Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Mother nature has really perfected herself. Each day the sun rises and sets, moon waxes and wanes when they should. Seasons come and go just when they should. The nicest part of all these changes are that the fruit and vegetables also change. One really looks forward to summer when you know mangoes will flood the market. In December, it is the Kamala oranges from Nagpur. Come February and the grapes are there. Though nowadays with globalisation, the world is getting to be a smaller place and you seem to get most fruit all through the year. I guess it must be autumn in the Southern hemisphere when it is spring in the Northern parts. (Like a friend would say... If he wanted a drink a little earlier in the day then he would simply justify it by saying it was 7 pm in some other part of world and would very conveniently imagine himself there enjoying his tipple.)
But in India, during its season each fruit or vegetable takes pride of place. If it is apples, mangoes, oranges, cauliflowers or peas then every street corner you see nothing but that... on handcarts, on pavements, in stores.
It just makes you want to run into the kitchen and make something using them.
At home, come September ( remember the old Ventures tune?) then it is Apple Pie time. If time is a constraint, then it becomes Apple Crumble.
This time I had enough and more time on my hands as you can see. I had enough time to try out the lattice on top which I learnt from here.
Now for the recipe...
For the crust:
400 grams all purpose flour.
200 grams butter ( really cold and hard)
1 teaspoon sugar
For the Filling:
6 apples sliced finely
3 tablespoon flour
1 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon powder
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg powder
For the crust
Sieve the flour and add the sugar into it.
Put in the butter into the flour mixture.
The key here is using absolutely cold butter. Using a knife, cut the butter into little pieces in the flour itself. Then using only your finger tips, mix the butter into the flour till it starts looking like fresh bread crumbs.
Put a couple of ice cubes into 1/4 cup cold water. Use this very cold water a tablespoon at a time to gather the dough together. Don't make the dough too mushy or you will have a hard time rolling it out.
Keep it in the fridge immediately.
The idea of keeping everything so cold is that it helps make the final shortcrust pastry really flaky.
Divide the dough into two. Roll out one half to a size a little larger than the pie dish you are using. Place it in the pie dish. Use a fork to make little holes in the base crust to prevent it from rising while baking.
The other half of the dough can now be rolled out and strips cut to make into a lattice top after piling the apple filling.
Now for the filling.
Slice the apples. Mix in the sugar, flour, cinnamon and nutmeg. Pile it into the base crust till it is about 2 to 3 inches above the pie plate.
Make the lattice on top otherwise just roll out and place another full crust on top.
Bake at 180 deg C for about 30 minutes or till the top is golden brown and the apple filling is bubbling.
Another tip is that if you want a shiny look then you can lightly coat the top of the crust with an egg wash ( a mixture of equal quantities of egg and water) before baking.