Want to bake something delicious this Valentines Day? They say the way to someone's heart is through their stomach and you can definitely win hearts baking for your loved one be it your partner, family member or friend. This strawberry heart pie is spiked with a little black pepper to bring out the flavour of the strawberries. And it is as delicious as it is cute!
I've wanted to make this pie for a while now and I was waiting for Valentines Day to roll around to make it. I saved this for a week where strawberries were abundant at the market and this is one of those delicious pies where you taste nothing but pure strawberries and buttery pastry. I promise the black pepper isn't actually very apparent, it just makes the berries taste better.
Mr NQN's colleagues sometimes tell him that he must be lucky to get all of this home cooked food. And perhaps he is but he also has to put up with some crazy behaviour from me at times. For example the other night was not my finest moment. I was fast asleep. I always have very active dreams every night and I often find them very insightful giving me clarity into my behaviour and that of others. But not this night.
He told me that during the night I sat straight up in bed and wailed "I can't see anything!!" waking him up.
"What do you mean? Are you ok?" he said, slightly alarmed that something had happened to me.
"Help I'm BLIND!! I CAN'T SEE ANYTHING!!" I cried, anguished and flailing my arms about.
He started to get up to see what exactly was wrong but then I finally realised what was wrong.
"Oh! It's dark cos it's night, goodnight," I said and then turned over and promptly went straight back to sleep.
He muttered something to himself about me being a nutjob and then watched me sleeping contentedly with a degree of annoyance.
So keep this pie up your sleeve for when you accidentally annoy someone, or wake them up in the middle of the night screaming about being blind, or you don't clean the bathroom, or you forgot to buy something on Valentines Day! I promise it will heal all wounds. Serve this pie or tart (is it a pie or tart?) warm with plenty of cream on the side.
So tell me Dear Reader, are you a big dreamer? Have you ever sleep talked? And would you call this a pie or tart?
Strawberry Heart Pie Tart
An Original Recipe by Lorraine Elliott
Preparation time: 35 minutes plus resting time
Cooking time: 40 minutes
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 tablespoon caster or superfine sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 200g/7ozs. butter, cubed
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
- 6-7 tablespoons water
- 600g/21.2ozs. strawberries, hulled (frozen will also do)
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup ground almonds
- 1/4 cup cornflour/fine cornstarch
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1 egg for egg wash
Step 1 - Place the flour, sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse to combine. Add the butter and vanilla paste and pulse until it resembles sand. Add just enough water to make a dough-you may not need all of the water (depending on the flour). Divide into two rounds, one 2/3 of the dough and another 1/3. Cover and allow to rest for 1 hour in the fridge.
Step 2 - While it is resting, cut the strawberries and place in a sieve-this is especially important if you're using frozen strawberries. Allow the juices to drain.
Step 3 - Grease a long rectangular baking tin (I used a 13X36cm quiche tin) and roll out the larger round of the pastry to fit the base and sides. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes to rest. Then roll out the other pastry round and cut to fit the top of the pastry. Using a small heart punch (I had a set of 3) punch out hearts (I left some just indented) and then place this one in the freezer to set completely.
Step 4 - Preheat oven to 220C/440F. Then dock the pastry base with a fork and cover with oiled foil and fill with baking weights. Bake for 15 minutes or until the base is cooked. Cool. Line the base with the almonds.
Step 5 - Mix the drained strawberries, sugar, cornflour, black pepper and vanilla and spoon on top of the almonds and pastry. Then place the frozen top (freezing it allows it to be lifted easier in one whole piece) and then allow it to thaw on top and once it has thawed, press it down on the sides to fit the tin. Brush with egg wash and bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden on top. Serve with cream.