WanderSups: Fancy a slice of Pina Colada pie?
She’s a MasterChef quarter finalist, founder of world-food supper club WanderSups and now a columnist for Velvet, too. This month, Bury’s Hannah Gregory unites two of our favourite things: cocktails and pie
“If you like Pina Coladas, and getting caught in the rain. If you’re not into yoga, if you have half a brain.” Potentially one of the best songs ever written; most certainly one of the best cocktails ever made. (Although, side note: I am most certainly into yoga and yoga followed by a PC is a winning combo.)
As the reality of sitting poolside whilst a sculpted waiter called Stavros delivers said cocktail on the hour slips further and further into the distance, I have decided to refocus my efforts and take this tropical drink and turn it into a dessert. Because let’s face it, bikini bod is on hold till 2021.
There is something about the combination of rum, coconut and pineapple that instantly transports me to faraway lands. It is summer in a glass/pineapple/coconut shell. I have spent many a night sitting at a beach bar, sipping on the golden nectar. Trying to look effortlessly chic and Insta-worthy but in reality battling the worst indigestion of my life because no one should consume that much pineapple juice in a single sitting. TASTES SO DARN GOOD THOUGH.
That being said, it somehow doesn’t seem quite as socially acceptable to start my days with a cocktail here as it does abroad. So, I thought let’s do what us Brits do best: Anglicize the bejesus out of it and turn it into a pie.
The beauty of this recipe is that you can play around with the size depending on what you fancy – one huge pie to share with family and friends, individual pies to serve at a dinner party, or tiny pies made using mini tartlet cases which make great petit fours or gifts for nearest and dearest. You can of course also omit the booze element. It’s just as delicious.
If you’re really feeling those holiday vibes and want ultimate ease and zero faff you could also use. . . wait for it. . . premade tart cases. I know. I am a monster.
The second monstrous element to this dish: Bird’s Custard powder. Judge me all you want, call me a cheat, I couldn’t care less. Bird’s Custard should be a store-cupboard staple in every home and it’s making a comeback. You heard it here first!
Pina Colada Pie
What you need:
For the pastry (if making):
1 1/4 cups plain flour
3 tbsp unsalted butter (I measure this out when its room temp so I can get my spoon right in there and then chill it down in the fridge before coming to make the pastry)
3 tbsp vegetable shortening
Pinch of salt
4 tbsp ice water (I keep a jug of ice water next to my mixing bowl so I can add more if needed or dunk my fingers to help bring it together)
2 tbsp rum (optional)
For the filling:
½ cup Bird's Custard powder
4 x 400ml cans coconut milk (FULL FAT – no messing around here)
½ cup caster sugar
½ small pineapple cut into chunks
¼ cup brown sugar
Knob of butter
¼ cup double cream
Desiccated coconut to decorate (optional)
28cm fluted tart tin or 12 small tartlet tins or 24 tiny tartlet tins
How you do it:
First up, make your pastry. I’m sure we all know the fundamental rules of pastry making but you need all your ingredients as cold as possible. I’ve met people who put their mixing bowl and flour in the fridge before the task in hand. Combine the flour and salt and then cut in the butter and vegetable shortening with a knife or fork. Keep spinning the bowl and cutting through the mixture until it resembles breadcrumbs. Do not be tempted to use your paws as the heat from those digits will transfer into your pastry. Once breadcrumb texture has been achieved start adding the water one tablespoon at a time, mixing lightly. Once everything is pretty much holding together, use your hands to press it into a ball. Cover in cling film and lightly squash into a thick disc and leave to chill in the fridge for at least an hour. If your pastry isn’t coming together or is slightly too dry, wet your hands with cold water to add a bit of moisture.
Once the pastry has chilled, flour a surface and roll it out to the size you need depending on whether you are making one large tart or lots of little ones. Gently lift the pastry over the tart cases and press into the mould. Prick the pastry with a fork over the base and round the sides and then chill in the freezer for 30 mins.
Preheat oven to 190 and put one tin of coconut milk in the fridge – this will help separate the thick cream from the water.
When it is time to bake, remove your cases from the freezer and fill with baking beans (or dried pulses) and blind bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and carefully remove the baking beans. Put the pie crust back into the oven for 5-10 minutes until golden brown. Take out and leave to cool completely. If using, lightly brush the rum over the base of the pie crust using a pastry brush.
For the filling, put the caster sugar, custard powder and three tins of coconut milk into a saucepan. Stir continuously over a medium heat until thickened. Remove from the heat and cover with cling film, making sure the cling film is sitting on the surface of the custard to prevent a skin forming. Leave to cool to room temp and then put in the fridge until ready to assemble.
Melt the knob of butter in a frying pan. Add your pineapple chunks and fry until they start to brown and caramelise, sprinkle over your brown sugar and keep the fruit moving in the pan until the sugar has all melted.
Put the pineapple and the buttery, sugary goodness from the pan into the base of your pie crust (I have been known to sprinkle an additional hit of rum here).
Once the pineapple layer has cooled, spoon or pipe the coconut custard on top until it is level with the top of the pie crust. Be warned – this custard is addictive, you think you’ll just allow yourself a cheeky spoon lick and next thing you know you’re making vats of the stuff, sitting in your pants watching daytime TV eating it straight from the bowl.
Pop the filled pie crust into the fridge whilst you get on with the coconut topping.
Take the tin of coconut milk from the fridge and scoop the thick solid cream into a large bowl or stand mixer along with the double cream and whisk to whipped peaks. Coconut milk doesn’t get as voluptuous as whipped cream, but you can still get some body into it – it takes a little longer than cream so don’t lose patience, it will get there eventually.
Once the whipped coconut has reached the desired consistency, spoon clouds of it on top of your pie. For an extra hit of that totally tropical taste, sprinkle with desiccated coconut and enjoy!
Hannah has recently competed in BBC’s MasterChef, finishing up in the Final 16, as a quarter finalist. She hosts WanderSups supper clubs serving meals created with love, inspired by journeys around the world, dished up on home turf. Her ethos is simple - have fun, enjoy it, make it an occasion. You can find specially curated playlists on Spotify to help create the full WanderSups experience. Find out about Hannah’s upcoming Supper Clubs and what she is currently cooking via Instagram @WanderSups or visit wandersups.com
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