I love this book! Two women, one mission: to share their ultimate collection of decadent sweet pies in all their bubbling, fruity, caramelized, and buttery glory.
The Pie Project is a collection of 60 delicious sweet pie recipes. Pies are very forgiving desserts for bakers: spillages are, really just an opportunity for more caramelisation and a mis-shapen pie just adds to the rustic feel! Readers are encouraged to use imperfect fruit, play around with lattice, design their own pastry top and bake the pies in whatever they have handy (some are cooked in skillets, or even enamel bowls).
The four chapters in this sumptuously photographed book are ‘The Hot Pies’ with a pear, maple syrup and brown butter pie; ‘The Cheats’, with the luscious blueberry and pear cider pie; the ‘Hand Pies’ with a glazed apple and cinnamon hand pie; and the ‘Cold Pies’ that includes a honey and ginger custard brûlée pie. Delicious!
All skill levels are catered for, as some pies are made with homemade pastry, others with bought. These methods sit alongside pies featuring biscuit bases, as well as bottomless pies. The Pie Project is out to convince the world that pie really is the ultimate answer to any sweet craving.
Caramel Apple Pie
In the picture, this pie is housed in a family heirloom: a cast-iron frying pan that we’ve had since I was born. When I was seven my parents took my sisters and me on an amazing six-month trip around Australia in a caravan. This pan was the vessel for months of Dad’s bolognese, sausages, baked beans and freshly caught fish, quite possibly pancakes (if we were lucky) but never pie. Nostalgia can be attached to the strangest things but I’ve always loved the fact that this pan lives permanently in our family kitchen and I jumped at the opportunity to put it in the book. This caramel apple pie is such a cinch to make with a good pan and a good piece of bought pastry. — Phoebe
850 g (1 lb 14 oz) sharp green apples, e.g. Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and chopped
450 g (1 lb) jar dulce de leche
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
60 ml (2 fl oz/¼ cup) pouring (single/light) cream
2 × 435 g (15½ oz) frozen Careme vanilla bean pastry, thawed, or other bought sweet shortcrust rolled to a thickness of 3 mm (1/8 in)
35 g (1¼ oz) vanilla custard powder
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon demerara sugar
You can make your own dulce de leche by boiling two 395 g (14 oz) tins of sweetened condensed milk, if you prefer. Remove and discard the labels from the tins, then make two holes in the lid of each using a tin opener. Place the tins in a saucepan, open side up, and fill the saucepan with cold water to about 1 cm (½ in) below the tops of the tins. Bring to the boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium–low and simmer for 3 hours. Keep topping up the water. Carefully remove the tins and leave to cool, then open the tins and scoop out the caramel. You may have a bit left over after making this recipe but that’s no bad thing!
Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F). Cook the apples, dulce de leche and cinnamon in a large saucepan over medium–high heat, stirring often, for 10 minutes or until the apples are slightly softened. Remove from the heat and leave to cool completely. Stir through the cream.
Line a 26 cm (10¼ in) ovenproof frying pan or pie dish with half of the pastry. Scatter the custard powder over the top then spoon in the apple mixture. Top with the remaining pastry, trim any excess from the top layer that doesn’t match up with the bottom and press to seal. Cut a cross in the top of the pastry using a sharp knife. Brush the pastry with the beaten egg then scatter with the demerara sugar. Bake for 40 minutes or until the pastry is golden. Rest for 30 minutes before serving.
Recipe taken with permission from The Pie Project: Hot, Cold, Hand, Cheat. 60 Pies, All of Them Sweet, published by Hardie Grant Books.