Thursday, January 20, 2011

Eggless Apple Pie - My first!

I just can't wait to show you my first Apple Pie! Well, my first pie ever to be precise! I had bought a pie tin and tartlet molds years ago without even the faintest idea as to what I would do with them. But of course never got to baking a pie for some reason I don't really know. Until I started to look for new things I can try. A pie seemed a good idea, specially since I had some Granny Smith apples in my fridge. I am the fruit eater in the family and have to generally push hubby and kids to eat fruit. But when I save fruit for a specific purpose, I have a tough time keeping them from eating it:). And my kids complain that 'I don't let them eat even something like a healthy fruit'! This in the context that my kids keep raiding the fridge for chocolates, butter or cheese slices which I painstakingly hide from their prying eyes. They do get away with eating some of these things, with and without my knowledge...sometimes with a chastising mini lecture and sometimes to allow some small kiddie indulgences..

The only time I ever tasted an apple pie was at a well known restaurant here and I must say, it did not really leave me wanting to go back there for more. And to think we ate the pie on the recommendation of the staff there!! And of course it also put me off the idea of me wanting to bake one at home. The home-made pie however, made a nice change from the regular tea-time treat, the buttery and crumbly-crisp shell a perfect contrast in texture to the slightly tart, soft, cinnamon flavored apple filling. An enjoyable treat if you love the cinnamon-apple combo...

I admit, I was not very sure of posting this one here, as I thought the pie does not look good enough. And the other reason - don't look at me like that, but I am not really head-over-heels in love with cinnamon in my desserts.  But then, everything does not need to be picture perfect, I am experimenting with things. I may love some results and when I do, I go ga-ga over it. And if I don't love the result I will surely mention that here too! Rest assured, I may post an odd recipe which may not be to my taste, but not recipes which can't be tried successfully.

The eggless pie shell or the crust recipe is good and you can play around with different fillings, fruit based or fillings like cream cheese-almond meal, pastry cream, meringue and many more. You could also replace the sugar with a teaspoon of salt and try a savory filling, which I think I will try sometime. 

Recipe from Joy Of Baking. I have halved the crust recipe and baked the pie in a 6 inch tin (original has a 9 inch tin) and 3 tartlet tins. The shell has been baked blind which is a small deviation from the method in the original recipe. I have also skipped the lattice on top and kept the pie open. Baking blind is a term which means baking the pastry shell before it is filled. The shell is pricked with a fork to prevent it from rising, It is lined with parchment and filled with a weight such as dried beans. The weight is removed a few minutes before the baking time which helps the crust to brown evenly - source Epicurious. I baked blind as I was not very comfortable with the idea of baking the shell straightway with the filling in it.

Pate Brisee (Short Crust Pastry):

175 grams all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon granulated white sugar (replace with 1 teaspoon salt for a savory crust)
1/2 Cup / 113 grams unsalted butter, chilled, and cut into 1 inch (2.5 cm) pieces
2 to 4 tablespoons ice water ( I used only 2 tablespoons)
(I have omitted the 1/2 teaspoon salt, use if you wish)

Method: Combine the flour and sugar (and salt if using) in a bowl. Mix well. Add the chilled butter and rub in with your fingertips till the mixture resembles bread crumbs. Add 2 tablespoons cold water. Add more water only if needed. The dough should just come together and hold when pinched. I have used only 2 tablespoons and it worked just fine. Knead very briefly. Alternatively, you could use a food processor for the entire procedure. 

Cover the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour before using. Make the filling in the mean time. After the dough has chilled, take the pastry and roll it on a lightly floured surface into a circle 12 inches in diameter( take 2/3 pastry and roll into a 9 inch diameter circle if you would be using a 6 inch pie tin like me) Did I tell you I am bad at Math?? If you want to save all these complex calculations, just use a 9 inch tin. I would have used too, if not for the sad part of my small oven:-(. You could use good cling film and roll the pastry perfectly as Rachel Allen does. I tried to do it, but since I am not Rachel Allen, it did not work. And I choose to blame it on the cling-film which stuck firmly around the edges of the dough and did not budge much when rolled. Ensure uniform thickness as you roll. 

Gently transfer it to the pie tin and trim to fit the edges. Press it gently to fit into the ridges and dust off any excess flour. Yep, since I did not do a good job of pressing it into the ridges, the ridges are not very prominent. Prick the pastry with a fork on the surface, cover it with a cling film and rest it in the fridge for 15 minutes.

Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees C. Line the pastry with parchment and fill it with beans (I used kidney beans). Bake for 15-20 minutes or till the pastry feels dry. I baked for about 25 plus minutes. Remove the parchment and the beans, bake further for about 10 minutes till the crust looks golden brown. Remove from the oven, cool completely.

For the filling: (Please Refer note)

Rose Levy Beranbaum's method of of macerating the apple slices (instead of just mixing them with spices etc and directly using them) in sugar so that the natural juices in the apples are released is used here. The released juices are cooked, reduced and poured on the slices later.  So when you bake the apples, they will not shrink any further and helps avoid a gap between the apples and the top crust. I have made an error of judgment with the quantities of apples, hence the gap.

Apple Filling:
1.1 kgs apples, peeled, cored, and sliced 1/4 inch thick (a firm variety works better, I have used Granny Smith)
1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated white sugar
1/4 cup (55 grams) light brown sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice (alter to suit your taste, but don't skip)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt ( I skipped this)
2 tablespoons (28 grams) unsalted butter
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon (15 grams) cornstarch (corn flour)

To serve:
Softly whipped cream or vanilla ice cream

Method:  In a large bowl combine the sliced apples, sugars, lemon juice, ground cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Let the apples macerate at room temperature for 30 minutes to three hours. Then, place the apples and their juices in a strainer that is placed over a large bowl (to capture the juices). Let the apples drain for about 15-30 minutes or until you have at least 1/2 cup (120 ml) of juice. Spray a 4 cup (960 ml) heatproof measuring cup with a nonstick vegetable spray, and then pour in the collected juices and the 2 tablespoons (28 grams) of unsalted butter. Place in the microwave and boil the liquid, on high, 6 to 7 minutes or until the liquid has reduced to about 1/3 cup and is syrupy and lightly caramelized. (Alternatively, you could place the juices and butter in a small saucepan and boil over medium high heat on the stove, stirring continuously, this will take a 2-3 minutes approximately. Cool.  

Transfer the drained apples slices to a large bowl and mix them with the cornstarch (corn flour). Then pour the reduced syrup over the apples and toss to combine.  Pour the apples and their syrup into the pie crust. 

Place an aluminum foil on the baking sheet in your oven and keep the pie tin over it. This will help catch juices. I have baked in an oven pre-heated to 180 degrees C(350 F) for about 55 minutes. The apples should feel tender, but not over cooked or mushy. 

Stephanie recommends eating the pie after a few hours of baking it and not right away.


Filling : If you halve the crust recipe and bake an open pie, the amount of filling would be the same. Adjust the amount of sugar according to the tartness and variety of apples you would be using. Cinnamon and nutmeg would be to your taste. Even though reduced the amounts, I personally found the amount of cinnamon and nutmeg a little too overwhelming. 

I fell short of apples(error of judgment) and hence my pie has less filling. Since the quantities of ingredients in the filling like sugar and spices depends largely on the tartness of apples and personal taste, I have given the recipe as in the original.

You tell me! In spite of my novice with pies and mixing baking methods, the crust was still quite crisp and good even the next day, so am hoping I haven't done anything that goes totally against the grain of baking pies.

The pie goes to Ally's Delicious Desserts, she is giving away Wicked Desserts with 100 sinful  dessert recipes!  Doesn't this cover look good enough to eat??

Am sending the pie to Champa's Bake - Off  


Indian Khana said...

Wow this looks delicious .....I simply love this one looks very beautiful isn't it ?

Unknown said...

I really want to try a pie of this kind..looks yumm..

Priya Suresh said...

Damn pretty looking pie,looks absolutely divine..

Prema said...

Wow thats amazing,never tried at home!pls pass it:)

Musica said...

Suma, it looks delicious.And I used to watch Rachel allen show, especially this pie episode and think I would never be able to do it.

Kudos to you, for attempting such a complex thing.

Hasna said...

first??? so i thnk I should do it too...even i've never tried before...ths one luks tempting...

harini-jaya said...

tempting pie there!! and gr8 clicks too

Reshmi said...

woww..fantastic pie with apple...i love the outlook of it...

Pavithra Elangovan said...

Absolutely stunning ...looks so delicious with dollop of cream or ice crea,, omy I am drooling suma.

Pavithra Elangovan said...

absolutely stunning..i love this and looks delicious.. with ice cream or whipped cream Omy I am drooling suma.

Panchpakwan said...

Wow looks really delicious pie Suma.

Anonymous said...

Yummm-de-dum! Looks heavenly. I was not a fan of cinnamon for a long time too. But how things have changed and I have learnt to love my cinnamon :)

The first pic looks temptalicious!! *drool drool*

Sayantani Mahapatra Mudi said...

am not a big fan of apple pie either but love the cinnamon flavour. the pie looks great Suma. love the last pic a lot.

Champa said...

For someone who never made pie before, it is a fantastic job. Keep it up. Somehow I never developed a taste for apple pie. That is probably the reason for me not making it. Thanks for the entry. What are you going to use the tart pan next for? A pecan pie? They are amazing. If there is any pie that I would love to eat, it is pecan pie.
Do you get pecans in B're? I wonder.

Divya Kudua said...

I really don't know why people say-"As easy as a pie",this doesn't look easy to me from any angle!!My first experience with an Apple pie was also not worth remembering-I've been meaning to try making a pie ever since but I have to get a pie pan for that,duh.Looks really good and yeah,I am a big fan of Cinnamon in my bakes,so there.

Nachiketa said...

Super cool pie... love it... :)

The Variable, Crazy Over Desserts - Nachiketa
Catch me on facebook @ Crazy Over Desserts

M D said...

Kudos! Baking a pie! I own a pie pan, but never attempted this! Your are heading to perfecting the art of baking. I am all set to rush to your place before the pie sees and end!

chef and her kitchen said...

The pie looks just perfect...lovely dessert

Ally said...

for the book...this apple pie gets the kudos!!