What better dessert to start this year's A to Z Blogging Challenge with, than a good hearty apple pie?
When I got married, more than twenty years ago, I was an okay cook, which meant I could rustle up a meal and it wouldn't be a total disaster.
As I started cooking and experimenting, I realised I enjoyed cooking, I specially liked experimenting and making 'new' things. So somehow, word got around and my in-laws began to think I was a pretty good cook.
Well, I cannot say it made me unhappy, but it also posed a challenge.
Once, my mother and father in law were coming over for dinner. I was cooking and decided dessert was a must. But I was lousy with sweet dishes, in fact I did not make any.
Then I remembered Baba liked apple pie. So apple pie it was. There was no internet those days, no Pinterest to point me to the right direction. So I turned to my trusty and reliable Betty Crocker Cookbook (more about that later) and there it was, simple and easy.
Did I say easy?
Oh the chopped apples and adding cinnamon and nutmeg and salt was simple. What had me was the pastry. I must have wasted a good bit of butter and flour that day. But ultimately I got it right. And there is nothing that delights a cook like a well turned out pastry. I confess I only lined the top of the dish that first time, but it was enough to have me rated up there in my father-in-laws books! And later a lot of my friends have confessed that it is the pastry that flummoxes them. So here it is, the pastry recipe (and method) I follow, as 'borrowed' from Betty Crocker along with my own two bits. It has not failed me yet! And yes, it can be used for quiches too!
Pastry Dough Recipe:
· 1 cup all-purpose flour
· 1/2 tsp salt
· 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon shortening
· 2 to 3 tbsp cold water
How to Make Pastry in 3 Simple Steps
Step 1: Mixing:
Step 1: Mixing:
· Use two knives and this technique: holding a knife in each hand with blades almost touching, move knives back and forth in opposite directions in a parallel cutting motion. The side of a fork works too.
· Mix only until all ingredients are worked in. If you overwork pastry dough, it’ll become tough. This is where I went wrong. Don't knead it like your life depends on it!
· For easier rolling, after you’ve made the pastry dough and shaped it to a flattened round, wrap it tightly in muslin cloth and refrigerate for at least 45 minutes or overnight.
Step 2: Rolling
· Anchor a pastry cloth or kitchen towel around a large cutting board (at least 12 x 12 inches) Rub flour into the rolling pin and on the cloth on the board. If you don’t have a large cutting board rub flour on the rolling pin and your kitchen countertop, that works too. Remember go easy on the flour, you don't want too much flour to work itself into the pastry.
· Place pastry dough on the flat surface and start rolling from the center out, lifting and turning pastry occasionally to keep it from sticking. If the pastry begins to stick, rub more flour, a little at a time, on the flat surface and rolling pin.
Step 3: Placing
· Fold pastry into fourths (gently), and place it in the pie plate with the point in the center of the plate. Unfold and gently ease into plate, being careful not to stretch pastry, which will cause it to shrink when baked.
· Instead of folding pastry, you can also roll pastry loosely around rolling pin and transfer to pie plate. Unroll pastry and ease into plate. I have seen others do this and it worked but somehow every time I have tried this myself, I have failed.
Go on,try it if you haven't. Let me know how it goes!