Friday, October 12, 2018


The older I get, the more I love and cherish old-fashioned dishes, especially desserts. There is something so comforting in the texture of crumb bars, sandwiched together by a flavourful filling. Apples are pumpkins are in abundance now, in so many varieties, and it is a pleasure to bake with them. With crisp apples, sweet pumpkin, fragrant honey roasted hazelnuts, as well as warm autumn spices, every piece of this pie is a little work of art on its own.

For the pie filling
350 grams fresh pumpkin
500 grams apples, peeled and cored
200 grams granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon dark rum
100 grams honey roasted hazelnuts, coarsely ground
For the pie dough
250 grams plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
75 grams butter
100 grams granulated sugar
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 small egg
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

To make the flavourful filling, start by peeling and cleaning the pumpkin. Dice it finely, add it to a large, non-reactive, heavy-bottomed pot, sprinkle on the sugar, and then leave it to macerate for about one hour. Once it has softened up, place it over medium high heat, bring to a boil, and let it cook for 15 minutes, while you prepare the apples. Peel, core, and dice them, add them to the pumpkin, and sprinkle cinnamon all over the surface. Cook the filling, stirring often, for about 20 minutes. You want the fruit to be very tender, but not completely turn into jam. Remove from the heat, add the hazelnuts, rum, and vanilla, and mix very well. Leave the filling to cool down to room temperature.
To make the pie dough, melt together the butter and sugar, but do not let it come to a boiling point. Remove it from the heat, add in the oil, vanilla, and the egg, and whisk vigorously until well-blended. It will almost resemble a blondie batter at this point. Sift together the flour with the baking powder, then add it to the melted butter, and mix with a wooden spoon until a soft dough forms. It will hold its shape, but it will be very slightly sticky. Wrap it well into cling film, and place it into the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
When the dough and the filling are ready, weigh the dough and divide it into two equal pieces. Very lightly dust your work surface with flour, then roll each piece into an 18x18 cm square, and place one of them into a square baking pan lined with baking parchment. Using a fork or a toothpick, poke holes all over the dough, then place the filling evenly. Level it as much as possible, then very gently place the other dough piece on top. Brush off any remaining flour, and again, poke small holes all over the surface, and bake the pie immediately in a preheated oven, at 180°C (350°F), for about 25-30 minutes. Once baked, let it cool completely, generously with icing sugar, and serve. Yields 9 rich servings.


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