Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Good things...and pie

There are times when you can actually look at life and think, hmm things are not so bad after all. This summer was just like that it was full of... well, life. My little munchkin is phrasing sentences, helping pick fruit, watering the vegetables, swimming and being the best friend a mom could ever ask for.

School is chugging along and I finally see the light at the end of the tunnel, with experiments falling into place.

I've also been teaching little kids (newborns- 3 year olds) in church this year and its so wonderful to see the little babies make their milestones-- going from staring and smiling to helping out with all the props we play with. I've never been one to coo and coddle random babies on the street (at least till I had my own) so this side of me was quite a revelation.

Another new thing we did this summer was to camp, yes, with the little guy. It was so peaceful and rejuvenating, no cell phone reception or internet, just unadulterated family time. I highly recommend it, and in fact believe it improves productivity when you get back to the real world!

Then theres the usual travel. Our goal is to mould little man into a beach bum as early as possible. And I think its working, he was enjoying Bermuda's legendary turquoise waters as much as the locals. The legendary pink sand was another story though... that he wasnt crazy about.

On the kitchen front many happy things have happened as well. I found the perfect chocolate chip and leige waffle recipes. But those will have to be for another day because they fade in comparison to mastering the elusive science of the perfect pie-crust, my nemesis for a very long time. Its finally done, I now know how to make impossibly flaky, all butter pie crust. And summer is such a great time for pie with all the different fruit you can throw in. I've already tried it with peaches, nectarines and apples, with success each time. You should definitely give it a go. Its fool proof, really it is. Pim is genius! And really how bad can life be when you have pie?! I hope you've enjoyed your summer as much we have, if not, hurry up theres still a wee-bit left!

For the pie crust (makes for a double pie crust, or 2 single layer pie crusts):

2.25 cups of All purpose flour
8 ounces salted butter (cold and sliced into 6-8 big chunks)
1/4 cup of cold water

1 tbsp All purpose flour
2 tbsp sugar

Its all in the technique here. Pim has an awesome video that you can look at. But basically, you smoosh the butter till flat into the flour. Then with a pastry scraper in your right hand (if right handed) you scrape the flour from the edges into the middle where your left hand is continuing smooshing butter chunks into the flour. When you finally see more shaggy butter "sheet-lets" than flour, you pour on the cold water. Quickly gather the dough into a ball, wrap with plastic wrap and throw in the fridge for 30 mins.

After 30 minutes, sprinkle flour on your rolling surface. Get out the dough from the fridge and roll it out into a rectangle. Fold top 1/3rd in to the middle. Brush off excess flour. Fold bottom 1/3rd up to the middle, overlapping with first fold. Brush off excess flour. Turn 90 degrees and roll out into a rectangle and repeat the folding. Repeat this whole process of folding and turning for about 3-4 times. Divide the dough into 2 parts and refrigerate for 30 mins. In the meantime make the filling. After time in the fridge roll out one part of the dough into 1/16th of an inch and place it on greased and lined cookie sheet. Sprinkle rolled out dough with a mixture of 1 tbsp of flour and 2 tbsp of sugar. Preheat oven to 375F.

Rustic caramel apple tart filling

6 tbsp butter
6tbsp sugar
6-7 ginger gold/golden delicious apples, sliced thick
Juice of half a lemon

For egg wash:
1 egg beaten with 1 tsp of water

1bsp sugar for sprinkling over tart

Melt butter and sugar together on low-medium heat. When the mixture starts bubbling and has become a bit thick add the apples and lemon juice. Let cook for about 3 minutes. Dish out the apples and lay them in concentric circles around the pie dough (over flour and sugar mixture that was previously sprinkled on dough). Make sure to leave about 0.5-1 inch around the edges, depending on your taste. Fold the dough on the edges over the apples, making sure they're nice and snug. Bring the pan with butter, sugar and now apple juice back to heat. Increase temp to medium-high. Let cook till mixture becomes golden brown. Take off heat and pour over apples in the tart. Brush the edges with eggwash and sprinkle with sugar. This tart dough is a little bland so be generous with the sugar sprinkle. Place in 375F oven for about an hour or till the edges are nice and golden brown. Enjoy warm with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream!


Unknown said...

That, V, is an AMAZING looking tart!! I want to bake like that when I grow up.

Veena said...

If baking a tart is the sign of growing up... what is a 5 tier, white cake with chocolate chips filled with a white chocolate frosting and raspberry preserves. Not to mention the exquisite fondant cutouts! I dont know how you did it Manoj!