Monday, April 4, 2011

Starry Apple Pie

An invitation from a church friend to a chilli crab dinner at his place sent me counting apples in my fruit bowl. Seven- enough for an apple pie! Doesn't matter that they were a mix of Royal Gala and Fuji, not traditionally considered baking apples.

The main challenge with apple pies is obtaining a filling that has just the right amount of liquid, plus the apples have to be the right texture- neither too mushy nor crunchy. 

Apple pie filling (enough for a pie that is 9 inches in diameter, 1.5 inch high)

7 apples, peeled, cored and sliced into 1/4 inch pieces
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp lemon juice
pinch of salt
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 Tbsp corn starch
1 Tbsp butter

1. Macerate the apples: Toss all ingredients except corn starch and butter in a plastic basket/ colander. Perch the basket over a large bowl to collect the juices. Leave for 2 hours.
2. After 2 hours, add butter to the juice and boil in a pot until thick and syrupy.
3. Toss the apples with corn starch, then pour the hot syrup over them.
4. Pour the apples into baked tart shell. If baking an open-faced pie (no pastry covering the top), cover top with aluminum foil, with a few holes to let steam out. If baking a closed pie, then you may eliminate the foil, or use it only if the pie lid looks like it's going to burn.
5. Bake at 190 deg c till apples are tender to your liking and pastry is baked through. I haven't found the right baking time yet for open vs. closed pies. Will update when I've mastered pie times! Still, this method of macerating the apples first and reducing the juices gives maximum apple flavour while achieving a delightful texture.

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