Happy New Year! I celebrated mine with my family and loads of food. I made Thai fish cakes, chicken mince spring rolls, chicken meat balls pasta, rum mutton, and apple pie while my mother made prawn malai curry, bhetki maach with alu gobhi, dal with fish head and lots of interesting vegetarian bengali dishes. Yes, this was a lot of food. We were so stuffed that on the first day of the year we had to eat a very modest meal.
I have some good news to share. I have become a Pishi which means aunt in bengali. A very good start to 2012. I was pinged on chat by two people asking me if I was rejoicing in having acquired cat like features as pishi means kitten in persian 🙂
Since my boudi sent me a tart dish I’ve wanted to make a pie. I wanted to try the technique of blind baking that I had seen on Rachel Allen: Bake. I had tried a lemon tart some time back. While the base turned out fine the lemon curd was too eggy. Apple pie is a classic. I wanted to combine a crumble and pie and that is what I did. I used two recipes – Rachel Allen’s recipe for the pie base and the crumb recipe from Baking from my home to yours that appears on Purple Foodie’s blog
- 200 g plain flour, sifted
- 1 tbsp icing sugar
- 100 g butter, chilled and cubed
- 1 egg, beaten
1. Put the flour, butter and a pinch of salt in a food processor and process briefly. I did not use the processor. Instead I used my fingertips and rubbed the butter in till it resembled breadcrumbs as had been suggested by Rachel.
2. Add half the beaten egg and continue to process. (You might add a little more egg, but not too much as the mixture should be just moist enough to come together.) If making the pastry by hand, rub the butter into the flour until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs then, using your hands, add just enough egg to bring it together. Believe me this does come together. When I made this the first time I had been worried about it being flaky. Credit has to be given entirely to the recipe that helped a person like me who is bad with making doughs and rolling stuff to execute it without a sweat!
3. With your hands, flatten out the ball of dough until it is about 2cm thick, then wrap it in cling film or place it in a plastic bag and leave in the fridge for at least 30 minutes or, if you are pushed for time, in the freezer for 10–15 minutes, before using. The website shared Rachel’s tip that the pastry should be rolled out between two sheets of cling film. As you can see that is what I did.
4. Line a 23cm tart tin with the shortcrust pastry and cover the base with baking parchment. Fill the tin with baking beans and bake blind for 10-15 minutes at 180C. Remove the beans and parchment for the last five minutes of baking for a golden crust. Do remember to prick the pastry before you proceed to blind bake.
On Purple Foodie, I had read once that adding a little butter to the pastry helps the butter paper stick to it before you add the beans. I applied the tip and was happy with the results.
2 apples diced into medium chunks
1 tsp of powdered cinnamon
3-4 tbsps of sugar
After the crust cooled down I plonked the apples on it.
5 tbsp butter, cold
¼ cup sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar
½ cup flour
¼ tsp salt
This was simple. All you had to do was mix all the ingredients together till it resembled breadcrumbs and leave it in the fridge and bring it out just when you are ready to use it. I topped the apples with generous portions of the crumb.
I baked this for 20 minutes at 180C. The aromas of apples, butter, cinnamon, and sugar wafting through the house were exactly how I had wanted it to be – heady and comforting. Biting into the pie was heavenly. A crunchy top, crispy side, and soft middle is what it was in terms of texture.