I can't believe I spent half the morning at 1-Utama looking for a tart pan. Me. Tart pan. Who would have thought? I am still shaking my head in disbelief.
My first stop was Cold Storage. Nope no tart pan. Then I zoomed to Aeon. I remembered seeing lots of tart pans there. That was when tart pans were the furthest thing from my mind. As usual, when I want something, it's not there. Let's try Parkson. Worse. Their baking section is so pathetic.
I was about to give up when I remembered a shop on the same floor as Cold Storage that sold household items. I don't know the name of this shop in spite of having walked past it many times. Fingers crossed, I walked in and when I was about to give up, there it was.
Tart pans in a set of three. This was how much it cost.
|The stingy madam actually paid for this.|
One more reason to add to my top ten list of why I have to work even though I am burnt out. The motivation to buy a tart pan was to bake an apple tart but that did not happen.
But all was not lost as I have used one of the tart pans to bake this very delicious Coconut and Palm Sugar Pumpkin Pie. My maiden journey into tart/pie territory was fraught with many mishaps :( I am actually very embarrassed to publish this post but what the heck!
|You can see spots of butter which means that my dough was not properly mixed.|
This is my first time making shortcrust pastry. Naturally, I was nervous but the only way to learn is to forge ahead and get your feet wet. I have watched countless videos on how to do this and the easiest method seems to be to dump the whole thing into a food processor. Since I don't have this gadget, I used two forks (please don't laugh) to cut the butter into the flour.
It was not that bad as I managed to get a mixture resembling breadcrumbs. I added water two tablespoons at a time and continued mixing until I produced a pliable dough. Hmmm... looking good :) Then I wrapped the dough in cling wrap and left it to rest in the fridge. For a few hours because I had to go do my grocery shopping.
|Looks encouraging but my dough was too thick.|
When I came home, I was ready to get started on the pie crust. I was very naive. When I took the dough out of the fridge, it was soooo... hard. Like stone. I tried rolling it every 10 minutes (again, please don't laugh). It was finally pliable after 20 minutes. I took my virgin rolling pin out and rolled away.
The dough kept cracking and I had to keep patching it and finally I managed to roll a sheet of dough. The recipe said to use an 18cm (7") x 4cm (1.5") tart ring. My smallest tart pan is 8" with a height of 1 1/8". And looking at the dough, it looks like quite a lot for an 8" pan. It was then that I decided to use the 9" pan.
|Ugliest pie ever.|
I gamely rolled the dough around the rolling pin (technique learnt from watching YouTube) and transferred the dough onto the pan. Then I pressed it into the pan. After blind baking the crust, it was then that I realized my mistakes.
My dough was not rolled thinly enough and the crust shrank at certain sectors of the border. And I did not mix the dough evenly as I could see spots of butter when looking at the photo of the raw dough. Haiz..... I even managed to get the filling onto the edge of the crust because I accidentally tilted the pan when attempting to place the pie into the oven :( So clumsy!
After I made the filling, I realized that it was more than enough to fill the 9" pan. There was still quite a bit leftover after I poured the filling into the pan. In order not to waste, I used the leftover dough to line 2 small disposable aluminum cake tins and made 3 (last one had no crust hah..hah...) mini pies. They were also very ugly. Look.
|I need more practice.|
Another challenge I faced was slicing the pie. I was so scared of breaking the crust (the edge of the pie) and sure enough, I did not get neat cuts.
But at the end of the day, how the pie tasted was more important. What can I say? Pumpkin+Santan+Gula Melaka - how could this not taste good? It was lovely but my pie crust spoiled the show. It was underbaked :( It is my first time and I shouldn't be too upset. As they say, practice makes perfect and I ought to be churning out more pies and tarts soon, eh?
Coconut and Palm Sugar Pumpkin Pie
Recipe source : Adapted from Flavours (October 2014 issue page 55)
Note : The pastry dough and pumpkin filling is more than enough for an 8" tart pan.
For shortcrust pastry :
- 250g flour
- 45g caster sugar
- a pinch of salt
- 125g cold butter, cubed
- 50ml water
- 1 egg yolk (reserve egg white to brush pastry)
For custard filling :
- 300ml coconut milk (I used 200ml packet santan and added 100ml water as the santan is thick)
- 100g palm sugar (gula Melaka), grated
- 300g pumpkin flesh, steamed till soft (I used homemade frozen roasted pumpkin puree)
- cinnamon powder to taste (I used 1 teaspoon)
- 3 eggs
For Sugar Crust (optional)(I skipped this step because I don't have a blowtorch)
- superfine sugar
For shortcrust pastry :
1. Mix flour, sugar and salt.
2. Using your fingertips, rub the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. (I used two forks)
3. Add water a little at water and mix till it becomes a soft, pliable dough (I added the yolk first and then added water two tablespoons at a time. I did not use all the water)
4. Wrap dough in cling film and refrigerate for about 1 hour.
5. Preheat oven to 150C.
6. Roll the dough into a 3 to 4mm thick sheet then place it into a 18cm x 4cm tart ring (I used an 9" tart ring)
7. Fill the mould with baking beans or dried pulses and blind bake for 15 minutes.
8. Remove from oven and brush pastry with the egg white.
9. Bake for another 10 minutes.
10. Remove from oven and set aside.
For custard :
1. In a saucepan, heat the coconut milk and palm sugar over low heat and stir until palm sugar dissolves.
2. Remove from heat, then add the pumpkin, cinnamon and eggs.
3. Process with a hand held blender or stand blender until smooth (I did not do this, I just mixed with a whisk till everything was well mixed).
To bake :
1. Preheat oven to 150C.
2. Pour the custard into the tart mould base and bake for around 45 minutes or until custard sets. (Mine took 40 minutes).
3. Remove from oven and leave to cool.
To make sugar crust (I skipped this step)
1. Sprinkle top of pie generously with sugar.
2. Blow-torch the sugar, caramelizing it to a golden brown.
3. Set aside to cool and harden.
4. Repeat this step, then serve.