Posts Tagged 'pie'

Definitely-not-Grandma’s Apple pie

“Ladies and Gentlemen… if I could offer you only one tip for the future, not being over-confident in the kitchen would be it.”
Singing the lines of the Sunscreen song while typing this, I would like to offer you the reasoning behind my tip. Having fun in the kitchen is great, and having wonderful friends and family complimenting your food is even better. Until you start to think: “hey, my friends love my food, so I must be a dab hand in the kitchen” and you convince yourself that trying a pastry recipe for the first time would be mere child’s play to you. And that of course you can make an apple pie with your eyes closed.
That’s where the ever-present kitchen fairy likes to prove you wrong. (The kitchen fairy also decides whether your cupcakes will rise, or whether your lamb cooks in time for dinner.)

My kitchen fairy was rubbing her hands in glee when I strolled in to the Pig Palace kitchen with my pretend Masterchef apron and my newly purchased rolling-pin. (As Frank says, it’s better than using an empty wine bottle) Not-so-silently confident that I was going to whip the apple pie recipe into shape, I proceeded in getting all the ingredients on the bench. Which is when my 6 bruise-free apples went tumbling onto the floor. “Never mind” I thought, “just a small hiccup”. After Frank’s masterful peeling of the apples I chopped them up and got ready to make the pastry. (See Frank, I did mention you. ;)) And this is where it got a bit scary: pastry is HARD to work with. I am incredibly thankful that Beets and I spent hours in front of the Good Food channel, because if I hadn’t known to roll the pastry back on the rolling-pin to get it in the pan I would have lost the pastry, and my rag, all at once.

Now I strongly suspect I didn’t have enough pastry, as it was veeeery thin when I put it in the pan. Once I piled in the apples, I popped another sheet of needle-thin pastry on top, rips and all. Attempting to recover my pride, I cut out a little apple and a leaf from the left-over pastry and decorated the top with it. After glazing with egg white and sprinkling with sugar, I shoved the apple pie in the oven and ran out the kitchen as fast as I could.

40 minutes later, I crept back into the kitchen to discover a really funny-looking pie! To quote Frank “it looks like a moonscape”. And as he assessed correctly*, I should have left more pastry hanging over the edge. Oh well, Masterchef I am not, but at least it doesn’t look too bad.

As I have made this apple pie (or large pile of apples with a teeny bit of pastry) to take up to Mama and Papa C tomorrow, I cannot cut into it or tell you what it tastes like just yet, but thankfully it smells delicious! I’ve been told to let it cool properly and it will last for a week in the fridge if needs be. I’ll publish additional photos after we crack the pie open.

*For those of you who don’t know, Frank is not only the chief dish-washer and highly skilled sous chef, but he has nominated himself as my honest critic and is always willing to suggest how to do it better next time. 🙂

Apple pie – adjusted from the BBC Good Food website

1kg Granny Smith apples
140g golden caster sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
3 tbsp flour

225g butter , room temperature
50g golden caster sugar , plus extra
2 eggs
350g plain flour , preferably organic
softly whipped cream , to serve

Put a layer of paper towels on a large baking sheet. Quarter, core, peel and slice the apples about 5mm thick and lay evenly on the baking sheet. Put paper towels on top and set aside while you make and chill the pastry.

For the pastry, beat the butter and sugar in a large bowl until just mixed. Break in a whole egg and a yolk (keep the white for glazing later). Beat together for just under 1 min – it will look a bit like scrambled egg. Now work in the flour with a wooden spoon, a third at a time, until it’s beginning to clump up, then finish gathering it together with your hands. Gently work the dough into a ball, wrap in cling film, and chill for 45 mins. Now mix the 140g/5oz sugar, the cinnamon and flour for the filling in a bowl that is large enough to take the apples later.

After the pastry has chilled, heat the oven to 190C/fan 170C/gas 5. Lightly beat the egg white with a fork. Cut off a third of the pastry and keep it wrapped while you roll out the rest, and use this to line a pie tin – 20-22cm round and 4cm deep – leaving a slight overhang. Roll the remaining third to a circle about 28cm in diameter. Pat the apples dry with kitchen paper, and tip them into the bowl with the cinnamon-sugar mix. Give a quick mix with your hands and immediately pile high into the pastry-lined tin.

Brush a little water around the pastry rim and lay the pastry lid over the apples pressing the edges together to seal. Trim the edge with a sharp knife and make 5 little slashes on top of the lid for the steam to escape. (Can be frozen at this stage.) Brush it all with the egg white and sprinkle with caster sugar. Bake for 40-45 mins, until golden, then remove and let it sit for 5-10 mins. Sprinkle with more sugar and serve while still warm from the oven with softly whipped cream

28/06/10 UPDATE:

Despite the apple pie looking really silly, it tasted pretty good! The filling cooked perfectly dispite my misgivings, and even though the pastry was really thin it tasted like shortbread. (And I’ve figured out why the pastry was so thin, my pan was the right diameter on the bottom, but opened out really wide!) Next time I’ll use 1.5 times the quantitiy and have a slightly thicker crust.

In response to my lovely comments:
Lorraine – thanks for the tip! I am very keen to do a course at Planet Cake one day, I need to steady my hands first as they’re really shakey! Unfortunately being short wasn’t my problem (I’m 5’8″), I think put too much pressure on the pastry. 🙂
Renae – your filling sounds delicious. Do you add nutmeg and lemon in addition to the cinnamon, or in place of it? I’d never made pastry before, so I wouldn’t mind trying your recipe for it!
Queen Bee – Ooh, cardamom. Interesting twist! I’ll give that one a try with Renee’s adjustments next time. That darned kitchen fairy often knocks bowls and food onto my floor and then Frank has to clean it up. I swear it was her. 😉


A spicy Anglo-African cottage pie

I love my new knives! I received a lovely shiny set for my birthday, and after using one blunt knife for everything for the last six months, I am in heaven. Frank was worried about giving me the new set of knives, as I am incredibly accident-prone, but in the end it was Frank who shed the first drop (or five) of blood. Not to worry, all wounds are healed, and I am proud to announce that I have not cut myself yet! (touch wood, touch wood.) We both used to dread it when I found a recipe that required sweet potato or pumpkin, as it took us hours – and buckets of sweat – to get the vegetables looking anything like they did in the recipe. Not with my new knives though, my chef’s knife just slid through those sweet potatoes like they were marshmallows. Never under-estimate the value of a good knife!

mince cooking in the pot

During a slow day in the world of bean-counting, or “work” as people like to call it, I was looking for some delicious recipes for dinner. As Sydney has been plunged into ice, I wanted some winter comfort food to fill our bellies. As luck would have it, I found a recipe for spicy parsnip cottage/shepherd’s pie. This recipe was very different to what I’m used to, as it had a tasty Moroccan twist to it. Needless to say, I made it and Frank hoovered it up! (Which is his fee for being chief dish-washer)

pie, waiting for the oven

The dish is a little time-consuming as it has three stages to the recipe. What’s great about it is that you can make it the night before and just pop it in the oven when you get home from work. It tastes as delicious the next day, as all curries seem to do. The cottage/shepherd’s pie has a surprisingly bobotie-like taste, bobotie being a traditional meat-and-custard dish from South Africa, so if you’re looking for the taste without the hassle, give it a go! I would recommend you serve it with a green salad and some crusty bread, but it’s also great on its own.

pie, out of the oven

Spicy shepherd’s pie (adjusted from BBC Good Food website)

For the meat sauce:

2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
small knob of ginger, peeled and granted
2 tbsp medium curry powder
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp tomato paste
500g minced beef or lamb (or even chicken/turkey)
400g can chopped tomatoes
100g frozen peas

For the topping:

600g sweet potatoes , peeled and chopped into large chunks
large potato, peeled and chopped into large chunks
1 chilli , deseeded and chopped
large bunch coriander , chopped
2 tsp turmeric
juice of 1 lemon
50g butter (or nuttilex if you want to go dairy-free)

For the sauce, heat the oil in a pan and add the onion. Cook until soft, add the garlic, ginger and curry powder, then cook until aromatic. Turn up the heat, add the mince, fry until browned, then add the tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce and tomato paste and simmer for 20 mins until thickened. A few mins before the end, add the peas.
Meanwhile, tip the sweet potatoes and potatoes into a pan of cold water, bring to the boil, then cook for 10 mins. Drain, season and mash with the rest of the ingredients.
Heat oven to 220C/fan 200C/gas 8. Assemble the pies in individual dishes (or one large one) by placing some meat sauce on the bottom and topping with mash. Ruffle up the tops with a fork, then bake for 20 mins until golden and bubbling.

Frank's portion... 😉

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All recipes are on Petitchef