So, belatedly (in every way), this was my last effort for pie month. A birthday pie (6 months after the date), consisting of a tart paste case, filled with crème pastissiere and topped with raspberry sauce and whole raspberries and loganberries. In order to increase the likelihood of a good result, I turned to The Reader’s Digest Cookery Year (1976) and the method included as part of the recipe for Quiche Reine-Claude, a flan case filled with crème patissiere and topped with sliced greengages, a recipe from the September chapter by Elizabeth Pomeroy (which I will definitely attempt in the appropriate season). There is a second recipe for crème patissiere later in the book, which uses cornflour and no vanilla, but I didn’t see this until later and anyway, no vanilla?!
2oz caster sugar
1oz plain flour
½ pint milk
½ teaspoon vanilla essence or 2 dessertspoons lemon juice
Put 1 whole egg and 1 egg yolk in a mixing bowl (set aside the remaining egg white).Whisk the sugar with the egg until creamy and near white, then whisk the sifted flour into the eggs, and gradually add the milk. Pour the mixture into a small saucepan and bring to the boil, whisking continuously.
Simmer this custard cream over a very low heat for 2 – 3 minutes to cook the flour, flavour with vanilla essence or lemon juice and pour into a shallow dish to cool. Stir from time to time to prevent a skin forming.
This was very straightforward and if you’re comfortable making white sauce/cheese sauce/béchamel/whatever you like to call it, you’ll have no problems. I tasted the sauce after a couple of minutes and it tasted quite wallpaper-paste-y (I.e. the flour was not sufficiently cooked) so I simmered it for a few minutes longer and it became very thick (almost soft dropping consistency), so I hastily took it off the heat.
When cold it reminded me of cheese sauce, being velvet-y and spreadable but thicker than custard and very pale. The (lack of) colour being a good reminder than commercial products almost always have additives to improve the colour, (even if those additives are not synthetic, I.e. tumeric).
As far as I recall, the raspberry sauce consisted of some raspberries, the juice of a lemon (the zest of which went in the pastry), some sugar, cooked gently until it reduced slightly, then sieved. All fruit used was frozen, not fresh.
I was so overexcited to actually put the pudding together, that I didn’t take a photo where you could see the crème patissiere until it was in the bowl and half eaten. Still, it tasted lovely – a sweet, creamy foil for the sharp fruit and crunchy, lemon-y pastry. I was under the impression from somewhere that crème patissiere was difficult, but it isn’t, as long as you keep the heat low and keep whisking. So if you like it, I urge you to try it, this certainly wasn’t a one-off for me.
Crème-d by Elly