Monday, October 15, 2012

Homesickness and Apple Pie

Today I am feeling a wee bit homesick.  Yesterday was the beginning of it and getting out of bed this morning was a struggle, though I managed to get around that by getting up at lunchtime.

I spent most of the day in my pyjamas and finally, the thought struck me - I know, I'll make my Mum's apple pie.  That'll cheer me up.

A skype chat later, with my sister, who gave me the proportions of butter to flour (I can never remember, even though I've made it a million times...maybe that's because I want an excuse to ask Mum?) and apple pie making began in earnest.

First, find a weighing scales.  If, like me, the battery in your weighing scales has run out and you can't find the spares you bought 6 months ago, then you can use cup measurements.

For the easy peasy-est pastry, do this:
Put 150g/1 cup of plain flour (or mixed wholegrain and plain, as I did this time) into a mixing bowl.  Then add 100g butter or margarine (I prefer butter for taste and health) straight from the fridge cut into walnut size chunks.
Do not cut them too small and don't handle them with hot hands.  I am blessed with cold hands so pastry making is a tad easier.  Then, add enough water to bring the mix together.  I'd suggest putting 100ml into a measuring jug and adding slowly, until the pastry is just coming together.  Stop adding water at this point.

I could hear my Mum's voice in my head as I did this 'Don't over work it! You only need a tiny amount of water for perfectly light pastry.'  Turn the mix out onto a floured countertop.  Roll it out, then fold into 3.  Do this 3 times, and finally, roll it out and fold into 4.   I have no idea why this series of rolls and folds are important, but it's how my Mum does it, so it's how I do it.
Your pastry is complete, leave it sit for half an hour or so and then make a lovely pie or tart with it.  I'm adding gorgeously tart local organic eating apples from the farmers market on Saturday.  Plus a handful of sultanas for some sweetness and a dessert spoon of rapadura sugar (the least processed sugar you can get, which still has lots of minerals and goodness in it and has a lovely caramely taste.
Grease a pie tin, or the lid of a pyrex baking dish and lay in your pastry, rolled out to about 2-3mm thick.  Cut around the edges.  There is a knack to doing this without making a mess.  If you hold the pie dish in one hand and trim the pastry with a knife in your other hand, turning the dish as you drag the knife along the edge, the excess pastry will just fall off.  Try to leave a bit more than you think is neccessary, as when you add the apples the pastry will settle a little bit.

Once that's done, fold (don't squish!) together the excess pastry and roll out again, to the same thickness.  Lay this pastry over the filled pie and trim as before.  Press the edges together with the tip of a fork and poke a few holes in the lid with your fork.  This allows air to escape while baking.

Bake for 30-40 mins at 180C until golden brown and smelling heavenly and allow to cool while you eat dinner, or tidy the kitchen.  I added 2 apples to this pie.  I actually forgot to add the sultanas & sugar and only realised after I had added the lid.  Oops. It was delicious nonetheless, so only add sugar if you're using cooking apples.
Serve on it's own or with ice-cream or cream and a cup of tea.  I realised as I ate mine that it wasn't the eating that soothed my homesickness, but the conversation with my sister about ingredients, making the pastry, rolling it out and hearing my Mum's voice in my head.  I do miss home, but following an afternoon feeling a bit sorry for myself I definitely feel less lonely and more prepared for what tomorrow brings.

1 comment:

  1. Nothing better than a good recipe from home when we feel homesick. Skype was also my saviour to get recipes from home when I lived Down Under. This apple pie looks delicious!