Category Archives: pie

milk tart

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I’ve written this blog a  thousand times since posting the last one. Over and over in my head; littered in note pads; hacked out on keyboards… Each one peppered with different flavours of experience and time stamped with incidents relevant to that moment. They started descriptively with no stove and old smelly carpets before swirling for months in renovation dust. They lifted like scraped layers of paint bubbling off window frames and hung like splattered washing up bubbles popping on the side of the bath as dishes dried so out of place away from the kitchen when there just was no kitchen sink. As the months stretched apart, writing a blog worthy of breaking the silence became impossibly hard. And so their fates were all the same – shovelled up and discarded like the hundreds of heavy duty bin bags worth of rubble that have been carted to the tip over the last eighteen months.

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pork pies with quail eggs

I have been wanting to make these intriguing English pies for as long as I’ve lived on this muddy little island. I suppose I’ve been irrationally put off making them due to an unfounded belief that they’re unreasonably involved and intricate to make. Granted, this recipe is not entirely authentic – I didn’t boil pigs’ trotters to render the gelatine which holds them together, instead I used shop bought leaf gelatine which easily dissolves in warm water.  

A few weeks ago they were featured on The Great British Bake Off, and as I sat on the couch watching the programme intently, soaking up every tip and technique I could, I decide I had to make these. This take on the pork pie is adapted from master baker Paul Hollywood’s recipe – and makes six pies.

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creamy peanut butter pie

This is a pie for Mikey. This is a pie for everyone I love. I never met Mikey, nor his beautiful wife Jennie and their two daughters, but I identify immensely with their story. Jennie is a food blogger in New York whose world changed instantly when Mikey died very unexpectedly four weeks ago today. A heart attack, like my Dad ten months ago. Both brutally decades too early.

Jennie had been meaning to make Mikey’s favourite peanut butter pie for him and now it’s too late. So she put it out to the food blogging community – a strangely close community separated by millions of miles yet tied closely together by their shared love for food – to make this pie and share it with those they love, “then hug them like there’s no tomorrow because today is the only guarantee we can count on”.

So I made this pie and shared it with those I love who are close enough to have tea and pie with – and sent virtual hugs to those not close enough. It’s sweet and delicious and comes from In Jennie’s Kitchen.

225g chocolate cookies
4 tbs butter, melted
115g finely chopped dark chocolate chips
60g chopped peanuts
240ml heavy cream
225g cream cheese
225g smooth peanut butter
225g confectioner’s sugar
420ml sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

Add the cookies to the bowl of a food processor and pulse into fine crumbs.  Combine melted butter and cookie crumbs in a small bowl, and stir with a fork to mix well.  Press mixture into the bottom and 1-inch up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan. 

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave.  Pour over bottom of cookie crust and spread to the edges using an off-set spatula.  Sprinkle chopped peanuts over the melted chocolate. Place pan in the refrigerator while you prepare the filling.

Pour the heavy cream into a bowl and beat using a stand mixer or hand mixer until stiff peaks form.  Transfer to a small bowl and store in refrigerator until ready to use.  Place the cream cheese and peanut butter in a deep bowl.  Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy.  Reduce speed to low and gradually beat in the confectioner’s sugar.  Add the sweetened condensed milk, vanilla extract and lemon juice. Increase speed to medium and beat until all the ingredients are combined and filling is smooth.

Stir in 1/3 of the whipped cream into the filling mixture (helps lighten the batter, making it easier to fold in the remaining whipped cream).  Fold in the remaining whipped cream.  Pour the filling into the prepared springform pan.  Drizzle the melted chocolate on top, if using, and refrigerate for three hours or overnight before serving.


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