So apparently this week is #NationalPieWeek (or #BritishPieWeek, I don’t know which is the official one); there are so many national food days/weeks that I rarely know that they are happening until it’s too late and I’m not particularly interested in them anyway (except pancake day – that’s different), but it had been a very long time since I last made a pie so I took it as an excuse to bake one.
There isn’t much fruit for pies in season at the moment, but fortunately rhubarb is in season and it is perfect for pie making. It works really well with orange and almond, both of which I used in the pie.
It consists of a crisp orange pastry base topped with almond frangipane with a hint of orange, and tangy rhubarb compote. I finished the pie off with a pretty lattice crust which is easier to make than you might think.
It makes for a pretty impressive looking pie if I do say so myself, and it is absolutely delicious, especially when served warm with ice cream.
You can also customise it to suit yourself – change the lattice pattern (there are loads of ideas on Pinterest), swap some (or all) of the rhubarb for raspberries or strawberries or use lemon instead of orange.
I used my Deiss pro citrus zester and cheese grater to make short work of zesting all of the oranges, which is usually a slow and tedious task.
It is a super sharp (and I mean really, really sharp!), fine-gauge grater that makes it easy to just zest the top layer of citrus peel (which is where all the flavour is), and leave behind the bitter white pith.
It is also so much faster than using a regular box grater and it took me only about a minute to zest four oranges. The handle is really comfortable to hold and it comes with a protective cover to stop the teeth from getting damaged or you from scratching yourself when you put your hand in the drawer.
Rhubarb Orange Almond Pie
- 700 g (1.5lb) rhubarb
- 200 g (1 cup) sugar
- zest and juice 1 large orange
- 1 tbsp cornflour
- 400 g (3 + 1/3 cups) plain flour
- 35 g (1/4 cup) ground almonds
- 75 g (3/4 cup) icing (powdered) sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- finely grated zest of 2 large oranges
- 250 g (1 cup + 1tbsp) cold unsalted butter cubed
- 2 large egg yolks reserve the whites
- juice of 1 orange
- 170 g (2/3 cup + 1tbsp) softened unsalted butter
- 170 g (3/4 cup) caster sugar
- finely grated zest of 1 large orange
- 3 large eggs
- 170 g (1 + 1/2 cups) ground almonds
- 50 g (scant 1/2 cup) plain flour
- couple drops almond extract
- couple drops orange extract
- The reserved egg whites and demarera sugar to finish
Slice the rhubarb into chunks about 5cm long. Place in a pan with the sugar, orange zest and half of the orange juice. Bring up to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes until the rhubarb is soft.
Stir the rest of the orange juice into the cornflour to make a smooth paste and add to the pan. Simmer for a couple more minutes then remove from the heat and leave to cool completely.
Mix together the flour, almonds, sugar, salt and orange zest in a large bowl. Add the butter and rub in with your fingertips until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.
Stir in the egg yolks then gradually add enough orange juice so that the pastry comes together into a ball.
Divide the pastry into two pieces, one a little bit larger than the other, and shape into discs. Wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate for about an hour until firm.
Whisk together the butter, sugar and orange zest until smooth then whisk in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the ground almonds and flour then add a couple of drops each of almond and orange extract (to taste).
Roll out the larger piece of pastry thinly (about 2mm thick) on a lightly floured surface, into a large rectangle and use to line a 20x30cm tart or swiss roll tin. Press the pastry right into the corners and leave about a cm overhanging, adding any scraps to the other ball of pastry.
Spread the frangipane evenly over the base of the pie and top with the rhubarb compote, making sure that they are both level.
Roll out the remaining pastry thinly and cut into thick and thin strips, some the same length as the pie and some the same width. I used three 3cm wide and three 1cm wide strips to go length-ways and four of each to go crosswise. Re-roll any pastry scraps to cut more strips as needed.
Lay the length-ways strips across the pie, alternating between thick and thin. From the centre of the pie, fold back every other wide pastry strip and neighbouring thin strip. Lay down one wide pastry strip and one thin strip in the opposite direction, then fold the pastry back over the top.
Alternate the strips you’ve folded back and repeat the process of laying down the pastry strips in the opposite direction and folding back over to create the woven lattice pattern.
Repeat this over the other half of the pie, going in the opposite direction.
Use some of the reserved egg white to glue the lattice strips to the base of the pie then trim the edges with a sharp knife. Place the pie in the freezer for 20 minutes while you heat the oven to 200C/400F/gas mark 6 and place a baking tray into the oven to heat up.
Brush the top of the pie with egg white and sprinkle with demarera sugar. Place the tin on the hot baking tray (helps prevent a soggy bottom) and bake for 60-80 minutes until golden brown and bubbling. You will probably need to cover the top of the pie with tin foil partway through baking to prevent the top from catching before it is cooked in the middle.
Allow the pie to cool in the tin for half an hour before carefully turning it out and serving warm with ice cream or custard.
This post is sponsored by Deiss; thank you for supporting the brands that allow me to continue doing what I love – playing with food and making a mess of my kitchen.