October 22nd, 2012
As a young girl, like many other girls around the world at that time, my world was full of the adventures and the food of the characters of Enid Blytons books. While puddings, custards and cakes were a regular part of my growing up, pies were not commonplace at that time which probably fuelled my imagination even further at a time when I did not enter the kitchen except to ask what was being cooked.
Later on in life when I did come across a pie recipe, it seemed daunting enough to prevent me from making it. And then I saw all the lengthy explanations being written about the techniques, tools and methods for creating the perfect pie crust which I must say made the idea of making a pie even more formidable than I had originally conceived it to be.
And then began my journey of deconstructing and demystifying pie making only to learn that making a pie is not rocket science as it is made out to be at times and as far as you follow a few simple rules of weighing the ingredients carefully, keeping the ingredients cool, using little flour for rolling out the dough and handling the dough as little as possible, you are good to go and can create a wonderful, satisfying, creatively fulfilling, good looking pie.
Apples coming in from Shimla and Kinnaur are in season in India and they are juicy, fresh and sweet. Although, a mixture of apple varieties is generally used for an apple pie which also includes the tart granny smiths, I decided to use these local varieties of apples which I had on hand.
During the cooking procedure, as the ingredients began forming into the end product, I knew I was in for a good pie but had no idea about how good it was going to be.
I’m not a pie person when it comes to desserts, but this pie with its impossibly tender, flaky crust and the gorgeous tart, sweet and smooth filling created one of the most delectable culinary experiences and this pie totally won me over.
I kept experiencing its magic, spoon after spoon as I began to shoot and I couldnt stop myself from calling up Ro and asking him to come over to taste this wonderful pie (something which I never ever do). I was a bit skeptical about him going overboard with this as like me he is not a pie person too, but when he said that this was the best pie he had ever had and went in for a second helping, I knew this was a winner!
If this was the kind of pie that the girls in Malory Towers and St Clare’s spoke about, then I wouldn’t mind considering to trade my place with them and lead the care free life of a dreamy eyed school student once again and ofcourse to get a slice of this heavenly pie!
Apple Pie Recipe
You could use a variety of fresh apples here or use only one variety. Use two or more granny smiths if you want a pronounced tart flavour.
For the pie crust
280 gm (2 cups) plain flour
pinch of salt (if using unsalted butter)
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp baking soda
4 tbsp fine sugar
150 gm (3/4 cup) cold butter, cubed
1/4 cup cold yogurt
milk for the glaze
sugar for sprinkling
For the filling:
6 apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
55 gm (1/2 cup) brown sugar
55 gm (1/2 cup) regular sugar
juice of 1 lime
1 tsp cinnamon powder
1/2 cup water, divided
2 tbsp cornflour or cornstarch
In a bowl, put in the flour, salt if using, baking powder, soda and sugar and mix well with a whisk. Mix in the cold butter and using a pastry blender or with your hands, cut the cold butter into the flour by rubbing the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles bread crumbs. You could also use a food processor to do the same.
Mix in the yogurt and knead gently until the mixture comes together to form a ball. Use a few drops of cold water if the pie dough feels a little dry. Don’t knead the dough for more than a few seconds. Cover the pie dough with cling film or foil and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to 2 hours.
In a medium sized saucepan, place the apples, sugars, lime juice, cinnamon powder and the water, reserving 2 tbsp of water for later use and cook on medium heat until the apples are cooked through.
Once the apples are cooked, mix the cornflour with the reserved water to form a paste and add this paste into the apple mixture. Cook on low heat until the liquids thicken and form a smooth mixture. allow to cool.
Pre heat the oven to 200C/430F.
Bring out the pie dough from the refrigerator and roll out two-thirds to line an 8” (20 cm) regular pie dish. Make sure that the dough is quite cool when you roll or else it would tear. Prick with a fork all over and place in the refrigerator for ten minutes.
Place the pie dish in the preheated oven and cook for 15 to 20 minutes until the pie base is lightly golden brown in colour.
Remove the pie dish from the oven, cool for a about five minutes and place the prepared pie filling over it.
Roll out the remaining pastry and cover the pie. Seal the edges over the already browned prebaked pie dough by making a fluted pattern with your fingertips or with the help of a fork. Make some slits in the centre of the pie for air to circulate while the pie bakes. This also prevents the filling from turning into a soggy mess.
Give the pie a milk wash, by brushing the top of the pie with milk, sprinkle some sugar all over and bake again for about 20 to 25 minutes, until the pie is golden brown.
Cool completely before cutting and serving a slice of this gorgeous pie!
Makes one 8″ pie