Well! What to say about last week’s episode? Just when you thought the ice cream couldn’t get any runnier, Iain had a complete meltdown. It’s a real shame, because in our office he was one of our favourites – being based in east London means we automatically support contestants with giant beards.
I doubt this week is going to be any less tense, as the bakers take on the tricky task of pies and tarts week. It may sound easy, but pastry, particularly once you’re talking puff, is a devilishly hard to get right. Luckily, Jamie’s got loads of great recipes to make sure you nail it, and – without laying it on too thick – they’re full of damned tasty flavour combinations too.
Kate & Will’s Wedding Pie
Pies and tarts are a very British institution, so lots of these recipes come from Jamie’s Great Britain. This pie is about as British as it gets. It’s named after royalty, and is made with local veg and herbs, English mustard, British stout, Worcestershire sauce and even West Country Cheddar. That’s got my stomach rumbling before we even talk about the slow-cooked shin of beef. I’m pretty sure that Paul, given the chance, would eat the whole thing.
So many wonderful discoveries have been made by accident. Apparently this dessert was invented when one of the Tatin sisters slightly burnt an apple tart, so she turned it upside down to hide her shame. In doing so she discovered the world’s most famous tart and a dish bound to go down well in front of any judge or ravenous dinner party.
Sure it’s got no pastry, but this vegan delight is so good I try to get it into every list. It’s not really the shepherd’s, because I doubt he would have been vegan given his job, but the filling is a delicious mix of vegetables, mushrooms, lentils, chickpeas and spices, topped with sweet potato and breadcrumbs for a crunch. Not much baking, but a lot of flavour.
This is another of those well-known things – a classic with a Jamie twist. This tart is a classic Bakewell with two vital differences – one is that it’s with cranberries rather than cherries, to give it a sour tang, and it’s also made with walnuts rather than almonds, which lends it an amazing praline richness.
You may turn your nose up at the idea of a savoury pie without the meat, but that’s because you’ve never had this one. Take rich pastry, then stuff it with cheese. But that’s not all; next you slow cook some courgettes with herbs and add them to the mix, bake it all, and serve it next to some sweet roasted shallots. It may be veggie, but even the carnivores at dinner will be all over this one.