How NOT to make a mango cream pie

Third weekend of pie-making, and started a blog 🙂

I’ve made a cherry pie and a key ordinary lime pie, and there were problems, but they were edible and tasted damn fine. So was wondering what to make next. I want to start with things I love to eat, and learn some baking techniques since it’s a new and fascinating world, so I thought, okaylah, mango cream pie! The one at Alexis is yummmmmm.. except I don’t like the nuts at the top. Looked around online for a recipe and surprisingly hard to find. They’re all very different and none looked like the one at Alexis. Finally found one that looked quite nice and similar on someone’s blog, and decided to go for it. Especially since it also had this term “blind baking” that I didn’t understand.

I checked out the recipe, saw that I had most of the ingredients except mango, yay! Cause I’m kinda broke from this expensive enterprise. Went to a fruit shop in Subang and Chukanan mangoes are not in season. Crap. They are generally the sweestest types of mangoes that I liked. They had Golden Lily, but they’re usually quite keras and tart. Asked the shopkeeper, and she said there’s some huge green mangoes from Indonesia that’s super sweet, but at $16.70/kg, it’s damn mahal! But what to do, blueberries are worse, and apple pie, we don’t like, so mangoes it is. The recipe called for 5 cups of mangoes, so I had to buy 3. That came up to about $28. Eeps!

Then came the mystery of “blind baking”. I searched online, still didn’t understand it after reading the instructions (and err.. malu to say it’s mainly because I don’t know what they mean by base or side of the pastry – is it below? above? what?). So went to YouTube for trusty video guides. Here’s a pretty good one. I need baking paper for this and Bake with Yen, that has good and cheap baking supplies is shut on Sundays, and I didn’t want to battle the weekened jam to go to Giant or Tescos. Luckily, a magazine/stationery shop had “cake paper”, which E confirmed looked pretty much like the ones her mom used to use, so we beli some.

Got home, and started making the pastry. Here’s the recipe I followed, and how I spectacularly messed up the pie!

Mango Cream Recipe (from HanimCooks)

This is what a mango cream pie is supposed to look like

This is what a mango cream pie is supposed to look like

Crust

1 cup butter, cold and diced
1 ¼ cups flour
½ cup sugar
3 egg yolks
  1. Pre-heat oven to 180 degree Celsius.
    Since I’m using a microwave oven that turns into a convection bake oven, pre-heating was not necessary (I think!).
  2. Place the flour, butter and sugar in a bowl. Using your hands, knead it until it resembles dough.
    Okay, this sounds like a shortcrust pastry that I made for the cherry pie, and I learnt from there that the butter needs to be cold cold cold. Someone also gave me a tip that it’s better if the butter is not chopped into cubes but grated. So that’s what I did, one cup, back into the fridge for about 20 mins. Measured & sifted flour and sugar (what sugar? I used ordinary granulated sugar before, but bought castor sugar this time since the YouTube videos always show them using superfine sugar), put it in the mixing bowl and put that in the freezer for about 10 mins. Then I held a cold compress for about 5 minutes to make my hands cold since I’ll be mixing this by hand. Took it all out, mixed it (and yes, it was a lot easier to mix butter into flour and sugar until it becomes like a crumbly, sandy mixture.)First mistake: this is maybe *not* a shortcrust pastry but something else! Am I supposed to actually keep the butter warm and not cold, because otherwise, with no liquid, how can it resemble dough? I searched and searched for the difference between tart pastry and shortcrust pastry, and didn’t find anything (shortcrust pastry is usually used for tarts). I did however, find a really good video on Gordon Ramsay making shortcrust pastry:D. So I ended up with a nice crumbly, sandy mixture instead of a dough…
  3. Add the yolks and knead until all ingredients are mixed well; form a disc and wrap in cling wrap and allow torest in the refrigerator for at least an hour to overnight.
    I didn’t understand this 3 yolk thing, and checked around, and most recipes call for just 1 egg. The ratio of flour to butter is also very narrow (usually 1 part butter, 2 part flour, here’s it’s 1:1.25). Gah.. what’s happening? Then I thought, a ha! Maybe she’s using yolk as water replacement (usually, am supposed to add about 4-5 tablespoons of cold/iced water to the mixture to turn it into dough)! So okay, decided to add the yolk to the mixture.Second mistake: I ended up very sticky hands, and a crumbly mixture that just won’t hold. Fuck. What is this?? In my panic, added a tbs of cold water, starting to hold better, okay.. good, added another, holding better, but still not ideal, okay…. just…one…more…..Oh… Crap. The whole thing ended up being super wet and sticky, and bits of it kept sticking to my fingers, the table, the bowl… what…?? N asked me to just keep adding flour till it holds, and I’m sure it shouldn’t be like this, cause the mixing process has already started, but wth, I kept adding pinches of flour till it sort of held. Wrapped it in cling film and prayed to Piea it held.
  4. When the dough is ready, roll it out together with the cling wrap, until it is around ½ cm thick.
    Took it out of the fridge after 1.5 hours, and it was still a sticky mess. I couldn’t roll it, it was sticking to the rolling pin, to the paper on the table, bits of it were falling apart. What do I do?? Do I just start over? Do I have enough butter? Gah….
    Third mistake: Did the whole adding flour thing till it held, and then rolled it. It looks pretty good actually, like Gordon Ramsay’s first mixture, and I was thinking, maybe.. it will somehow work…
  5. Place the rolled out dough on a buttered tart mould.
    I buttered my pie dish thoroughly (from the Key Lime pie, I realised that this helps the pastry unstick from the sides and easier to cut. Like duh..), put the pastry in, pat in the bottom and sides nicely, and then learnt a nifty trick from where else, a YouTube video, and cut the sides by rolling the rolling pin over the top of the pan. Nice and neat 🙂
  6. Prick the tart shell surface with fork and chill for 10 minutes in the freezer.
    Fourth mistake: Totally missed this step! And only seeing this now! Aiyoyo..
  7. Bake blind for 10 minutes (see notes).
    Fifth mistake: I popped it into the oven, 180 degrees, 10 mins, and even after all my research on blind baking, I thought this was supposed to be done as a second step, not first! And Masterchef US finale was on TV, so I was totally distracted, and only just remembered about 8 minutes into the pie crust baking. Oh… shit!! Ran to the oven, quickly lay the cake paper over, put in the rice, put it back in, and added 2 more minutes to the baking. This is not turning out okay…

    Pie pastry

    Doesn't look so bad right? You can't blame me for thinking it's done...

  8. Remove from the oven and brush the base of the tart shell with lightly beaten egg
    This I did, and it looked a little puffy at the bottom. Oh sigh, but hopefully it will taste okay. I also bought a little brush to do the egg-brushing thing, because I used my fingers before and it wasn’t even. But this brush is also kind of crap, made out of rubber (cause I thought it’d last longer and look less disgusting after a few uses), and I think I’m meant to just use the yolk? Or I beat it *too* lightly, and ended up with bits where I just got egg whites. And I also missed the bit where it says just brush the *base* and did half of the sides before going, oops! In short, not a beautiful and even brush. Also pricked the base with a fork here.
  9. Return to the oven for 10 to 15 minutes, until the edges are brown and the base of the crust is golden.
    Popped it back in for 10 mins, the house started to smell reeeeally nice, took it out, the base is kinda golden, the sides were getting unstuck from the pie dish, and a little brown. Thought it needed a little more time, added 3 minutes. E, N and I stared into the pie crust, it looks golden, and browning at the edges, and smells good, it must be cooked right? I was wondering about the paleness beneath the egg wash, but was getting anxious and over-anxious from the messy dough fiasco earlier, so decided to take it out. Sixth mistake.
  10. Transfer to a wire rack and let the tart shell cool to room temperature completely.
    Took it out and let it cool. In the meantime, started on dinner.
Mango Cream
1 cup cream
¼ cup icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
5 cups ripe and sweet mangoes, peeled and cut into chunks
1 cup macadamia nuts, roughly chopped for garnishing
  1. Whip the cream at high speed until it reaches semi soft peaks. Add the icing sugar and then beat again, but be careful not to over whip.
    Yay! Whipping! I just bought myself a cheap and cheerful mixer for the Key Lime pie because whisking by hand is pure torture and I can’t get the speed or consistency needed anyway. So happy when I get to use this. First of all, what type of cream?? Whipping cream? Double cream? Can’t seem to find double cream in Malaysia, but I did get a bottle of “thickened cream” whatever that means, so I put in a dollop of that into the whipping cream to make a full cup. Measured out everything, and put it in the fridge for about 15 mins. Mixing bowl and the beaters into the freezer for about 20 mins.

    High speed.. okay, started whisking at speed 5, and I remember it takes longer than I think, after 10 mins, checked it and it was kinda thickening, whisked again for about 1 minute or so. What does semi soft peaks look like? The warning of “not over whipping” is freaking me out. I added the sugar, whisked again for another minute, it looks semi soft… took some out with spatula and it kinda held.. is this semi soft? It’s not meant to be hard peaks right? Should be okay…
  2. Add the vanilla, fold in the mango chunks and set aside.
    Added the vanila, very unskilled in “folding”, the cream got a bit orange by the end of it. I’m sure it’s meant to be just white with chunks of mango inside. Urgh.. But okaylah, it tastes damn fine, should be okay, but why is it so err.. creamy..? Isn’t it meant to be a bit stiffer? How is it meant to hold in the pie?? Do I pour it straight or put it in the fridge first? Since it says in step 5 that to assemble as close to serving time, thought okay, put in fridge first in the mixing bowl…
  3. To assemble, pour the mango cream onto the tart shell when the tart shell is completely cool.
    Took it out of the fridge, if anything, it looks a little runnier than before. Eeps! Poured it anyway, and my oh my, it poured. There was waaaay too much mango (I’m thinking 4 cups is more than enough). It was heaping at the middle, which would have been nice if it actually *held*, but since it didn’t, it kinda overflowed a little at the sides.
  4. Scatter the chopped macadamia nuts.
    Couldn’t find macadamia nuts, and don’t really like nuts on mango cream pie anyway, so decided to skip this.
  5. Cream fillings will result in a soggy crust if left sit for too long. For this reason assemble the tart as close to serving time as possible
    After pouring, it looks pretty good anyway… but how am I supposed to cut this pie? Blindly took a knife and guessed at where the pastry is, cut a slice, and of course, all the filling just went everywhere. Took a bite, and uh… houston, we have a problem. The pastry is not cooked! It tastes chewy and floury and it’s just not very nice. Hahaha. So what we we have at the end of it? Mango cream salad!Threw away the crust (poor crust), and it was totally pale at the bottom (now I know why people use clear glass pie dish) Oh well, how can we go wrong with mango and cream right? Gave up on the pastry, took up some spoons and just ate the filling instead. There’s still a lot left, so I might try and make some meringue and make a kind of mango eton mess instead.

So there you go, how not to make a mango cream pie. 😀

p/s: Here’s another recipe that I might try at a later date, esp since it has a meringue topping!

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  • Photo for header is by emilyvalenza, from Flickr, used under CC license
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