The other day I ‘did a Delia’. If you’re from the UK, you’ll know that I made a recipe written by Delia Smith, an English cook. She is the UK’s best-selling cookery author, with more than 18 million cookbooks sold. I copied this recipe from Delia’s Summer Collection when I was working as a cook for the Duke and Duchess of Hamilton up in Scotland a few years ago.
This is a great recipe for using stone fruits and berries. I made this one from rhubarb, which I have very recently developed a taste for, and a couple of teaspoons of minced, crystalised ginger. I also created a ‘rolling out’ shortcut involving parchment paper which makes it even easier to put together.
A Very Easy One-crust Pie
- 6 oz (175g) plain flour
- 1½ oz (40g) lard or vegetable shortening (at room temerature)
- 1½ oz (40g) butter (at room temerature)
- cold water
- 1 small egg yolk
- 2 tbsp semolina or cornmeal
- 1½ lbs (700g) of prepared fruit (rhubarb, gooseberries, cherries, peaches, apricots, raspberries, plums or damsons – in fact anything at all!)
- sugar, to taste
- 1 small egg white
- sugar, to sprinkle
Make up the pastry by placing the flour into a large mixing bowl, then rubbing the fats into it lightly with your fingertips, lifting everything up and letting it fall back into the bowl to give it a good airing. When the mixture reaches the crumb stage, sprinkle in enough cold water to bring it together to a smooth dough that leaves the bowl absolutely clean, with no crumbs left. Give it a little light knead to bring it fully together, then place the pastry in a polythene bag in the fridge for 30 minutes.
After that, pre-heat the oven to gas mark 6, 400°F (200°C). Then roll the pastry out onto a piece of parchment paper to a round of approximately 14 inches (35 cm) – as you roll, give it quarter turns so that it ends up as round as you can make it (don’t worry, though, about ragged edges: they’re fine). Then slide the crust onto a cookie sheet
To prevent the pastry getting soggy from any excess juice, paint the base with egg yolk (you’ll need to cover approximately a 10 inch (25.5 cm) circle in the centre), then sprinkle the semolina lightly over this. The semolina is there to absorb the juices and the egg provides a waterproof coating.
Now simply pile the fruit in the centre of the pastry, sprinkling it with sugar as you go.
Then all you do is turn in the edges of the pastry: if any breaks, just patch it back on again – it’s all meant to be ragged and interesting. This is really easy to do by lifting the edges of the parchment paper and folding the pastry over towards the centre of the pie.
Brush the pastry surface all round with the egg white, then sprinkle sugar over the pastry. Now pop the pie on to the highest shelf of the oven and bake for approximately 35 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.
Remove from the oven and serve warm with chilled crème fraîche or ice cream or double cream or clotted cream or my personal favourite – chantilly cream: double cream slightly whipped with icing (powdered) sugar and a few drops of vanilla essence.