It is really hot today. Like, yesterday was cool and you still needed to wear a jumper, but, today, is hot and summery (despite it being Spring) and t-shirt & shorts kind of weather. This makes me happy because I hate the cold with a passion. Everyone is walking around going “Phew, it’s hot!” and wiping their brow and that sort of thing. Roderick the guinea pig had to have a little mini-bath to cool him down (or at least to stop me worrying about him succumbing to heat stress) and hubby laid on the couch all day reading comics and drinking ginger ale. I, for one, love the heat and am looking forward to Summer, so, instead of sitting about in bathers or running under the sprinkler, I decided to do what all people should do in hot weather – make pie! That’s right, pie… Now, as all sane cooks know, pastry does not like hot or humid weather. It prefers cool climates and, most importantly, cool hands for kneading and rolling out. Pah! It will do as it’s told and behave, I say!
I am a fan of pie. I do not have it often – pastry is not my tummy’s friend – and I admit to not being great at pastry-making either. But I felt like apple pie today (probably due to the fact I wanted ice cream as well…) and so I set about making a home-style, sweet, golden brown, tasty pie. Here is my pastry recipe – it’s an easy one and always turns out even if you are completely cack-handed like me and prone to kitchen failure. I haven’t given the apple filling recipe because I don’t use one – I just bung some cooked apple in with a bit of sugar and lemon juice, some spices (cinnamon & cloves) and a little water mixed with a teaspoon or so of cornflour (helps to thicken the apple mixture but isn’t essential). If you’ve not made pastry before, try this one – it really is quite easy and you can use it to make jam tarts if you’ve got some left over (and who doesn’t love a few tarts in the pantry?…) Ahem, recipe as follows…
Basic Sweet Crust Pastry (enough for a small pie)
1 1/2 cups plain flour
125g butter chilled & cubed
1/3 cup caster sugar (I always use raw as it has a nicer flavour but use white if you like)
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon of chilled water
Put first three ingredients (ie flour, butter & sugar) into a food processor. Process until mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Chuck in the egg yolk and water and process again until the mixture comes together. Form a ball and wrap it up in cling wrap or baking paper and pop it in the fridge for 30 minutes so it can chill out 🙂
When you’re ready to use the pastry, roll it out on a lightly floured board or counter and cut out desired amount to cover a pie dish. I usually line my pie pan with baking paper but it you have a decent non-stick one, go right ahead and bung it in as is. Pour in your desired filling, roll out some more dough for the top and place it on, pinching the edges as you go round. Any leftover bits of pastry can be cut into little leaves or other shapes to decorate the top if you like. Brush top with beaten egg/milk wash and sprinkle with a little extra sugar. Bake at 200 c for about 25-30 mins depending on your oven. Let it cool a bit before you serve it up (nothing is nastier than hot-sugar/fruit filling – ouch!) and add a dollop of icecream or custard or whatever you like. Yum!
Sadly, I was a bit brain-dead when baking the pie and kinda let it burn a little in the oven…so the picture here just features the non-singed bit in the middle…just imagine it burnt-bits free and know that it was yummy regardless of my slack attendance in the kitchen…