for gumbos with seafood, and darker rouxs for richer, meatier soups.

Paler Roux
Dark Roux

Gumbo made with dark roux

Creole Seasoning:
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp freshly ground white pepper
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 1/2 tsp sweet paprika

800g skinless, boneless chicken thighs , cut into 2cm cubes (I bought 1kg bone-in thighs, and used the bones in my stock along with the chicken carcass)
200g cooking chorizo, diced into cubes
1 green pepper
1 onion
3 sticks celery
4 cloves garlic
1 cup (250ml) pork fat or oil
1 cup (250ml) plain flour
1.5  litres chicken stock
Cayenne pepper
1 tsp dried thyme
Tabasco or other hot sauce
Bunch flat leaf parsley, leaves only, roughly chopped
5 spring onions, chopped

Boiled rice, to serve

Place the chicken in a bowl. Mix together the ingredients for the seasoning, and sprinkle over the chicken, making sure it is all coated. Set aside while you deal with the vegetables. Peel and dice the onion, deseed and dice the pepper, dice the celery, and peel and finely chop the garlic. Set these aside too.
Now to brown the meats: Heat a little oil in a frying pan over a high flame, and quickly brown the chicken. Remove, and do the same with the chorizo. Remove the chorizo from the pan with a slotted spoon so as much fat as possible is left behind.
Start the roux; in a large heavy bottomed saucepan, heat the fat. When it is hot, add the flour. Stir constantly until the mixture turns a biscuity colour and smells toasted. This takes a while, but it's an  important stage for flavour. Stir in the prepared vegetables into the roux so the mixture coats them like batter. Cook for about 5 minutes until softened, stirring regularly. Mix in the meats and then pour in the stock. Stir. Season with the cayenne, dried thyme, hot sauce and pepper. How much cayenne and hot sauce you use is up to you. Leave to cook on a low heat for at least an hour, until the soup has thickened. Taste and make any adjustments you feel it needs- I always add salt now, and usually more hot sauce. Stir in the parsley and spring onion before serving.

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Chicken Stock

There is no definitive recipe for chicken stock, what I put in it on one occasion will probably vary the next. I'll always include some onion, carrot and celery, but if I have trimmings from other vegetables, such as the coarse part of leeks, then they will go in too. I always try to include some bay leaves at the very least, but thyme, rosemary and parsley stalks are additions that feature regularly too.

 You can use a leftover chicken carcass from a roast, or a fresh one.  Using a carcass from a roast makes a brown stock, which is rich and full bodied. Uncooked chicken makes a white stock, which is ideal for lighter dishes. Chicken wings make very good stock too, their high proportion of bone is what you want for a stock. Add giblets if you have them, except for the liver, which will make the stock bitter.

Always start with cold water, and only add enough to cover the stock ingredients. Hugh F-W likens it to making tea, if you use one teabag in a large teapot you'll end up with a weak brew. It's tempting to use more water than you should- after all, you'll get more stock- but it won't have much flavour or be able to offer much by way of gelatinous texture, which is the point of making your own stock. Don't let the stock boil when you're making it. Boiling causes the fat to emulsify with the stock which you don't want. Some people will have you clarifying the stock with egg whites and crushed eggshells, I'm content to just skim as much unwanted stock grease as I can off the top.

Chicken bones- e.g. Leftover carcass from a roast chicken, or a fresh chicken carcass or chicken wings

Vegetables- onion, carrot and celery plus any extras, such as leeks, mushroom peelings.

Aromatics- On this occasion, I used a one teaspoon black peppercorns, 2 cloves of garlic, and some rosemary, thyme and parsley.

If you are staring with fresh chicken and want to make a brown stock, start by roasting the bones on a high heat in the oven until they are golden brown.

Put everything in a heavy bottomed saucepan, or a stockpot if you possess one. Cover with cold water, poking any rogue bones or flavourings that stick out back under the water- if they aren't covered, they won't be giving anything to the stock, and you want to extract all the flavour you can.

Slowly bring the water to a simmer, and then turn the heat down to the lowest setting so that the stock just emits a few gentle bubbles. Leave for 2 hours, at the very least, about 5would be perfect. Don't allow it to boil at any point.

Strain the stock twice, once with a colander to remove the large pieces, and then with a sieve, preferably lined with a (clean) piece of muslin to catch everything else. Allow to cool, and place in the fridge. The fat will solidify and settle on the top, and then you can remove it easily with some kitchen roll.

You can keep this in the fridge for about two days or freeze for a later date.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Pecan Pie

Rewatching Twin Peaks has made me yearn for some Damn Fine Pie. Dale Cooper actually always had cherry or huckleberry pie, but I'm sure he would've approved. The Gumbo Pages has a rather lovely entry on pecan pie, which inspired me to finally get round to making it. I used the filling from the second recipe, but the recipe that follows has a few of my own touches that I needed to put in. A 9" pie crust is listed as one of the ingredients. I'm not sure if it is assumed the reader will know how to make a pie crust off the top of their head, or will just buy one from the supermarket. I didn't want to buy a ready made one, so I had to decide on what base I was going to make. Presumably shortcrust, and I think a pecan pie would usually have sweet pastry instead of plain. I decided to use the pastry recipe based on the one from Heston Blumenthal's treacle tart recipe, as I think of treacle tart as a kind of British version of Pecan pie. I have made the treacle tart before, and it was wonderful, as you might expect of any Heston recipe. Filling-wise, I didn't want to go on a special trip looking for corn syrup, so I used a mixture of maple and golden.

It took me three days to be able to try the fruits of my labours. I made the pastry on Tuesday, let it rest overnight, finished cooking it on Wednesday, but had to let it cool and set before I could eat it. So I finally got to try it today, and it was worth the wait. It won't take everyone 3 days, but it will if you insist on making it midweek when you're doing 9-5. Save it for the weekend, basically.

This was the first time I have made pecan pie, and it wasn't the smoothest cooking experience. But next time (and there will be a next time) it'll be far more pleasurable experience to make and I'll be a lot more confident cooking it. Below are the reasons why it was difficult, if you are going to make the recipe, read on.

First of all, the pastry. The standard recipe for shortcrust pastry contains a 2:1 ratio of flour to flour. This recipe takes it up to equal proportions of both, which is likely to raise the eyebrows of any long-time pastry maker. This is one of the few examples in cooking where lack of knowledge might be a bonus; when I saw that the recipe used 400g of butter and 400g flour, I assumed it would be difficult, whereas if I had never made pastry before, I wouldn't think anything of it.The procedure for making it is much the same, starting with the rubbing in of cold butter into the flour. I was fine until just over halfway in; the mixture resembled it characteristic 'breadcrumb' texture, but when I continued to add butter past the 'half fat ratio', it clumped up to a doughy paste. This is what I assumed would happen, but the recipe said it should resemble breadcrumbs when all the butter had been incorporated. Despite the wrong consistency, I decided to press on, adding the sugar and eggs. At this stage, it was unlike any pastry dough I have ever seen or made. It resembled a thick cake batter, far too wet to be able to roll out. Still, I didn't want to give up on it just yet, so I placed it in the fridge for the first resting period. During this time, I did a bit of research on other people's experiences making the pastry. I found that I should've chilled everything, instead of just the butter and eggs. And I mean everything, flour, sugar, mixing bowl. Possibly if I had not missed this stage I would've been able to rub all the butter into the flour without it becoming a dough.

I left the dough in the fridge overnight (the minimum time is 3 hours), by which time it had really firmed up. Aside from needing a bit of upper-arm strength to get the rolling out started, the majority of the next few stages went smoothly. More of Heston's innovation comes out here; you line the tin with the pastry and chill for half an hour. Then you prepare the case for blind baking by covering it with greaseproof, and baking beans or preferably coins. It's a great idea, because the metal coins conduct heat much better. It's probably better to use foreign currency that you aren't likely to need again. If you have some francs hanging around from holidays past then now is the time to use them. Then you chill it again before you can blind bake it.

From my online research, I found that others experienced the pastry leaking out butter as it cooked, and some shrinkage. So halfway cooking, I removed the pastry case, and dabbed up some of the excess butter. To deal with the shrinkage, I used the back of a teaspoon to press the sides of the pastry back up against the tin. Luckily, despite my doubts, it came out as a pastry case should.

Making the filling threw up far less issues, as its just the matter of chopping the pecans and whisking everything together. But I did make a few mistakes that you and I can learn from. Make the filling in a measuring jug, so you have more control when you pour it into the pastry case. I poured from a mixing bowl and got liquid filling over the top of the case, which made it look a bit messy even after I did some damage control with a spoon.

 Finally, when it comes out of the oven, the filling will still be very liquid and now molten. Be really careful when taking it out, you might find it easiest to slide it onto a chopping board or similar from the oven shelf. The last thing you want is burnt hands and a pie on the floor in place of dessert.

For the pastry (makes enough for 2 pies, either freeze remainder, halve pastry ingredients or double filling to make 2 pies):
400g plain flour
1 heaped tsp salt
400g unsalted butter, chilled and diced
100g icing sugar
2 eggs
2 egg yolks

For the filling:
4 eggs
60g unsalted butter, melted
1/4 tsp salt
250g soft brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
125ml maple syrup
190ml golden syrup
150g pecans, chopped


Please read above notes on the pastry making before proceeding!
Put the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl. Rub in the chilled and diced butter with your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. You may have to add the butter in batches, given the quantity. Stir in the icing sugar, and then the eggs and yolks. Form into a ball, clingfilm and place in the refridgerator for at least 3 hours. As my dough was so soft, I just clingfilmed the bowl instead.

Grease a 9" pie dish. Dust a sheet of greaseproof paper with flour. Take about 2/3 of the dough out, and place on the greaseproof paper. Dust this with more flour, place another sheet of baking paper on top and roll out to 5mm thickness. Line the dish with the pastry, trimming off the overhang. Chill for at least 30 minutes.

Take another sheet of greaseproof, scrunch it up, smooth it out again, and put on top of the pastry. Weigh it down with baking beans or coins. Return to the fridge, and leave it for another 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 150C. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Halfway through the cooking time, take it out of the oven and remove the greaseproof and coins/baking beans. Soak up any excess butter with kitchen roll. If needed, use the back of a teaspoon to push the sides of the pastry back up against the tin. Remove and allow to cool once the blind baking time is done.

Turn the oven up to 180C. In a measuring jug, whisk together the eggs, then mix in the remaining ingredients. Pour into the prepared pastry case. Don't overfill it - you may have a little extra filling left over. Bake for 45 minutes. It will need to cool down before it is sliceable. Serve with vanilla ice cream  (my preference), or cream.

Update- 19/10/14

I revisited this recipe, but wanted to use a different pastry recipe- something simpler and less rich- the pie I made back in 2012 was delicious, but I felt a plainer crust would work better with the sticky sweet filling. I made a half quantity* of this simple sweet shortcrust, which is less rich than the Heston pastry, and much easier to work with. I also got rid of most of the chilling stages, only resting the dough between making it and using it to line the pie. I still used the same times and temperatures for the blind baking and baking as in the recipe above. I added in a step of using some foil to protect the rim of the pie crust, as it gets very dark very quickly.

Overall, I think I preferred this pie crust for a pecan pie- it allowed the richness of the filling to shine through, but was still had a wonderful short texture, and buttery flavour. It also makes making pecan pie so much easier and faster, without resorting to a pre-made pastry shell.

* a half quantity still made enough for two pies, so either quarter the link recipe, or make enough for more pies, freezing what you don't immediately use for a later date.