Sunday, 19 August 2018

5th Annual Pieathalon | Do prunes and rice really go together in a pie?

Having penned a few cookbooks, hosted his own cooking show and demonstrated how to cook fish in a dishwasher, Vincent Price was the original foodie. And he did so love pie! So, I thought I'd follow in his footsteps and participate in this Pieathalon challenge, which is now in its fifth year.

Basically, what I had to do was choose a recipe from a pre-1990's cookbook, which would then be assigned to another pieathlete, while I would be given my own challenge.

Obviously, I had to choose something of Vincent's, so I scoured through his cookbooks and found one that sounded rather exotic: a Pineapple Meringue Pie that was served up at Hana-Maui hotel and was included in Vincent and Mary Price's acclaimed 1965 tome A Treasury of Great Recipes.

And what did I get? Well, it was really hoping for something savoury as I don't have a sweet tooth, but I ended up with another meringue-based recipe called Puddin 'n Pie from Rice Recipes Old and New Presented by Comet Rice. Poppy sent me the entire pamphlet: which you can view here: Michigan State University Libraries - Little Cookbooks: The Alan and Shirley Brocker Sliker Culinary Collection.

Prunes and rice seem an odd combination to me, but I was determined to give it a go. This was quite easy to pull together and thankfully the recipe asked for a pie shell rather ask that I make the pastry from scratch. Once I had put all the wet ingredients together (and it was rather wet looking) I realise I had enough for two pies. As I had bought one sweet and one savoury, I was sorted, and it was going to be interesting to see which one tasted better.

They both baked nicely and the texture of the filling firmed up (so no soggy bottoms, yeah!). Then came time for the meringue. Now the quantity of sugar threw me a bit, so I opted to use a gluten free sugar alternative, raw organic crystallised coconut blossom nectar, in the filling and for the meringue. Big mistake! The meringue just didn't firm up at all... so I had to suck it up and use proper white caster sugar. Bingo! Lovely peaks.

It was all back in the oven for a futher 25-minutes and then time to have a slice. I must admit my meringue layering technique needs improving, but the pie actually tasted rather good. You couldn't really taste the prune, but it has a great nutty flavour (thanks to the chopped nuts).

Once the pies had cooled down, I covered them with foil and put them in the fridge for the next day to have for morning tea. The foil was not a good idea as it pulled off all the lovely meringue. And as I didn't label them, I didn't know which was the savoury and which was the sweet. But it didn't matter. They are both delicious and remind me more of a fruit and nut slice than a traditional pie. But I shall certainly try it again. Thanks Poppy! And thanks Emily for inviting me to be a pieathlete. Now, if you want to check out how Vincent's Pineapple Meringue Pie did, check out the post here from Retro Food for Modern Times?

To look at the other pie contributions, please take a look at the blogs below:

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