Thursday, October 07, 2010

Four in Hand

Decided to clear some space in the freezer, and after removing a box of mixed fruits to make jam, also brought out a couple of small packs of short pastry scraps, the bits of thawed pastry were gathered together and rolled out thinly, using the top of a plastic container as a cutter (a saucer being too large) to make circle to fit the 'compartments' in a four-compartment Yorkshire Pudding tin. As shown below. Sorry about the colour - took the photo without the main room lights being on, but it was the effect I wished you to see.

Find these tins very useful to cook several different things at the same time, especially if you live on your own, as they make enough to give us assorted edibles over several days. Not only that the small quiches made in these tins are just perfect as individual 'starters' for a dinner party. Decided to make one apple pie, one Bakewell (type) tart, and one quiche. Would normally have made a meat pie in the fourth compartment, but as did not want to bother to cook meat to fill the pie, and as this was just mainly for photographic demonstration, decided to make two apple pies.

As each pastry 'case' needed filling without too much delay before baking, began with a small amount of preparation. Having made loads of these small pies before, knew that one egg would be far too much for an individual quiche, so started by breaking an egg into a cup and beating it well with a fork to break the yolk and white together. Then measured it out in spoonfuls - using a soup spoon. As the egg was sold as 'large' (meaning slightly bigger than medium but NOT jumbo size) this worked out at four and a half spoons (a medium egg would probably be just four spoonsful). So two spoons and a bit went into a small bowl, the rest left in the cup. To the portion in the cup was added one soup spoon of whipping cream and blended together before being set aside.

The next thing done was to peel and core a small apple (falling) and then sliced it fairly thinly, most of the slices being piled up in one of the pastry 'cases', a little sugar sprinkled over (some apple still left over), and left over pastry then rolled out to make a lid.
Two tiny pieces of cheese had been found in the fridge (why B leaves such small amounts I will never understand, he is the same with jam in a jar). Clapped together these slivers came to no more than a half-inch cube, and after grating, this was more than enough to fill another pastry case.

With the remaining half and a bit egg, was planning to use this to make the Bakewell tart, so a bare level teaspoon of jam was spread over the base of the third pastry case, and as the weight of the whole egg would have been a good 2 oz, worked on the usual Victoria sponge ratio (same weight of flour, butter and sugar to egg used). The half egg weighed about 1 oz (25g), and as the amounts were too small to use an electric mixer,, decided to use the 'all in one' method and beat together with a fork the 1 oz butter, 1 oz caster sugar, 1 oz self-raising flour, and the half egg. Not very successfully as the job was rushed (due to the jam reaching setting point so ended up trying to do two things at once). As I made a bit of a mess of the creaming/beating, needed to add another teaspoon of flour as I deemed the batter too runny.

Spooned the cake mix into the pastry case over the jam, then found I had mixture left over, so rapidly sliced more apple (same apple used for the pie, as there was some left over), put these in an empty pastry case and poured the remaining cake batter over to make a sort of Applecake pie.
The beaten egg and cream was poured over the grated cheese in the fourth 'case', and a tiny cherry tomato sliced and placed on top - then into the over the whole lot went.

After about 10 minutes took a peek and the quiche had begun to rise, the Bakewell and Applecake Pie had risen a lot. They were not yet cooked through but turning brown so placed a sheet of foil (shiny side up) over to prevent them scorching, and shut the door.
Opening the door had been a mistake, as this caused the cake mixture to sink. My mistake was putting the oven on too high (heating to 200C then turning down to 180C when the pies went in), so when all were cooked (after about 15 minutes from start to finish) the appearance could have been better. The apple pie needed another five minutes in the oven to become more golden, but first decided to take a photo of how the 'bake-off' had turned out.

Back left you see the quiche, and - after cooling - shared it with Beloved (as part of the cold meats and salad meal we had that evening). Have to say it both looked and tasted extremely good, definitely one to bear in mind for parties.
Top right is the apple pie, this - as you can see - needed longer to 'brown up', and after removing the other bakes from the tin put it back into the oven for five minutes. It was then perfect, just the right size for Beloved who ate it hot with cream poured over.

Bottom left is the Bakewell (type) tart. Apart from the slight dip in the middle it turned out well and tasted good. Maybe even better if I had used ground almonds as well as flour. But a bit difficult to measure such minute amounts. This I ate myself (B sulking because he wanted some as well - I told him the apple pie was his, this one was MINE). But it tasted fine, the pastry crisp and short. Bottom right can be seen the Applecake Pie with bits of apple peeping through the sponge. Beloved ate that as well and also enjoyed it.

Quite a number of different 'dishes' can be made using the above tin. With so many different types of quiche, not a problem to make a different one each time (or four different ones at the same time). Fruit pies can be made with different fruits, meat pies (use cooked meats as the cooking time is shorter than usual) can also be varied. A crumble topping could be put over stewed fruits, and a breadcrumb/syrup filling to make a treacle tart. Even a pizza dough base could be used in one tin and pizza toppings laid on top.
It might even be possible to bake a Yorkshire Pudding in one section while baking filled pastries in the others.

Going back to ingredients used. An small apple-sized lump of left-over pastry scraps, one egg, very small amounts of butter, sugar and flour, one soup spoonful of whipping cream, one small apple, tiny scraps of cheese, and one small cherry tomato made all the above. And there was still a bit of pastry left over that I ought to have turned into cheese straws if I hadn't been flustered due to the jam and baking all needing attention at the same time.

As a 'pie' cooked in a Yorkie tin is a good size, almost enough to be shared between two, it is amazing how small an amount of filling needs to be used. Of course - a bit like Cornish Pasties - a good part of the pie (in this instance) is pastry therefore economical because of it - but when rolled as thinly as possibly this cooks more crisply and quickly, and with the filling is just about the right balance to make a satisfying 'snack', or with salads or cooked vegetables, a meal in its own right.

These oatcakes are a cheap and extremely good biscuit that eats so well with cheese. Have myself made these using bacon fat saved after frying fatty bacon, and porridge oats blitzed down to make oat flour. Traditionally made with medium oatmeal, worth using this if you with your biscuits to be as authentic as possible.
Scottish Oatcakes: makes 12
4 oz (100g) medium oatmeal
good pinch salt
good pinch bicarbonate of soda
1 oz (25g) lard, melted
2 -3 tblsp boiling water
Put the oatmeal in a bowl with the salt and bicarb. Mix well together then add the melted lard with enough boiling water to make a smooth dough. Sprinkle a little more oatmeal on a board and turn out the dough onto this, then roll out thinly to about an eighth of an inch (3mm) thick and cut into rounds, rerolling the dough scraps to use it all up.
Place on a greaed baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes at 180F, 350F, gas 4 or until crisp. Don't let them get too brown - if necessary turn off the heat and leave the door slightly ajar to finish crisping up. Cool on a cake airer and store in an airtight container. Great served with cheese, but also good to eat with heather honey