It’s summer over here in Melbourne.
But it is summer. High summer. I swear.
My days (once I’ve finished the morning bake at work) are filled with lots of tanning, laying by the pool, swimming, trips to the beach, buzzing night markets, long walks, afternoon cocktails and ciders, brunch in the sun, and warm, balmy evenings out.
I love it. I don’t want it to end. Ever.
Can it please stay somewhere between 25 – 30 C forever?
Can it be sunny and gorgeous and breezy and can the nights be balmy always?
Can I wear loose blouses and little shorts and skirts and sandals and dresses and bikinis and singlets all year round?
Can berries and grapes and cherries and peaches and mango and plums and melons be in season constantly?
Yeah, I wish.
While I wait for all my dreams to come true, let’s bake with some of that summer fruit.
These were great. I love the whole little hand pie thing, that you can pick it up and take it with you, that they kinda look like pop tarts.
And those fresh summer strawberries got all jammy inside that buttery pastry and blended in with the custard to make the best filling only ever.
If you’ve got berries on hand, please please bake these. And if you don’t, Pin them and bake them later!
STRAWBERRY AND CUSTARD HAND PIES
For the pastry
Double quantity of Basic Sweet Pastry, refrigerated
For the pastry cream
Adapted from Flour.
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp milk (150ml)
2 tbsp sugar (25g)
2 tbsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
2 egg yolks
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
For the fruit filling
2 punnets strawberries (500g, 1 pound)
1/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp tapioca flour or cornstarch
To make the pastry cream, pour the milk into a medium saucepan and scald the milk – heat until bubbles appear around the edges, but it is not boiling.
While the milk is heating, mix together the sugar, flour and salt in a small bowl. In a large heatproof bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and vanilla. Whisk the flour mixture to the egg yolks slowly. It will be thick and pasty.
Once the milk is heated, slowly pour it into the egg mixture, whisking continuously. Once it is all incorporated, pour it back into the saucepan and heat over a medium heat. Whisk continuously and vigorously until the mixture thickens and comes to a boil.
Once the mixture is thickened and just beginning to bubble, whisk vigorously for 10 seconds and then turn off the heat, This cooks out the taste of flour.
Strain the mixture through a fine sieve into a heatproof bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, putting the plastic right onto the surface of the pastry cream. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or until cold.
To make the pies, preheat the oven to 180 C (350 F) and line 3 trays with baking paper.
Hull and dice the strawberries into 1cm (1/2 inch) cubes. Mix them together with the sugar and tapioca flour in a large bowl. Set aside.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough until it is a couple of millimeters (1/8 inch) thick. Slice the dough into 10cm x 5cm (4 x 2 inch) rectangles.
Take one pastry rectangle. Brush the edges with water. Dot a small teaspoon of pastry cream in the center of the pastry. Top with 1 – 2 teaspoons of diced strawberries (not the juice). Cover with another pastry rectangle, and pinch the edges together.
Press the edges of the pastry down with a fork. Cut three small holes in the top of each hand pie with a knife. Place the hand pie on the prepared tray. Repeat until you have used all the pastry.
Brush the pies with a little water and sprinkle with some sugar (optional).
Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the pies are golden brown. Makes 32 hand pies.