Rather a busy weekend so loads to do today. I have been making pies of a sort and have also been writing a lot about them. I am trying to link all my blog posts together with tags and so on, bear with me on that one. ūüôĀ  A very laborious and time consuming job but it needs to be done.

At the weekend, as well as baking I did do some work on my website and managed to change the adverts to more in line with what I was thinking. I am trying to show you some ideas of  what is out there to buy  in this British Pie Week. Loads of [amazon_textlink asin=’B0187HCXQG’ text=’pie making machines ‘ template=’ProductLink’ store=’wwwlovetobake-21′ marketplace=’UK’ link_id=’49cca1a7-0261-11e7-96ca-db064333f857′]and [amazon_textlink asin=’B00DPGFNXA’ text=’pie dishes ‘ template=’ProductLink’ store=’wwwlovetobake-21′ marketplace=’UK’ link_id=’5f53a5fa-0261-11e7-93a8-cd73f10be90b’]etc., some of which are at really good prices. I know of someone who uses a pie making machine for my corned beef pie recipe and they make them perfectly. So it is definitely a recipe that is suited to these types of machines.

I had a dream about sweet flavoured pies or tarts of a sort a few nights ago and in it there were several things going on so when I went and locked myself away in the kitchen I had to try out the ideas in my head. When I had told my husband about them he just replied with his usual answer of “Go do it – I love apples”. He knows there will be something worthwhile at the end of it for him to eat. My pastry was going to have cocoa added to it. Something which I have never done before. The filling for these sweet pastry cases would be a orange filling of some description. Whether or not I put a lid on these tarts would depend on how I feel at the time. Weird how that image has just come to mind whilst writing about my sweet pastry. I definitely enjoy this part of making up  a recipe as I go along. You just don’t know what is going to happen.  I just need to work out how to make the filling ‚Äď a marmalade based one or a fruit with  a glaze . Only time will tell and I am sure I will share the results.

Back to what I have made at the weekend. I decided to make some sweet  Apple and Salted Caramel Meringue Tarts yesterday only because my daughter made some Oatmeal Cookies but by the afternoon they had all gone.

Chocolate and Apple Tart
Chocolate and Apple Tart

You would think my family had never eaten a cookie before – and believe me they eat plenty. I set about making the buttercream first which seems a bit strange I know but I wanted to give it time to work. I decided to make some mini apple pies or tarts as they would have no lid on them. I must have dreamed the next bit because they were decorated with meringue but when I was in the kitchen I didn’t want to make just basic meringue which I am sure my children would have loved but I wanted to try my hand at Swiss Meringue Buttercream. I have never made this before so I found a recipe to try online. Once the buttercream was mixing  I prepped the cooking apples and left them to cook whilst I made the pastry. Multitasking at its best. I halved the pastry mix and added cocoa to some of it. (in my dream the pastry was chocolate and the filling was orange). I cut out the bases and filled some with apple, some with jam and the rest with marmalade.(my orange flavour). Once baked I  wanted to pipe some buttercream on the top of some of them. This was a quick trial for my husband to try.

This is when the problems arose. The meringue buttercream had worked but I wanted to flavour it with some salted caramel essence. After doing this the flavour was very sweet/salty (unusual to say the least) and the mixture still had a meringue feel to it but it seemed rather runny. I stored it in the fridge till it had set better thinking that the butter in the mixture(of which there was rather a lot) would help to reset the meringue. I was now regretting making the buttercream this way and wished I had used basic meringue. However after some time in the fridge the mixture had set enough to pipe onto the tarts. The salted caramel gives a slightly savoury taste to the sweet apple tarts but the meringue buttercream tastes very rich to me and I feel you can taste the butter too much. If I do use this type of buttercream again I will have to reduce the butter in the recipe so it is another recipe for me to mess about with and make my own. Swiss meringue buttercream is definitely a rich filling for when you are feeling the need to make something very decadent and snazzy.

Apart from the standard apple pies there are lots of other flavours and combinations which can be made. I don’t use the standard sweet pate sucre pastry recipe for my sweet pastry. Instead I make a pastry which I started using for my sweet mince pies but it has now developed into my standard pastry for all sweet tarts, pies flans. It has three ingredients in it plain flour, icing sugar and butter. Very simple and easy to make. Very easy to work with and so much better than shop bought pastry.

Apart from apple in my pie this weekend I added salted caramel but lots of other ingredients could be added.¬†You could¬†add some spices such as cinnamon or ginger.¬† On the orange filling idea I am still thinking about this as I don’t like mousse like fillings. ¬†I was tempted with¬†making a ¬†ganache filling¬† and flavouring it with orange but I opted for just using marmalade and it works very well – like an alternative jam tart. I could keep writing on this subject but I will save it for another time.