Sour Cherry Pie with Pistachio Crumb - Sweet Melissa Sundays

How wonderful that my first week taking part in Sweet Melissa Sundays was a pie recipe! Sour cherries are not very easy to get hold of in NZ at the best of times (unless you are lucky enough to have a tree) so I used some lovely Morello cherries for this pie, I also added some sliced fresh rhubarb as I thought it would be lovely with the other flavours in this pie, I only used half oat flour and half whole oats, as I prefer the texture of whole oats in crumble. Since I was taking it into work with me for Quiz and Pie Mondays I also pre-baked the pie shell and brushed it with melted dark chocolate to prevent the pastry getting soggy from the fruit filling.

I can't post the recipe for this one, but if you want to bake along then keep an eye out for 'The Sweet Melissa Baking Book - by Melissa Murphy'

This pie was lovely, and got some very nice comments from those who got a piece at quiz - there were an unusual number of work folks at the quiz so I may need to start baking larger pies...

The tartness of the Rhubarb went wonderfully with the sour cherries and the chocolate lining the shell complimented the fruit filling nicely. The whole oats I left in the crumble added a lovely crunchy texture to the soft filling, this is one I'll be making again.

Chocolate Hazelnut Pavlova Pie

The Pavlova pie has been in the pie notebook for a little while, and was yet to inspire me to do anything further then a quick idea on a page. However this week when I got sent some secret family recipes by my mother, one of which was for pavlova I was suddenly fill of new idea's around the Pavlova pie. I have come up with two versions, a luxurious chocolate hazelnut pavlova pie and also a traditional kiwi inspired pie, the latter will need to wait until kiwifruit and strawberries are back in season!

1x Pie Shell, par-baked (28 x 5cm - I used chocolate sweet short pastry)

Chocolate Hazelnut Ganache
160ml Cream

200gm Dark Chocolate, in small pieces

Cherry Filling
1/2 C Dried Cherries, soaked overnight in 1/4C Kirsch Liqueur

1/2 C Morello Cherries
1tsp Gelatin/Agar
1tsp Vanilla Essence

8 Egg Whites
12Tbs Castor Sugar
2tsp Vinegar
2Dsp Warm Water
140g Hazelnuts, roasted and crushed in mortar and pestle

Chocolate Hazelnut Ganache
Heat cream gently until small bubbles appear on the outside of the pan, do not boil. Pour over chocolate pieces and Frangelico and whisk until melted. Chill.
When cool whip ganache for three minutes, until light and fluffy. Chill.

Cherry Filling
Put dried cherries and Kirsch into a small saucepan with morello cherries and 1/4C water, heat until liquid looks syrupy. Put gelatin/agar into a small bowl and tip out some cherry juice from the pan to dissolve gelatin/agar, tip back into pan with vanilla. Chill.

Beat egg whites till stiff (90sec) add vinegar and water, beat till mixed in. Add sugar 1Tbs at a time, beat for 2min. Fold in hazelnuts.

Tip Pavlova mix into par-baked pie shell, spread evenly leaving a hollow for the filling when cooked. Bake at 150C for 10min, then turn stove off completely for 1hr.
When cool spread
Chocolate Hazelnut Ganache around the inside of the pavlova, leaving a pavlova border and a hollow for the Cherry Filling. Chill for 2hrs. Pour Cherry Filling into the centre of the pie. Chill.

The pie didn't have enough pavlova for my liking , as I wanted a layer on the sides and base, so I have doubled the quantity of pavlova. I made a rather large pie, so feel free to adjust the quantity for smaller pies!

Dark Chocolate, Coffee Bean and Caramelised Walnut Tart

1x 21cm Pie Shell, parbaked
200ml Cream
220g Dark Chocolate, in small pieces
2Tbs Liqueur (I used Irish Cream, Whisky or Frangelico would also work well in this one)
1x Shot Espresso
4Tbs Coffee Beans, roasted
1 Egg
2 Tbs Flour
30g Walnut pieces, finely chopped
30g Butter, melted
30g Sugar, brown
1/3C Walnut halves
1Dsp Sugar

Heat cream gently until small bubbles appear on the outside of the pan, do not boil. Pour over chocolate pieces and whisk until melted, add liqueur and espresso. Chill.
When cool whip ganache for two minutes, add egg and whip for two more minutes.
Grind coffee beans and add to ganache with the flour. Fold through.
Mix the walnut pieces, butter and brown sugar to a paste and brush in pie shell, bake at 180C for 10min.
Pour chocolate mix into pie shell and bake at 130C for 20min.
While pie is in the oven put walnuts in a non-stick pan and sprinkle with the sugar, cook until glossy and golden, 4 to 5 minutes, shaking the pan continuously. Set aside.
After 20min carefully pull pie out and arrange walnuts decoratively over the pie.
Cook for a further 15min or until set.

I decorated my tart with a sesame glaze, pure indulgence!

Delicious Citron Tart

I love citron tart, so tangy and fresh and simply delicious. I have been trying to find a recipe for the perfect mix of sweet, and tangy and amazing citrus flavour. Last time I attempted a citron tart, the filling did not set and I was left with a delicious but sloppy tart, after this I have been put off trying a citron tart again! However, I was given a most wonderful recipe book this week - French Lessons by Justin North. It has inspired me to try another citron tart, and as you can see the filling set beautifully!

5 Whole Eggs

1 Egg Yolk
100g Sugar
200ml Cream
130ml Citrus Juice
2Tbs Zest

Combine eggs, yolk and sugar in a bowl until well combined.
Stir in the cream, citrus juice and zest.
Cover and refridgerate overnight.
Pour filling into a par-baked pie shell and bake for 35min at 180C.

Rest for at least 30min before serving