Winter seems to be gradually winding down, but there has been no let up in entertaining. Lunches, teas and dinners are now not only the norm on weekends but have made their way to the weekdays as well. The task as always is planning the menu. With appetizers and main courses settled, by the time one gets to dessert all the brain power has been sapped. Hence figuring out a great yet quick sweet ending turns into a daunting chore. While novelists suffer from writers block, when it comes to dessert I usually undergo the ‘amateur chefs block’, unbelievable but true.
Just last week, my mother in law was throwing a big dinner party. After discussing her extensive menu with me, which she cooked herself, we were stuck on dessert. She had decided upon her signature bread and butter pudding but we were still short of one dessert. Throwing ideas back and forth, I suggested that we work with juicy kiwis and luscious strawberries that were in season, but that oomph factor was still missing. We made our way to the larder to see what else was in store, digestive biscuits struck and canned lychees struck a chord, and it was decided that a strawberry and kiwi pie with lychee cream would be perfect. Since she was busy with the food, I was tasked with making the pie. Consumed with trepidation, I started out making an experimental pie that would be feasted on by 50 people, of course there was no pressure.
- 2 packets digestive biscuits
- 250g butter
- 8-10 kiwis
- 1/2 kg strawberries
- 1 can lychees with syrup
- 4 cups whipping cream
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- Place the biscuits in a food processor and blitz till they are crushed to a fine consistency
- Melt the butter and slowly add it to the crushed biscuits while blitzing in the food processor. Continue this process till the mixture is wet and sticky
- Bring out a deep serving plate and pour the biscuit mixture onto it. Using your fingers, spread the biscuit on the plate and press the crushed biscuits to evenly distribute the mixture and seal off the edges to make a biscuit base. (If you want to serve the pie on a flat plate, use a cake pan with a removable bottom to set the pie. Remove the plate and place the sides of the cake pan on your serving plate)
- Refrigerate till the cream filling is ready
- Meanwhile, pour the cream into a large bowl and whisk till soft peaks form. Add the sugar and half of the canned lychee syrup and whisk for a further 3-4 minutes. Set aside
- Slice the kiwis and strawberries horizontally to be used in the pie
- Place a layer of strawberries, kiwis and half of the canned lychees over the biscuit base
- Pour the cream evenly over the fruits to completely immerse them
- Use the remaining fruit to decorate the final layer of the pie
- Refrigerate for 4-5 hours for the pie to set
The experiment worked, all I got right at the end of the dinner was a spoon of the leftover cream. Adding the lychee syrup to the cream made all the difference, it was the oomph factor that was missing from a simple pie recipe. Splashes of red and green on a white backdrop brought out the beauty of this pie, whereas the taste enhanced it. Pleasing to the eye, exciting for the palate and satiating for the stomach, yet another recipe to add to my list of favorites. No celebration can be complete without this pie henceforth.