Category Archives: Pies

Chocolate Pie Pops

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My post today is going to be as short and sweet as these chocolate pie pops. “Are you in a hurry?,” you might ask, and “yes” will be my answer. My discourse is usually long, I know, but today I have to get in and get out as I have a long, long day ahead of me!

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His & Her Lemon Meringue Pie in a Jar

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So, pies! What an unmitigated blessing to humankind. Have you ever watched the film Waitress? After watching her roll and tuck in those piecrusts ever so gently, and slather in some delicious fillings (Fallin’ in Love Chocolate Mousse Pie..mmmm), I only wanted to bake pies for the next few days. Of course, the love story on the side was a fringe benefit for a soppy girl like me. Delicious pies and soppy love story, what’s not to like?

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Strawberry Jam Pies

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This week has been rather dreary for me. I’ve had difficulty putting things together as far as baking is concerned. And don’t get me started on writing. I stare into a blank document for minutes together. With no outcome, I switch over to Facebook feeds. And then I get irked looking at my wall filled with pictures of babies (no offense intended to friends with babies) and cats!

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Mozzarella, tomato and basil handheld pies

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I had a lovely Sunday. I woke up late, lazed around, made Chinese for lunch, watched a movie (at home) that Pavan has been insisting we watch, blended with the furniture again and went for a run in the evening. We came back, I made sautéed veggies with pesto and mozzarella for dinner, we ate as we watched Julie and Julia and then I slept, like a baby.

I don’t mean to sound stereotypical  when I say this  but I’d be lying if I said that there isn’t a voice in my head that goes on and on about how parts of our lives are so similar every time I watch the film. I know I’m not the first food blogger in the world to feel the same emotion and I think it’s amazing how thousands of closet cooks came out and showed us what they can do through their blogs after the film.

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Nigella’s Grasshopper Pie

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I’ve always wanted to visit a good old fashioned American diner, sit by the open kitchen on one of those tall bar stools and order a nice cheesy burger with fries on the side and to finish off, a fat sliver of pie, probably cherry pie; I just love the look of gleaming cherry oozing out of a perfect piece of pie.

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Pizza Rustica

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One of the things I want to strike off my bucket list is being a part of a big Italian family lunch in Italy, probably Sicily         . I can imagine being hosted to a lengthy (literally) display of a rustic feast, of ciabattas and olive oil, grilled artichoke hearts and auberginesmortadella and pancetta, with inordinate quantities of Prosecco doing the rounds of course; I can almost smell the perfume emanating from the olive trees. Now I don’t know of any Italian families, so if anybody from Italy is reading this….hi!

I always look for authorities when it comes to trying out a recipe from a certain cuisine. I believe they know best and I don’t think I’ve ever failed their recipes. If I am looking to make Italian bread or biscotti, I always turn to Nick Malgieri; I discovered him in an episode on Baking with Julia and then there was no looking back.

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Apple Tarte Tatin

Have you ever had a “fortunate happenstance” in the kitchen? For me, accidents in the kitchen have always been disastrous. But thanks to Tatin sisters, I still live in the hope that one day I will make a startling discovery out of a debacle. 

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If I believe in the history of Tarte Tatin, which I do, it was born out of an act of serendipity. Stephanie Tatin, one of the owners of Hotel Tatin in Lamotte-Beuvron, France, accidentally baked a caramelized apple tart upside down. If this was true, she paved way to a flurry of upside down desserts, didn’t she?

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Cheese and Onion Pie

I’ve been thinking a lot about home off late. Where I don’t feel like I am constantly running out of time. Where space isn’t as much an issue and apartments are still not tearing through the skies. Where auto rickshaw fellows are greedy but  helpful and some even have a great sense of humour (never thought I’d say this). Where every place is just about a stone’s throw away, that or I was awfully lucky to have a home in Alwarpet. Ah Alwarpet! My entire day was defined by the area I lived in, of quiet lanes, homes that have character, dime a dozen grocery stores, gyms, restaurants and what have you?

On my way back from work, I would stop at Winners Bakery close to home. The waft of cakes and breads baking in the oven was always intoxicating for me. Their lemon tarts were fast moving, if you didn’t go early enough, you didn’t get any. The mellow, baby pink, strawberry butter cream cakes were delightful as well. Strange as it may sound, for me though, the incorrigible sweet monster,  their cheese and onion tarts had a special place. A familiar face would welcome me, pick up everything I pointed to and pack it in a brown paper bag, where my darling little cheese and onion tart would wait to be consumed along with coffee of course.

So this recipe is an aftermath of nostalgia, a semblance of my favourite tart from my favourite bakery, something to remember my Madras by.

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Ingredients

  • 500 g ready made puff pastry (or learn how to make puff pastry here)
  • 100 g Gruyère or any hard cheese
  • 1 big onion or 2 small onions, sliced
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 100 ml whole milk
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Makes  6 pies

Method

  • Thaw your frozen puff pastry. Grease a 6 muffin pan with butter.
  • Saute the sliced onions in butter till brown and translucent. Tip in the tablespoon of flour and mix well. Now add the milk and continuously whisk as the mixture thickens. Add the gruyère and continue to whisk. Finally, add mustard, salt and pepper to taste. Switch off and set aside.
  • Cut 6 4-inch circles from your puff pastry sheet using a cookie cutter or a lid. Now cut 6 3- inch circles again. Set aside on a baking sheet.
  • Tuck each 4-inch pastry circle into the prepared muffin pan, so that the bottom and the sides are covered. Spoon the prepared filling into each muffin mould. Cover each pie with a 3-inch pastry circle. Seam the edges of both the pastry circles together. Leave the muffin pan in the refrigerator to chill for 30 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 180 C.
  • Once chilled, make slashes or patterns using your knife on the pastry surface without cutting into the pastry. Glaze each pie with egg wash. Vegetarians could use milk as a glaze too.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes until golden brown and puffy.

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Good ol’ Apple Pie

I’ve had a request or two from friends to post a recipe on apple pie and I’ve finally grabbed the courage to do it. I say courage because it is a bit challenging. It takes patience and practice to master the pie crust or pâte brisée which is essentially what envelopes the tender slices of apples inside. But with some reading up and watching videos, I learnt that there are a few cardinal rules in making a pie of any kind:

  • All your pie ingredients (except flour) have to be cold
  • Pick apples that are not juicy. The juicy kind tends to make the pie crust soggy.

Stephanie Jaworski from http://www.joyofbaking.com has jotted down many useful tips on baking an apple pie. She suggests letting the apples rest for a little while so that they emit all of their juices before they go into the oven for baking. She has great videos on making pie crust and apple pie.

Coming back to my experience in making this American Classic – it was fantastic. I followed the rules to a tee and I got a great pie in return. A few pressure points (yes I am well aware that I amusing masterchef lingo) one has to bear in mind while attempting an apple pie:

  • Your pastry might crumble apart time and again, but you have to pull it together and roll it out anyway. They don’t call this kind of a pastry a patch work pastry for no reason.
  • Work on a dry surface. No water. No moistness. The pastry will stick to the work surface if its wet.
  • If you don’t have patience, this is no recipe for you. It’s not going to be a quickie in the kitchen. Every time you work with the pastry, you need to refrigerate it.
  • Finally, work fast. The pastry does not have time for you. The butter in it will melt making it difficult for you to work with the pastry.

This recipe is essentially eggless and I tried avoiding using eggs to give the pastry a glaze for that brown oomph. I used milk instead and it turned out pretty fine.

As for the kind of apples, I found the dark red variety to be the best. The light red ones or golden apples are way too juicy for this recipe.

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Ingredients

For the pie crust

  • 350 g all purpose flour
  • 226 g cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp ice cold water

For the filling

  • 4 big apples, the dark red variety
  • 100 g caster sugar
  • 1 lemon, juice and zest
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp cornflour

Method

  • Peel the apples. Remove the core and slice them length wise. An apple should fetch you 8 slices. (check joyofbaking on how to slice apples for pies)
  • Now, as you slice the apples and throw it in the bowl, keep squeezing the lemon juice. This will prevent them from browning.
  • Once you are done with slicing the apples, add the sugar, cinnamon, lemon zest and nutmeg. Cover the bowl with a lid and let it sit for 30-60 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, combine flour, salt and sugar. In a food processor or a blender, combine the flour with the cubes of butter. Pulse till the flour becomes a sandy texture. Now, add a tablespoon of cold water and blend further. Ideally, you should be able to bring the dough together now. If you are then you don’t have to use the other tablespoon of water.
  • Pour the dough on to your work platform. Knead for about a minute and bring it together to form a ball. Divide the dough into two equal halves and flatten it out into a 12 inch round. Wrap both the portions with cling film and refrigerate them for at least an hour.
  • After an hour, take out one portion of the dough. Flour your work surface well. Place the dough on the floured surface and start rolling it out from the center using a rolling pin. Roll out to an even thickness until you get a 12 inch round pastry. Roll in the dough back to your rolling pin, brush off the excess flour on it and roll it out on a 9 inch pie dish. Press the pastry towards the pie dish, on the bottom and the sides. If there is a crack or a two, take scraps from rolled out pastry and patch the gaps. Trim the ends of the pastry (on the brim of the pie dish) using a knife. Cover the pie dish with a cling film wrap and refrigerate it again. Repeat the same for the next dough portion. Place a parchment paper on a baking tray, place the rolled out pastry on it and place it back on the refrigerator.
  • Now, the apples must have drained all its juices. Plop them back into a colander with a bowl underneath and leave it for another 30 minutes. Till you have close to 1/2 cup worth juice.
  • Once the apples have drained out all the juices, transfer the juice into a sauce pan. Add 2 tbsp butter into it and simmer it for 5-8 minutes until the mixture becomes thick. Now add this sauce to the apples along with a tablespoon of cornflour. This sauce gives a wonderful, caramelly flavour to the apple pie. Combine the apples with the sauce and the corn flour and set aside.
  • Take the prepared pie dish as well as the rolled out pastry out. Place the apple filling inside the pie dish and even it out. Cover the apples with the rolled put pastry. Crimp the edges of the pastry around the pie dish using a fork or your fingers. I cut out leaves and stalks with the remaining pastry dough to make it pretty. You don’t have to if you don’t want to.
  • Now, place an aluminium foil on a baking tin. Place the pie dish on it and refrigerate it for another 30 minutes. You do this to avoid overheating the base of the pie. Also, you don’t want the juices to spill into your oven. Preheat your oven to 220 C.
  • After 30 minutes, take the pie dish out. Make 4-5 slits on the surface to let the steam out. Brush the surface with some milk. Sprinkle some sugar on top.
  • Place the pie dish, along with the foiled tin on the bottom in the oven and bake for 45-55 minutes. When you stick a knife into one of the slits, the apples must be tender but not mushy.
  • Serve it warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Life is made 🙂

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Adapted from Stephanie Jaworski’s Apple Pie  http://www.joyofbaking.com/ApplePie.html

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