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Monday 18 October 2010

Pie of the Month - September

Ugly tarts need love too.

I know, I know. There was no pie in September. I'm not going to patronise you and say that I feel bad about it, because frankly, I had a fabulous September on holiday in Italy and was too busy having a good time to worry about pastry.

It is now the latter half of October and I still don't feel bad about having not made a pie last month, because all this cooler weather we seem to be having makes me feel fine about making two this month. Hurrah for cold, dry days - the sort of weather that makes you feel good about turning out a dozen frangipane tarts and eating them all in one go.

You have read correctly: eating them all in one go. Whilst I do not advise snaffling them down if it's just you, for three or four of you, it's fine.

Enough pie, time for a little provenance: I have a bit of an anti-Jamie Oliver thing. It's complicated, long-standing and deep rooted (all the best things in life are, dear), and I am not going to go into it here because I do have admiration for the chap (School Dinner Champion! Where was he when I was in school?), and am not into public mud slinging. Come over for an ale sometime, I'll tell you all about it.

Anyway, his new series and book has made me look at him in a new way. The man makes whole 4 course meals in 30 minutes! It is amazing; I am in awe.

I figured he might me able to help me out with my pie difficulties, and wasn't disappointed - there is plenty of pastry in this book. I made my own tart cases but he suggests buying them in. Whatever; these are 30 minute frangipane tarts: don't get het up.

I should tell you though, just so you do not think we are returning to the days of bin tarts... I made two piles of the tartlets when I had cooled them. One was the beauteous four or five that would grace the pages of Delicious Delicious Delicious, the other were the uglies that could be scoffed immediately. You can see that I scoffed the wrong pile. But I'm not sorry.

Frangipane Tarts
adapted from Jamie's 30-Minute Meals

You will need:

250g plain flour
125g butter, cold and cut into cubes
1 egg

100g ground almonds
100g butter, room temperature
100g caster sugar
1 egg

jam - enough to fill your tarts

  1. First make your pastry: rub the cold butter into the flour. Work quickly, because you don't want the butter to melt. But don't worry about it - I managed, so it isn't hard. When you have a crumby looking mixture, add the egg. Work it through with your hand, and gather the pastry together to form a ball. Wrap this in cling film, flatten slightly and chill for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Roll out the pastry on a floured surface; you want it thin. Cut rounds and use to line a muffin tray. You should have more than enough for 12, so keep the rest in the freezer. Unless you want to make more than 12.
  3. Line the pastry filled muffin indentations with foil, fill with beans, and bake at 200°C for about 15 minutes.
  4. Add a generous teaspoon of jam - I used raspberry and lemon and vanilla - to each tart case, then cover with a mound of frangipane. This is easy to make - using a spoon, beat together the egg, butter, almonds and sugar. That's it.
  5. Bake for around 20 minutes at 180­°C. Done.


  1. How does the saying go? Beauty is on the taste buds of the eater?

    Yum! Hooray for pies! :o)

  2. Ya...never judge a book by its cover...as long as the pies are delicious...who cares!

  3. I've recently come to appreciate Jamie Oliver too. I bought his last book and was incredibly surprised at how much I turn to it.

    These pies may be ugly but they do sound irresistibly yum and I love how easy they are to put together. Looking forward to giving them a try.

  4. What a treat! Must make some soon. I love tiny desserts. My pie of the month is pecan pie. Not sure that's popular in the UK, Mr P, but my version skips the horrible corn syrup that you would probably have difficulty finding. Wish it couldn't be found in the US!

  5. They look real, and therefore, delicious. Good crust to filling ratio.


That's what he said.

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