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Experimenting with flavours, colours and style of food served at our place


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A flaky pie crust

Quite a number of months ago when I was on the hunt for the perfect pastry dough I came across this post on Annalise’s blog Completely Delicious.

I remember at the time thinking it weird to put buttermilk into the dough, but that sort of addition no longer phases me. I decided that I’d have to try the recipe at some time. I even bought a pie plate in preparation. Briscoes was having one of their many sales and I saw the pie dish and had grand plans of making loads of pies filled with fresh fruits that would soon be coming in Summer.

Well they might have come but they never reduced in price and the pies never eventuated.

Anyway I had it in my mind that I needed to make a pie with caramel. And I came across this post for a Salted Caramel Apple Pie on the blog A Cozy Kitchen. I have indeed made the pie and you’ll find my account of making it here.

Rolling the butter

Not only is the use of buttermilk slightly left field, so is the method in which you form the dough. You roll the cubed batter into long sections, into the flour. This is what makes it flaky and ensures it puffs during baking.

It was actually really simple. It took a bit longer than blitzing the whole lot in a food processor (my usual method), but I find the whole rolling out to be quite therapeutic and it’s fun to watch the dough form. If I thought about the time it would take for me to rearrange the appliances so I could get to the food processor, and the cleaning up, rolling the dough using this method is probably cleaner and quicker. And you get the satisfaction of saying you did it all by hand.

forming the dough

I was almost giggly seeing long strands of rolled butter.

For me I didn’t need to add any extra Vodka, or water if you prefer, to the dough. But then I’ve since found that our cup measurements are 10ml more than a US cup equivalent. So I probably did have just a little more liquid. Actually I see Annalise has her measurement as 118ml, I’ve just been making cakes from Rosie’s blog, Sweetapolita, where Rosie has the liquid measurement of a 1/2 cup as 120ml. It’s a little mind boggling when you’re making recipes from other countries where their measures are slightly different. And then sometimes they can differ within the same country!

Rolling out the dough

I love using my rolling pin. I love the guides that ensure the dough thickness is even. I took the dough disks out about 5 minutes before I began to roll them. It takes a few strokes before it starts to give a little, so be patient, it will happy. I needed to give the rolling pin a light dusting every 12 or so strokes, but the dough never stuck to the bench, and I didn’t have to add any extra flour other than the relatively light scattering I gave it before unwrapping the dough.

As you roll you’ll rotate the dough every 4 or so strokes to make sure the disk still remains formed in a circle. I was generally rolling from the middle to the outer edge furtherest from me. But I knew I would never end up with the middle thinner than the rest so I guess I didn’t have to worry about that with the way I rolled.

Butter

You can still see bits of butter in the dough. And that is what makes the dough still puff up and become flaky as it’s baking.

For the top of my pie I cut the dough into heart shapes of two sizes. After making the shapes I put them on a baking sheet and popped them back into the fridge while I prepared the filling.

Top

I had some dough left and gave it a light knead and covered it again in Gladwrap and popped it back in the fridge along with the hearts, just in case I needed more hearts to completely cover the top of my pie. And as it happened, I did need a few more hearts. The dough rolled nicely again but it was more pliable because it was no longer as cold. But I can’t see any difference in the way the top baked.

Pie plate

Yep, plenty of butter still tucked nicely into the dough. I didn’t trim the sides of the plate, I expected the dough would shrink as it baked. So even though there was a little overhang to where I placed my hearts, it doesn’t look too untidy. And the dough did shrink a bit during baking.

Before and after baking

Now how about that for flaky dough. No doubt about the claims that this method will ensure the dough puffs. The small hearts had puffed within several minutes of the pie being put into the oven.

Puffed hearts

And there we have it.

How to make perfectly flaky pie crust by Annalise of Completely Delicious

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups (315 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (226 grams) unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
  • 1/2 cup (118 ml) buttermilk, cold
  • 1-2 tablespoons vodka or water, cold

Instructions

  • Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl so that the cubed butter is covered with the flour.
  • Tip the contents of the bowl onto a clean bench.
  • Using a rolling pin begin to roll the lumps of butter so they’re layered in the flour.
  • If any of the butter clings to the rolling pin use a bench scraper or knife to coax it off.
  • You may need to gather the flour into a mound. Continue to roll the butter cubes into the flour.
  • If the butter begins to soften too much, scrape all of the flour/butter back into the bowl and put it in the fridge to chill the butter.
  • Once all the butter has been rolled flat and mixed with the flour (it will still be a mostly dry mix) put it all back into a bowl, and place the bowl into the freezer for around 15 minutes to chill the butter.
  • Once the butter is chilled pour the buttermilk into the bowl and using a large spoon begin to mix the buttermilk. After a few strokes you’ll more or less feel like you’re cutting through the mixture to help evenly combine the wet and dry ingredients.
  • When you feel the spoon is no longer helping, get stuck in with your hands beginning to gather the moistened mixture into a ball.
  • Add the extra Vodka or water if necessary to get the ingredients to cling together, but you don’t want the dough to be wet.
  • Once you have formed the dough divide into two (use scales if you want to be accurate) and press each half into a round disc.
  • Wrap each disc well in Gladwrap and return the dough to the fridge for a minimum of an hour, and up to three days.
  • When you come to use the dough bring it out of the fridge around 5 minutes before rolling.
  • Use as directed in your pie recipe.

My Notes:

  • I rolled my dough out to a 4mm thickness which gave me a 12” dough circle which only just came over the sides of the pie dish. You can always roll a little thinner if you want a slightly larger covering allowing you to do something fancy with the edges of the pie.
  • I made the dough Friday evening and used it Sunday morning.

Annalise has some really great step-by-step photos on her blog, if you’re a visual person like me you’ll find these photos really helpful.

 

Baked Puffed Caramel Apple Pie

 

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Salted Caramel Apple Pie, a good use of caramel

I heart caramel

I’m on a bit of a caramel kick. I don’t need much of an excuse to add caramel to anything. Enter the Salted Caramel Apple Pie.

While the recipe I followed for the pie filling included a recipe for the caramel, I followed the recipe for Salted Caramel Sauce from the blog Two Peas and their Pod.

Sticky Caramel

Making a dry Caramel Sauce is the same no matter whose recipe you choose, and pretty much the proportions of ingredients are the same. The ingredients in the Pie recipe is half of what I made. I decided that if I’m going to go to the trouble of making caramel sauce I might as well make some to have left over.

It’s a messy job, or maybe it’s just me. I know, I’ll just have to keep practicing. I don’t really see a downside to that. Other than the spatulas that will give up their life for this glorious rich creamy sauce. I sacrificed two spatulas. I made caramel for the Salted Caramel Ice Cream yesterday and didn’t have a problem using the very same spatula. But today it took a lot longer for the sugar to melt. There was 50gm more sugar but that couldn’t have been it.

Anyway, I swapped the spatulas for the whisk, which is what is called for in the Caramel sauce recipe. Then we were back in business.

Caramel sauce mess

Back in business and making a mess. Oh the waste. Ok, I didn’t waste it, I scraped it up, most of it going straight into my mouth.

After mixing in the butter followed by the cream I ended up with some sugar crystals/lumps that would not remelt. I thought I’d strain the caramel as I was getting to the bottom of the pot. But it was cooling and no longer straining as easily, plus as you’ll notice the strainer is wider than the opening of the jar. It was bound to get untidy.

Sauce made it was onto the pie.

Ingredients

I can’t remember the variety of red apples that I bought, it’s a tart sweet apple. I don’t especially like Gala apples, I like my apples to have a little bit of a kick and be super crunchy. And with the addition of the caramel I expect a little less sweetness wont be missed. And perhaps it’ll make the caramel come out more (I haven’t yet had a piece!).

Turbinado sugar, as I discovered thanks to Google, is Raw Sugar, as we know it in New Zealand.

Pie dough

I made the pie dough on Friday night and left it in the fridge until this morning. You can read about my account of using this dough recipe in my post here.

Preparing the apple filling

Do not tell Mr Fussy there’s cinnamon in this recipe. He doesn’t need to know, and I’m hoping he can’t taste it, but if he can I’ll let you know.

I have an apple corer but I liked the way Adrianna detailed coring the apples in her blog, A Cozy Kitchen.

After peeling and slicing the apples I took 2-3 slices and then jabbed the corer through the middle. My corer is extremely difficult to push in and pull out of an apple, there’s a lot of brute force needed. And then I end up cutting myself trying to release the core from the corer part. I come off second best. Besides doing it this way I can see which direction the core is going and not waste good apple.

I mixed all my dry ingredients together first then sprinkled a little of it over the apple slices, tossed those around and added more of the mixture and repeated until it was all gone. It was a little messy, but I got a fairly even distribution.

Pie dough I rolled out the dough and used the other half with two sizes of heart cutters to make the top. I preferred to have the top mostly covered, and with my larger heart cutter still being smaller than Adrianna’s I knew I’d have enough space for a row or two of the small hearts that it would look silly and out of place.

Caramel layer

Then comes the exciting part. The caramel.  I probably used less than the recipe calls for. I didn’t measure it. Plus I’m serving this with Salted Caramel Ice Cream which I made last night, and I fully expect to pour some of that left over caramel sauce over the whole lot. I think there’ll be plenty of caramel, I’ll make sure of it.

Salted Caramel Apple Pie by A Cozy Kitchen

Ingredients

You’ll need 1/2 cup of Caramel Sauce, I used this recipe.

You’ll need a 9” pie dough, I used this recipe.

For the pie filling

  • 2 nine-inch pie crusts (homemade or store-bought)
    3 Gala Apples (You can use others too – like Russets or Orins)
    1 Granny Smith Apples (I used this for an added tartness – totally optional)
    1 lemon
    4 tablespoons of standard flour
    1 teaspoon bourbon (optional)
    3 tablespoons white sugar
    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
    1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • Maldon sea salt (optional)

Instructions

  • Heat the oven to 170degrees Celsius.
  • In a small bowl add all the spices, sugar and flour and mix together.
  • Roll out half of the pie dough to fit a 9” pie dish. Return the dish to the fridge.
  • Roll out the remaining pie dough and cut into shapes putting the cut out shapes onto a baking tray and returning to the fridge.
  • Peel and core the apples.
  • Slice the apples and place them into a large bowl. Squeeze lemon juice over the apples to help prevent them from browning, or cut a lemon in half and rub the lemon over slices of the apple.
  • Sprinkle over the spice mix and the Bourbon if using it.
  • Toss the apples to evenly coat them in the spice mixture.
  • Take the pie dish out of the fridge and layer the apple rounds into the plate.
  • You may need to use a little extra apple to plug up the holes in the apple slices at the edge of the plate which will prevent the top dough from collapsing into the holes.
  • Pour around 1/4 cup of caramel over the apples.
  • Sprinkle the caramel with a little extra sea salt if you like.
  • Brush the sides of the pastry with water.
  • Lay the cut out hearts around the edge of the pasty and gently press them to make sure they’ll stick during baking.
  • Continue to lay hearts around on top of the apple slices as you desire.
  • Brush more caramel sauce on top of the hearts.
  • Sprinkle a little Raw Sugar and more sea salt on top of the pie.
  • Place the pie into the oven for 20 minutes.
  • Increase the heat to 175degrees Celsius and continue to bake a further 35-40 minutes. The top will have browned and the caramel will be bubbling when the pie is cooked.
  • Allow the pie to cool for around 5-6 hours to ensure you can cut a slice and have it keep shape. Or sooner if having a perfect slice isn’t necessary.

My Notes:

  • Sometimes one stab of the corer isn’t enough to get rid of all the core, just keep stabbing around the edges of the core until you’ve got the most of it.
  • I had to cover the pie loosely with a piece of tin foil at 20 minutes as the top was browning too quickly.
  • I also took this opportunity to turn the pie to allow more even baking.
  • Around 5 minutes before the pie had finished baking I removed the tin foil to ensure the top was evenly browned.

Hurry up dinner time, I want a slice, now!

I’ll be back with an update, and of course another photo of a perfectly sliced piece of pie with a scoop of Salted Caramel Ice Cream and a modest (cough) drizzle of more caramel sauce.

And the update. Crikey that was good. And it was filling, so filling, but then I did have 1 and a bit scoops of ice cream.

I took the photos before dinner and by the time I was done the ice cream had soften a lot and would be soup by the time we’d finished our meal so I tucked in. Wouldn’t you?

Caramel overload

Then I had just a little bit more ice cream with dessert because I wanted to drizzle some caramel sauce over it. I wanted the full experience, that seems only fair.

I really enjoyed the mix of spices in the apple filling. The caramel sauce in the pie was subtle, but possibly over shadowed by the full on, in your face caramel with caramel praline ice cream. There was absolutely no guessing what the flavour was. In a good way, it was just right, and the salty caramel praline, mmmmmm.

The pie dough really hit it’s best with the crust of all things. It was super flaky and it taste great, not that it has a real distinctive taste. It wasn’t one of those pie doughs where you leave the crust, we all ate the lot, our plates more or less licked clean. And we’re all suffering from BBS (bloated belly syndrome – I just made that up, I have no idea if there is such a thing).

Mr Fussy gave a pursed lipped smile when I asked if he liked the mix of spices. I told him what was in it, waited, then admitted there was cinnamon in it too. But he knew. I feel so sorry for him because the flavours were incredible.

Never let it be said that apple pie is plain. At least not this apple pie, not served this way.

A slice of pie

Oh look, there’s enough for another meal. Minus a slice which is going to my brother in law. He rings and talks to Mr Fussy every Saturday asking what I’m up to. I think he’s just making sure that come Monday, when my MIL visits him, he’s got something else other than company to look forward to.