RECIPE | LesDaChef's butternut pie with Amarula Chantilly cream
Cookbook author Lesego Semenya's put a South African spin on a classic American dessert, pumpkin pie
Makes: one 25cm pie
Enough sweet pastry to line a 25cm cake tin
2 egg yolks, beaten
250ml (1 cup) good- quality cream cheese
250ml (1 cup) caster sugar
2.5ml (½ tsp) ground cinnamon
A pinch of ground ginger
1 egg, beaten
5ml (1 tsp) vanilla extract
500ml (2 cups) cool butternut, mashed
250ml (1 cup) cream
55g melted butter
For the Chantilly cream:
125ml (½ cup) Amarula
250ml (1 cup) double-thick cream
5ml (1 tsp) vanilla essence
Method: Line the cake tin with the pastry and blind bake it*. To make the filling, cream the cream cheese with the sugar until it is softened and lump free. Mix in the spices and the beaten egg. Mix in the vanilla extract and the butternut. Whisk until the paste is smooth and lump free. Finally, add the cream and melted butter.
Pour into your pie base and bake for 45 to 50 minutes at 170°C. It shouldn't crack on top. (A sign of a good pumpkin pie is a uniform, smooth surface.) The pie will still look wobbly when done but don't worry. It will set after resting (just like a baked cheesecake). Leave it in a cool place. (A trick I've learnt over the years is to bake the pie for 30 minutes and then without opening the door leave the pie in the switched off but still warm oven for a few hours to settle and cool down.)
For the Amarula Chantilly cream, simply mix the Amarula liqueur with the double-thick cream and a teaspoon of vanilla. Whip until soft peaks form and add a spoonful to your slice of pie just before serving. *Blind baking the pastry beforehand is the most important part of making a tart or open pie. Blind baking is when you roll and line your pie tin and then use foil, ovenproof paper or plastic filled with beans or rice to hold the pastry down. Bake the base until it is golden brown. Remove the foil or paper or plastic with the beans or rice, and then brush the pastry with beaten egg before baking it for a few more minutes. This achieves two things: the base is firm and hard and will not be soggy after baking, and the egg wash will stop the liquid from seeping through any cracks.
• Recipe and image from 'Dijo - My Food, My Journey' by Lesego Semenya, published by Jacana, R345.