Posts Tagged With: baking

The Quintessential Apple Pie

A rainy evening in Singapore, I sat curled up on the favorite spot of our studio – the couch by the wall sized window that¬†paints lush green Apple Piegardens, wide skies and high-rise buildings together in a single view! (Apart from the kitchen, this is where I spend most of my time ..well, that is when I am at home! ūüėČ )¬†Coming back,¬†it was a rainy evening, ¬†I felt as snug as a bug in a rug lying on my couch , sipping hot coffee and watching a chick flick –¬†“Waitress”. With a rating of¬†¬†7.1 on¬†IMDb, for all those who are interested, Waitress is a¬†comedy drama about¬†life and dreams of a¬†woman who works at a pie diner.

What appealed me the most about the movie? The frames that captures interesting pies that protagonist Keri Russell bakes in her head depending on her state of mind. She even names them¬†accordingly – “I hate my husband Pie” or “All in love Pie”! It does sound a li’l silly but¬†subtly¬†it did make me realize that more often than not, even the menu in my kitchen decided by my temperament¬†. ( Does that happen you as well?)

Somewhere, somehow, while watching the movie, the image of the¬†primmed¬†and trimmed criss-cross pie got stuck in my head. ¬†I started wondering that I had tasted it so many times at different places before but why didn’t I try it till now? Is it too difficult? Does it require special tools? Are the ingredients too hard to fetch? Can it be made without eggs? The questions were endless but needed to be answered!

Three days of research and googlearning later, ¬†I realized that the ingredients and tools needed¬†for the¬†Apple Pie were as simple as¬†they could be.¬†In-fact almost everything required was available in my kitchen shelves and yes, the flaky pastry crust as required for the¬†pie could be made without using any eggs…¬†Whoa, I was inspired and as ready as ever! What are we waiting for?

So, here’s to my first Pie with the criss cross or lattice top and ¬†I would like to call it ” Pie-Oh-My”!

Here is the list of  Simple Ingredients that I used:Apple Pie

Flour – 2 cups
Butter – 125 gms
Baking powder – 3/4th tsp
Apples – 3 medium (you may choose any kind or can
even mix different varieties of apples)
Spices ( Cinnamon Powder+ Nutmeg Powder) – 1 tsp
Sugar ( preferably brown and ground)-  3/4th of a cup  ( or adjust to taste)
Lemon juice Р1 tsp 
Corn Starch – 1 and 1/2 tsp
Ice Cold Water Р a little over 2 cups
 
 
 
The Process:

Frankly, from the very beginning, I could not wait to start arranging the lattice dough strips on the pie, but clearly,¬†that wouldn’t have been possible till I completed the two main steps – To begin with, knead the¬†pastry dough and then marinate the apples, both of which require¬†some time and patience.

 CRUST of the PIE:

1. Cut 100 gms of butter in small cubes and put it to chill in the freezer for at-least 15 mins soaked in 2 cups ice-cold water.

2. Sift 2 cups of flour and add 2 tbsp ground sugar and 1 tsp baking powder together

3. Now , add hardened butter cubes and start cutting them through the dry flour mixture using forks . The idea is to have grainy butter pieces coated well with the flour mixture, ¬†if it’s too hot in your kitchen and you feel that the butter getting too soft , refrigerate it for sometime and/or move to a aircon cooled room. Do whatever it takes to get a grainy dough. ( It is the coarse butter granules between in the dough that make the Pie Crust flaky!)

4. Once you reach that stage, bind the dough using ice-cold water. Put half tsp at a time. The idea is to use as little water as possible, so that the resultant dough is firm and non-smooth. ( Refer to the picture below) Try not to use too much of hands/pressure in the dough kneading process or the butter would melt due to the body heat through your palms.

“A pie dough comes together exactly like a biscuit only there is very, very little liquid and no leavening involved. Other than that, the same rules apply. My best advice: handle the dough as little as possible. “¬† ¬† ¬†-Alton Brown¬†

5. Cover the dough in cling kitchen wrap and put it to refrigerate in the freezer for about 20-25 mins ( ensuring any softened butter gets firm before the rolling process).

Pie Dough

MARINATE the APPLES:

1. Peel and de-seed the apples and cut them into thin and small bite sizes.

2. Sprinkle the cinnamon and nutmeg powder, remaining sugar and 1 tsp of lemon juice. Toss Gently and let them sit for over 15 mins.

3. Transfer the apples into a sieve resting over an empty bowl for about 30-45 mins. The bowl will collect the juice from the softened apples.

4. Mix the corn starch over the collected juice and thicken it in the microwave for about 15 secs, mix it back to the apples.

5. The  softened apple filling is ready to be poured into the pastry crust.

Apple _Marinate

 ROLL out:

The crust might get a little hard when you remove it from the refrigerator but as you start lightly kneading it, it would get easy to manage. The dough should ideally be firm and elastic ; you have to use it before the butter gets too soft and  consequently  makes the dough sticky. 

1. Divide the dough into two parts and by the time you are rolling one, keep the other back in the fridge

2. Take a clean flat surface and lightly flour it. Roll out the dough into circle of a size bigger than your pie baking mould,¬†¬†this measurement makes pie of size 8″ diameter.

3. Care should be taken that the pie crust doesn’t stick/break, if it is becoming unmanageable then you can roll out the dough by placing it in between sheets of cling wraps, by doing so it can be easily transferred to the baking dish.

4.  Lightly grease the baking dish with butter and dust some flour.

5. Roll  the flattened pie on the rolling-pin and roll it out on the baking dish; Firmly press it while sticking the pastry dough neatly to the sides of the bakeware

6. Roll out the other remaining  dough from the fridge and cut it into thin stripes Рapprox width of 3/4 th inches

Apple Pie Hungerlane

 ARRANGING the LATTICE TOP:

Finally comes the most interesting and creative part of the whole process, the pie top arrangement. You can make pie open-faced, with a full top, or half-open like a lattice top. We used the lattice top crust as it not only looks pretty but also  provides heat insulation to the fruit and does not let them become too caramelized. For big pies , the double crust ( top and bottom) works better as it gives every piece a perfect wedge shape and the filling remains neatly sealed in.

Steps to weave your Lattice Pie:

1.   Being excited and impetuous, I took the shortest way started by arranging the strips parallely at a small distance from each other in one direction. ( Needless to say, the longest strip should cut through the center and ends of all the strips should reach till the edge of the pie crust)

2.  Next, I started arranging another set of strips, perpendicular to the previous arrangement starting from one end. The only difference was this time I put one strip  at a time and I alternately put it over and under the existing arrangement, creating a criss cross weave.

 3.  Cut the excess strip ends hanging from the sides after leaving some margin. Now tuck the strip ends neatly into the edge of the bottom crust.

4. You can now create a crimping effect on the edges by using your thumb and index fingers. If you are using a crimped pie plate, you will have to just press the edges firmly on to the crimped circumference.

Just like that you are done!

Tip! If the process above  took sometime and you feel the butter of the crust might have got softened.  Refrigerate the pie  for 10 mins before baking.

Pie_arrangement

BAKING  the PIE

1. Brush the crust with a little butter and/or milk mixture to get a brown glaze. Put it into preheated oven at 250 degrees C for over 1 hour.

2. Since I have an oven with double rod options, I let the base cook on the bottom rod for over 30 mins before putting on the top ( and consequently both) rod on. This ensures that the pie doesn’t over brown. ( If you do not have that option, you may choose to put an aluminium foil around the edge of the pie to keep it from turning too brown and remove it towards the last 15 mins. )

3. ¬†The apple filling bubbles up and the liquid might ooze out of the pie during baking, to avoid spoiling your oven’s surface, keep a tray or a flat plate below the pie bakeware. Keep an eye on your pie, checking ¬†in between while letting it cook slowly.

Eggless_Pie_hungerlane

Serve: Let the Pie sit for around 1-2 hours on the cooling rack, before you serve it…Believe me, it would be definitely worth the wait!

Pie_Crust

I took few shots while waiting for it to  cool down. These are few of the many.  Hope these encourage you to try one for yourself!

Pie_side

Pie_Edge

Eggless Apple Pie

Well, I hope you loved the “Pie – oh -my!”¬† It might be a little ¬†long drawn and time-consuming process but it uses simple ingredients and is worth every effort you put in! Well if you don’t ¬†trust me on this, let me give another try as I close this post and convince you by quoting a small except from a poem written by a famous American writer :

“But I, when I undress me
Each night, upon my knees
Will ask the Lord to bless me
With apple-pie and cheese!”

                                                                РEugene Field

Let us know if have any questions relating to this recipe, &  if you do try it, please share the pics with us at 156hungerlane@gmail.com.

Cheers,

Rashi

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Categories: Mains | Tags: , , , , | 19 Comments

Chocolate Chip Cookies

I am a big tea totler but tea is one thing that I have only recently mastered or maybe not. I have never or shall I say ‚ÄėNEVER‚Äô been able to make tea the way my mom does. Even my little sister and dad are able to do it now but not me. Can you imagine how frustrating that is?

To top it all, my love for tea doesn’t resonate with my husband. I have only had the pleasure of making tea for him when he is either a) Unwell b) REALLY REALLY tired or suffering from last night’s hangover. On the contrary, he never says No to cup of tea when my mom-in-law makes it!

So what is it about our mother’s tea that makes it so special? Is it the love or experience? I don’t know. To tell you the truth, there is a little part of me that never wants to know. I love to crave for a cup of my mom’s special tea and there are no words to describe the satisfaction when I get one. Maybe that is also the reason why Shishir and I never say No when my mom-in-law so lovingly makes us a cup of tea in the morning.

So here it is… I publicly agree that making tea is not my cup of tea :P. But what I can make is something that completes a tea party‚Ķ Cookies! It was time to play on my strengths ‚Äď baking and who do I turn to for advice? You guessed it, my goddess of great food and a great mom herself ‚Äď Nigella Lawson.

And since we are celebrating 100 likes on our facebook¬†page, we decided to dedicate this post to all the loving moms in the world. After all, they make us a better person and a better cook and no matter how much we learn, we can never outlearn them¬†ūüôā

So here is Nigella’s recipe for GREAT Chocolate Chip Cookies that take no time at all and I vouch for them.

Here is all you need to do in 5 Simple Steps!

Make ahead

The cookies can be made up to 3 days ahead and stored in an airtight container. They will keep for 5 days ‚Äď that is if your husband doesn‚Äôt eat them for dinner like mine did! Believe me, these are awesome, my tea however‚Ķ hmmmm.. can be a lot better ;p

I added some cocoa powder and chocolate to the dough and got a few chocolate cookies as well¬†ūüôā Involve your kids to bake these with you… These make for¬†wonderful childhood memories too¬† ūüôā

Don’t just use this cookie dough to make plain jane round cookies! Shape them for special occasions! ¬†To give you an example.. We are sharing the picture of our Halloween special cookies!

Like this, for Christmas, you can make  tree ornaments, bells and anything you like .. just be creative!!

A big thank you to all the moms in the world for making us who we are today and a very very Happy Birthday to Rashi!!!!!! Treat this recipe as my gift ūüôā

And to my Mom & Mom – in – Law – I love you very much!

Winnie & Kiki

Categories: Desserts | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

A Car Cake

So we took the first step every newly married Indian couple looks forward to take‚Ķ Add a new member to the family! Welcome home Suzanne ūüôā

No, I am not pregnant; I am talking about our brand New Car!!! A lot of budget changes and test drives later, we pinned down¬†on buying the latest Hyundai i20¬†Sportz.¬† To celebrate the homecoming of our brand new family member, I decided to bake a chocolate chip cake and carve it in the shape of my car ūüôā

My first experience at carving and decorating.. Wowwww..I was super-duper excited, made multiple sketches, bought candies and food dyes and even involved my husband to use his engineering to help set dimensions as I carved the cake…All on the eventful night of the finals of the Indian Premier League ūüėõ ( Not the best decision, what was I thinking!!!)

Anyways, it took me 2 days to do it ‚Äď One day to bake, carve and frost and the next day to decorate. You can also do it in one day. I made it on a weekday with office to attend and so had to split work. The cake I baked for the car was a chocolate cake. This recipe makes a cake that doesn‚Äôt have too many crumbs when you carve it. This cake is perfect for carving and making designer cakes.


Preheat¬†the oven at 180 deg. Beat 3 eggs with 1tsp¬†vanilla essence. Don‚Äôt waste too much energy into¬†beating. Add sugar, butter and beat again to make the wet mixture. Make sure that the sugar has mixed well and the mixture is smooth. ¬†Sift the flour, baking powder and cocoa powder separately and add to the wet mixture. Add some chocolate chips to it if you like bursts of chocolate in the cake as¬†you eat. Mix well. ¬†Line your baking dish with butter paper or spray oil and dust some flour to ensure that your cake comes out in 1 piece¬†ūüôā Put the batter to the tin and bake for 15 – 20 minutes or until completely cooked. The cooking time will vary, depending on the size and shape of your cake tin.

While the cake bakes, start working on your frosting and filling for the cake. My husband and I are not very fond of fondant. We don’t particularly enjoy the taste, so I went for the basic vanilla butter cream frosting with a twist of Mango (in season!) and a Chocolate Ganache filling.

Start by taking 1/3 cup of plain unsalted butter and whisk it until it is smooth and at room temperature. Now add 1 cup of powdered sugar in it, 1/3rd at a time, mixing it to ensure it blends properly without any lumps. Once done, add 1 tsp of vanilla essence, 2 tsp of heavy cream and mix. You are done! For my cake, I added mango puree to the frosting. It didn’t quite blend well but tasted really delicious. You can also use food coloring. I didn’t go for it as my food coloring tasted really bad and the frosting tasted wax like with it. You don’t really get good food colors easily in India. Another option to make it yellow could be saffron soaked in a little milk. Mix a pinch of it in hot milk and let it leave its color. Let the milk cool before you add to the mixture.

 

  • 1 Cadbury‚Äôs dairy milk chocolate bar and half of equivalent amount of dark chocolate chips.
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon dark rum (optional)

This is my easy breezy recipe and makes great Chocolate Ganache. This is a really easy recipe and one that can easily impress your guests because of the fancy name :). Kids love it, adults love it, oldies love it… you just can’t get enough of it.. Yummmm!

Start by chopping your chocolate bar into really small pieces. Mix the dark chocolate chips and keep it on a double boiler to melt. Never expose chocolate to direct heat. Add cream to the chocolate mix. Stir till the time you get a nice velvety texture and DONE! Get your kids to make it. They will have lots of fun!

Variations: You can keep whisking the mixture to make it lighter and fluffier. Keep it for some time and it gets more dense. If you are using it as a filling, like in my case I did, I used the denser version. If you use it as a frosting, use the lighter version. If the cake is for adults, you can add a tablespoon of good quality dark rum and see the difference for yourself ;P.

Leftovers:

Have left overs? No worries… Put it in between 2 biscuits and you get chocolate cream filled biscuits. Great with evening tea or for your kids with Milk. Ganache also stays absolutely fine in the fridge for a month and in the freezer for about 3 months. Store it in an airtight bag/container. Alternately, you can make Chocolate Truffles!

To make the Chocolate Truffles, just chill the leftover Ganache for a few hours in the fridge until it is set.¬† Then roll it into small balls and coat it with cocoa powder. And they are ready! You can also coat with your favorite nuts like walnuts, pistachios etc. Play with your favorite flavors ūüôā

The cake.

If you are making a particular shape, make sure you have thought through the dimensions. Make some sketches so that you can constantly refer to them and then start your carving. Once you have carved your cake and it looks like a car, use your frosting to give a crumb coat. This basically means putting a thin layer frosting all over it to ensure you seal in all the crumbs. Keep it in the fridge to set for 30-45 minutes. Now give the final frosting coat and decorate to will!

¬†Here is the final Product! I used the Chocolate Ganache as filling for the cake and also piped it to make the car’s features. Use M&M’s or Gems (Indian M&M) to make the headlights.

Do try this recipe and let me know what do you think of my cake? If you have an interesting idea, you would like to share, we would love to hear from you!

Cheers,

Nupur

Categories: Desserts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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