Happy Halloween my fellow ghouls! It's October and that means it's spooky season (my most favourite time of the year) and do I have something gruesome for you today. It's an X-Ray pie made with blood and guts (okay cherries and raspberries) and topped with rib bones and a set of lungs. This pie is simple to make thanks to these Halloween Pie tutorial tips and is perfect for serving at a Halloween party or themed dinner!
I promise that this pie is as delicious as it is gruesome. I know that it can make for a slightly arresting sight but it's not just gruesome looks. The pastry is so delicious as is the fruit filling. I made this a bottomless pie as I find pie bases are a pain to make and there's no reason why you need a base. I was inspired to make this by the Apple Pandowdy pie which is one of the easiest pies you can make in no time (much of that is due to the absence of the bottom layer).
You can make this pie with any fruit but you'll need around 1.2kgs or 2.6lbs of it. I thought I had it all sorted when I bought 2x680g/24oz jars of morello cherries but half of that was the liquid so I had to improvise and use frozen raspberries and apple. Because the apple is white I added a bit of red food colouring to give it the requisite bloody look. Best of all you can bake this pie ahead of time and then warm it up on the day of your Halloween party!
Have you felt like this year's pace has been something akin to breakneck speed? Suddenly it was August, then September and then October. One good thing was that winter felt shorter and suddenly I felt plopped into October. The weather is more consistently warm and I swear there is a smell in the air. Halloween just hits different and there's nothing that smells like October.
Over the last few years Mr NQN has started to get into the spirit of Halloween. He used to hate it when I would get stressed around Halloween time but now I have friends to help me with the party. He has already planned his Halloween costume this year. He was originally going to come as COVID and make a mask with 3D printed COVID spikes but I wasn't a huge fan of that idea. What if someone got COVID at my party? I'm superstitious that way and you know when people say, "Too soon!"? That's how I felt. His costume is going to be easy for him as he looks quite similar to a tall, lanky person who is currently very much in the news lately and he has been watching videos of him to master his voice.
As for me my Halloween costume is also going to be current but not ghoulish. Every year my focus on Halloween is always the food and so my costume is almost an after thought but this year I wanted to put some effort into it and there will even be a costume change for that evening plus a surprise for our party guests. I know that the next few weeks will go ahead at breakneck speed (because end of the year!) so I have to try and enjoy my favourite spooky season. Maybe with a slice of this pie too!
So tell me Dear Reader, do you get into Halloween? Do you have a favourite costume that you have worn? Can you guess Mr NQN's costume?
Halloween X-Ray Pie
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Preparation time: 45 minutes plus 1 hour 30minutes resting/chilling time
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Serves: 8-10 people
180g/6ozs cake flour
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
113g/1stick butter, cut into cubes, very cold
4-5 tablespoons ice water
160g/5.6ozs cake flour
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon sugar
pinch fine salt
56g/ 1/2 stick butter, cut into cubes, very cold
2-3 tablespoons ice water
Red Food Colouring
1.2kgs/2.6lbs fresh or frozen fruit (I used a combination of jarred morello cherries, frozen raspberries and freshly peeled and diced apple)
2 teaspoons red food colouring (not needed if you use red fruit)
245g/8.6ozs caster or superfine sugar
1/4 cup/55g/2ozs cornflour/fine cornstarch
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
1/2 small egg, beaten for glaze
Step 1 - Place the flour, sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse until combined. Add the butter and pulse for 10-15 seconds until you get fine crumbs. Then add the ice water and pulse until it starts to feel a bit damp (Thermomix, 15 seconds, speed #4.5). Pinch the mixture and if it starts to clump together then it is ready to knead. Otherwise add a bit extra water (I use this pastry recipe all the time and have found the amount of water varies on the flour a lot).
Step 2 - Turn the mixture out into a bowl and start to knead together until you get an even textured dough. Allow to rest for 5 minutes while you do the same for the heart dough.
Step 3 - Repeat the same process for the heart dough but this time add the red food colouring into the ice water and then add this into the dough. You will now have two doughs, a white and a red. I always deal with the white dough first with clean hands and then the red one because you don't want any red from your hands getting on the white dough. I like to roll them out slightly, dust them with a bit of flour and then cover them in cling film and refrigerate for 1 hour. Take out of the fridge and allow to come to temperature for 10 minutes.
Step 4 - Meanwhile you can get the fruit together for the filling. If you are using jarred cherries make sure to drain them well. Mix the fruit, colouring (if using), sugar, cornflour, lemon zest and vanilla in a bowl coating the fruit well. Have a large 31x24cm or 12.2x9.5inch rectangular baking dish ready for the filling.
Step 5 - Line a tray around the same size as the baking dish with a sheet of parchment. Take the white dough out and roll to 3mm/0.12 inch thickness. Using a ruler and pizza cutter cut thin strips around 6mm/0.24inch wide. You want to get around 9-10 ribs and a clavicle on each side. Shape the pattern of this on the parchment lined tray and adjust. Then cut a strip about an inch wide for the centre for the spinal column and then some rectangles for the top and bottom for the vertebrae. Refrigerate for 15 minutes until firm. Cut out two lungs that will fit underneath the ribs and also refrigerate.
Step 6 - Preheat oven to 180C/350F fan forced. Give the fruit filling one final stir and place the fruit filling in the tray and then gently lift the heart on top of the filling. Then place the bones on top gently and then brush with egg glaze (optional they will stay whiter without the glaze). Bake for 30 minutes. Scoop and serve with vanilla ice cream.