Two posts within 24 hours? Yes a bit of an information overload but you know…..it’s honest to goodness deliciously good looking content, yes? 🙂 Of course you agree!! 🙂
So, last week, hubby had had a pretty rough few days at work and wanted to cheer him up…..you know using the age old reasoning that “the way to man’s heart is through his belly”…….I mean I cook for him all the time and he glad inhales most of what I put before him except when I present what he calls “goat food”, you should read that as salad. If the salad is devoid of any animal protein (which doesn’t include fish because he hates fish) then he goes up in arms! He’s a sweet toothed carnivore at heart….
Anyway, so focusing on his sweet tooth, I remembered that he loves apple pie and I hadn’t made one in AGES!! In fact, the last apple pie I made was on February 27, 2014 and I wrote this post chronicling my attempt.
I had seen an exquisite looking apple pie on Pinterest that inspired me so after a few tweaks to the recipe, I came up with two gorge delish variants.
Like I mentioned in my earlier post, you have to be organized to make this dessert but every step is worth it when you see the final result. Also, if you don’t have loads of time, a lot of the prep work via be made a couple of days a head, this way it comes together easily when you want to complete it.
So let’s get cracking!
For the pie crust: Please use the pâté brisé (short crust pastry) recipe in this post Also follow the procedure for blind baking the pastry here
Please note that the ingredients listed for the pie crust is sufficient for one pie.
So with the pastry shell ready, it is on to the fillings.
I filled one of them with lemon curd and apples and the second with lemon pastry cream, apples and strawberries. They both yielded fantastic flavours! I couldn’t choose between the two!
I followed the Lemon curd recipe on Martha Stewart and it was perfect.
For the pastry cream
Zest of one lemon
1 1/2 cups full cream milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon lemon essence (optional)
The “How To”
Heat the milk and lemon zest gently in a saucepan until you start to see wisps of steam rising from the pan; it should not be boiling. Take it off the heat and set aside.
In a medium sized bowl, mix together the sugar, flour, and salt. Add the egg yolks and whisk them into the dry ingredients. This will form a thick paste; ensure that it is thoroughly mixed in.
Next, carefully add a little of the hot milk into the eggs and whisk to combine. Continue pouring the milk slowly into the eggs, whisking continuously.
When all the milk has been added to the eggs, turn the contents of the bowl back into the saucepan. Set a strainer over a bowl and place this near the cooker.
Place the pan back over medium heat, whisking constantly. At first, the pastry cream will look very thin but it will start to thicken after a few minutes so keep an eye on it. When it has thickened to a pudding-like consistency, stop whisking every few seconds to see if the cream has come to a boil. If you see large bubbles popping on the surface, whisk for a few more seconds and then remove the pan from heat.
Quickly, stir in the lemon essence (if using) into the pastry cream and then pour the cream into the strainer set over the bowl. Using a spoon or spatula,stir the cream to push it through the strainer. This will catch the lemon zest as well as any lumps or bits of cooked egg that may be in your pastry cream.
Cover the pastry cream with a piece of cling film pressed right up against the surface of the cream and chill completely.
Please note that the cream and lemon curd can be stored in the fridge for a few days (I recommend no more than 4 days)..
Now for the artsy part of the cake; the apple filling!
6 – 8 medium apples
60 grams butter
1/4 cup sugar
Juice of half a lemon
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
The “How To”
Core the apples by using a sharp knife to slice a segment off the apple close to the core from top to bottom. After rotating the apple four times you should have four segments and a “rectangular” core on your chopping board.
Using a mandolin set to the thinnest section for slicing, slice the apples to achieve a semi circular or half moon pieces. If you don’t have a mandolin you can use a very sharp knife to get thin slices. Whatever instrument you use, please watch your fingers!
Transfer your apple slices to a bowl and pour the lemon juice over them. Toss to ensure that they all get coated. Add butter and sugar to a pan and turn the heat to medium. Stir until the butter is melted then pour the melted butter-sugar mixture over the apples in the bowl. Coat the apples with the mixture then transfer back to the pot and cook the apples for about 3 – 5 minutes on medium heat. You essentially want the apples to become pliable and lose their crunchy “snap”. If you own a microwave, I don’t, simply melt the butter and sugar in the microwave for a few seconds toss in the apple slices for a full minute on high and you will have attained the same result.
When the apples have cooled sufficiently enough for you handle, take out one slice and carefully roll it like you would a cigar. This will form the “rose bud”. The take another slice and carefully wrap,it around your rose bud, add another slice around the first slice ensuring that it over laps. Keep on building and as you layer the slices your rose should begin to form. When you have reached your desired size; I used about 16 – 19 slices per rose the carefully set the rose down in a small bowl or in a muffin tin. As pictured below.
Make as many roses as you may require to fill your pie shell.
Phew! That wasn’t so difficult was it? And tell me that when you look down on your rose creations you don’t feel fulfilled? Of course you can’t tell me that because you are doing the victory-happy dance!
So now, to put it ALL together!
Simply fill the baked tart shell with the filling you prefer. I made one with lemon curd and used just apples. And the second I made with the lemon pastry cream filling and after I had baked the tart I studded it with fresh strawberries. Like I said earlier they were both equally delish!
Edited on July 26, 2015 – bake for 15 – 18 minutes at 175 degrees Celsius and half way through glaze with some syrup as described below.
The lemon curd delivers a slight tangy taste so if you like zesty things then lemon curd is for you. The pastry cream is sweet and mildly lemony.
The pan or bowl in which you cooked the apple slices should have a fair bit of liquid left in it. Simple reduce it on medium heat for a few minutes until it is slightly sticky but still runny. I added a few drops of red food coloring which you could do as well. Preferably, if you have some fresh red berries like strawberries toss into the syrup for a rich red color. When the tart is baked. Sprinkle the cinnamon and nutmeg; glaze the top of the tart with the syrup.
It is ideal to let the tart cool completely before attempting to slice into it. I know; the wait is agonizing! If you can pop it I’m the fridge, for at least an hour, after it has cooled it will be even better. It will slice beautifully as the filling would have set.
Wasn’t this fun to make?!
FFF will be happy to make and deliver this to you if you prefer to just experience the eating aspect of this pie 🙂 We won’t judge you. We understand you 🙂
FFF Tip of The Day
To make this pie use firm apples like cripps pink, Braeburn or red crisp. Granny Smith could work if you like really tangy flavours. The red red delicious are a NO-NO. They are too mushy and have a grainy texture.