Poached Pears

I have to make a confession, these poached pears were all about using up some rose we were probably never going to drink ( it was okaaaay, but not great. AND I’d had a case so there were lots of bottles left).

Poached Pears

The recipe came from the internet – there were lots of recipes out there but in the end I went with this one from Taste.com.

We didn’t have marscapone, so I served them with honey flavoured greek yoghurt. The only thing I’d do next time (and there will be a next time, if only because I have more rose!!) is make sure I reduce the sauce more.   I  had a lot left over and I think it could have been thicker and richer.

Poached Pears

The Great Apple Pie Experiment

Apple Pie Apple Pie Apple Pie

Third time lucky.

We’ve been experimenting with apple pies to fulfill A’s wish to take apple pies to work on his birthday (instead of the normal store bought cake). I’ve had *some* experience with pies and quiches, but usually find the pastry too much effort. I usually avoid it. Anyway, we found a respectable looking recipe in a respectable looking baking book and away we went. Unfortunately following said respectable recipe (the one on page 156) produced pastry that was awful – far too crumbly to roll out (though edible once baked!).  The insides (apple, sugar, lemon and vanilla essence) were great though.  For the second time, we turned to the internet, adapting pastry from a Taste.com recipe, but keeping the insides the same ( except we added some frozen raspberries).  This second time,  the pastry was great (if a bit puffy from the self raising flour), but the filling was a bit undercooked and quite runny (we assume from the frozen raspberries).

(NB: In both cases the results went excellently with vanilla ice cream and did not go to waste!!)

The third time we had to get right because it was time to make pies for the birthday.  Oh! The pressure!! Fortunately, the third time was juuuust right. Or pretty right, anyway. Possibly the pastry remained a bit puffy, but for posterity, here is the recipe followed to make 2 pies (~23-24 cm wide, one dish slightly deeper than the other)

Recipe:

The outsides
100 whole meal flour
150 wholemeal self raising flour
500 plain white flour
8 heaped dessertspoonfuls of castor sugar
275 g  unsalted butter
~2/3 cups chilled water, you might need a bit more

The insides
1350 g of peeled and cored apple, thinly sliced (about 50% granny smith, and 50% gala, 1800 g total apple). a normal sized eating apple is about 150 g, so it’s about 12 apples for 2 pies
2 tsp vanilla essence (made from scratch!)
2 tbsp lemon juice
230 g sugar
small cubes of butter ~80g
1 tsp cinnamon
and 1/2 tsp mixed spice

Dice the chilled butter and then rub it into the sifted flour (and sugar) to make a crumbly mixture. Add chilled water bit by bit until the dough forms a ball.  Leave the dough to chill in the fridge while you core and peel the apples (OMG!  THE worst step!!), then roll out 1/2 the pastry to 3-4 mm thickness to cover the bases of your pie dishes.  Combine the peeled and sliced apples with the lemon juice, vanilla and sugar and divide the mixture between the dishes.  Dot small cubes of butter over the top of the apple before covering with a second sheet of rolled out pastry,  and decorate as desired.  Egg can be used to glaze the pies – we only ever had milk, however.

Bake for about 25 minutes at 230 deg, followed by about 35 minutes at 200 deg (NB:  we adjusted this from 200 deg and 180 deg because we have an old cold oven.  Also we wanted to avoid undercooked insides.  The smaller pie did get a bit brown in the process…)

And… success! I thought I wouldn’t even get to try these pies, but he bought me home a small sliver and it was *good*. Hopefully this is not the end of our pie making adventures.