Four years of upheaval not only interfered with my writing, but other pastimes. I used to enjoy baking and cooking to a greater degree than has been possible recently. Having had a chance to cook the other weekend, I thought, completely off the topic of writing, to share one of my favourite and easy dessert recipes. I found it in a cookbook many years ago (couldn’t tell you which one) and have adapted it a bit over the years so now make it following my own notes.
Ingredients at a glance:
1 large tin of peach slices and/or fresh, or a mixture of both.
1/4 pint soured cream or yogurt
4 oz sugar
1 oz plain flour
Ingredients in more detail:
Shortcrust Pastry — I have to admit I tend to cheat with this, mostly because I’ve found a store bought one I like. Jamie Oliver has often said store bought pastry is fine so if it’s okay for him it’s good enough for me. I do sometimes make fresh pastry with a lot less fat than the recipe states. In fact, I often use less fat and sugar than most recipes stipulate. Atora suet or its equivalent (beef or vegetable), also makes good pastry BUT only if baking and eating fresh. I wouldn’t advise freezing suet pastry; it’s never the same.
Peaches — it’s fine to use tinned or fresh and I have used a mix of both when I didn’t have quite enough of one or the other. This recipe also works with other fruits. If using particular moist fruits drain first on kitchen paper. If using fresh peaches, peel or don’t depending on preference.
Soured Cream/Yogurt — the original recipe stated soured cream but it’s not something I have available as often as yogurt. If you want an especially rich dessert there’s no reason not to use cream, and for a more healthy option use a vanilla or natural yogurt.
Eggs — I’m sure the original recipe stated egg yolks, I forget how many. Again, if going for a richer dessert then use yolks but I’ve found this works fine using the whole eggs.
I tend to use 3 or 4 ozs of sugar. The actual recipe stated more but I always use less and even seem to recall halving the original amount. I made this the other weekend with 4 ozs and thought it a bit too sweet so I can’t imagine using more. Depends how sweet your sweet tooth is, I suppose.
1 oz plain flour — definitely needed to make the custard ‘set’.
Preheat oven to around gas 6 (that’s 200c and about 400f, I think — better check). Roll out dough and use it to line a 8-9 inch shallow pie dish. I use a fluted flan pan with a push-up base.
Arrange the peach slices in two concentric circles, one inner, one outer, slightly overlapping.
In a bowl, beat together the cream/soured cream/yogurt (whichever you’re using) with the eggs, sugar and the 1 oz of plain flour. Pour over the peaches.
Bake for approximately an hour, or until the custard sets. The tip of a knife should come out clean.
If the edge of the pastry looks as though it will burn it can be covered with some foil mid-way through cooking. I usually get away with it going a bit brown.
Note: this recipe also came with a streusel topping. I really don’t bother with it but, if wanted, make a crumble type topping and sprinkle on half way through the cooking time, or sprinkle with a little brown sugar and cinnamon or, as I often use, some finely chopped nuts with or without a little sugar and spice.
Serve warm or cold.
So, to recap: pastry in a flan dish, line with fruit, beat the rest of the ingredients together, pour in and bake. It really is simple.