When I posted about making pasta a few weeks ago, I mentioned that I learned to do so at cooking school in Tuscany last summer. Well I was going through some old pictures last night and came across the ones of all of the food we made during the course at Organic Tuscany. I have very fond memories of this custard pie, particularly the flavor of the vanilla bean in the crust. Oh, to be sitting outside in the warm sun eating a slice of pie and drinking an espresso!
Organic Tuscany Fruit and Custard Pie
Ingredients for the Rich Shortcrust
250 g (1/2 lb) flour
120 g (4 oz) butter, at room temperature
2 whole eggs
2 egg yolks
1 untreated lemon
100 g sugar
Directions for the Rich Shortcrust
1 Line an ovenproof tart dish with baking paper.
2 Make a mound of flour on a wooden work surface.
3 In a well in the centre, distribute the sugar, whole eggs and yolks Grate the lemon zest on top.
4 Add the butter and work the ingredients together with your hands, very gently, preferably with cold hands (run them
under the cold tap when you begin and halfway through the process).
5 When the pastry is homogenous, smooth and completely free of lumps, wrap it in cling wrap and refrigerate it for at least
30 minutes (overnight is best, 2 hours is good).
6 Preheat the oven to 160°C/320°F.
7 When the pastry has rested in the refrigerator, roll out to the size of the tart dish, cover with more baking paper and
weigh down with dry beans, rice, or another, smaller, baking dish. This will prevent the pastry rising.
8 Bake at 160°C/320°F for 15-20 minutes, until the pastry is golden.
9 Remove the beans etc and baking paper and allow to cool.
Ingredients for the Custard
125 g (4 oz) sugar
500 ml (1 pint) milk
4 egg yolks
2 tablespoons flour
1 fresh vanilla pod
250 ml (1/2 pint) whipping cream
Fruit to cover (that will not go black)
e.g. strawberries, kiwi, figs, raspberries etc.
Directions for the Custard
1 Split open the vanilla pod and place in a saucepan with the milk. Bring to the boil.
2 In a large bowl, vigorously beat the egg yolks with the sugar until the result is light in colour and frothy.
3 Add the flour and beat well.
4 Add the milk (remove the vanilla pod) gradually, beating constantly with a whisk.
5 Slowly bring back to the boil. The custard should be quite thick but will thicken even more once it cools. Allow to cool.
Fold whipped cream into the cooled custard. Fill the base with this and decorate with fruit.
This pie is best enjoyed at room temperature soon after it has been made, i.e. not refrigerated.