Just in case my family doesn't think I spend enough time making and photographing food, I decided to join a new blogging event- "You want pies with that?" Inspired by the movie Waitress, once a month we will make a new pie based on the monthly theme. This month's theme is "Movies" and so I decided to make a pie based on one of my favorites- Emma with Gwyneth Paltrow. I did some searching to see if I could find out anything about what people might have eaten during Jane Austen's time and found a lot of things I wouldn't want to eat! I did remember the picnic in the movie where the picked strawberries, and Harriet's present of walnuts from Mr. Martin (in the book). So that's where Emma Hearts Knightley Pie came from. A nutty shortbread crust, creamy strawberry filling, a sprinkle of nuts, and a generous topping of whipped cream with another sprinkling of nuts on top makes a truly delicious pie. And I hope you guys are proud that I didn't fall back on my old favorite- fruit on top of pastry cream.
And while it might not be exactly what Jane Austen's character ate, it was still a delicious pie to serve my own Mr. Knightley (it's an old picture but I think the feeling is the same as Emma's).
Sweet Tart Dough
from Baking by Dorie Greenspan
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup ground nuts (walnuts, pecans, etc- just pulse in food processor with a little powdered sugar)
½ cup confectioners’ sugar
¼ tsp salt
1 stick plus 1 tablespoon (9 T) very cold (or frozen) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 large egg yolk
Put the flour, nuts, sugar, and salt in a food processor and pulse a couple of times to combine. Scatter the pieces of butter over the dry ingredients and pulse until the butter is coarsely cut in- you should have some pieces the size of oatmeal fakes and others the size of peas. Stir the yolk, just to break it up, and add it a little at a time, pulsing after each addition. When the egg is in, process in long pulses- about 10 seconds each- until the dough, which will look granular soon after the egg is added, forms clumps and curds. Just before you reach this stage, the sound of the machine working the dough will change- heads up. Turn the dough out onto a work surface and, very lightly and sparingly, knead the dough just to incorporate and dry ingredients that might have escaped mixing.
To press the dough into the pan: butter a 9-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. Press the dough evenly over the bottom and up the sides of the pan, using all but one little piece of dough, which you should save in the refrigerator to patch any cracks after the crust is baked. Don’t be too heavy handed- press the crust in so that the edges of the pieces cling to one another, but not so hard that the crust loses its crumbly texture. Freeze the crust for at least 30 minutes, preferable longer, before baking.
To partially or fully bake the crust: center a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees F.
Butter the shiny side of aluminum foil and fit the foil, buttered side down, against the crust. (since you froze it, you can bake it without weights). Put the tart pan on a baking sheet and bake the crust for 25 minutes. Carefully remove the foil. If the crust has puffed, carefully press it down with the back of a spoon. For partially baked crust, patch the crust if necessary, then transfer the crust to a cooling rack. To fully bake the crust, bake for another 8 minutes or so, or until it is firm and golden brown. Transfer pan to a rack and cool the crust to room temperature before filling.
2 Pounds of Strawberries, cleaned and hulled
1 ¼ cups whole milk
¾ cup sugar
5 Tablespoons cornstarch
3 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
Place 2 pounds strawberries in a blender and blend on high until pureed, about 10 seconds (do in two batches if necessary).
Combine milk, sugar and cornstarch in a heavy-bottomed saucepan, and whisk until dissolved. Add the strawberry puree and lemon juice. Cook on high heat, whisking frequently, until the mixture is thick and bubbling (about 7 minutes); remove from heat. Pour into glass bowl and refrigerate 30 minutes.
After filling cools slightly, stir to loosen and spoon into the baked and cooled crust. Sprinkle with chopped nuts and return to refrigerated. Meanwhile, prepare whipped cream.
1 cup heavy cream
2 Tablespoons confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
Combine all ingredients in mixer and whip on high until stiff peaks form. Spread on top of pie and garnish with a strawberry.