Apple pie

Parita put up her recipe for apple pie recently. It made me root through my drafts and dig out mine. I had made this last winter (!) and dint post it for reasons unknown. Actually the reasons, or rather the reason is know and shall be revealed soon.

I made one serving of the pie and here is the recipe for it.

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Ingredients:

For the crust

  • 100 gms maida
  • 50 gms cold butter
  • A pinch of baking power
  • A pinch of salt
  • Ice cold water to bind

For the filling

  • 1 ½ a apples, peeled ,cored and chopped into pieces
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon powder
  • A few drops of lemon juice

Method:

  • Mix together the maida, salt and baking powder in a bowl.
  • Using your finger tips rub in the cold butter till it resembles bread crumbs. With ice cold water and bind it all together gently to make a dough. Cover with a wet cloth and refrigerate for half an hour or so.
  • Remove dough from fridge, keeping aside about ¼ th of the dough,  roll the remaining on a well dusted working surface to an even thickness. Gently life and place it in the baking dish ensuring all side are properly covered. Roll a rolling pin lightly on the edge of your baking dish to cut away the superfluous dough.
  • Prick the base of the pie case before putting it in the oven and baking it at 180 deg. C for about 15 minutes(till its light brown in colour). Remove from oven and cool.
  • Sprinkle the cinnamon powder and sugar and lemon juice over the cut apple pieces. Using your finger tips mix well and ensure all pieces are well covered with sugar and cinnamon.
  • Place the pieces in the pie case in two or three layers. Keep aside.
  • Use the dough that had been kept  aside to make the top cover of the pie.  Roll it out and cut it into strips and place these in a criss cross manner over the apple-filled pie. Alternately cut interesting shapes from the dough and use these to cover the apples.
  • To bake the top crust, place the pie in an oven and bake at 180 deg.C for about 15 mins.
  • Serve hot or cold. I like it hot!

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Notes: I had made the effort of preparing and blogging about the apple pie long back when I dint have this baking blog. I have used the same recipe this time around. The only difference  between then and now is that with all the baking practice, I am much faster at it than I used to be! I liked the end result of the pie but my mother wasnt very enthusiastic about it. As it turns out, she likes a lot of apple in her pie. Now if you chop your apples into pieces, they arent really going to fill your pie up with so much apples (no matter how well you pack them in) that you taste more apple than pie crust when you take a bite. So her verdict was that the pie was ok enough but didnt have the amount of apple she thought was necessary.  I think this is nature’s way of getting even with me. As a child I always complained to my mother that her aloo paranthas werent stuffed with enough aloos. I wanted there to be a burst of aloo in each morcel I ate. Friend who ate my tiffin at school considered the parathas just fine. That could be an explanation as to why they busied themselves in polish off my parathas while I cribbed and fussed and ate very little.  My mother tried to explain to me  on numerous occassions that there is only so much potato you can stuff in the paratha before it becomes un-rollable. I continued sulking nevertheless.

Now its my mother’s turn to say the “stuffing isnt enough.” She hinted  I might want to grate the apples and add them to the pie in that form. You can add more apple than way. But I wasnt too sure of thats a good idea. Wont the apples release juice and the pie get all soggy? It was on my agenda to try a tiny pie with grated apple so I could be a compare-n-contrast type of post. The grated apple pie never happened and thats why the apple pie post never got published. As things stand right now apples cost a bomb in the market. There is   no way I am going to buy a dozen to grate and cook them! Version -2 of the pie is just going to have to wait till winter. Meanwhile, if you have ever used grated apples in your pie, be  kind and share your experience with me- disasters, successes, whatever.

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Mango tart

I love mangoes. I dont think there exist too many people who dont. I mean whats not to like about the fruit? Its sweet,juicy, with a distinct taste and an lovely aroma that gently wafts through your house. Plus there are so many  varieties of the fruit that you are literally spoilt for choice. I am very easy to please when it comes to mangoes. I like ’em all! Unlike most Bombay junta that is partial to the alphonso and quite literally avoids any other kind of mango.  Why even my boss’s driver refuses to eat any other mango!  Its either hapoos or nothing. He comes from Devgad so that could be one reason for refusing all other mangoes..but still I dont quite get the reason behind looking down at other mangoes. Anyway, let them all be mango snobs,  I will indulge in all mangoes I can lay my hands on!

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Ingredients

For the crust

  • 75 gms maida
  • 35 gms cold butter
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • A pinch of baking powder
  • A pinch of cinnamon powder
  • Ice cold water to bind

For the filling

  • 2/3 C mango puree(about 140 ml)( you can use any mango you have available.I used safeda. Just make sure you strain once you have pureed it in the mixie)
  • Cream- half the quantity of mango puree or about 70 ml
  • 1.5 tbsp sugar( if your mango is a bit sour, increase this to 2-2.5 tbsp)

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Method:

  • Mix together the maida, cinnamon powder and sugar in a bowl.
  • Using your finger tips rub in the cold butter till it resembles bread crumbs. With ice cold water and bind it all together gently to make a dough. Cover with a wet cloth and refrigerate for half an hour or so.
  • Remove dough from fridge, on a well dusted working surface, roll the dough to an even thickness. Gently life and place it in the baking dish ensuring all side are properly covered. Roll a rolling pin lightly on the edge of your baking dish to cut away the superfluous dough.
  • Prick the base of the pie case before putting it in the oven and baking it at 180 deg. C for about 15 minutes(till its light brown in colour)
  • To make the filling, take any mango and puree its pulp in the mixie.
  • Take a thick bottom pan and add the mango puree, cream and sugar. Bring to a boil and cook for a few minutes till the mixture thicken. Ensure you stir periodically to avoid any burning. Keep aside and cool.
  • When the pie case is done, remove it from the oven and allow it to cool. Pour the mango mixture into the pie case. Decorate with fruits of your choice.

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Note: This is a fairly straight forward recipe. The only thing you need to take care of is the consistency of the filling. If its too runny it will ruin your tart. So before you get the filling off the stove just check for consistency and if it seems too thin, either add a bit of cream or keep it on the stove for a little longer till it thickens.

Walnut and date pie

Date and walnuts make a great “sugar free” mithai. They also make great pies!

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Ingredients:
Short crust

  • 300 gms maida
  • 150 gms butter(cold)
  • 1.2 tsp baking powder
  • 2tbsp powdered sugar
  • ice cold water to bind
  • 9″ diameter flan tin

Filling

  • 400 gms date(deseeded and finely chopped)
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1/2 cup cream*

*please read notes below, both Mandira and I skipped this and it worked just fine

Method:

  1. Cut cold butter into cubes.
  2. Sift maida and baking powder. Rub in the butter lightly using your fingers to get “crumbs”. Bind with cold water. DO NOT knead, but bind the crumbs with a little bit of cold water.You will not need more than 1-3 tbsp for this. Cover dough and refrigerate for 30 mins.
  3. For the filling heat butter in a thick bottom pan. Add the chopped and deseeded dates and water. Stir around till they become pulpy and soft.
  4. Add the walnuts, essence, lemon juice and cream.
  5. Remove pastry dough from fridge and roll out to fit the flan tin. Keep about 1/3rd aside to cover the top of the pie. Bake blind at 200 C for 15 mins till golden brown.
  6. Remove from oven and cool. Spoon in the filling.
  7. Roll out the remaining dough and cut into thin strips. Lay the strips in a criss cross fashion over the filing. Bake again for 10-15 min at 200 C.

Source: Nita Mehta’s book Bakes and Cakes

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Lakshmi’s notes: I replaced the maida with wheat flour (whole wheat atta) and it worked brilliantly. I also quartered the recipe and made two mini pies in tart moulds. I loved the short crust this recipe produces – its very very cookie like and melt in mouth. I skipped on the cream for the filling. I don’t think the cream is required at all – the pulpy dates and walnuts are quite rich and tasty by themselves. I added cinnamon powder instead of the essence.

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Mandira’s notes: I wanted to make the filling lighter so I skipped the cream altogether. I dont think it made any great difference to the taste. I also forgot to add the essence(!!) but the original taste of the dates and walnuts worked just fine for the family. I think the essence is superfluous! I have tried various butter and maida proportions for short crust pastry. I have found this to be the best.