homemadedessert

AMERICAN STYLE APPLE PIE

A classic recipe for dessert delicousness

INGREDIENTS

  • 400 g butter (cold, divided)
  • 520 g all-purpose flour (divided)
  • 1 egg yolk ½ tsp salt
  • 170 g sugar
  •  60 ml water
  • 8 apples
  •  ½ lemon
  •  ½ tsp cinnamon
  •  ¼ tsp nutmeg
  •  100 g brown sugar
  •  1 egg white

Utensils: stand mixer, plastic wrap, oven, rolling pin, pie dish, pie weights, parchment paper, cutting board, knife, large bowl, cooking spoon, pastry brush

METHOD:     

360 g butter – 500 g flour – 1 egg yolk – ½ tsp salt – 120 g sugar – 60 ml water

Cut butter into large pieces and add to a stand mixer with most of flour, egg yolk, salt, and sugar.

Beat for approx. 2 – 3 min. until crumbly. Then, slowly add water, reserving a small amount for the final step, and continue to beat for another 1 – 2 min. until dough is smooth and uniform in consistency.

Wrap dough in plastic wrap and transfer to refrigerator. Allow to set for approx. 1 h. 40 min.

 Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F. Cut dough into two even rounds. Then, flour work surface, place dough on top, and roll out, one at a time, using a rolling pin until rounds are larger than your pie dish.

Flour both sides of dough and transfer to pie dish. Press evenly into all edges of dish and then remove excess dough. Place a piece of parchment paper on top of dish and fill with pie weights.

Place in preheated oven at 180°C/350°F and blind bake for approx. 10 min.

Peel, core, and quarter apples. Then, cut crosswise into medallion-sized pieces.

 In a large bowl, thoroughly mix together apple, lemon juice, cinnamon, nutmeg, flour, sugar, and brown sugar.

Transfer apple slices to pie dish and spread out evenly. Cut remainder of butter into pieces and place on top of apples. Cover pie with rest of dough. Make a small hole in the middle, so air can escape.

Mix together egg white and water and brush on top. Return to oven and bake at 180°C/350°F for approx. 50 – 55 min. until golden brown. Enjoy

Baked apple goodness for a winter night

I love vintage tea towels. Especially when they have old school recipes on them that remind you of foods you used to eat when you were young. This was the case with one of my favourites, a cooking with apples tea towel. Bright friendly colours keep you company as you wipe up your dishes but also gave me inspiration for dessert at my friends this week.

As a child dessert wasn’t a bit thing at the end of a meal. Sure there was coffee and biscuits but actual desserts weren’t a big feature so when my mum made her fabulous baked apples everyone was always around the dinner table, the oft used excuses to disappear into teenage bedrooms forgotten. Well for my siblings anyways. Being eight year younger I was always happy to hang around the dinner table with Mum, not having reached the joy of teens years just yet. But I digress. My Dad wasn’t too much of a sweet tooth preferring a slice of cheese and fresh apples after dinner but loved Mum’s baked apples,  so we knew that Dad was in Mum’s good books when they appeared after dinner.  Such a simple dessert but coupled with ice-cream it was such an easy after dinner treat.

Lo and behold my fabulous vintage tea towel featured a similar recipe transporting me back to my childhood. Their recipe also featured glace cherries and brandy made into a sauce with the buttery goodness left behind, a step which I left out because a) I don’t really like glace cherries and b) I thought the caramelised buttery sauce was nice enough without a splash of brandy which I don’t actually have on hand anyways!

So I know I haven’t really revealed the full temptation of a baked apple as yet. Just the title doesn’t really give away the treat it is, so I will explain the very simple method and try and entice you even more. Quite simply, you just core out the apple’s whole, score the skin so it doesn’t burst open and make a mess and then stuff the cavity of the apple with a combination of softened butter, brown sugar and cinnamon. Imagine then baking these stuffed apples for about half an hour in which time the butter and sugar caramelise to a butterscotch sauce at the bottom of the pan and the apple flesh cooks down to a soft, sweet filling. No we are talking hey? Now put that delicious apple into a bowl, top with vanilla ice-cream and enjoy! You can thank me later, don’t worry.

Ingredients (serves four)

4 granny smith apples (these bake really well but if you have a favourite apple by all means use them!)

3 tbsp softened butter

2 tbsp brown sugar

pinch cinnamon

Method

  1. Core out the apples and score the skin
  2. Mix the butter, sugar and cinnamon in a bowl until combined and softened
  3. Spoon and push the butter mix into the cored cavity of the apples
  4. Either place the apples in individual ramekins and on a tray to bake or onto a paper lined tray with the edges folded up to catch the butter sauce
  5. Bake at 180 degrees for about 30 min or until the apples have softened
  6. Remove from oven and serve with vanilla ice-cream. If you have baked them on a tray, put into serving dishes and carefully pour over the remaining sauce sauce from the oven tray.

If you like pina-coladas and getting caught in the rain…

Don’t worry, this isn’t a personals ad or even a rendition of that song, it’s my tongue in cheek intro to the very in vogue fruit of the moment, the Pineapple. From kitchen to decor, this versatile fruit has a lot going for it.

The cool chill in the air doesn’t exactly conjure images of tropical paradises but there is one fruit that can give you a little slice of beach life and that is our spiky friend the pineapple. Pineapples are a great dessert treat but many are put off my having to tackle the less than appealing hard spiky skin. My advice is to clean up the pineapple as soon as it comes home in your market bags to ensure that when you are after a quick snack it is ready to go and doesn’t become neglected.

Pineapples are also able to be dried easy and their sweetness is intensified for a surprisingly different garnish and dried fruit snack.

My favourite way to enjoy pineapple in winter is to pan roast them with a little butter and sugar as a compliment to ice-cream or even as the offsider to a panna cotta. Of course, a little blended into a pina-colada cocktail never hurts either! The combination of coconut and pineapple is a tropical party combo just waiting to cheer up your winter blues. I have two recipes below, one for a really easy egg free pina-colada ice-cream and the second with a coconut panna cotta and roast pineapple. Take your pick and enjoy them whilst dreaming of sunnier days with your toes in the sand. Enjoy!

Pina-Colada Ice-Cream

Ingredients

700g sour cream

250g icing sugar

440g crushed pineapple (drained)

250ml coconut cream

100ml coconut liquor or essence

150g shredded coconut toasted

Method

  1. Whisk sour cream, coconut cream and icing sugar until well combined
  2. Fold through pineapple and essence/liquor
  3. Lightly fold through 100g of the toasted coconut
  4. Place in bowl and freeze, taking out every hour or two and giving a stir to aerate
  5. After stirring twice, place in loaf tin lined with glad wrap or a brownie tray and freeze until firm
  6. To serve, cut into slices and roll edges in remaining coconut and plate with some fresh diced pineapple and mint or fruit of your choice

NB: If you have an ice-cream churner, follow method as above but fold through the pineapple and shredded coconut at the end before freezing to avoid damage to churning arm

Coconut Panna-cotta with Roasted Pineapple

Now, I have to admit, I went a little retro on this one with my choice of moulds. I have some old school jelly moulds rolling around in the cupboard but they work a treat. They have a seal to stop them from leaking when putting them in the fridge to set and a removable bottom to help poke them out if they are a little shy. As is often said, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! and these little babies certainly do the trick to behold my slightly retro version of the panna cotta.

Ingredients

Pannacotta

300ml coconut cream

200ml cream

1 cup icing sugar

5 gold gelatine leaves (see packet for quantities if not sure) soaked in ice water to soften

 Roast pineapple

1 pineapple cut into rounds

20g butter

1 tbsp sugar

Method

For pannacotta

  1. Place cream and coconut cream in a saucepan with sugar. Bring to a gentle simmer
  2. Remove from heat and add soaked gelatine, whisk well
  3. Pour into moulds and allow to cool slightly before refrigerating for at least four hours or overnight
  4. For pineapple, warm a frying pan on a gentle heat, add butter and sugar and allow to caramelise, add pineapple to pan and colour on both sides, leave in pan and remove from heat and allow to cool
  5. Serve cooled pineapple under pannacotta and top with dried pineapple and mint leaves

NB: I used a sunbeam food dryer for my pineapple. I just sliced in finely and dried over night. You can use an oven but it needs to be a very low heat and overnight.

An easy way to prepare the pineapple is to cut into the rounds and use an apple corer to remove the hard centre whilst keeping the circular shape

Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy

Finding inspiration can be a little elusive sometimes but I have been lucky lately and had it handed to me each day. I have been participating in Stephanie Alexander’s A to Z food photo challenge – A letter a day relating to food. It has been lots of fun and today was the letter L. Of course the obvious is Lemons! Who doesn’t love this citrus fruit? It has so many uses, freshening up a salad, tarting up a dessert, giving a kick to a marinade! Lemons do it all. My favourite application though? Lemon curd.

It’s tart, its buttery and it tastes so good when you like the bowl. Or the spoon. Or your fingers when you dip them in the bowl. But shhh…don’t tell anyone 😉

I am fortunate enough to have access to a lemon tree that has large, juicy and non-waxed/pesticide skin. They are as lemony as lemons can be and they have such an intense flavour. If you can get access to organic or as close to it does make a difference to have the juicier lemons and to use the skin in cooking without worrying what’s in it.

Lemon curd is easy peasy but there are a few hints:

1. Use a low to medium heat as there are a lot of eggs in this recipe and they can over cook very quickly

2. If the mixture seems to be cooking too quick, remove from heat and keep stirring whilst it thickens and finishes cooking

3. Cut your butter into small cubes to allow it to melt and mix into the cooked egg mixture evenly

4. If there appears to be large cooked egg bits in the mix if you had the heat too high, don’t despair! Either give it a quick blend with a bar mix or pop it in a blender and give it a quick whiz to mix together before adding the butter. Pass through a fine sieve and add the butter as normal

5. If you’re really unsure, place the mix into a bowl over simmering water and cook out slowly – it make take up to ten minutes to thicken so be patient

6. If you’d like to store the butter for future use (I don’t know how you can’t help but eat it with a spoon right away!) then follow the usual preserving rules – boil the bottle and lids first and place on clean tea towel to air dry, pour the curd mix into the jar when still hot  and place a lid on straight away and leave to cool. The cooling action will create a vacuum. I would recommend keeping the jar in the fridge to err on the side of caution, but with this method it will last at least two weeks unopened. Opened use within a couple of days.

So the recipe: (the photos feature a 1/4 amount of this recipe – this will make enough for one large lemon tart)

500ml lemon juice

500g sugar

12 eggs

6 yolks

360g butter

Method:

1. Separate eggs and mix yolks with whole eggs.

2. Put sugar and lemon juice in pan, bring to simmer and stir until sugar dissolves.

3. Add lemon sugar mix to eggs slowly and whisk together.

4. Put into wide based saucepan, stir egg mix over stove until thickened, approx 5 minutes

5. Remove from heat, stir in diced butter until well combined

6. Strain through fine sieve and bottle if saving for later or put into container ready to spoon over scones, sponge, into a tart shell or just go right ahead and stick a spoon in. I did 🙂

Who Doesn’t Love Pie? Lemon Meringue Pie Made Easy

pie finished

 

It was my besties birthday thus something sweet and tasty was in order. I am not shabby at making birthday cakes but my oven can be unreliable in the baking process thus I figured something a little more fail safe was in order. The inspiration was also Donna Hay’s recipe in the Sunday paper liftout. I did deviate from the original recipe (shock horror i know!) to create my own version. The main difference is in the pastry as I am a puritan in the butter, sugar, flour, egg ratio as opposed to using water and icing sugar. This is my favourite sweet crust recipe and I have been using it for years. The lemon curd of Donna Hay’s recipe was easy to make but we all agreed it needed more lemon to create a distinct tartness compared to the ultra sweet meringue. Her curd recipe is made and cooled as opposed to baked in shell and it’s an italian meringue as well which is also ultra sweet. Thus the recipes I am including here are my own lemon curd/butter and sweet paste as opposed to hers. I figured it would be nice to try something new and if you don’t like your lemon curd lemony by all means use hers. Otherwise, happy cooking and enjoy this sweet treat.

 

Ingredients:

Pastry-

270g flour

150g butter

75g sugar

2 egg yolks

 

Lemon Curd: (my way)

3 eggs

6 yolks

250ml lemon juice

250g sugar

180g butter

 

Meringue:

250g sugar

100ml water

4 egg whites

 

pie filling ingredients

 

 

Method:

Pastry

Combine butter and sugar in mixing bowl and with paddle attachment mix together until light and fluffy. Add flour and mix until just combine and crumbly. Add yolks and mix until just together. Remove from bowl and bring together by hand. You can also use a food processor for this processor or by hand – by hand add the sugar after rubbing the butter into the flour. Roll into log and wrap in cling film, refrigerate for 10-15mins. After resting roll out pastry to size of pan and press into, trimming top. Prick with a fork to allow air bubbles to escape during baking. Bake in over for about 10 mins at 170 degrees. You don’t need to cover the pastry as you want it cooked through as it wont be rebaked. If the edges are browning before the base remove from oven and cover the sides with alfoil strips and continuing baking until a golden biscuit colour. Remove from oven and allow to cool before removing from pan. If you have used a ceramic pie dish and like the look by all means keep the pastry in the pan. I used a mental pan thus turned mine out onto my plate.

Curd

Bring sugar and lemon juice to gentle simmer and stir until sugar is dissolved. Whisk eggs and yolks together and add sugar and juice mix to bowl. Whisk until well combined. Put back on low heat and stir gently until mix thickens. Ensure you don’t boil the mix as it will scramble the eggs. This is where recipes that use milk and cornflour to assist in thickening can be safer for first time makers but this method is like making custard – gentle heat and constant movement should create success. When mixture thickly coasts the back of a spoon remove from heat and strain through fine sieve into a bowl. Add cubed butter and stir until melted and combined. Pour into the cooled base until just below the lip and place in fridge for at least two hours to set.

Meringue

Place sugar and water into heavy based pan and bring to a boil. Continue to boil for about 5 minutes until syrup thickens.

Whisk the whites in a clean bowl until stiff peaks. Slowly pour in sugar syrup whilst still whisking whites and continue whisking until mix has cooled.

lemon pie pastry lemon pie pastry in bowl pastry rolled pastry and filling pie finished

 

 

Assemble

Spoon the meringue over the cooled and set lemon mix forming peaks. If you have you have a blowtorch carmelise the peaks until golden. Otherwise place the pie under a hot grill allowing meringue to carmelise. Due to the high sugar content this will happen quickly so keep and eye on the pie and rotate if required.

Enjoy!