A once aspiring domestic goddess, but now a flustered mum that creates the odd flash of cosy domesticity, though progress on that front is being hampered by two growing children, two West Highland Terriers, one better half and the small but not insignificant detail that I have to work for a living. Why not sit down and have a cuppa whilst I share with you my latest cooking exploits and random musings?
Lola and Finn's Mum
Saturday, 8 September 2012
From the garden: Gooseberry and Elderflower Filo Pie
I have neglected my garden now for about six years, funnily
enough about the same time I have had children, but there are still some things
that thrive in there apart from bindweed. Hidden here and there amongst the
overgrowth are little glimmers of the past where I had fruit plants from which
I had this romantic notion that I would have bumper harvests all the time and
would whisk them away to the kitchen and so something marvellous with them.
Being a) not talented in the garden department, and b) living in a country
where Summer happens in March and a few days in September, means that my
attempts have been met various levels of failure, but if there is one thing
that can be guaranteed to bring forth something I can do something with, it is
my very thorny gooseberry bushes and my unwieldy blackberry bushes, both of
which seem to thrive in grey cloud and sodden soil it would seem.
So, this year's crop of red tinged sourness was initially
frozen by me in two plastic bags because I was about to go to France and
couldn't really do them much justice. But, once returned I had plans for one of
the bags and this is the result, a Nigel Slater inspired gooseberry filo pie. I
currently have lots of filo pastry which I bought when I did my supermarket
shop in Calais before returning to the UK, and pastry in all its forms is
cheaper and in many cases better than I can make, plus it speeds up stuff.
Sometimes I like to make quiche on a whim. How exciting.
The alteration I made to this recipe was that I added a
little elderflower cordial to the gooseberries. If you have never had
gooseberries and elderflower together, then you really, really should. It is so
amazingly tasty. It does make for a filling that is a little liquidy, but that
pleases me in all honesty as I can then pour a little cream on it and make it
even better. Crispy filo, tart gooseberry liquor, unctuous cream. I can think
of little better.
Gooseberry Filo Pie, adapted from Nigel Slater's recipe in
the Guardian newspaper
Serves Mum and Dad twice, whilst Lola and Finn had an ice
cream from the freezer (yes, I failed)
1 tbsp elderflower cordial
80g caster sugar
125g ground almonds
6 leaves of filo pastry
A little Demerara sugar
Cream, to pour over
Top and tail the gooseberries, removing any stalks and dried
flowers. Put the berries in a bowl, add the caster sugar, elderflower cordial and the ground almonds
and toss them gently together.
Melt the butter, then brush a little of it on the base of a
22cm metal baking dish or shallow cake tin. Lay a piece of filo pastry in the
tin, leaving the edges overhanging the sides, then brush it with butter. Add a
second sheet and continue, layering and brushing until all the sheets are used.
Set the oven at 180C/gas mark 4 and place a baking sheet on the oven shelf.
Tip the gooseberries into the baking dish, then pull the
over-hanging pastry sheets into the middle to lightly cover the berries. If you
twist the pastry sheets as you do so you get interesting folds and ripples and
the crust will crisp nicely. Brush lightly with butter and sprinkle with
Demerara sugar. Note: My pastry sheets were thicker than the filo pastry I buy here, and as such wouldn't fold down in the way I wanted them initially. I folded them as I could, brushed the top with butter and then put a saucer with a tin of beans on the top of the filo to get it to 'lie down'.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, on the hot baking sheet (the extra
heat will help the base to cook, although it will always be slightly soft) till
the top of the pastry is crisp and golden.