Something a bit different for Christmas week. Light the fire, put on Ski Trails* and imagine you are holed up in a little Alaskan cabin with snow to the door, Arcturis in the sky and plenty of this season's salmon in the cache.
What do Elizabeth David and the Allman Brothers Band have in common? Apart from the ramblin', they used to hit the note more often than most people.
This is a pie because it has pastry on the bottom and on the top. The pastry may be shortcrust, flaky or rough puff - just use your favourite.
Sometimes a first course is needed. Or an appetiser. These little tarts are made with yeasted wholemeal pastry. The yeast leavens the pastry and turns solid crunchy wholemeal into an altogether lighter mouthful. Probably wouldn't win any prizes but they taste nice.
Dodging the showers while maintaining social distancing is not easy, but I managed to turn out a desert for my guests, a pear frangipane tart. Ingredients: For the pastry: 115g plain flour, 60g butter, an egg yolk, a dessertspoonful of muscovado sugar, lemon juice. For the pears: 3 or four good sized pears, any variety …
After a lot of cooking and no shopping I had a few root vegetables and five apples left. Very little butter and no eggs. So, what to make? I am not an habitual fancy pastry chef and frankly just eat anything the oven produces but decided to have a go at tarte tatin. So I did a bit of browsing and remembered some past pitfalls, dug around in the emptying store cupboard and ended up with this:
My sister and I have slightly different versions of this intro, it could have happened to both of us a year apart or maybe we were all in the same story together but anyway this is how I remember it:
Imagine the scene: A GI brings a can of peaches from the PX home to his girlfriend's mother and instructs her on how to make a peach cobbler. This is my tribute to all the young people who came from abroad to Britain to fight and otherwise contribute to the war effort.
Mother made lovely pastry but I didn’t learn to make it myself until I was on my own with a copy of French Country Cooking (Elizabeth David) and a Baby Belling. I used to choose the easy recipes, the ones which needed no baking beans and resting times and so I favoured Tarte aux Pommes …
My lovely daughter left some shopping on my doorstep - eggs, cheese, flour and a bunch of asparagus. The quiche made here is small but took me two days to eat, so would be fine for two people. The recipe owes a lot to Elizabeth David, and to Anna Thomas. I have been making versions …