Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Apple Pie

What’s the difference between a pie and a tart? These two pastry dishes always confused me. I didn’t know until just recently that I have to be specific what to call my dish, tart or pie? For the benefit of those who are still confused until now, the difference between these two pastry dishes is that the other is covered with pastry or “pastry crust” and the other is uncovered.

As per Wikipedia’s definition:

A pie is a baked dish which is usually made of a pastry dough shell that covers or completely contains a filling of various sweet or savory ingredients. Pies can be either "filled", where a dish is covered by pastry and the filling is placed on top of that, "top-crust," where the filling is placed in a dish and covered with a pastry/potato mash top before baking, or "two-crust," with the filling completely enclosed in the pastry shell. Pies can be a variety of sizes, ranging from bite-size to ones designed for multiple servings.

A tart is a pastry dish, usually sweet, that is a type of pie with an open top that is not covered with pastry.

Now, it is clear to me that I’m making a pie. This apple pie is simpler than what I have made before, the FRENCH APPLE TART, though I am using the same sweet pastry recipe I just doubled the quantity of ingredients so that I can make the “pastry crust”, which it turned out to be thicker than I thought. The base pastry shell was perfect but the covering pastry or pastry crust was a little bit thick because it was ripped and I tried to patch the cracks as a result, it thickened. To make things worst, these patched cracks had become rough; instead, it should be smooth. My quick remedy is to sprinkle some nuts on it so it wouldn’t be visible. I found a pack of crushed almonds in my pantry and sprinkled it on top of the crust. I’m so pleased to see the cracks have magically invisible and it added a different texture and flavor to it.

Unlike the French Apple tart, I didn’t make a pastry cream; instead, the apples were boiled with sugar for a few minutes and drained. The filling is just as simple as that.

Another alteration I made was instead of using butter or margarine, I used shortening which is vegetable based so we wont end up feeling guilty of cholesterol after having a slice or two. It worked quite well, in fact it tastes lighter, yet the crust is still crunchy and crumbly. From now on, I’ll use shortening instead of butter or margarine. It works just the same, its just the absence of richer taste that the butter has, but I don’t mind to opt for a healthier one.

Ingredients:

Filling:

6 Green Apples
½ cup sugar
500 ml water
1 Cinnamon stick
2 tsp.Cinnamon powder

Sweet Pastry Dough:
1 Cup and 2 Tbsp. shortening
1 cup icing sugar (sifted)
2 egg
5 Cups All Purpose Flour
¼ tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. vanilla essence

1 egg for eggwash

Make the Sweet Pastry Dough:
In a mixing bowl, mix shortening and icing sugar until creamy, add eggs and mix for another minute until soft and creamy.

Add flour and baking powder. Continue beating.

Add vanilla essence

Bring the mixture altogether to form a dough and mix with the hand. Form the dough into a ball, Cover with Cling film and refrigerate for an hour.

Prepare the filling:

Core apples and slice thinly, using a mandolin is very convenient and fast. Place in a sauce pan, add sugar and water, add the cinnamon stick and bring to a boil and simmer for about 3 minutes. Drain in a colander to get rid of excess water. Cool to room temperature.

Assemble the Pie:

Preheat oven to 250 degrees C.

In a flat working surface, divide the dough into two, one is 2/3 and the other 1/3. the bigger one is for the base shell and the other is for the covering crust. Roll out the dough, which has rested for an hour in the fridge, with a rolling pin. Flatten the dough forming a circle place it onto the pie pan. Press the sides of the dough to form the patterns of the pan.

Arrange the apples which have cooled down to the base of the pastry evenly and sprinkle cinnamon powder. Avoid empty spaces in between and press them a little bit after each addition to make it compact.

To complete the pie, cover with the covering crust, and brush with the egg wash. Sprinkle crushed almonds on top. Bake for 20-30 minutes until golden brown.

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