Pastilla aux fraises
This is a sweet version of the savoury Moroccan pie which is made with pigeon and almonds. If you can find wharka pastry then go for it – if not, filo leaves are fine.
10 leaves or so of wharka pastry, or filo
12-14 strawberries with the leaves removed
Icing sugar for dusting
For the custard
A third of a vanilla pod
300ml single cream
5 egg yolk
60g caster sugar
Split the vanilla pod in half lengthways and scrape out the seeds with the point of a knife. Put the cream, vanilla pod and seedsf into a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and leave to infuse for about 10 minutes. In a bowl, mix the egg yolks, sugar and cornflour together.
Remove the vanilla pod from the cream and pour on to the egg mixture; mix well with a whisk. Return to the pan and cook gently over a low heat for a few minutes, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until the custard thickens; don't let it boil though. Remove from the heat and whisk it one final time, then transfer to a clean bowl.
To assemble the pastilla, first take a straight-sided tart or cake tin with a removable bottom, measuring 18cm to 20cm across by 5cm or 6cm or more deep. Brush the bottom and sides with some of the 60g of melted butter.
Lay a square of pastry on the base. Then lay on another 5 sheets all round the tin, overlapping the central sheet on the base, then going up the sides of the tin so half the sheet overhangs the edge – ready to be folded over later.
Spoon in the cooled custard and then push in the strawberries. Cover both with 4 more leaves of pastry. Brush with butter and fold the overhanging sides up and towards the middle, then cover with 1 more sheet, securing it firmly with your hand.
Bake the pastilla in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes until golden brown. Carefully run a knife around the edge of the pastilla to loosen the sides and place a flat plate upside down over the tin. Carefully invert the pastilla on to the plate and then slide it back on to a baking tray.
Brush all over with melted butter and return to the oven and cook for a further 5 minutes. If the pastilla is browning too much then cover with foil and turn the oven down. Serve dusted heavily with icing sugar.
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