Thursday, 21 June 2012

it's pie season!

Okay, it's always pie season! But particularly when you get your hot water bottle out and you can see your breath when you walk to work and you get reacquainted with your go-to coat. Then you know for sure.

Truth be told, I have not made that many pies in my life. (yet).

One reason for this is that pies take a long time when you do them properly. There is no such thing as a one-bowl pie if you want to make it from scratch. But it's worth it for flaky, buttery pastry and rich, sticky filling.

This one in particular is very, very good and I suggest you make it.

Apple & Raspberry Pie
adapted from Joy The Baker

Homemade Pie Crust

250g cold unsalted butter
2 1/2 cups plain flour
1 Tbs sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup buttermilk

1. Sift together the sugar, flour and salt.

2. Cut the chilled butter into small cubes and add it to the flour mixture. 

3. Using your fingers work the butter into the flour - you'll need to move quickly so that you don't melt the butter. When the mixture starts to resemble crumble, put the bowl into the fridge and let the butter cool. Keeping the butter cold is the most crucial part of this process and will ensure that you have a lovely flaky pastry when you're done. 

4. After about 10 minutes take the bowl out of the fridge and make a well in the centre of the mixture. Add the buttermilk and start to mix it all together with your hands. (By the way, this mixture is cold, like, really cold. So your fingers will go numb. Deep breaths. You can do it! There will be pie at the end of all of this!) Keep working the dough together. It should be quite crumbly but if its not holding together at all you can add a little bit more buttermilk. 

6. Tip the dough onto a clean surface and form into two disks. Wrap in cling wrap and place in the fridge to rest. 

7. After they've rested for about an hour, take one disk out and roll it into a circle that is large enough to line the inside of your pie dish. Wrap the dough onto the rolling pin and roll out over the pie dish. Here is a little video tutorial on how to do it! Trim the dough so that it is flush to the pie tin and put it back into the fridge until the filling is ready.

Apple & Raspberry Filling

8 Apples, cored, peeled and chopped into thin slices. 
200g Raspberries (fresh or frozen)
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup caster sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon cornstarch
Juice of half a lemon
1 egg, whisked

1. In a large bowl combine the apples, lemon juice, sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Toss to combine. Cover the apples with a tea towel at room temperature for at least half and hour.

2. Transfer the apples and their juices to a colander suspended over a bowl to capture the liquid.  The mixture will release at least half cup of liquid.

3.  In a small saucepan, over medium high heat add the butter and bring to the boil until it has reduced to about 1/3 cup or until thick and lightly caramelized.  Swirl the liquid but do not stir it. Meanwhile, transfer the apples to a bowl and toss them with the cornstarch until all traces of it have disappeared.

5.  Pour the syrup over the apples, tossing gently until they are well coated. Gently mix the raspberries in. 

6.  Roll out the top crust.
7.  Transfer the apple mixture to the chilled pie shell.  Moisten the border of the bottom crust by brushing it lightly with water and place the top crust over the fruit.  Trim the overhang of the top crust so that there is about 1 cm of overhang.  Tuck the overhang under the bottom crust boarder and press down all around to seal it.  Crimp the border using your fingers and make about 5 evenly spaced slashes starting roughly from the center of the pie and radiating toward the edge. Cover the pie loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for 1 hour before baking.  This will chill and relax the pastry, preventing shrinking. (I couldn't help myself, I had to do something with the scraps of pastry. I rolled them out and pressed them into a few cupcake moulds and baked them into little pastry cups. For dinner a few days later I got them out and served them filled with strawberries and cream!)
8.  Preheat the oven to 220 degrees C at least 20 minutes before baking.

9.  Brush the top crust of the pie with the whisked egg.  Bake for 45-55 minutes. You want the apples to be tender but not mushy.  After half an hour you should protect the edges from over browning with a foil ring. Do this by wrapping thin sheets of foil around the edge of the crust. 

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