Monday, September 13, 2010

Making Shortcrust Pastry Apple Pie

Crisp, light and easy to prepare, shortcrust is the most frequently used of all pie and tart pastries.

Shortcrust dough is made from flour, butter, water and a little salt-usually, half the amount of butter to flour.

The dough takes very little time to make. Indeed, to achieve perfect tender shortcrust pastry, speed is essential, overworking would only strengthen the gluten in the dough and make the butter oily- resulting in a mixture that will become hard and tough on baking.

To help keep the dough cool, chill the water and butter. Chilling any dough before use relaxes the gluten, making the dough less elastic and softer and easier to roll out.

For extra insurance, you can brush the bottom layer of pastry dough lightly with whisked egg white before adding the filling. In the oven the egg white will cook to a thin glaze that will prevent the filling's moisture from seeping into the dough.

Pastry Ingredients:

250g cold butter, cut to pieces
500g flour
pinch of salt
5-8 tablespoons iced water


1).Rubbing the butter into the flour. add the salt to the flour and sift them into a large mixing bowl. Add all the butter cubes to the flour. Using the tips of your fingers and thumbs, pick up a small amount of butter and flour. Lightly rub them and together and let the mixture fall back into the bowl. Continue for 2 to 3 minutes, until all of the butter is incorporated and the mixture resembles very coarse breadcrumbs.

2).Adding water. Use a spoon to make a shallow well in the mixture, spoon in a little iced water. Because some flours absorb more water than others, the quantity of water you need may vary, always start with a minimum amount in order to avoid soggy result. Then, use your hands to lightly gather the dough together. Add a little more water if necessary, the mixture should cling together without being damp.

3). Finishing the dough. Lightly press the dough together and form it into a ball. Wrap the dough in cling wrap film, to prevent drying out, and chill the dough for about 15 minutes before use.

For Double-crust Apple Pie filling Ingredients:

1 kg apple (8 medium size)
2 tablespoons flour
pinch of salt
About 2/3 to1 cup of brown sugar ( if green apple use more sugar and less for red apple)
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
30g butter
1/2 lemon

1).Mixing the apple filling. Place the flour, salt, sugar and spices in a mixing bowl. Peel, core and slice the apples, and add them to the bowl. With your hands, toss the apples until they are evenly coated with the dry ingredients.

2). Preparing the dough. Divide the dough into halves, one for the top of the pie and one for the base.

3). To make the base, roll the dough into a round about 5mm thick. Lining the tin. To ensure that the round of dough is big enough to cover the base and overlap the side of the pan, the pastry should be slightly wider than the pan.

4). Filling and covering the pie. Filling the base with the apples and dot them with butter. If the apple are sweet, sprinkle them with lemon juice. Roll the remaining dough to the thickness of 5mm and place it over the filling.

5). Finishing the edges. Use a knife to trim away the excess dough. Using your thumb and index finger, pinch the dough firmly to seal the base and top. With knife, pierce the top in several places to allow steam to escape as the pie bakes. If you like, glaze it before baking by brushing the top with a lightly whisked egg.

6). Bake the pie in an oven preheated to 220C for 10 to 15 minutes, then at 180C for 40 to 45minutes, or until the pastry is firm and golden-brown.

7). Hot pastry crumble easily. Let it cool for a few minutes before cutting. Serve the pie warm or cold..:)

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