Sunday, 4 August 2013

Bubble Pie

Crostata in Padella con Mirtilli, Pesca e Tapioca
Blueberry, Peach & Tapioca "Frying Pan" Pie

Isn't it funny how crazy some peoples behavior is when it comes to food? How if a trend dictates it and everyone else is eating or drinking something, suddenly they will find that something they would not normally choose to eat or drink incredibly delicious?! Even if it is totally unhealthy and frankly much more awful than the original product itself?

Of course, this is a little "rant-ette" going on here, and the thing I am "ranting" about is that awful creation of "bubble tea", with enough sugar in one glass to kill a diabetic elephant, enough artificial flavoring to make any rational person cringe and enough artificial coloring for Bennetton's new Summer collection. I have never tasted the stuff, nor would I want to... and the thing is- if you asked people "how would you like a nice bowl of tapioca pudding?", probably 90% of them would say "eeew!". Case in point- that is what bubble tea is of course- tapioca with a whole lot more nastiness in it than anyone should ever eat or drink- and definitely something they shouldn't allow their children to drink! 

Rant over :-) Here is something NICE you can make with tapioca instead :-) And if you sweeten it with Stevia as I did, it isn't even all that unhealthy. There is always a way to have fun eating cool stuff and to do it in a healthier manner- just stop and think- you can figure it out... or just let me do it for you!

The main inspiration I had for making this dish, was a custard tart or key lime pie idea... where a filling, which is basically liquid, will set into a firm and creamy texture to make for a yummy, simple pie topping. And tapioca does exactly the same thing once it cools- it sets wonderfully and is great at absorbing any excess moisture- which is why tapioca flour is always a great addition to berry or rhubarb pies. 

I had bought lovely fresh blueberries yesterday, as well as some great peaches... so the ingredients for a great, Summery filling were just waiting for their chance! So with no further ado, I jumped straight in there and got started on making this wonderfully simple pie- which amazingly enough was finished just 45 minutes later!

For the filling, I put 10 tablespoons of tapioca "pearls" into a saucepan with just enough water to cover them and turned on the heat. They already began to absorb the water and soften up before they began to warm up, but they did quickly become more gelatinous as the water warmed up. I added milk to the mixture, a splash at a time, stirring continually, until the mixture became smooth and creamy. I added a pinch of salt, a small piece of vanilla, a teaspoon of cinnamon and enough Stevia to make it taste "just sweet enough"- which was the way I wanted it to be and which was in this case, just 1 tablespoon. It didn't need much- the fruit had yet to be added and that was the main thing that I wanted this to taste of... obviously ;-)

At this point, after 5 minutes of boiling and stirring, the tapioca had become thicker again, but was beginning to break down nicely- and at this point I added about 2 handfuls of blueberries and 1 peach, which was peeled and chopped into small chunks. As soon as the fruit was added, the mixture began to "loosen up" a bit because of the juice that was being given off. I stirred the fruit in for 3-4 minutes and became a little concerned about the pale grey color that the berries had turned the tapioca... not nice!

"Not nice?" you think, as you look at the incredible color of the pie filling in the pictures- well let me tell you- I certainly did not expect it to become as vibrant and wonderful as it did either! But as soon as the berries became hot enough to burst and spill their juice into the tapioca, it became a richer and deeper color and of course the flavor and aroma became much more pronounced too! Yummy! At this point I turned off the heat, fished out the vanilla, turned the oven on and kept stirring away with a wooden spoon until the tapioca began to cool and thicken once again. 

After letting it cool for 10 minutes or so, I cut myself a base from a store-bough puff pastry to the same diameter as a small frying pan and laid it out straight into the the pan- there is no need for any added fat. I added an extra strip of pastry around the outer edge, so that the pie would have a nicer, thicker rim later on... and then spooned-in the filling, making sure it was spread out nicely and evenly. 

And then my now legendary frying pan method of popping the pastry onto my stove top at the highest setting for just 2 minutes or so, until the base begins to bake and crust-over from beneath before I pop the pie into the oven to continue baking from above. I love to do this as it guarantees you will not have a soggy base to your pie (or pizza) and also because it gets good, strong heat into the pie filling a lot more directly. I added just the lightest sprinkling of sugar, which would help caramelize the topping slightly- and that was that as far as prep-work was concerned! Into the oven the pan went for 15 minutes at 350°F and a further 3-4 minutes under the broiler on a moderate setting until the pastry was wonderfully puffy and golden brown.

Although I was very impatient, I forced myself to wait for an hour or so for the pie to cool down and set completely... and of course after spending a couple of hours refrigerated it was nicer still! Just simple stuff of course- cheap and cheerful, like in the old days... wonderful times when "bubble tea" didn't even exist! I used to love tapioca pudding even at school... give this a try and you may grow to love it now!

No comments:

Post a Comment