Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Unpedantic apple pie

I hate apples that are anything but crisp and crunchy, and I love being resourceful. So, in a way, it's perfect to have depressingly soggy but sweet apples in the fridge and a handy pack of frozen puff pastry for an impromptu apple pie.

A pantry scan comes up with sultanas, crystallised ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and brown sugar while I find a wrinkly-looking little lemon in the fridge. I'm set. The apple filling is simple: just get the flavours to your liking and simmer away. I guess there is a point where the apple might become slush but it really is a low maintenance method requiring just a touch of thickening at the end.

It's also easy when you've got pre-made, pre-rolled pastry but puff is only really ideal for immediate consumption. It goes a bit soggy otherwise but nothing a quick stint in the oven won't fix. It's also easy when you're not pedantic about the pastry, for example, when you find a square piece of pastry doesn't fit perfectly into a round dish.

Apple pie filling

The top is significantly easier though a little meddlesome once the pastry softens with the heat of the filling. I'm told to pierce some holes in the top and proceed to do so in extremely random and erratic fashion - don't ask why.

Apple pie - ready for oven

And since we're all about experimenting I thought I'd try out a few tarts as well as the pie. I've a little tart tray but not the correctly sized cutters to go with. Continuing on the not-so-pedantic trail I scrounge up a scalloped cookie cutter that's a few millimetres smaller than needed, but should do the trick. Filling tarts is one of those oddly fulfilling kitchen tasks that I love to do.

Filled apple tarts

And who knew puff pastry took so long to, well, puff. The tarts crisped nicley becoming crunchy, flaky shells for their apple-y inners, which actually tasted a little like the McDonalds apple pie filling.

Cooked apple tarts

They look a lot like Christmas fruit pies, especially the ones with random bits of leftover pastry atop - now resembling poorly crafted snowflakes. And finally the large pie, resembling a family sized meat pie, the cooking process hiding random steam vents beneath flakey, golden pastry.

Cooked apple pie

The result is edible but a little bothersome for leftovers that require firing up the oven everytime. I think next adventures will definitely have to be a different pastry and maybe a little more perfectionism.

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