Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Chocolate and Cherry Pie

This pie contains cherries set in egg custard topped with dark chocolate icing. Recipe serves 8.


2 sheets frozen ready-rolled short crust pastry, thawed
2 large eggs
9 teaspoons cornflour
1/4 cup caster sugar
2 cups milk
1 teaspoon vanilla flavoring essence
3 teaspoons gelatin
14 ounce (415 g) can red cherries, drained and pitted
3 1/2 ounces (100 g) dark cooking chocolate, broken into pieces
1/4 cup fresh cream


1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Heat a baking tray in the oven.
2. Place a sheet of pastry on a lightly floured surface. Brush lightly with cold water, then lay the second pastry sheet on top. Roll out the pastry a little larger and line a 9 inch (23 cm) round pie dish. Cut out crescents from the trimmings. Brush the pastry rim and place crescents on the rim to decorate. Prick pastry case well and chill for 10 minutes.
3. Line the pastry case with greaseproof paper and a layer of baking beans. Put on the hot baking tray and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown, removing paper and beans for the last 5 minutes. Stand pie dish on a rack; cool.
4. For the filling, put the eggs, cornflour and sugar in a mixing bowl. Add 1/4 cup milk and beat together until smooth. Heat the remaining milk in a heavy-based saucepan until almost boiling; pour gradually onto the egg mixture, stirring constantly. Pour the mixture into the saucepan; stir over a medium heat until thick and smooth. Pour into a bowl; add the vanilla and cool until lukewarm.
5. Place 1/4 cup cold water in a heatproof bowl or enamel mug; sprinkle gelatin over and stir well. Stand the bowl or mug of gelatin in a hot-water bath until dissolved. Remove and cool until lukewarm. Quickly whisk gelatin mixture into custard. Cover surface of custard with clear plastic wrap and chill until cold and thick.
6. For the topping, put the chocolate and cream into a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Heat very gently until melted. Stir until smooth and glossy. Cool.
7. Spread half the chocolate mixture over the base of the pastry case and cover with the cherries. Pour the custard over the cherries, then chill.
8. Re-melt the chocolate mixture and spread over the custard. Smooth the top and chill until set. Score the top diagonally with a sharp knife.

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