This month, Sugar High Friday is hosted by Andrew of Spittoon Extra, who has chosen the theme of drunken apples. Before you scratch your heads wondering what on earth this means, this requires you to make a dessert featuring apples and alcohol and blog about it.
I have never previously made any dish that fits both the apple and alcohol criteria before, but I have for some time been eyeing up a delicious-sounding apple pie recipe from the latest food magazine that I have subscribed to, Dish. This gorgeous magazine is published in New Zealand, and joins the growing list of all things Kiwi with which I have become besotted: food magazines (Dish and Cuisine), Lisa Hoskin jewellery, the breathtaking scenery, music (Split Enz and the Finn brothers), fashion (Trelise Cooper and Karen Walker) and a Kiwi guy (he ought to know who he is ;)).
The apple pie that I have made for SHF contains sundowner apples (although the recipe does not specify any particular apple variety, hence you can substitute your favourite) and brandy. The apples are sauted with butter before being combined with brandy and a delicious combination of dried fruits and nuts, then covered by a crisp pastry top. The final pie looks, smells and tastes absolutely devine, and is really quite simple to make.
The recipe is as follows, from p24 of the August-September 2007 edition of Dish:
pinch of salt
3 tablespoons icing sugar
75 g cubed butter
3 tablespoons cold water
Blitz the flour, salt and icing sugar in a food processor to combine. Add the butter and blitz in the food processor until coarse crumbs form. Add the water gradually and blitz until a ball of dough forms. Chill the dough wrapped in cling film for one hour.
1.5kg apples, peeled, cored and sliced
zest and juice of one lemon
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon of each of cinnamon, ginger, cloves and cardamom (I omitted the cloves and doubled the cinnamon)
200g mixed roughly chopped dried fruits (I used sultanas, figs and apricots)
1/4 cup toasted nuts (I used flaked almonds)
1 lightly beaten egg (for egg wash)
extra white sugar for sprinkling on top of pastry
Grease a 6 cup capacity pie dish and preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Toss the apples with the lemon juice and zest, brown sugar and spices in a bowl to coat. Melt the butter in a large frypan or saucepan, then cook the apple mixture in the butter until the apples just start to brown. Add the dried fruits and brandy to the pan, and cook until the apples are soft. Remove from the heat, add the toasted nuts and allow to cool completely.
Roll out the pastry until it is 1cm wider than the pie dish. Cut a 1cm wide strip of pastry to line the edge of the pie dish. Place the fruit mixture into the pie dish. Brush the pastry strip with water and press around the edge of the pie dish, wet side facing the dish. Brush the pastry strip with egg wash. Drape the remainder of the pastry over the top of the fruit, and join to the pastry strip by crimping with a fork round the edges. Cut a small hole in the centre of the pie to allow the steam to escape while baking. Brush the pastry top with egg wash and sprinkle with white sugar.
Bake the pie in the pre-heated oven for 40 minutes or until golden brown. Remove the pie from the oven and serve warm with ice cream, cream or custard. Enjoy!!!
I took this pie to a friend's house for dessert, and we both loved it. The only thing that I would change about this recipe is that I would double the pastry recipe and make a shell for the pie in addition to the top, to make serving easier and the final presentation more attractive. However, the sheer volume of fruit in this pie, flavoured by lemon, spices and brandy, makes it an irresistable treat.
Thanks to Andrew of Spittoon Extra for hosting this round of Sugar High Friday - I look forward to seeing the drunken apples roundup!
Postscript: The roundup of SHF - Drunken apples can be found here.