The theme of this week’s Great British Bake Off was ‘forgotten bakes’ and it had me thinking they would set a Technical challenge involving suet, or gelatin or something equally gross from the past.
Luckily, although not exactly to my taste, this Rum Nicky was a fairly normal, sweet shortcrust pastry filled with rum-soaked dried fruits and crystallised ginger and topped with a pastry lattice that had to leave room for the alcohol to cook off.
The recipe was Paul’s and my comments below in blue.
For the filling:
250g medjool dates, pitted and coarsely chopped – what’s the difference between medjool dates and normal dates? I went for normal as they were cheaper…
100g dried apricots, coarsely chopped
50g crystallised ginger, finely chopped
50ml dark rum – ummm I may have used Cognac as we seem to have dozens of partial bottles of alcohol inherited from various places and as we never drink the ones we have I couldn’t bring myself to buy another bottle of alcohol we won’t drink. I do actually think the flavour of Cognac worked just fine with the dried fruit. I appreciate this actually turns the pie into a Cognac Nicky but let’s not split hairs.
50g soft dark brown sugar
50g butter, cut into ½ inch cubes
For the sweet shortcrust pastry:
200g plain flour
2 tbsp icing sugar
100g unsalted butter, chilled and cut into ½ inch cubes
1 medium egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp lemon juice
2 tbsp very cold water
1 medium egg, beaten, to glaze
For the rum butter: So I have to be honest, I didn’t actually bother making the rum butter, because of a) the lack of rum, and being uncertain how the concentration of Cognac in butter would work, and also because b) I knew I had noone to serve this to so it would have gone entirely to waste.
100g unsalted butter, softened
225g soft light brown sugar
75ml dark rum
Step 1 – For the filling, mix the dates, apricots, ginger, rum and sugar together in a bowl. Set aside to soak while you make the pastry.
Step 2 – For the pastry, mix the flour and icing sugar together in a bowl. Add the diced butter and rub in with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
Step 3 – Mix the egg with the lemon juice and water. Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture and pour in the egg mix. Using one hand, work the liquid into the flour to bring the pastry together. When the dough begins to stock together, gently knead into a ball. Wrap in greaseproof paper and rest in the fridge for at least 15 minutes.
Step 4 – Heat the oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Cut the dough into 2 pieces roughly one third and two thirds. Roll out the largest piece on a lightly floured surface and use to line a 22cm metal pie dish, leaving the excess pastry hanging over the edge. I definitely found this one of the most difficult steps – finding the correct size and shape metal pie dish – specifically, with the wide brim along the top for the overhanging pastry. But I did manage to find this one from Lakeland and got it delivered next day.
Step 5 – Spread the filling in the pastry case and dot with butter. I waited to fill the pastry case until I had made my lattice pastry top as I was worried I would spend so much time fiddling with that that the wet fruit would be soaking into and wetting the uncooked pastry too much.
Step 6 – Roll out the remaining pastry and cut into 14 long strips about ½ inch wide. It’s worth using a ruler or similar to do this as it’s pretty easy for the knife to get away from you and therefore make uneven strips. On a board covered with a sheet of greaseproof paper, use the pastry strips to create a lattice with 7 strips going each way, passing them under and over each other. I actually thought this was easier than I’d expected. My advice is to lay the 7 first strips horizontally, then for the verticals, just lift every other strip up, to place the vertical beneath it. (Very difficult to explain verbally!) Dampen the rim of the pastry in the tin with water then invert the lattice from the paper onto the tart. This is key. Invert the lattice onto the pie! Trying to slide the lattice on top of the filling did not work – and I tried. You’ve just got to trust the inversion will work. Press the ends of the lattice strips to the pastry rim to secure, then crimp the edges. Brush with the beaten egg.
Step 7 – Bake for 15 minutes, then turn the oven down to 160C/fan 140C/gas 3 and cook for a further 20 minutes.
Step 8 – For the rum butter, beat together the butter and sugar, then gradually beat in the rum. Or ignore this step entirely…
Step 9 – Serve the tart warm or cold,
with a spoonful of butter.
I was pretty happy with this, and I’ve always wanted to make a classic cherry lattice pie, so at least now I know how to make a lattice top.
The problem with this bake is that I brought it into work (along with Stacy’s sparkly marshmallow chocolate sandwich cookies, which I made gluten free for a colleauge of mine) and only 2 people had a slice!! Two people!! I had a piece of a slice, my neighbour enjoyed her slice (I think! Thanks Amy!) and those 2 people at work said they enjoyed it but the majority of the pie went in the BIN. I’ve NEVER come back home with so much left of a bake before and I did. not. like. it. Making me look like a rubbish, boring baker!
But in all honesty, when you’re offered a choice of the two items below, realistically which would you choose?:
I think we have a winner…!
And next week we have one of the most complicated bakes I’ve ever heard of, thanks to Prue’s semi-final technical challenge. I’ve blocked out my Sunday for that one!