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I freely admit I am addicted to buying cookbooks and magazines. I read them like novels. And even though I have hundreds, it doesn’t take much to have me reaching for my money to buy more. With magazines, it’s the cover photo that gets me. Usually if it’s anything to do with baking or desserts, I’m hooked and have to buy it. It doesn’t always follow that I then make the recipe however.

The latest to tempt me was the cover of the November edition of Australian Good Food with Berry & Almond Picnic Pies. I had to have them. Above is a photo of my first attempt at the recipe. I’m pretty happy with the result and they taste quite nice too.

Mini berry and almond pies

Ingredients

  • 2 sheets frozen shortcrust pastry, thawed (or make your own and roll flat)
  • 1/3 cup berry jam (I used raspberry for half and blackberry for the rest)
  • 125g butter – at room temp
  • ½ cup (75g) self raising flour
  • 1 ¼ cups (155g) almond meal
  • 1/3 cup (75g) caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ tsp almond extract (I could only find essence at my shop and it smelt really artificial, so I used vanilla extract instead)
  • Flaked almonds/berrys to top
  • 2/3 cup (110g) icing sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 180C or 160C fan forced. Grease (I used butter) a 12 hole (1/3 cup) muffin tin.
  2. Using a 9cm cutter (fluted or plain) cut out 12 rounds from the pastry and line the tin. Work from one side to the other to avoid air bubbles. Then place 1 heaped teaspoon of jam into the bottom of each.
  3. Place butter, flour, almond meal (and extract if using), sugar and eggs into food processor. Process until smooth.
  4. Place a heaped spoonful on top of the jam and smooth to spread, using the back of a spoon. There is enough mix to divide equally between the 12 pies.
  5. Top with almonds or berries. I put almonds on top of the raspberry ones, and blueberries onto of the other.
  6. Cover loosely with aluminium foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 10-20 minutes. I needed to cook mine for the whole 40 minutes total. Top should be puffed and golden.
  7. When cool enough to touch, remove from tin and place on wire rack. When cool, drizzle icing over top (make icing by stirring icing and 2-3 tsp water in a bowl). Allow to set for 15 minutes.

Make sure the pies are completely cool before drizzling over the icing. Mine weren’t, and just absorbed the icing. So I dusted them with icing sugar when completely cool instead.

Adapted from Australian Good Food November 2012 – p 111. Cover recipe.

When cooking with pastry I usually cheat and buy ready made pastry from the freezer. The recipe above even called for frozen pastry in the ingredients. However, knowing I was going to blog about it, I was inspired to make it from scratch instead of reaching into the freezer. The great thing about this recipe is if you don’t need it all you can freeze it for next time! I used the leftovers and cut out smaller circles and topped with a dot of jam and any of the leftover almond mixture.

Shortcrust pastry (pâte brisée)

Ingredients

  • 250g plain flour
  • 150g butter (chilled and chopped)
  • 1 tsp fine salt
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp milk

1.         Place flour, salt, sugar and butter into food processor. Process until it looks like bread crumbs.

2.         Combine milk and egg and then with processor on low, add to the flour/butter mix until pastry comes together.

3.         Remove from processor onto clean surface (or piece of baking paper). Kneed a few times until comes together into a ball, flatten slightly then wrap in cling film. Refrigerate for 1-2 hours. (can be stored in an airtight container in fridge for 1 week or 3 months in the freezer).

Adapted from recipe for pâte brisée in Michel Roux Pastry: Savory & Sweet
2010.