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Transparent Pie

Courses: Dessert, Pies
Serves: 12 people

Recipe Ingredients

  Flaky Pie Pastry
1 cup 62g / 2.2ozUnbleached all-purpose flour - plus
2 tablespoons 30mlUnbleached all-purpose flour - plus more
1/2 teaspoon 2.5mlSugar
1/8 teaspoon 0.6mlCoarse salt
1/2 cup 99g / 3.5ozUnsalted European-style butter
  = (or 1/4 cup butter and 1/4 cup
  Cold lard or shortening)
3 tablespoons 45mlCold water
1 cup 237mlQuince or other tart jelly -(10 oz) - see * Note
3/4 cup 148g / 5.2ozUnsalted butter - room temperature
1/4 cup 49g / 1.7ozCane sugar - more if needed
1 cup 198g / 7ozEggs - (abt 4)
1   Baked 9" Flaky Pie Pastry - (listed above)
1/3 cup 78mlWhipping cream - room temperature
1/3 cup 78mlHalf-and-half - room temperature
2 teaspoons 10mlVanilla extract
1   Mace - for garnish

Recipe Instructions

* Note: You can substitute crab apple or guava jelly.

For the Flaky Pie Pastry: Place the flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl and blend with your fingertips. Cut the butter into thin 1/2-inch chips and add to the bowl. Toss the mixture with your hands until each chip is coated with flour.

Turn onto a broad work surface. Roll out until the butter chips have turned into long flakes; use a flexible scraper to gently remove pieces that stick to the pin or board and coat them with flour.

Return the mixture to the bowl. Sprinkle it with water and blend with a large rubber spatula or kitchen spoon until the water has been absorbed, about 15 strokes. Dust the top lightly with flour, then press the mixture down into the bowl -- 4 or 5 gentle pushes will press everything together.

Sprinkle the work surface with flour and turn the dough out onto it. Dust the rolling pin generously with flour. Dust the dough with flour and roll it into a rectangle about 1/4-inch thick. The dough will be loose, but fold the long edges over to meet in the center. Give the package a turn so the long way runs side to side. Roll out, fold and turn as before until the dough begins to hold together, usually 2 more times.

Fold over the corners and press into a 6-inch round. The dough can be rolled out at once or wrapped and refrigerated. If chilled, let it rest at room temperature until soft enough to roll.

Place the round on your lightly floured work surface and dust the top with flour. Roll out into a 13-inch circle. Brush off any flour and roll the circle up loosely on the pin a little more than halfway, brushing off flour underneath. Slide the pie dish underneath it and unroll the pin over it, centering the circle.

Gently push the dough down into the corners at the bottom of the dish, then firmly up against the sides without stretching the dough (this is important).

Make the border fairly even all around (it doesn't have to be perfect) by trimming any excess with scissors and using these scraps to patch any skimpy places (drops of cold water will seal the seams). Tuck the border under itself to make the edge even with the rim.

Finish the border by fluting (poke the tip of a finger into the dough on one side and pinch it on the other side, making a V; repeat right next to the V and so forth around the border) or impressing an edging with the tines of a fork.

Chill for 20 to 30 minutes.

For crisp pastry under custard pies, the shell must be fully baked before filling. Heat the oven to 400 degrees.

For crisp pastry under custard pies, the shell must be fully baked before filling. Heat the oven to 400 degrees. To keep the dough from shrinking and puffing as it bakes, it must be held in place for the first 2/3 of baking. Cut 2 sheets of foil or parchment paper about 15 inches long. Lay them in the dish at right angles. Fill the shell to the rim with metal pie weights, dried beans, rice or a combination -- you'll need at least 5 cups (7 is ideal). As you pour in the weights, press them firmly down into the corners at the bottom of the dish and up against the sides; also fill every V of fluting.

Bake in the center of the oven for 20 minutes, then carefully lift out the foil or paper and weights (save them for next time). Continue baking, checking after 3 to 4 minutes to make sure the pastry isn't puffing up. If it is, prick the bubbles with a fork. Continue baking, checking again a few minutes later for puffing, until the pastry is golden all over, 10 to 15 minutes in all. Cool if not filling at once.

For the Pie: Set a baking sheet on the bottom rack (or middle rack, if you prefer) of the oven; heat the oven to 425 degrees. Melt the jelly in a small pot over low heat or in a small bowl at 3/4 power in the microwave oven, stirring until smooth. Cool slightly.

Place the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl. Beat with a mixer at medium speed or with a wooden spoon until thoroughly blended. Add the eggs one at a time, beating until blended after each.

Warm the pastry shell in the oven for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk the cream, half-and-half and vanilla into the jelly until blended, then pour into the butter, beating with a wooden spoon until smooth. Remove the shell from the oven and pour the mixture into it. The sieve is not necessary. Set the pie on the baking sheet and bake 10 minutes.

If on the bottom rack, carefully move the sheet and pie up to the center rack. Place a tent of foil over the pie, shiny-side up. Reduce the temperature to 350 degrees and continue baking until the custard tests ready to remove using the knife test: Insert a table knife just off-center; when it comes out with solid bits of custard attached, it's ready -- 25 to 35 minutes more. Cool, then, if necessary, refrigerate until an hour or so before serving.

Just before serving, sprinkle a suspicion of mace over the top. Note: This pie comes together slowly while baking. Don't panic if it still looks a little liquid after the initial baking period. Just keep baking and watch carefully. When finished, there may be some melted butter on top. It will firm up during the cooling.

This recipe yields 10 to 12 servings.

Each of 12 servings: 240 calories; 32 mg sodium; 129 mg cholesterol; 17 grams fat; 10 grams saturated fat; 20 grams carbohydrates; 3 grams protein; 0 fiber.

The Los Angeles Times, 02-27-2002


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