I was raised eating very traditional desserts; chocolate pudding, apple pie, blueberry cake, fudge. Even though these desserts have a very special place in my memory, I absolutely love French pastries.
When I was in France, I got into the habit of eating almond pie every morning. Yes, I know. Bad. But soooo good. It’s the fault of the coffee shop that was right next to my hotel. They gave you half a sandwich on a baguette and a big piece of dessert for $5. It was a matter of savings. So pie for breakfast, sandwich for lunch! Amazing!
Anyhow. When I came back I started looking for a similar dessert and was dissapointed how close I could get, but never was quite the same. In Ottawa there is great French bakeries. I think of the Moulin de Provence that has amazing desserts and pastry. It’s always super busy, so I prefer to go there, get what I need and take it out. When I want to sit down and enjoy a bowl of coffee with a chocolatine, I go the Le Boulanger Français, the one in the Glebe – I love that place. Anyhow, there are plenty of nice French bakeries around, but I still haven’t found a place that sells MY almond pie. So yes. I took that as a challenge and started baking my way through my memory and baking books.
First the dough. I believe in homemade dough. It is so much better. And it may look scary or long to do, but I promise once you get it, it’s easy as pie! Yes I think I am funny here!
So there is many ways to do the dough.
Here is what I like to use:
1 cup of flour
½ teaspoon of baking powder
1 tablespooon of icing sugar (optionnal)
a pinch of salt
1/3 cup of unsalted butter
5 to 6 tablespoons of water – the colder the better
In a food processor, mix the flour with the baking powder, the icing sugar and the salt.
Slowly add the butter, piece by piece, mixing between each addition. Add one tablespoon of water at a time, until you get a wet, yet not sticky, dough. You really have to be careful and pay attention for this part.
When the dough starts to stick together, knead it on a floured work surface. When it’s holding itself in a nice ball, put it in the fridge for 45 minutes.
Using a rolling-pin, gently but firmly roll the dough on a floured work surface until you get the shape of a nice circle that will fit in your pan. I suggest using a removable pie-pan since it makes the pie look very pretty once it is ready.
Now for the filling, you will need :
Raspberries (about 1 cup)
Icing sugar (about 2 tablespoons)
1 cup of powdered sugar
¼ to ½ teaspoon of almond extract
¼ cup + 1 tablespoon of melted unsalted butter
1 cup of almond powder
In a bowl, mix the washed raspberries with 2 tablespoons of icing sugar. If your raspberries are already very sweet, be careful of the amount of sugar you add. I suggest you taste as you go. Once you get the right amount of sugar, spread the raspberries in the pan (that already has the dough in it).
In another bowl, beat the egg with 1 cup of powdered sugar. Add butter and almond extract. Once everything is mixed well, add the almond powder. Spread on the raspberries, and bake for about 30 minutes at 350F.
Once it is ready, let it cool and serve with either creme fraiche, sprinkle some icing sugar on top or enjoy it just as it is. Definitively one of my favorite pies!