I’m not much of a baker and I’m also usually not much for things like celebrating “Pi Day” with pie. However, when we were invited to a “Pi/Pie Day” potluck this weekend there was no way I was going to pass up the opportunity to eat some of the pies and tarts from a bunch of complete ringers among the other guests, a couple of them professionals in all but name. Of course, this meant I had to bake a pie too.
Despite my new-found proficiency with rolling chapatis and parathas, pie dough freaks me out completely and so this led to much paralysis as I canvassed everyone I could think of for ideas for idiot-proof dough (the filling I was not worried about). Finally, I settled on using the galette dough from the excellent Baking with Julia book (the recipe is by Flo Braker and is available here). I’ve made galettes using that dough (galettes don’t require precision rolling) and so figured I would be able to handle it. Things didn’t go quite as smoothly as I”d hoped on the dough/crust front (for details on which see the captions in the slideshow below). However, the filling came together very nicely: I improvised a spiced meat filling using ground beef from the portion of the cow we bought last month, Indian spices, raisins and dried cherries.
While it required some plastic surgery along the way and never quite acquired classic beauty (I was deeply embarrassed to place it alongside some of the goods on offer when we arrived) it tasted quite good, if I do say so myself (and it was completely consumed by the assembly) and was not a bad effort at all, I think, for my first proper tart.
Anyway, file this under “if he can bake a decent tart, anyone can”.
- Ground beef, 1 lb
- 1 large red onion, chopped
- 1 tblspn ginger, crushed
- 1 tblspn garlic, crushed
- 3/4 cup chopped tomatoes with their juices
- The following ground together: 1 tblspn red chilli powder, 1/2 tspn turmeric, 1 tblspn cumin seeds, 1 tspn coriander seeds, 1 tspn black peppercorns, 1 tspn Sichuan peppercorn, 1 small piece cinnamon (1/2 a tspn’s worth)
- 1 tblspn sugar
- 1 cup golden raisins
- 1 cup tart-sweet dried cherries
- 1 tblspn apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup water
- One egg, beaten
- Make one full recipe of galette dough as per recipe here and chill in the fridge for at least two hours.
- While the dough is chilling prepare the filling as follows.
- In a large skillet heat oil and add the chopped onions.
- Once the onions have begun to soften and caramelize add the ginger and garlic and saute for another minute or so.
- Add the ground spices and saute for another minute.
- Add the ground beef, crumble it up completely, mix well and saute over medium heat till the pinkness is completely gone and some of the meat is beginning to brown.
- Add the tomatoes, sugar, vinegar and salt and cook over medium-low heat till the tomatoes are full incorporated.
- Add the dried fruits and mix.
- Add the water, stir, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover and cook till the meat is completely done and the water is almost completely absorbed.
- Remove from the heat and set aside while the dough finishes chilling and the crust is ready.
- Once the dough has chilled, roll it out and line a 12 inch tart pan with the dough, hopefully bollocksing it up less than I did as you go along.
- Weight the lined tart pan with dried beans or similar and “blind bake” in a 400º oven for 15-20 minutes or till the crust begins to turn golden.
- Remove the pan from the oven, let it cool a bit and then add the filling.
- Paint the edges of the crust with some of the eggwash (sprinkle some sugar on if you like; I did).
- Bake till the crust is a dark golden-brown (about 35 minutes in my oven).
- Remove, cool, take 5000 pictures in the hope that Foodgawker will accept one of them and serve hot, warm or cold.
Illustrated Record of My Misadventures
- You can adjust the heat level of the filling down if you like; I actually made this quite a bit hotter than listed above but wasn’t sure it was balanced.
- Again, I used the full galette dough recipe (which makes dough for two 8-inch galettes) for one 12-inch tart. I’m sure people who are more proficient rollers of pie dough could roll it much thinner without fear and do a bottom and top crust in a pie pan.
I am now motivated to bake more pies. I am not sure if this is a good thing.