Tag Archives: America

Bye, bye Miss American Pie


In the spirit of Thanksgiving, and out of jealousy of my sister who spent Thanksgiving with our wonderful American family in California, I rolled out some pastry and baked a USA inspired cherry pie. It involves very little ingredients and if you’re feeling extremely lazy you could buy ready made pastry. The cherries are tinned (or in a jar, as mine were) Morello Cherries, preferably buy them in syrup, as this saves you making your own. Super quick and easy, its a great pudding (or dessert I should say, in the spirit of America) for a cold winters night. Perfect with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.



For the filling;

2 jars of morello cherries in syrup (I got mine from student favourite Lidl. You need a lot of cherries as when they cook they reduce down, so these jars were 680g each, you could get away with 1kg of cherries, although this is a minimum)

75g caster sugar.

For the pastry;

250g/8 oz plain flour

pinch of salt

110g/4 oz unsalted butter, cubed

2tbsp icing sugar

enough water to bind.

1 egg, beaten (for the egg wash)


1) Place the cherries and the syrup in a deep saucepan. Mix in the caster sugar, bring to the boil, reduce the temperature and simmer for 30-40 mins, until the syrup has thickened enough to cover the back of a spoon. Once thickened, leave to cool.

2) Meanwhile, place the flour, icing sugar, and cubed butter in a bowl (or a food processor). Mix until they resemble breadcrumbs, pour in enough water to bind and make a dough. Flatten the dough into a disc and cover with cling film. Chill for a minimum of half an hour.

3) Once your pastry has chilled, preheat the oven to 190C/fan 170C/gas 5. Split your dough in half. Roll out one half to cover the base of a 22inch pie dish, so your pastry is about 3mm thick. Place inside the dish and, using a fork, prick holes on the bottom of the base, ensuring you do not pierce all the way through the pastry.

4) Roll out the remaining pastry to make the pie top, I decided on a stars and stripes effect, so I cut the pastry into thin strip and, using a cookie cutter, cut out four stars. You can do whatever you wish, or keep it simple with a plain lid.

5) Pour the cherry mixture and syrup into the base. Using a pastry brush, brush the egg wash around the edges of the pastry bottom, cover with your lid, lattice or chosen design. Using a fork, press down the side of the pastry to ensure the bottom and the top stick together, cut off the excess pastry and egg wash your lid.

6) Bake in the middle of the oven for 30-40 minutes, until the pastry is golden and crisp.

Best served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.



Guest Blog- Rachel Versus Food

As I’m currently living in Washington D.C I’m trying to munch as many American classics as possible. So to treat myself after my first day of interning I walked the 20 minutes from the office to U-Street to visit a true American landmark- Ben’s Chili Bowl.

U-Street Legend ‘Ben’s Chili Bowl’

The history of this well-established local gem is fascinating. It was opened in 1958 in the building of an old silent movie house and still stands in the same location, despite a turbulent history of riots and financial downturn in the area. Attracting a wide fan base of local regulars and curious tourists Ben’s has a real American at-home atmosphere making even a lonely diner like me feel welcome. The walls are covered with pictures of its famous clientele ranging from Man versus Food legend Adam Richman to many a President and First Lady. Barack Obama, of course, eats for free.

How do I get on this list?

So I perched on a stool and ordered myself a feast- the Ben’s classic Chilli Half Smoke and a side of chilli fries. A Half smoke is half-pork and half-beef and wholly incredible. Probably the messiest thing I’ve ever eaten (the white blouse wasn’t an ideal outfit choice) but worth every bite. The chilli on top is mild enough for my lemon-and-herb-nandos-heat limit and extremely tasty. The same chilli tops the delicious fries which, I hate to admit, I only managed half of.

Enough to make you want to chant ‘USA USA!”

So I left an hour later full to the brim and wondering why Chilli Fries aren’t a big thing in England and hoping that I don’t become a ‘big thing’ whilst I’m over here. But hey if it’s good enough for Obama, it’s good enough for me.