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Thursday, 12 November 2015

APPLE PIE WITH CINNAMON, NUTMEG AND BROWN SUGAR

Good Morning to you,


How lucky am I?

I spent a fabulous 10 days with Danielle in early October and then went on to spend a wonderful 6 days with Natasha last week.

.... my only complaint is, why does the time go by so very quickly... it seemed no sooner had Natasha arrived, then it was time for her to leave.

... but we did have fun together. On Tuesday, I took Natasha along to my sewing group, but, oh dear, we arrived a little late.... and can you guess why? 

You have known me for quite a while now, so I won't be offended.

Go on, be brave, just say it.

Yes that's right, we were late, because we just kept on talking, or nattering as Phyllis would say.

We were curled up in our chairs and we were wearing our pyjamas, (does this sound familiar by any chance) drinking our morning coffee.  We agreed a time to shower and change, but that time past us by, so we set a new time, and can you believe it, we ignored the alarm... yes we even set an alarm, until we had no choice, but to fly around the house and get ourselves ready.  We both kissed George goodbye and we raced out of the door. I think George was a little bemused by us rushing around so much, because he is so organised, but he does know what we are like.... he just smiles and leaves us to it.

We had fun at the sewing group and afterwards we visited our local vintage book shops, where we  found some wonderful old books... well quite a few actually. During our time together, we went into town and stopped for the odd coffee or two.... oh yes and we enjoyed some wonderful Italian food at Carluccio's. The food was fabulous, but the desserts.... they are just a little bit special.  I had the lemon tart.... and it was so delicious. There is nothing like good food and good company.... a recipe for a lovely evening.

We rounded off the week by attending the Remembrance Service at Newcastle's War Memorial.

We sang hymns and said prayers in remembrance of the men and women who had fallen in past and present conflicts.

At 11 o'clock, we heard the sound of gunfire from the guns of the 101st Northumbrian Regiment, Royal Artillery.

We bowed our heads and we remembered.

At 2 minutes past eleven, we heard another round of gunfire to mark the end of the 2 minutes silence.

Shortly afterwards, these words, were spoken by a veteran soldier,

"They shall grow not old as we that are left grow old;
age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn":

A young cadet continued,

"At the going down of the sun, and in the morning,
we will remember them."

And we all joined in
with the words,

"We will remember them."

When the Bugler sounded 'Last Post', I could not hold back the tears any longer, they just flooded down my face.... both George and I remembered our dear friends.

After the service, we hugged each other, wiped our eyes and gathered ourselves together, as it was time to take Natasha to the train station, to begin her journey home.  It is always a hard thing for me to say goodbye to our daughters. The time I spend with both Natasha and Danielle, is wonderful, but it also reminds me of how much I miss them both.

.... but I gave myself a good talking to, and reminded myself, that when Natasha and Danielle were growing up, I would tell them, that there was a big wide world waiting for them to explore.

.... and they both took my advice.... they are like George, they are both adventurers.

After saying goodbye to Natasha, George and I returned home.  I know I have mentioned to you before, that the house always seems so very quiet when our daughters have returned to their homes. There are no sounds of 'busy', there are no sounds of chitter chatter from our girls.... just quiet. You see, we get used to a noisy house and we love it.

.... but the days have moved on and we are returning to the rhythm of our own lives again.

So, to help this settling down process, I really needed to bake something which would be comforting.... and I feel sure you will agree,




that Apple Pie is the perfect pick me up.  Now some of you will love ice cream with your apple pie and some will love double cream, but today, what I need to make my apple pie perfect.... is custard, yes custard.... and Barbara, I have to tell you, I timed it just perfectly,  the skin did not even have time to form on the custard.... and it was scrumptious.

We are not making custard today, I will leave that for another time, when I have another recipe up my sleeve.  So today we are making apple pie.

.... but first, it's 'on with the pinnie' and the music I am listening to is,


the beautiful voice of Madeleine Peyroux.  I have featured Madeleine before, but her voice is so beautiful I felt it was time to re-visit the album.

I just know my French friends will so enjoy, listening to,



So while I gather my ingredients together I am listening to Summer Wind a song I love and I just can't help singing along to. Singing makes me feel so happy.

INGREDIENTS
YOU WILL NEED
TO MAKE
APPLE PIE

FOR THE PASTRY

340g plain flour
85g unsalted butter
plus a little butter to butter the pie plate
85g shortening, I used Trex
pinch of salt
1-2 tablespoons cold water
2 tablespoons of caster sugar
plus 1 tablespoon to sprinkle on the pastry
1 egg yolk to glaze the apple pie

FOR THE FILLING

4-5 Bramley Apples
1 teaspoon freshly ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 teaspoons of cornflour
2 tablespoons Demerara sugar
1 tablespoon of lemon juice


Pre-heat the oven to 180C or 160C if fan assisted.

I usually put the oven on after I have made the pastry and when I start peeling the apples.


You will need a 10" round enamel plate.



HOW TO MAKE
AN
APPLE PIE



Sift the flour and



the salt into a large bowl.




Add the butter and the Trex to the bowl and gently rub with your finger tips until the mixture looks like bread crumbs.



Add the caster sugar.



Using 1-2 tablespoons of iced water, combine the ingredients together.  

Sometimes I find I need 1-2 tablespoons of water,
 sometimes I need a little more.


Cover the pastry in cling film and place in the fridge
 for half an hour.

Now it is time to organise the apple filling.




Peel and core the apples and cut into chunky pieces.



Place the apple pieces into a large bowl filled with water and lemon juice.  This prevents the apples from turning brown.

Set aside for the moment.




Grind the cinnamon... I have a coffee grinder which is perfect for the job.  The only thing is, please don't use the grinder for coffee, keep it to grind spices as you don't want your spices infused with coffee.



Grate the nutmeg.



Place the cinnamon, 
the nutmeg, the cornflour

and




the demerara sugar



into a bowl and mix together.

Set aside for the moment.




Butter the pie plate.

Remove the pastry from the fridge
and roll out.
Cut around the edges, but leave a bit of an over
hang.


Return the pastry to the fridge, to keep it cold.



Remove the apples from the water and place on a clean tea towel.  Working quickly, gently pat the excess water from the  apples.

Add the cinnamon, nutmeg, cornflour and sugar mixture to the apples and toss together.




Remove the pastry shell from the fridge and fill with the apples. You will find the apples will be piled high.
Brush the ege of the pastry with water to seal the pastry lid.

Roll out the pastry lid, but as we have piled the apples high, you will find you will need to roll out a pastry lid which is much larger than the plate.


Cut away the excess pastry around the edges and cut 4 leaves from the left over pastry. 

Brush the pastry lid with egg wash and arrange the pastry leaves on the top of the pie... brush these
 with egg wash.

Sprinkle with caster sugar.

Place in the oven and cook for 40-50 minutes, or until the crust is golden.  Ovens do vary, so check after 40 minutes of cooking.



Remove the apple pie from the oven and if you can bear it, allow the apple pie to cool a little.... I know, it's hard, because the smell of a baked apple pie is just fabulous and so tempting, it makes you just want to dive straight in and eat it.

 I've just had a thought.  Rather than waiting for
the whole pie to cool,



cut a piece of apple pie, leave it to cool for a few minutes, serve with your cream of choice,
and
just
enjoy.


You may have noticed in this recipe that I have used half butter and half Trex. The reason for this is, years ago when I first started baking, I always used Trex, then it was recommended that we use half Trex and half butter. Then it became the fashion to use all butter and just egg, without water to combine. For some reason or another, this time, I decided to use, half and half... I'm not sure why, I think my mind must have been on other things, but if I am perfectly honest, I think I prefer using half butter and half Trex, there seems to be a nice crispness to the pastry. The trick is not to use too much water as this will make the pastry hard. I asked George to do a taste test and he agreed. He said he loved the pastry.

Actually what he said was 'the pastry is just like my dad used to make'.... now you don't hear that every day.

Oh and before I go, just incase you are wondering who on earth Barbara is, well Barbara is a blogging friend who lives in France.... and we have one thing, amongst many others, in common.  We both love custard.

Take care and I will see you next Thursday.

This week I will be joining,



and


and







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