A while ago, while visiting my family in Italy, I asked my mum, who is a cook, to show me how to bake a wholemeal-flour pie. Despite her pointing out that using only wholemeal flour would be tricky, I wasn’t going to take no for an answer: “Isn’t it nice for you to challenge your skills sometimes, especially when you’re a professional?”
I only go back home about four times a year, so she hardly ever says no to my requests! We started straight away.
As a side note, in Italy you find lievito vanigliato, which is raising powder with a vanilla hint. If you don’t have that, just use normal raising powder and then add a teaspoon of vanilla extract to the mixture when you add the egg.
I have to say the speed my mum was working at – I barely saw how she mixed the crust, that she was already stretching it. But fear not, I took notes.
The final result is a slightly crumbly but soft pastry (due to the raising powder) with a very sweet and soft filling.
What you’ll need:
For the pastry
- 250 gr wholemeal flour (we used organic)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla raising powder (or normal powder plus separate vanilla extract)
- A pinch of salt
- 160 gr granulated sugar
- 100 gr good quality butter (we used our local) at room temperature, chopped in small cubes
- 1 egg
- icing sugar
For the filling
Any fruit you have kicking around your kitchen that might need using, we used
- 1 banana
- 1 apple
- 1 medium-sized pear
- A handful of strawberries
- 1 apricot
- 2 tablespoons (30 gr) of granulated sugar
Mix the raising powder, salt and flour together. Create a well with the dry mixture, place the sugar inside it, then place the room temperature butter inside it and finally the egg. Start kneading making sure your hands are cold and work on it until you obtain a smooth dough ball.
Cut off a third of the pastry and keep it wrapped while you roll out the rest, and use this to line a pie tin – 20-22cm round and 4cm deep – leaving a slight overhang. Roll the remaining third to a circle about 28cm in diameter and place it on a side. Now fill the pie with all the chopped fruit trying to distribute it evenly. Sprinkle the sugar all over the fruit. Brush a little water around the pastry rim and lay the pastry lid over the fruit pressing the edges together to seal.
Make a few little slashes on top of the lid for the steam to escape. Bake for about 40 minutes or until golden, then remove and let it sit until it’s only tepid.
With a knife go over the edges of the pie trying to detach it from the tin very gently. Now place a large plate on top of the tin and turn upside down, letting the pie drop onto the plate (but not on the floor!). Dust all over with icing sugar and