Insta-Envy



My photography skills aren't great, I admit that. But, you know, I practice and I'm getting better. I'm not one of those people who waits for the right light for the perfect shot because sometimes, I'm at work during that time or if I wait that long, whatever I've made will be eaten by then. That's why I have what I've dubbed "Insta-envy".


It's for all those bloggers and photographers on Instagram that have absolutely faultless photos. The ones who've had their cameras long enough to know what light works with what setting and can use it to their advantage. The ones who have invested money in good quality props and background equipment because, let's face it, this is their job. Basically, the ones who know what they're doing.


I am jealous, of course, that I can't achieve these perfect pictures. But I am full of admiration for those who can. I follow some AMAZING bloggers and food stylists on Instagram and I will always share a picture of what I make if I follow one of their recipes (tagging them in it, of course, as per Insta-etiquette). Some of these people have been doing this for years and are lucky enough to have built a career out of it. These people are the masters, the Yodas, the creme de la creme of food photographers. They know their stuff.


One thing that makes me jealous is their ability to make messy fruit pies look so delicious you want nothing more than to stick your face in them just so you can be part of the mess. Well, I'm not saying the picture above does that for you (or for me) but it looks pretty and it tastes frickin' delicious. But it's my first fruit pie picture and maybe one day, after many, many fruit pie shoots I might just get a bit of drool going in my readers' mouths. Here's hoping anyway.


Strawberry Summer Pie

  • 350g plain flour

  • 200g cold butter, plus extra for greasing

  • 50g icing sugar

  • 2 eggs

  • 3 tbsp cold water

  • 250g strawberries, sliced

  • 1 vanilla pod caviar or 1 tsp vanilla extract

  • 1 tsp cornflour

  • 2 tbsp caster sugar, plus extra for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C. Rub the butter, flour and icing sugar together with your fingers until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs. Add one egg and the water and bring the mixture together until you have a nice soft pastry. Roll 1/3 of the pastry into a ball and put it in the fridge.


Lightly flour your work surface and roll out the rest of the pastry until it's about the thickness of a 50p coin. Grease a tart tin with butter and lay the pastry base inside. Use an off-cut of pastry to push the base into the shape of the tin. Don't cut too far down because the pastry will shrink as it cooks. Prick the base with a fork and blind bake it for 20 minutes.


Meanwhile, mix the strawberries, vanilla, caster sugar and cornflour together in a bowl and leave aside. Take the pastry out of the fridge and roll to the same thick ness of the base. Use a biscuit cutter to cut any shape you like. Or, if you'd rather, cut the pastry into strips and make a lattice for the top of the pie. It's completely up to you. Crack the remaining egg into a bowl and beat it so it's ready for an egg wash.


When the pie tin comes out of the oven, pour the strawberry mixture, along with the juices that have come out, into the pastry base. Arrange your topping in your preferred style and brush it evenly with the egg wash. Sprinkle over some caster sugar and put the pie in the oven. Let it bake for 20 minutes.


Make sure there is a good colour on the top of the pie. If you're worried about the edges burning, cover them with a ring of tin foil while the top continues to cook.

Serve hot or cold with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream.

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