Baking is an art which is fun and soothing and what better time to start than now. Staying put at home might not be as relaxing as we planned, so why not give a hand at baking to curb your cravings? Be it cakes, cookies or pies, they all need planning, precision and lots of love.
Today we have Pastry Chef Rashmi Ramarao who has been a passionate baker for more than 5 years. She quit her job as a 12 years Quality Analyst to pursue her dreams and started Little Leo Bakery at home 18 months ago. She loves making artisan bread and specialises in making customised cakes and cookies. While we think baking a pie can be quite tricky, Rashmi says that you can ace it by keeping these simple tips in mind.
Preparing the dough
- Always use cold butter while preparing the dough.
- Make sure you mix the dry ingredients with butter thoroughly. For best results rub the flour and the butter between your fingers creating sand-like texture.
- Do not knead the short dough for any reason as it develops gluten.
- Tightly cover and refrigerate the dough once you roll it. It helps get clean cuts and finish.
Making the Shell/ Tart
- While rolling the dough, use as little flour as possible.
- Prick the rolled dough with fork or toothpick to prevent it from puffing up or forming into odd shapes.
- To prevent the pie base from getting soggy due to the filling, give an egg white wash and bake for a few mins before pouring your wet mixture.
- You can make empty pie/ tart shells in advance and freeze it.
- Once you shape the shell with the dough, you can fill the crust with dry beans or grains like rajma, rice or something similar to hold and retain the original shape while baking. The dry grains are used as they can be neatly removed once the crust is baked.
Filling it right
Jam filling – If you are going for a fruit-based jam filling, a squeeze of lemon can enhance the flavour and retains the colour.
For custard pie or tart – Once the custard is ready, cool it down. Add a 1-inch cube of butter to 250 gms of filling and fold it in to make the custard more creamy and glossy, giving it a silky touch.
Savoury filling – If the savoury filling you opt contains raw egg, bake it in a lower temperature to avoid curdling.
Flavours that pack a punch
Banoffee – Made of banana, toffee/ caramel and whipped cream, this salty-sweet cream-filled pie is sure to make anyone’s mouth water. Apart from just being a pie, your family will get to relish it with the wholesome benefits of banana too. You can fill the whipped cream till the brim of the pie shell and even opt to leave it without a crust on top.
Linzertorte – A combination of nutty and fruity together. It is a nutrient punch of nut paste made of almond, cashew or pista layered with your favourite fruit jam filling. The outermost layer can be coated with a spiced (pick your choice) nut paste and covered with latticework to finish it up.
Keep in mind
If the filling is already cooked or does not require any further baking in the oven, you can use thoroughly baked shells and load them up.
If the filling requires further cooking, for example, while making a quiche, then half bake the shell/crust. Then you can fill it and bake again. This trick will ensure that you don’t overcook the crust.
A few recipes to try
Thinking of digging into a delectable pie can be mouthwatering, isn’ it? Well, let me not make you wait any longer. Go on and indulge yourself in the pie of your choice.