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Posts Tagged ‘pastry’

  1. Apple Pie – an old fashioned pie plate recipe

    April 1, 2015 by sarah

    I bought an old-fashioned pie plate in the January sales but it languished in the pan cupboard until this week. It has a classic retro feel about it so I just had to make a good, old fashioned apple pie. Now, normally pastry is not my strong point but I recently bought a pastry blade from Lakeland and it has revolutionised my pastry making. It means that even without a full sized food processor, I can whip together a batch of pastry within 10 minutes and no sticky hands and scrubbing pastry from under my wedding ring!

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    I love how this apple pie turned out. Having kept the filling simple, the apple flavour really does shine through. Perfect for serving warm with custard or ice-cream or cold with cream. Mmmm! Go on, spoil someone this week with this old-fashioned recipe.

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    Apple Pie

    Serves 6-8
    For the Pastry
    250g plain flour
    50g icing sugar
    125g cold butter
    1 egg
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    egg wash (one egg beaten with 1 tablespoon of water)
    caster sugar for dusting
    For the Filling
    2 large Bramley apples
    3 eating apples (need about 1kg apples in total)
    100g soft brown sugar
    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
    1 tablespoon lemon juice


    Preheat the oven to 200 ºC/180 ºC fan. Grease a 20cm pie plate with butter.

    Make the pastry by rubbing the butter into the flour, icing sugar and salt, either by hand, food processor or pastry blade, until it resembles breadcrumbs. Crack the egg into the pastry and gently mix with your hands until it comes together into a ball. If the mixture is too dry, add a drop or two of cold milk or water. Wrap the pastry in cling film and put in the fridge to rest and cool for about an hour or more.

    Peel the apples, place in a large bowl and sprinkle with the lemon juice to stop them turning brown. Add the sugar and spices and mix well. Put in a large saucepan and over a medium heat, cook gently for 5 minutes until the apples are tender but not complete mush. Remove from the heat and allow to cool completely.

    Divide your pastry in half and on a worktop dusted with flour, roll out to about 1/2 cm thick. Transfer the pastry to the pie plate by drapping over the rolling pin. Ease the pastry into the dish, making sure it is well pushed into the sides. Sprinkle the base of the pastry with a handful of ground almonds, dry cake crumbs or bread crumbs; this will absorb excess water from the apples so the bottom of the pastry crisps up. Pack in the cooled apple mixture into the pie; it should be domed high as it will sink down.

    Roll out the other half of the pastry, also to 1/2 cm thick. Run a line of egg wash around the rim of the pastry in the tin. Carefully lift the lid onto the top of the pie.

    Use your forefinger and thumb to firmly crimp the edge of the pastry to ensure bottom and lid are well glued together.
    Brush the top of the pie with the egg wash and sprinkle over the caster sugar.
    With a small sharp knife, make a couple of small slits in the top of the pie so that steam can escape.

    Place the pie in the preheated oven for 40-45 minutes until golden and firm. Serve immediately or allow to cool.

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  2. Quintessential Quinces – Apple and Quince Tart

    December 28, 2013 by sarah

    I bought these quinces a few weeks ago at the Waddesdon Christmas food fair. They had been sitting in the fruit bowl, staring at me, taunting me, ‘go on then, you bought me, now cook me’! Everything I read said they were devils to cook; impossible to peel and needing long slow cooking otherwise they would stay rock hard and inedible but that the pleasures would more than overcome any trials in cooking them, in fragrance and flavour.















    I have to say I am disappointed. I had procrastinated about cooking them for several weeks, waiting for this fantastic aroma that is supposed to emanate from them. It didn’t happen so I moved on to cooking with them. They weren’t that hard to peel and chop, or at least my birthday present knives, once sharpened, cut then easy enough. Then I poached them in spiced sugar syrup awaiting the transformation into rose red jewels. Instead of the half an hour of poaching they were supposed to need, they were ready in 15 minutes without a hint of pink. So came the tasting and again disappointment, like a pear crossed with an apple. I had such high hopes for them. In the end two out of the three were eaten on my morning muesli.

    So we come to the recipe. After leaving organisation to the last minute, I realised on Christmas day that I would need to produce some sort of dessert for the friends coming the next day. I raided the freezer and found a packet of puff pastry and in the fruit bowl a lonely quince and some apples. So we have

    French Apple and Quince Cheats Tart
    packet of puff pastry, defrosted if frozen
    2 eating apples e.g. granny smiths, cored but not peeled
    1 lonely quince, peeled and cored
    2 tablespoons of soft brown sugar mixed with 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
    icing sugar
    fruit jelly e.g. apricot or quince
    Roll out the puff pastry to a square about 30 cm on each side and cut in half so two bits about 15cm by 30cm. If it is ready rolled pastry try and find a way of getting the square or rectangle into two lengths that are not too narrow. Place on baking sheets and put in the fridge until ready to cook.
    Finely slice the apples and quince into a large bowl containing the sugar mixed with lemon juice. Set aside until ready to bake.
    When you want to bake them, preheat oven to 220 C or 200 C if fan.
    Take the pastry rectangles out of the fridge and neatly arrange rows of the fruit slices, alternating quince and apple, so that they overlap by about half a slice but leave a clear border of pastry of about a centimetre around the edge.
    Drizzle over any juices left in the bowl and dust over a thin layer of icing sugar.
    Place in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes.
    When they come out, cool on a cooling rack while heating a couple of tablespoons of fruit jelly with a splash of water (in a pan or in the microwave), stir until the jelly has dissolved and then brush over the pastrys with a pastry brush. Serve!

    If you are looking for more inspiration for what to do with quinces then see Nigel Slater, he raves about them.

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