Monday, October 3, 2011

Apple Pie(s)

Sorry. It's not a very good picture but I like it anyway.
I'm quite proud of the crust for this pie, it looks lovely and flaky (I think) and it is too.

   It's about time I talk about my apple pie. Apple pies, that is. I think out of all the things that I've made so far, apple pies (or most pies for that matter) are the most rewarding. It took me quite some time to learn how to make the pie crust. The first time I made them on my own was such a failure than I chickened out and stopped trying. Then, after a long time, I tried again. This time it browned, at least, but was too crumbly to be called a proper pie crust. Then I tried again. And again. And again.

   Each time I made a new pie, things got better. I learned where I made my mistakes, and made sure (or tried to) not to repeat them. I learned how to make sure the dough was not too sticky, nor too tough to roll out. It was a long and hard process, but it was worth it. Now, I just jump at the chance of making pie whenever I have enough ingredients (which, at the moment is not often- I haven't made pie for a few weeks now). I've yet to master the art of pie making, but I revel in the thought that there's so much more to explore about it.

I didn't take a lot of pictures of the uncooked crust, but I think this was the best crust I'd made up to that time (for my 6th or 7th pie, I think)
We don't have a proper working space for rolling out pastry or kneading bread, so I use this round, tin tray of Mum's which works quite well.

Wonky lattice top.
I wish I had one of those crimp cutters or whatever they're called.

   Most of the recipes that I used for the pies came from Betty Crocker's Pie & Pastry Cookbook, which is a wonderful book. Ever since I remember- well, ever since we purchased the book (secondhand from a car boot sale at Scotland) I've stared and stared at all the lovely and mouth-watering pictures. I read through the recipes,  imagining myself making them. I never did though, until that first disastrous pie. I'm glad I got the courage to try again. It was worth it.

My sifu for pie-making!
   I meant to blog about each pie that I made so that I could take note of my improvements and mistakes, but what can I say, I've yet to become a consistent blogger (while I can say that I have 2 other blogs to write in, it's not a good excuse because I don't post updates all that often over there either), so I'm putting photos of apple pies that I've made altogether in this one post. Next time... we'll see...

I think this was the very first apple pie I made (on my own, anyway)
Look at my wonky lattice top!

makes 1 10-inch pie (with some leftover pastry)

Pie Crust
Pastry for a 2 crust 10-inch pie

Pie Filling
8 cups thinly sliced pared apples (about 7 medium-sized ones)
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon (I put nearly 2 tsp, hehe)
a dash of salt
3 tablespoons margarine/butter

Heat oven to 425F/220C.

Roll out pastry and use to line pie pan.

Stir together sugar, flour, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt. Mix with apples in a large bowl. Turn filling into pastry-lined pie pan. Dot with butter.

Cover with top crust (with slits or holes on top to allow steam to escape). Seal and flute. 

Cover edge with a strip of aluminium foil to prevent excessive browning; remove 15 minutes before end of baking time. 

Bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until crust is beautifully browned and juice begins to bubble through the slits/holes in the top crust.

Serve warm, with ice-cream if desired.

p.s. I wouldn't worry too much about getting the measurements right for the filling. Just follow your instincts (and tastebuds, of course!) as well as what you have

Custard Sauce
* This is my own recipe! Hah. Well, I based it on the lemon chiffon filling that I made for the Lemon Chiffon Pie, but this is pretty much my own invention. I'm sorry if it doesn't work if you try it, but it was pretty okay when I made it.

Makes one cup.

1 large egg
3/4 cup milk
1 tablespoon custard powder
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
a pinch of salt

Beat egg lightly in a bowl and add milk. Beat mixture until well combined. Add custard powder, sugar and salt. Mix until well combined. Strain into a saucepan. Turn on heat to low or medium-low. Stir constantly until mixture is thickened (shouldn't take long). Pour over your slice of pie and enjoy!

1. I actually put in two tablespoons of sugar, but I realised that I'd forgotten to strain the egg+milk mixture only after I'd combined all the ingredients, so I strained the whole mixture then, and of course there were bits of granulated sugar left in the strainer. So I think only one tablespoon really went into the custard. It was just sweet enough for me, but you can always increase the amount to two tablespoons. I think the best thing to do would be to strain the sauce after you've combined the egg, milk and custard so that you won't have any eggy or custardy lumps. Then you add the sugar and salt.
2. The sauce shouldn't harden up with just one tablespoon of custard powder, but if it does, just add a little milk to soften it a bit. No biggie.

   Some more pictures... yeah I know, I should get rid of the date stamps or cut them out, but I'm too lazy to do that! 
Two pies I made for Big Sister to take back to KL.
She wanted two. Two whopping pies!
Being the NICE little sister that I am, I made two. Which one looks better, do you think?
There was too much juice. Though I wish I needn't write 'too much'.
I think this happened because I mixed together the apples and flour+sugar etc. too early.
I put them aside, and when I was ready to use them, they had A LOT of juice.
Being me, I felt that it was a shame to throw the excess juice. Wrong decision.
Look at what happened below.
This picture can either gross people out, or make them drool.
The latter happened to me. Though it spoiled the pie's looks (it'll never get a prize for Most Beautiful Pie), I love the how the juice caramelised through the crack. It's such a pretty colour.
   With cake, there is a time when I feel, "Ok, that's it, I've had enough cake for this week!" but so far, it hasn't happened with pie. Should I ask Dad to get some apples on his way home for work? Haha.

Another pie.
Don't ask me why I punctured so many holes on the crust, but I did.
It also happened that I forgot to dot the apples with margarine before covering the filling with the top crust.
So I poked some margarine through the holes.
Some mistakes turn out for the best reasons, huh? (Or not, haha)

   Other pies I've made and posted about:
   Vanilla Cream Pie
   Chocolate Marvel Pie
   Lemon Chiffon Pie
   Peach Pie

   Oh, and just thought I'd share here that my convocation day is on October 10th. Yay! I'm still waiting for a job placement, so preparing for convocation is providing some fun for me. I went to IIUM to get my robe on October 1st, so I got to meet some of my friends, which was really fun. 

   This is what I'll be wearing! I forgot to take a picture of my own robe (didn't want the bother of having to repack it, anyway) so I took this picture from the website:

   Ooohhh!!! It's just 5 days away! I'm nervous. I hope I don't trip myself up on stage. Or have my face freeze when taking the scroll. Or drop the scroll after receiving it. Ahhhh!!! I'm scared!

  But I'm still looking forward to it! :D


  1. mmm.. your apple pies look YUM! do you have the recipe somewhere else on your blog? for the crust i mean~
    yeah the best thing to do is try and try again =D the more practice the more perfect!
    btw I like the new blog template and theme ^^ very colourful!

  2. Hey Tray. Thanks! Nope I don't. There are different measurements for different pie sizes, so I thought I'd do one special post for pie crusts. But I'll post the recipe anyway, for the crust here later.
    And thanks again! hehe. It was my brother's doing, he hacked into my blog and changed the template. I'm not complaining ;)

  3. Your lattice is great - for me, they have to be done by hand; those rollers/cutters just don't look the same!
    I love apple pie - it's a classic. I love it with custard or icecream.

    Smile and enjoy your convocation day - you've earned it!

  4. Thanks CC! Well, a lack of tools shouldn't and won't stop me from baking, I guess. Thanks for your lovely comment!

    And I'm really looking forward to convo day! Hope I can take some decent pics :D

  5. I left a long comment here yesterday and it has not appeared about your delicious apple pie and your convocation.

  6. It's ok, Shaheen. I know that whatever comments you left, they must have been lovely, as always! :) I hope the issue is resolves soon.

  7. Thanks Lindsay! I hope you're not referring to the one with too many holes poked in them :)

  8. I am SO impressed by your perfect pie crusts!!

  9. Astra Libris: They're honestly far from perfect, but I'm gad they turned out well. Thanks so much! :)


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