Friday, 17 May 2013

Coconut Cream Pie

I made my first ever coconut cream pie! Pete, Mum and I were dreaming about them so much I had to make one for us to eat.

Gluten-free, naturally. It was great! I have no pictures of the inside as it got eaten so quickly, but basically it's a pastry base, sweet coconut goo middle, and squidgey airy meringue on top. I read recipes for ones with whipped cream on top and I thought that sounded like the meringue version's rubbish cousin, but mine was so ridiculously sweet I can see why that would work.
Here's the recipe:
Turn the oven to 180C. Grease a 9 inch pastry tin.
  • 225g/2 cups gluten free plain flour
  • pinch salt
  • 110g/ 1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cubed
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 egg
Rub the butter into the flour and salt until it looks like breadcrumbs.
Mix in the sugar, then the egg. Try and make a ball of dough with it. Add a tablespoon of water if it won't stick together. And as many as you need until it does. You don't want it too sticky though. You just want it to come together.
Roll it out on some foil. Gluten free pastry should be seen and not heard so you want it quite thin - 4-5mm.
Line your tin. You can't do it all in one unless you're a superhuman. I consider myself to have done well if I've managed to get a piece to cover most of the botton of the tin and construct the sides on seperately.
Blind bake for 15-20 minutes, or until it's looking dry and before it gets brown.

  • 2 1/4 cups cream
  • 3/4 cup sugar, plus 1/4 cup for the egg whites
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 1/4 cup cornflour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups dessicated coconut
1a. Put the coconut onto a baking tray and bake it in the oven for a few minutes, until it goes brown. This toasting gives it a better flavour.

1.  Put the cream and 3/4 cup sugar in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Meanwhile mix up the egg yolks in a jug.

2. Pour the hot cream into the the egg yolks, slowly at first, stirring lots. If you stick it all in at once you'll get blobs of cooked egg. Leave a residue of cream in the saucepan.

3. Put the cornflour into the cream dregs in the saucepan and stir into a paste. Stir lumps out. Add the cream and egg mixture back into it, a teeny bit at a time, stirring to combine. When you've added enough that it's turning back into a liquid, add the rest of the cream and stir in.

4. Bring to the boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook it like this, stirring constantly, until it thickens, 4-6 minutes.

5. Take off the heat and stir in the toasted coconut and vanilla extract. Pour into your precooked pastry case and leave to cool completely.


6. Oven to 150C. Whip up the egg whites with the remaining sugar to form stiff peaks. Spread over the pie, right to the edges, and bake until it's going lightly brown on the top, about 30 -40 minutes. You can bake it at a higher temperature for less time. The aga's on low at the moment so I just stuck it in there.

It's so sweet you need to drink a gallon of water after a slice and you feel a bit funny. I have plans for the next one - I think I'll make it as above, but whip up some double cream and somehow inject it under the surface of the people inject jam into doughnuts.


Thursday, 9 May 2013

Nettle and Dandelion Beer - Bottled

We bottled the nettle and dandelion beer!

We recycled old beer bottles and used a capping machine (sounds more sophisticated than it is, it's a bit like one of those big modern corkscrews with the two big arms).

Much to my amazement, it smelled very much like beer. We put a teaspoon of sugar in each bottle before filling and capping it, so that it will ferment a second time in the bottle, and get fizzy!

Monday, 6 May 2013

Nettle and Dandelion Beer

My brother is turning into a keen brewer, despite being too skint for much equipment, or indeed, ingredients. Therefore he was very excited to read about nettle and dandelion beer, something you can make from free and extremely abundant ingredients. Infuriatingly abundant for most gardeners.

The recipe says get a bin bag of nettles, a box of dandelion flowers (which is nice and easy as you don't have to dig up the roots and spend ages washing them), boil them for half an hour, strain off the liquor, add three and a bit kilos of sugar, cool it, add the yeast, done. Oh and some citric acid and yeast nutrient. Sounds easy as pie. So we picked a bag of nettles:

And a box of dandelions:

And then realised that we didn't have anything big enough to boil it all up in. People into brewing have big stainless steel pots and gas burner things to do it in, but we didn't so Pete spent all day boiling little batches in as many pots as we could find!

He does however have a big bucket to brew in, so eventually it all made its way in there and has now finished fermenting.

It didn't ferment for as long as we were expecting so the yeast might have died early. It might have gone horribly wrong! I'm not going to be the first one to taste it, that's for sure, it looks disgusting.

Its golden companion you can see there behind it is the mead! It's basically fermented honey solution. Isn't it beeyoitiful? It's been bubbling merrily for weeks now and shows no sign of settling down. I can't wait to taste that, but apparently I have to wait for a year, and then there's only that much of it! Honey is expensive.

Soon we shall bottle the nettle and dandelion beer....