This is one of my favourite fish pies which is really good to serve to guests as it looks so scrumptious and different when baked. Filo pastry keeps it light and is used in a decorative way as a topping. The herby cream cheese filling which is added to cubes of salmon and prawns/shrimp is so smooth and delicious too.
You will need a 20cm (8 in) loose-bottomed flan tin, 3.75cm (1½ inches) deep, buttered, and a baking sheet. Also a deep sided frying pan/skillet.
Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) gas 6.
Pop the baking sheet in the oven to heat up while preparing the pie.
Now bring some water to the boil in the frying pan/skillet. It will need to be deep enough to cover the salmon. Then add the salmon and bring back to the boil. Immediately remove from the heat, cover the pan/skillet and leave for the water to poach the salmon, about 2–3 minutes, until it is just cooked.
With a slotted spoon, remove the salmon and leave on a plate to cool completely.
Meanwhile, beat together the crème fraîche, cream cheese, eggs, herbs, and seasoning until the mixture is smooth.
Take two of the sheets of pastry, cut them in half to give four sheets. Brush one sheet with melted butter, then lay a second sheet on top, rotating it slightly so the edges don’t line up. Brush this sheet with melted butter. Now lay a third sheet on top, again rotating it slightly, and brush with butter. Lay the fourth sheet on top, slightly rotated.
Lift the pastry layers and line the flan tin, gently pressing the pastry down into the tin. The edges of the pastry should extend over the rim. Now brush the top layer of pastry with melted butter.
Brush the remaining piece of pastry with melted butter and put to one side.
Place the salmon cubes over the pastry and then add the prawns/shrimps.
Pour over the cream mixture.
Now bring the edges of the pastry up over the the filling around the edge, leaving it roughly scrunched up.
Tear the remaining piece of pastry into long strips. Scrunch these up and use them to cover the exposed filling.
Place the flan tin on the hot baking sheet and loosely cover with foil. Then bake in the oven for 25 minutes.
Remove the foil and continue baking for a further 5 minutes until the pastry is crisp and turning golden in colour.
Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes for the filling to set.
Now carefully lift the pie from the tin but leave on the base. Let it cool for 2 minutes then gently slide off the base.
Serve cut into wedges along with a green salad.
Filo pastry dries out very quickly, so keep it covered until it is needed to be used.
As the pastry does not contain any fat it can be refrozen. Remove the packet from the freezer to thaw, keeping it covered. Then when the pastry is needed, unroll it and remove the 3 sheets. Now carefully roll the pastry back up, return it to its wrapping and place back in the freezer.
This gorgeous dessert was allegedly first made in Australia in 1935 for the Russian dancer Anna Pavlova. This version has a twist by adding framboise to the strawberries and introducing crème fraîche to the whipped cream to reduce the richness of the cream.
3 eggs, large (U.K.)/extra large (N.A.), whites only
170g (6 oz) caster/white sugar (¾ cup + 2 tbsp)
1 tbsp cornflour/cornstarch
1 tbsp vanilla extract
2 tsp white wine vinegar
450g (1 lb) strawberries (about 3 cups)
3 tbsp framboise (raspberry liqueur)
284ml (9 fl oz) carton double/whipping or heavy cream (1⅛ cups)
180ml crème fraîche (⅞ cup)
Draw a 20cm (8 inch) circle on a piece of baking parchment. Turn it over and lay on a baking tray/sheet.
Preheat the oven to 130°C (250°F) (gas ½).
Add the egg whites to a grease-free bowl and whisk until stiff peaks form. (You should be able to turn the bowl upside down without the egg whites falling out!)
Then add the sugar one spoonful at a time, whisking well between each addition, until the meringue is stiff and glossy.
Next, sprinkle over the cornflour/cornstarch, vanilla extract, and vinegar. Whisk briefly, just enough to combine everything. The meringue will soften a little.
Put a dab of meringue in the four corners of the baking sheet and press the baking parchment down. (This will prevent it from slipping.) Now, using a metal spoon, spoon the meringue evenly within the marked circle. Then, using a palette knife, make a slight dip in the centre of the meringue which will hold the strawberries. Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes. The meringue should be firm at the edges and slightly soft in the centre. Leave to cool.
Meanwhile, wash the strawberries, gently pat dry and hull. Halve any if they are large so they are all fairly equal in size. Place them in a large bowl and add the framboise. Gently toss together until the strawberries are coated and then leave to marinate.
Once the meringue has cooled, whip the cream until soft peaks form. Now, beat the crème fraîche, which will loosen its stiff consistency, and then gently fold into the cream.
Carefully peel the baking parchment from the meringue and place it on a serving plate. Add three quarters of the strawberries to the cream mixture and, just using a few strokes, gently fold through. Spoon into the centre of the pavlova. Now decorate the top with the reserved strawberries and drizzle over any strawberry juice.
Preparation time: 15 minutes plus 30 minutes for the pastry case
Chilling time: 40 minutes for the pastry case
Cooking time: 25 minutes plus 20 minutes for the pastry case
For the shortcrust pastry
225g (8 oz) plain flour/cake and pastry flour (2 cups less 2 tbsp)
pinch of salt
55g (2 oz) butter, chilled and cubed (¼ cup, or ½ stick)
55g (2 oz) lard, chilled and cubed (¼ cup)
3 tbsp ice cold water
For the filling
55g (2 oz) rocket/arugula
140g (5 oz) cooked salmon fillet OR
1 tin/can wild red pacific sockeye salmon, drained and any skin and bones removed
2 eggs, large (U.K.)/extra large (N.A.)
240ml (8 fl oz) crème fraîche (1 cup)
salt and ground black pepper
23cm (9 inch) quiche tin (a solid tin with a loose base)
For the pastry
Sift the flour and salt into a mixing bowl. Rub in the butter and lard until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Sprinkle over the water and gently bring together. Tip onto a work surface and lightly knead into a ball. Wrap in cling film/wrap and chill for 20 minutes.
Roll out the pastry onto a floured work surface slightly larger than the quiche tin. Lift carefully into the tin, pressing the pastry down into the edges using the edge of your index finger. Run the rolling pin over the top of the tin to remove the excess pastry. Prick the base using the tines of a fork and return to the refrigerator to chill for a further 20 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) gas 6
Line the pastry case with baking parchment and fill with baking beans. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes then remove the baking beans and parchment. Return to the oven for a further 5 minutes.
Remove from the oven and leave to cool.
For the filling
Reduce the oven temperature to 180°C (350°F) gas 4
Remove the pastry case from its pan and carefully transfer to a baking sheet.
Roughly chop the rocket/arugula, discarding any thick stalks, and spread over the base of the pastry case.
Flake the fish and scatter on top of the rocket/arugula.
Now beat the eggs and crème fraîche together, using a hand held electric mixer, until combined. Then season. Gradually pour into the pastry case.
Bake for 30 minutes until the mixture has just set.
142ml carton double/whipping cream or heavy cream (⅔ cup)
1 tbsp powdered gelatine
1 tbsp kirsch (optional)
For the coulis
170g (6 oz) blackberries
1½ tbsp icing/powdered sugar
6 ramekin dishes
For the mousse
Line the dishes with cling film/wrap, pressing well down into the edges and letting it hang over the rim.
Push the raspberries through a sieve to remove the seeds, using the back of a spoon. Then stir in the sugar.
Whisk the cream until it forms soft peaks. Fold into the raspberry sauce and then set to one side.
Sprinkle the gelatine over 3 tablespoons water in a small bowl and leave for 3 minutes for the gelatine to become spongy.
Pour some hot water into a dish that is just larger than the bowl of gelatine and then sit the bowl of the gelatine in it. Make sure there is only enough water to come halfway up the sides of the smaller bowl. Leave for 2 minutes for the gelatine to dissolve.
Once it has dissolved, remove the bowl of gelatine from the water and let the gelatine cool for a couple of minutes. Stir into the raspberry sauce. Then stir in the kirsch, if using.
Divide the mixture between the ramekin dishes and chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours, or overnight.
For the coulis
Reserve 8 blackberries for decoration. (If the blackberries are large just reserve 4.) Push the rest through a sieve to remove the seeds. Add the sugar and stir until it has dissolved. Pour into a jug, cover and refrigerate until the mousse is ready.
Lift each mousse out of the ramekins and invert onto serving plates. Then, carefully peel away the cling film/wrap. Pour the coulis round the outside of the mousse.
Put a dollop of crème fraîche on the top of each one and decorate with the reserved blackberries.
I just love the fruits of summer. Here a mixture of strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and redcurrants top a crème fraîche filling to make a very light tart. Although any favourite summer fruits can be used.
145g (5 oz) plain flour/cake and pastry flour (1 cup)
pinch of salt
85g (3 oz) cold butter, diced (⅜ cup, or ¾ stick)
1 tbsp caster sugar/white sugar
1 egg, large (U.K.)/extra large (N.A.), yolk only
For the filling
250ml tub crème fraîche
2 tbsp icing sugar/powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
170g (6 oz) mixed summer fruit (1 cup)
For the pastry
You will need 4 × 10cm (4 inch) tartlet tins.
Sift the flour and salt into a bowl. Rub in the butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs, then stir in the sugar. Add the egg yolk, sprinkle over 1 tablespoon cold water and mix to a firm dough. Add a little more water if necessary. Wrap in cling film/wrap and chill for 20 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) (gas 6).
Roll out the pastry thinly and then cut rounds 3.8cm (1½ in) larger than the tartlet tin, re-rolling the pastry until there are four rounds. Line the tartlet tins, pressing the pastry gently down into the edges of the tins. Roll the rolling pin over the top of each tin to remove the excess pastry. Prick the base, using the tines of a fork, to allow air trapped underneath to escape.
Lay the tins on a baking sheet and cover with baking parchment. Pop in the oven for 10 minutes and then remove the baking parchment and cook for a further 2 minutes to crisp up.
Remove from the oven and leave to cool for a couple of minutes before carefully removing the cases from the tins to completely cool on a wire rack. They will be delicate until completely cold.
For the filling
Sift the sugar and add to the crème fraîche along with the vanilla extract. Stir to combine and then divide equally between the 4 pastry cases and level the tops.
Wash and pat dry the fruit. If using any strawberries, halve or quarter them so they are of a similar size to the other fruits. Spread the fruit over the crème fraîche and serve immediately to prevent the filling from softening the pastry.
These little tartlets made a quick dessert. I tend to make a batch of the pastry cases and freeze them so I have them ready to hand. Just remove the number needed, thaw them and then you are ready to go with the filling, which is usually very quick to put together.
Large glass serving dish or 8 individual glass dishes
Bring some water to to the boil.
If using a packet of jelly in the UK, pour 150ml (5 fl oz) of the boiling water into a bowl. Separate the jelly into segments and add to the bowl, stirring until the jelly has melted. Then stir in 150ml (5 fl oz) of cold water.
If using jello in North America, pour 120ml (4 fl oz) (½ cup) of boiling water into a bowl. Add the jello, stirring to dissolve and then stir in 120ml (4 fl oz) (½ cup) of cold water.
Stir in the sugar and then the soured cream. Using a balloon whisk, whisk to thoroughly combine the ingredients.
In a separate bowl whisk the cream until soft peaks form and then fold this into the jelly mixture until it is fully incorporated. Stir in the lemon juice.
The raspberries do not have to be fully thawed but they do need to be separated. Add these to the jelly mixture which will be quite runny.
Pour into the large bowl or divide between the individual glass dishes. Refrigerate to set.
When ready to serve, just dollop a spoonful of crème frâiche on the top.
These buttermilk pancakes with apple and maple syrup are thicker, North American-style pancakes. The addition of the buttermilk in the pancakes and the topping of sweet dessert apples, all smothered with maple syrup, make this a delicious dessert.
Sift the flour and baking powder into a bowl and stir in the sugar. Make a well in the centre and add the buttermilk, eggs and most of the milk. Gradually whisk the flour into the wet ingredients, adding enough extra milk to make a smooth, fairly thick batter. Stir in the vanilla extract and then set aside to stand for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 150°C/300°F/gas mark 2 and warm 6 plates.
Peel, core and thickly slice the apples. Melt the butter in a large frying pan and add the apple slices in a single layer. Dust with the icing sugar and cook over a medium heat for 2–3 minutes on each side until golden. Tip onto a warmed plate, cover with foil and keep warm in the oven while cooking the pancakes.
Heat a large, heavy gauged frying pan over a medium heat and melt the butter in it. Pour into a small bowl and use this to smear the pan between cooking each pancake using a wodge of kitchen paper. The pan should be lightly greased, not running with butter. Add 4 tablespoonfuls/¼ cup of batter and cook for 1–2 minutes until bubbles appear on the surface of the pancake and the underside is golden brown. Turn and cook for a further minute. Lift out on to a warmed plate, cover loosely with foil, and pop back in the oven to keep warm. Repeat using the remaining batter until there are 12 pancakes.
Pile three pancakes on each plate and top with the apple slices, pour over some maple syrup and serve with a spoonful of crème fraîche.