Apple Chai Pumpkin Pie

“Whoops! I seem to have missed thanksgiving or halloween for this post. (Not that we really celebrate them here much)  But who says pumpkin pie should only be served on those days? For this recipe I’ve combined the silky softness of the pumpkin custard with the spiciness of chai tea to make a slightly different version of this American classic. Like all good tarts, it’s slightly complicated and has several stages but the finished product is well worth the effort.  Enjoy!”

(Photo by Gary Donald Corbett)

Ingredients

For the cinnamon pastry

  • 140g butter
  • 300g plain flour
  • 140g castor sugar
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 egg
For the spiced apples
  • 3 granny smith apples
  • 1 1/2 cups boiling water
  • 2 tbsp chai tea
  • 2 tbsn raw sugar

For the pumpkin filling

  • 600g pumpkin
  • 2 cups cream
  • 2 tbsn chai tea
  • 180g brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 3 eggs

Method

  1. For the cinnamon apples: In a cup pour the boiling water over the chai tea and sugar and leave to sit.
  2. For the pumpkin custard: In a small saucepan bring the cream to a light simmer then add the chai tea.  Allow this to sit and infuse while it cools down.
  3. Cut the pumpkin into 2 cm square pieces and steam until soft.  Set aside to cool.  (If you’re in America you can buy pumpkin pie mix in a can. Shame on you!)
  4. For the cinnamon pastry: In a food processor combine the butter sugar, flour and cinnamon.  Pulse until the mixture resembles fine bread crumbs.  Add the egg and process until pastry comes into a ball.
  5. Tip out onto a piece of cling wrap and form into a disc.  Place in refrigerator.
  6. For the cinnamon apples: Peel the apples and cut each one into 16 wedges. Place apples in a small saucepan.
  7. Drain the chai tea and add the tea leaves to the cream. (Every little bit of flavour helps)
  8. Pour the chai tea mixture over the apples and bring to a simmer.  Cook the apples until they’re soft but still holding their shape.  Transfer the apples and liquid to a bowl and refrigerate, letting them cool in the remaining liquid.
  9. For the cinnamon pastry: Remove the pastry from the fridge and on a well-floured surface, roll out until it’s about 5mm thick.
  10. Carefully transfer this into a greased 30cm tart dish (I use the sort with the removable bottom), filling any gaps and neatening up the edges.
  11. Transfer the tart dish to the freezer for 15 minutes.
  12. For the pumpkin custard: Drain the infused cream of the tea leaves and put in a food processor.  Add the cooled pumpkin, sugar, cinnamon, ginger and eggs and process until smooth.
  13. For the cinnamon pastry: Remove the tart dish from the freezer and using a fork, prick the bottom of the pastry evenly (about 20 times).
  14. Line the pastry with grease-proof paper and fill with baking beads or rice.  Transfer to a 180 degree celsius oven and cook for 15 minutes.  Remove the beads/rice and baking paper and cook for another 10 minutes. Lower the temperature to 150 degrees.
  15. Remove the tart shell from the oven and let it cool slightly.  Drain the apples of any remaining liquid and put a layer of 2/3 of the cooled apples into the bottom of the tart. (The remaining apples are reserved for serving)
  16. Pour the pumpkin custard over the apples and transfer to the oven for 30-35 minutes.  The cooked pie should be uniformly cooked but still a bit wobbly.
  17. Allow to cool and serve with whipped cream and some of the remaining spiced apples and a sprinkle of icing sugar.

 

 

 

 

 

Marian’s Moroccan Chicken

“I’ve got to thank my friend Marian for this recipe.  She made it for me years ago and ever since I’ve had it on my stand-by list for quick and easy dinners.  It even features on my Moroccan catering menu alongside slow-cooked beef with dates and orange almond cake.  The best thing about this dish is the combination of flavours and textures.  You get the sweet and sour tang from the vinegar and sugar and the caramelised goodness of the chicken with the salty hit from the capers and the olives.  Whoops, just drooled on the keyboard thinking about it!  Of course as an avid cook I couldn’t quite leave the recipe alone so I’ve tweaked it ever so slightly (Sorry Marian!).  You may also notice that this recipe feeds quite a few (Christmas party catering!) so just cut the ingredients in half if you want, or make huge amounts and eat as leftovers.  I’ve paired it with a roast pumpkin cous cous salad.  Enjoy!”

Ingredients

  • 2kg chicken thighs
  • 500g mushrooms
  • 1 red onion
  • 8 cloves of garlic
  • 400g pitted prunes
  • 400g dried apricots
  • 300g pitted olives
  • 150g capers
  • 8 bay leaves
  • 1 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups light olive oil
  • 2 cups white wine
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 4 tbsn dried oregano
  • Salt and pepper

Method

  1. Quarter the chicken thighs and mushrooms and place in a large container.
  2. Finely slice the onion into rings and slice the garlic.  Add to the chicken.
  3. Add the prunes, apricots, olives, capers and bay leaves.
  4. Combine the vinegars, oil and wine with the sugar and stir into the chicken mixture.
  5. Finally add the oregano, salt and pepper and refrigerate covered for 4 hours or overnight.
  6. Place mixture in an baking dish and cook at 200 degrees c for 40-50 minutes or until the chicken is cooked.  Don’t worry if some of the fruit and chicken caramelises (burns!) during the cooking process, this adds to the flavour.

Roast pumpkin and cous cous salad

Ingredients

  • 1 kg pumpkin
  • 2 tbsn ras e hanout (Moroccan spice)
  • 1 cup cous cous
  • 1/2 cup currents
  • 150g pine nuts
  • 1 red onion
  • Fresh coriander
  • Salt and pepper

Method

  1. Cut the pumpkin into 1cm cubes. Coat in olive oil and Ras e hanout and bake in a moderate oven until cooked.  Allow to cool.
  2. Place cous cous in a sealed container and cover with boiling water.  Place the lid on and let sit for 15 minutes.
  3. Stir with a fork to separate the grains.
  4. In a dry pan roast the pine nuts until they start to turn golden then put in a bowl.
  5. Finely dice the red onion and coriander and add to the cous cous with the other ingredients.
  6. Top with roast pumpkin and some more coriander.