Monday 23 May 2011

My Love-Hate Relationship....

           For some reasons, lately, I love eating dessert which has apple in it. Apple pie is my favourite. And so far, the best apple pie I've ever had is from Mad Jack. Its Sweetie Pie is to die for. The tart and fragrant apple filling sits on a thick, flaky and buttery pasty. It's then covered by a layer of golden-baked streusel and served with sweet caramel sauce.

           It's hard to believe that I've never liked apple-based dessert until lately. Even when I was living in Maryland where apples are abundant, I don't remember eating or baking any apple dessert. During the apple season in autumn, my family would go to the apple orchard for apple picking only to eat them raw.

Apple picking in Maryland.
          I made a lot of apple desserts during the pastry-making course I attended at BITC. But believe it or not, I did not taste any of them at all. That's because I didn't like the pastry. You see, at BITC, pastry margarine is added with the butter when making any kind of pastry. Adding pastry margarine serves 2 purposes. It makes handling of the dough easier especially in a hot tropical climate like we have in Singapore. It is also cost effective as pastry margarine is cheaper than butter. The problem I had was the pastry margarine used there had very unpleasant smell. I don't remember how it smelt but I remember I hated it, so much so that I refused to eat the products.
          I've wanted to bake apple pie for some time but haven't got to do it until Sunday. I looked through my collection of books and decided to bake Apple Streusel Pie  from Alex Goh's Irresistible Pastry. I followed Alex's recipe for the sweet pastry and the topping. For the filling, I adapted the recipe used in Dailydelicious, one of my favourite food blogs.

          This apple pie is very delicious. My family loved it. The all-butter pastry (no pastry margarine please...) is rich, flaky and crusty at the edge. The filling is tart, fragrant and not too sweet. The  flaky and slightly crunchy topping seals it off. 
          Preparing this dessert took some time. That's because firstly, there are 3 parts to this pie: the shell, the filling and the topping. Secondly, making pastry involves a few rest periods. The rest periods are important as they allow the gluten in the dough to relax after each stage of handling. They will produce flaky pastry instead of a hard pastry. Finally, since the pastry uses butter and the weather here is very hot, handling the dough was quite challenging. But, it's all worth it! I'll make it again!

Sweet Pastry:
70g icing sugar
150g butter
1 egg (slightly beaten)
1/2 tsp vanilla paste (I added myself)
260g flour (combine with milk powder & sift)
1 tbsp milk powder
( I used about 3/4 of the pastry for my 8-inch pie pan)

            Combine icing sugar and butter and cream until smooth.  Add in half the egg and mix. Add in the rest of the egg and mix until well blended. Add in flour & milk powder and mix thoroughly but gently. Do not overmix or the dough will become tough. Wrap the dough with a plastic and keep it in the fridge for 30 minutes. This is an important step as it serves 2 purposes: it firms up the dough as it is quite soft and sticky, and it relaxes the gluten in the dough & prevents the pastry to turn hard.

3 apples (I used Granny Smith)
40g butter
40g sugar
1 tsp cinnamon powder
          Peel the apples & dice into small pieces. Set aside. Heat butter in a pan. When it's frothing, add sugar & continue heating until the sugar is slightly cameralised. Add the apple & cook until slightly tender. Remove from heat.  Add cinnamon powder and mix well. Transfer onto a plate & let it cool. (I also strained the cooked apple as it is too watery.)

40g butter
30g icing sugar
50g flour
20g ground almond
30g walnut (chopped)
     Combine all the ingredients except butter and mix well. Set aside. Cut the cold butter into small pieces & add to the flour mixture. Using your fingertips, rub in the butter until the mixture turns to breadcrumb texture. Keep in the fridge.

To assemble:
1. Roll out the pastry  between 2 plastic wrap to 3-mm thickness. Then line a greased pie mould ( I used an     8-inch piece) with the  rolled pastry. Keep it in the fridge for about 20 mins to allow the dough to rest.
2. Remove the pastry from the fridge and spoon the filling into the pastry shell.
3. Sprinkle the topping onto the filling.
4. Bake at 180 deg C for about 30 mins.


fadillah mohamed said...

yum yum! i like alex goh's books but i have his bread recipe book only.

Faeez said...

I like his books too. I
have 5 of them!!! Btw, u like baking too? Cubalah resepi ni. Sedap......

fadillah mohamed said...

i suka makan aje. baking is recreational. u are a pro lah.

Faeez said...

I've been baking since i was a teenager and attended so many baking classes. Kalau tak macam pro, tak tau apalah nak cakap!

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