Posts Tagged 'apples'

danish pastries

my experience of denmark is two fold – danish copenhagen vanilla ice cream (in which even as a young child, with a penchant for campbell’s bolognese sauce from a tin and wendy’s flake shakes, i was able to discern a superiority and even while lacking the requisite language and therefore knowledge to identify those black seeds of vanilla which speckled my hitherto harmonious and uninterrrupted sea of white, i knew they were somehow doing very significant things.) the second is danish pastries – which, ill admit, never really blew my hair back. neither conceptually nor in reality. chocolate and almond croissants always just seemed to make made more sense. but it gets cold, you may not have a kitchen aid, you might also not have 48 hours in which to attempt and invariably wish you hadnt attempted croissants and all the while wintery dreams of europe and its fancies fill the void between where you are and where you want to be. so something had to be done, made and eaten. and therein lies the secret of the danish – what i had been missing all this time – ease. you can create something close to perfection in a matter of minutes (joy: this is figurative…it actually took about an hour, including but not exclusive to, standing still and thinking what to do next time). in the hierarchical and elitist world of pastry (you cant really do much without a kitchen aid, a commercial oven and a number of pastry chefs)…danishes are the great leveller. and in the timeless and poetic words of snow: “pastry is a right, not a privilege”.

ingredients

puff pastry (shop bought because who in their right mind would attempt otherwise)

any fruit you like (but for this i used 2 apples, 2 pears, 1 punnet of strawberries, 2 plums)

caster sugar (for sprinkling)

1 egg for egg wash

…for the pastry cream

1/2 cup sugar (50g)

2 egg yolks

4 tblsp cornflour

1 vanilla bean

1 cup milk

1 cup cream

2 tablespoons of unsalted butter

first make the pastry cream. pour milk and cream into pan on the stove. put vanilla bean and its constituent seeds into milk and bring to just before boiling point. remove from heat and set aside. in a separate bowl whisk together the eggs, sugar and cornflour until pale and fluffy. the cornflour will make this ordinarily easy task much tougher and so you may need your kitchen aid, who should be conveniently located on the other side of the kitchen bench at all times, to finish it off.

slowly and carefully pour some of the hot milk over the eggs and sugar and whisk til it hurts. then you can more liberally pour in the rest of the milk. then return this to the pan and bring back to the boil, stirring constantly. boil for one minute. then strain through a sieve and add the butter and stir until melted. set aside to cool. when it has cooled to warm, cover with gladwrap (or clingfilm, depending on what side of the world you come from and to what extent your language has been victim of imperial cultural domination) and let it cool completely.

preheat the oven to 180 degrees. then prepare the fruit. in any way you like. cut, quarter, chop, dice…whatever feels right.

then get your pastry out of the freezer, or the coldest part of your fridge if your freezer has frozen over. and cut into squares. i cant give measurements here because i dont really do numbers. what i do do, and know a great deal about, is the size of a pastry and so too should you. so i will just say, these squares should be danish size. spread a layer of the pastry cream on the base.


finally place the fruit on the pastry cream in any way you wish. fanning and arraying worked well.


then you will need to use some egg wash for the sides with the new pastry brush you finally acquired and place them on a baking tray. put in the oven and cook for about twenty minutes or until golden brown. (do not get distracted during this time, wander off to pursue other interests or pleasures and return to find an ovenful of blackened pastry…salvaging only one, cursing yourself and your attention deficit tendencies. i wouldnt do such a thing. and my best advice to you is not to either.)

then remove from the oven …

theres something to be said for modesty and humility. likewise, a little self-consciousness in writing. but i think it is fair and accurate to say that with this, i have reached a culinary peak. so too has my photographer reached an artistic apex, the likes of which you are not likely to witness again. that is to say, this is as good as it gets. and i think thats good enough.

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moons apple pie

adapted from snow, adapted from rose levy berenbaum, adapted from james martin, adapted from jamie oliver, and adapted from my minds eye..so in answer to a FAQ, no, i cannot and will not “just choose one and stick to it”.

never having made an apple pie or any sort of pie, but having worked extensively in the realm of tarts, it was with fascination and holy horror that i approached this here pie. and inevitably i made a mountain out of a very big hill. but thats how we roll. torn between so many pie crust pastry recipes, it started to feel increasingly as though culinary walls were closing in on me and that old defeatist voice inside my head kept telling me to give it up. fortunately the other voice in my head that says things like ‘have an easter egg’ was louder and clearer and won the day. sugar and cocoa coursing through my veins i returned to the task with a clarity (or perhaps it was an enabling lack of clarity) of thought and went with the shortcrust i know well, modified marginally to suit a pie. so here it is…

shortcrust pastry…ingredients

500g plain flour

100g icing sugar

pinch of salt

250g unsalted butter

2 large eggs

1 egg yolk

in food processor, or using the two food processors god gave you*, mix the butter, flour, salt and sugar together until coarse breadcrumb stage. add one egg at a time until combined. then bring the dough together to form a ball (it will be quite wet by the time your third egg goes in so dont be alarmed and start sending kitchen aids down to the shop for more flour to start again…accept your lot and hope for the best.) wrap in gladwrap and put in the fridge to chill for as long as you want…minimum an hour.

remove pastry after time passed, cut off a third and put it to one side. roll out the rest. i found a remarkably efficient way is between two sheets of baking paper. roll the pastry up over your rolling pin and gently unroll it over a 26-28cm pie dish. push it into the edges. prick the base with a fork several times. (if you have not yet made your apples or have them ready for tipping into said pie dish, then put this back in the fridge to chill and remove at the appropriate point…when that is is really not for me to say. for me it took place somewhere between 11 oclock and why is this all taking so long o’clock)

* nb. this is not indicative of any particular religious bent nor is it an endorsement of the god delusion or any form of organised religion. my religion is rap.

apple filling…ingredients

10 granny smith apples peeled and thinly sliced

1 lemon

100g sugar

1 vanilla pod

50g butter

1 egg beaten

preheat your oven to 180 degrees. put the apples with a squeeze of lemon juice, the sugar and a de-seeded vanilla pod into a bowl and let mascerate for one an hour-ish.

tip the juices out from the apples and set aside in a separate bowl…this can either be used to spoon over apples once they are in the dish or put on the stove and reduced down to create a concentrate a la snow. i did the former.

ensembly

remove pie dish from its place of chilling. tip in the apples and dot with knobs of butter. spoon over some of the reserved apple juices.

then get the third of pastry from the fridge. roll it out to form the lid and place it atop the apples. its best i think if you have a mountain of apples so when you lay the pastry over the top, you can see the bumps and curves of the apples which lie beneath. brush the sides with egg wash and squeeze the edges together. remove excess pastry from the sides. brush the top with egg was and sprinkle with sugar (and cinnamon if thats what does it for you).

place this monster in the oven and bake for 55-60 minutes.

it wasnt what i wanted or dreamed of, it wasnt snows, and it wasnt done with the same aptitude and certainly without the joie de vivre. but it was done and it was what it was…and what more can you ask from your own creative production? and isnt that sense of emptiness and impossibility and ultimately failure inevitable? but we march on and eat on regardless. so cut into it and eat with vanilla ice cream or cream if youre like that, custard if your blood is english, alone if you are a purist…and you’d be right to be. its roof of the mouth burning stuff and as nigella says, other than a bath thats not hot enough burning your mouth is one of lifes great tragedies..so go gentle.

snows apple pie…

because it deserves its own post.

apple pie (adapted from Rose Levy Berenbaum)

Rose makes the ultimate all-American Apple Pie. However, I for one feel a little uncomfortable at the idea of gelatinous apples (and America in general for that matter), so I’ve adapted this recipe to form my ultimate Apple Pie. Not sickly sweet! No blind baking needed! Flaky crust guaranteed! No egg glaze because Moon hates eggs! Apples to die for! Leftovers for breakfast!

BEFORE YOU BEGIN: get your kitchen assistant (the most useful item in your kitchen is your kitchen assistant. If you don’t have one I recommend and will loan you my sister, who has 10 years of tray-greasing experience and is now an excellent baker in her own right, for a very reasonable rate) to grease a 9 or 10 inch pie tin, depending on how you like your pie/crust ratio.

FOR THE CRUST:

12 tbsp unsalted butter, frozen for ½ an hr

2 c + 3 tbsp all purpose flour (don’t overload your cups, keep it fluffy!), also frozen for ½ hr.

¼ tsp salt

¼ tsp baking powder

4.5 oz cream cheese

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

(OPTIONAL: 1 tbsp sugar, I don’t but you can. This is America, after all)

• cut butter into cubes & freeze for at least ½ an hr. freeze dry ingredients in a bowl for at least ½ hr

• rub together to form a crumb, add cream cheese and then vinegar.

• If needed, add 1-2 tbsp iced water.

• When mixture has come together and feels slightly elastic, shape into 2 balls, cover in glad wrap and refrigerate for at least ½ hr. (This picture is funny)

• Refrigerate for ~1/2 hr. roll out (I like to roll out onto the glad wrap cover as this makes it easy to pick up and put in pie tin)

FOR THE FILLING:

INGREDIENTS:
3 pounds apples, peeled, cores & cut into ¼ inch slices

1.5 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

¼ c light brown sugar

¼ c granulated sugar

vanilla (nobody’s looking how much you put in)

½ tsp salt

2 tbsp butter

1 tbsp + 1 tsp breadcrumbs

METHOD:

• Mascerate sliced apples, lemon juice, sugars, vanilla & salt for ½ hr- 1 ½ hrs

• Pour liquid from apples into a small saucepan, add butter & reduce for 5-10 mins, till liquid is thicker & a little sticky.

• Add breadcrumbs to apple mix and toss

• Pour liquid over apple mix & stir through

TO COMBINE:

• Set oven to 425 F
• Roll Pastry flat, line bottom of greased pie tin

• I like to add a very fine layer of breadcrumbs at this point to help separate the pie crust from the pie filling.

• Fill pastry with apples- I really like to overload, they will cook and soften so really go to town. Put a big baking tray on the rack beneath your pie tin to catch any juice if you’re worried

• Top with 2nd rolled sheet of pastry- I like to flute the edges.

• Cut a few slits in the top of the pastry, decorate any which how.

• Serve with ice cream/cream/assorted Americana

LEFTOVER APPLES/LIQUID MIX

• It’s already the most divine thing you’ll ever taste, but why not add a few raisins and cook for 10/15mins on low heat, making a kind of apple raisin vanilla butter compote. Great with anything, particularly oatmeal, yoghurt and mornings.

Sophie Delizio!!

THE AUTEUR’S: NYC correspondant Jo Schornikow, special assistance from Joseph Raite

apple and almond cake.

…apple almond and ginger cake if youre so incline. i however, am not.

this cake made me realise a number of truths, to which i was previously either ignorant, oblivious, or indifferent. the first and most important is that chaos, complications and fuck-ups are necessary on the way to achieving greatness. the second, if you have foresight and do a little advanced planning (even over-planning such as buying 800g of almonds when you only need 300g ‘just to be on the safe side’ and having to make two extra almond recipes on account of a nut glut) is a good thing and in a recipe such as this a lack of forethought can be devastating (those prone to frontal lobe syndrome-like tendencies will fall horrendously flat on their face unless they get it together). finally, apples and almonds make for one hell of a cake. in the words of snow…’holy mother of god’. what this cake reaffirmed for me is the following a) butter and sugar, melted, creamed, or simply eaten as is, are good. b) the oxymoronic fact that experimental cooking should only be done after its been tried and tested and c) a cake made with love, especially love for a grandparent, makes for not only a better tasting cake, but so too a self-gratifying experience for its maker. so here it is, the king of cakes.

ingredients. (ive divided them into sections of making…because its a big ol mind fuck when done otherwise)

2 granny smiths

1 royal gala

30g butter

50g caster sugar

100g raisins

this is the first stage which is cooked in a pan on the stove. first peel and core apples and cut them each into 8. melt the butter in the pan, add the apple and sugar and toss to coat the apples. cook til soft (about 5 minutes), then add the raisins and cook for another minute. finally remove from the stove and let cool.

260g almond meal (dont think your clever by avoiding the saw-dust like stuff called almond meal and substituting it for ground almonds because that would not make you clever, it would make you and your cake very very stupid.)

220g almonds

2tsp baking powder

4 eggs

230g caster sugar

145ml maple syrup (i for one cannot tolerate maple syrup. most of the world would disagree the ‘most of the world’ section of my readership should ignore this parenthesis. but for those who have a similar weltanschauung i would suggest replacing the maple syrup with 100ml melted butter and 45ml orange juice.)

in a processor (or for those lacking in such fundamental kitchen aids use a bowl and pound) pulse almond meal, almonds and baking powder together.


whisk eggs and sugar and maple syrup until pale and doubled in volume.

add nut mixture and cooled apple mixture and fold to combine. pour into a greased 26cm tin.


finally and foremost, the topping. that which takes this from cake to something so much more

2 royal gala

50g roughly chopped almonds

30g butter melted

50g sugar (25 demerrera, 25 brown)

core and thinly slice the apples. if you find royal galas intolerable use granny smiths. if you only decided you find royal galas intolerable when you are at the topping stage, use what granny smiths remain, curse yourself and maybe those around you for not being more attentive at the preparatory stage to both your quantities and your emotional state as well as the potential for a sudden and unexpected change of heart resulting in the need for 5 granny smiths instead of the original 3. arrange over the top of the cake. scatter with the chopped almonds. drizzle with butter then scatter with sugars.


bake for 60-75 minutes. its beautiful and i think im ready to say, in full recognition of the profound weight this statement will bear and in full acknowledgement of maureens chocolate cake which was my first glorious foray into the world of baking, this is the greatest cake on earth.