This was one of the most gourmet pies I’ve ever made. It certainly wasn’t the easiest, but it was indeed delicious!
I also explored several ingredients I had never touched before, which was an adventure in itself. Hazelnut meal, for instance, smelled like Nutella and was a vital ingredient in the pie crust.
I had no idea what rose water was, but it sounded intriguing. This article was helpful in choosing a good product (I went with Cortas) and also realizing ways to use the remainder of the bottle, since I only needed 3 teaspoons for the pie. But I couldn’t even find any in Whole Foods, so I ordered from Amazon. (P.S. I wore rose earrings for the occasion, and also my dress had a rose pattern on it.)
I’d never heard of caster sugar either, but it turns out to be a simple process of grinding regular sugar in the food processor. (I’m glad I followed bloggers’ advice and covered the machine with a towel though, because this superfine sugar was spilling out a little after being ground up.)
As you can see, caster sugar is different from regular sugar and very different from powdered (confectioner’s) sugar. It’s helpful for bakers, as the texture is easier to blend into batters and doughs.
Another time consuming aspect of this pie’s preparation was chopping up strawberries. I cut up a huge container of strawberries into itty bitty pieces! (It turned out to be 4 cups’ worth.)
I’m glad our local strawberries were in season – these were from Plant City, Florida!
With all that preparation behind me, it was time to prepare the pie crust. Cream together butter and powdered sugar. I had also grated in the orange peel.
Add in the dry ingredients.
Combine it and smell the delicious spices.
Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours. Then separate it and set aside a smaller portion for the top crust.
Even after it had been chilled for that long, I had difficulty rolling it out. It tasted delicious though!
Continue chilling the pie crust while making the pie filling. Look how beautiful the superfine caster sugar is on the strawberries!
More orange peel goes on the strawberries – this pie filling smelled so fresh!
The rose water also added another dimension to the taste.
As I mentioned before, rolling out the pie crust was a little difficult. This made a “perfect” lattice crust impossible. I think mine had character.
How did I fix it? Well, this is a sugar caster. (And it’s different from caster sugar.)
I filled it with powdered sugar and it sprinkled nicely over the pie, covering up the imperfections of the lattice crust.
Also, you definitely need to allow the pie to sit more than 2 hours after it’s done baking, just so the filling has a chance to solidify and not be quite so soupy. It still tasted great though!
Overall, this is not a simple pie, and it does require some time and effort. Nevertheless, it is a delicious gourmet pie!
Strawberry Rose Hazelnut Pie
(recipe adapted from Gourmet Traveler)
12 T. softened butter
1¼ cups confectioners sugar
finely grated rind of 1 lemon and 1 orange
3 egg yolks
1⅔ cup all-purpose flour
1¼ cups (5.3 oz.) hazelnut meal
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. baking powder
3+ cups strawberries, hulled and coarsely chopped, plus extra to serve
⅓ cup caster (superfine) sugar
2 ½ T. cornstarch
finely grated rind and juice from ½ orange
3 tsp. rose water
1 T. vanilla extract
- For spiced hazelnut pastry, beat butter, sugar, and orange rind with electric mixer until pale and fluffy (4-5 minutes), add egg yolks, and beat to combine. Add remaining ingredients and mix until just combined. Form into disc, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate until firm (2 hours).
- Roll two thirds of hazelnut pastry on a lightly floured surface and line 9-inch pie pan. Refrigerate until firm (30 minutes). Roll out remaining dough on lightly floured surface to a rough 9 inch long rectangle, place on oven tray, and refrigerate until firm (30 minutes).
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine filling ingredients in bowl and fill pastry.
- Cut remaining pastry lengthwise into ½ inch strips and form a lattice pattern over strawberry mixture, trimming overhanging ends. Brush pastry with eggwash, bake until crisp and golden (30-35 minutes), and cool to room temperature. Dust with confectioner’s sugar and serve with extra strawberries and whipped cream.