Friday, January 31, 2014

Cherry almond pavlova pie

Confession time: The idea for this recipe is actually the result of me taking one of those silly online quizzes. They're stupid, but somehow, you can't resist because you simply HAVE to know, what kind of pie are you? I mean, how could you live life NOT knowing that. 

I'm a cherry pie. Apparently I'm 'the perfect combo of innocent and sexy' well now, I like the sound of that! If you'd like getting free compliments then you can find out what kind of pie you are here.

But back to baking. I love pie, but I despise soggy pastry - nobody likes a soggy bottom (snigger snigger!). Which is why I've got a pastry recipe for you that my special friend Zola shared with me. In her words 'This pastry has literally changed lives'. She's probably right (although I'm hoping she doesn't read this 'cos I'll never hear the end of it!). But this pastry doesn't need rolling out, it doesn't need blind baking and it doesn't need fussing with. How cool is that?! Fill the pastry with sticky-sweet cherries then top it with clouds of fluffy meringue and a sprinkling of almonds and you'll be swooning. The flavours are just incredible together, not to mention the fact that creating it really is easy as pie (sorry, couldn't resist!)

Photograph by Gunther Schubert of Vorsprung Studio
Almond and cherry pavlova pie
Serves 6-8

125g butter, softened
½ cup castor sugar
1 egg
2 cups cake flour
2 tsp baking powder
600g pitted cherries (fresh or frozen)
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
½ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ cup white sugar
2 tbsp cornstarch
2 tbsp almond liqueur or extract
4 egg whites, at room temperature
1 cup castor sugar
½ cup flaked almonds, to garnish
Fresh cherries, to garnish
Whipped cream, to serve (optional)

Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and beat until combined. Add the flour and baking powder to form a dough. Press into a greased 22cm pie dish and bake at 180C for 30 minutes or until golden and crisp.
Combine the cherries, lemon juice, cinnamon and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring for 5 minutes or until the sugar is dissolved. Mix the cornflour with 1 tbsp cold water then add to the cherry mixture. Cook, stirring for a few minutes until thickened. Stir in the almond flavouring. Spoon the slightly cooled cherry filling into the baked pastry case. Whisk the egg whites until soft peak stage then gradually add the sugar. Beat until stiff and the sugar is dissolved. Spoon or pipe the meringue onto the cherry filling, sprinkle with flaked almonds and bake at 190C until the meringue and almonds are golden brown. Serve with fresh cherries and whipped cream if desired.

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