Friday, June 5, 2009

You Want Pies with That - Childhood memory pies

Ellen at Kittymama chose the You Want Pies With That theme for May which is a childhood memory pie. I had to think long and hard about this one as I had a wonderful childhood and converting only one of my memories into a pie was going to be tricky. I think of my ideas for these kind of challenges when I am out running in the morning, and it was on such a run that I had my inspiration for this pie.

My Aunty Margaret is my Mum’s older sister. She and Uncle Bill don’t have any children of their own and when I was growing up my sisters and I would often go and stay with them in Dunedin, 2 ½ hours away from where we lived, in the school holidays. Sometimes I would go by myself, but usually with my sister next to me in age, Rachelle. We would have a wonderful time and be totally spoiled.

Aunty Margaret did the pastry baking in a local bakery in the mornings in those days. Uncle Bill was a TV technician, working from home, so while Aunty Margaret was at work in the mornings, we would play while Uncle Bill worked, mostly playing shops with an old cash register that Aunty Margaret had for that purpose, her cans, packets etc of food in her well stocked larder and real money – people were paid in cash those days and Aunty Margaret honestly used to give us real money to play with. I always had to be the shop keeper, and Rachelle the customer – the prerogative of the bossy older sister! I had a supermarket obsession even in those days (I think it is in my blood, my Grandad owned the equivalent of a 4 square shop, and I ended up being a check-out-chick at New World after school and in University holidays).

This big long story is leading onto the story of my pie!! Aunty Margaret’s specialty at the bakery she worked at was custard slice. I think custard slice is an iconic Kiwi creation – thickened custard sandwiched between layers of flaky pastry and topped with white icing and coconut. I didn’t really like them as a child, but if you ever get a chance to try a denheath’s custard square you must – they definitely take custard squares to another level. If you live in new Zealand you can order Denheath’s Custard Squares from their site – they are a treat not to be missed!

I digress, my pie in honour of Aunty Margaret’s custard square are mini custard pies. I was going to ice the top with white icing and sprinkle with coconut, but I thought that may have been gilding the lily a bit. The tarts are really easy to make and were very delicious. I made a small batch, using only 1 egg yolk, and got 5 small tarts. For someone who doesn’t really like flaky pastry all that much, I ate one of these quite happily. I had made my own rough puff pastry a while ago and there was a leftover bit in the freezer, but you could use bought sheets of flaky pastry. Check out the other pie makers childhood memory pies here.

Custard Pies in memory of holidays with Aunty Margaret and Uncle Bill

3 egg yolks
120g sugar
2 tbsp cornflour
200ml cream
200ml milk
2 tsp vanilla

• Whisk together yolks, sugar, cornflour, and then whisk in cream and milk.
• Cook over a low heat until thick
• Stir in vanilla and chill the custard
• Line muffin tins with thinly rolled puff pastry,. Fill each pie with custard and bake at 180c for about 20 minutes or until pastry is browned and custard has set


Cakelaw said...

Some lovely memories there - thanks for sharing. We call custard slices vanilla slices - and I love 'em! My faves are the ones with passionfruit icing on top. There's a new bakery down the road from me that makes "grouse" vanilla slices - but they have thick stodgy fondant icing on top, which I tend to rip off.

Snooky doodle said...

I ve never tried vanilla slices or these pies but these sound delicious :)

Jen H said...

If I ever make it to New Zealand I'll definitely be trying a custard slice and I think your little tarts are the perfect recreation. Great job!

LaDue & Crew said...

These sound really delicious!