Apples used to be so expensive and hard to come by. However, nowadays getting 2 bags of apples from those guys selling in traffic will not break the bank.
Granted, pastry making can be quite intimidating but how else does one learn, if not by making it again and again and again.
These are some of the mistakes I have made while learning to make pastry:
- Do not over-handle the crust (fight the chapati mentality to thoroughly knead the dough). You’ll end up with a tough crust.
- Too much water also results in a tough crust.
But guess what? The pie will still be gobbled up! Your family will enjoy eating your “experiments” as you perfect your pastry making.
Besides, nothing beats the feeling of whipping out a homemade pie from the oven!
- The basic rule for pastry is to use at least half the weight of fat to flour, and a liquid to bind it.
- Apple cider vinegar helps break the gluten, but this is an optional step.
- The water and the butter need to be ice cold so as to leave the butter solid.
- Those solid bits of butter melt during baking, resulting in a flaky crust.
- All purpose flour, sugar and salt
- 250 grams of butter at Kshs 250 or
- 500 grams of kimbo/kasuku/shortening at Kshs 120 (For best results combine half butter half shortening. However, do what works for you.)
- 8 apples Kshs 300 or 8 pears Kshs 400 (pears in Kenya are a more organic option.)
- Pie dish Kshs 900 (investment piece)
Attempt this on that random chilled Saturday or Sunday afternoon, or public holiday/long weekend when you are relaxed and have enough time.
Do in advance:
Weigh and cut the cold butter or shortening into small cubes and return them in the freezer.
Put the flour in the fridge for half an hour or freezer for 15 min.
Make sure you have cold water in the fridge.
Homemade Pie Crust I
- 3 cups flour
- 1 cup cold butter or shortening cubed
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 Tablespoon sugar
- 1/2 cup ice cold water
DirectionsTune into your favourite radio station, or play your favourite playlist. Turn the music up.
Mix the 3 cups flour, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 Tablespoon sugar together in a large bowl.
Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients. Using 2 forks or a pastry cutter, cut in the butter – it should take about 2 to 3 minutes. You want to be left with visible solid bits of pea-size fat.
Make a well in the centre again, and pour half of the ice cold water. With the fork, mix until the mixture holds together.
Now, this is the moment your hands get in actual contact with the dough, and you want to do this as quickly as possible. One tablespoon at a time, add the remaining water. Squish it into a ball.
Divide dough in two. Have one portion larger than the other. Flatten into thick discs using your hands.
Wrap tightly in cling film, or a plastic/food bag and chill for at least an hour in the fridge. This allows the dough to relax, and once its chilled it is easier to roll.
Do a little dance, have a glass of wine or some chocolate. You have made pie crust!
Now for the easy part.
Apple/Pear Pie Filling
- 6-8 apples or pears (1 kg)
- juice of half a lemon or 1 tablespoon vinegar
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup flour or 3 tablespoons flour
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
DirectionsPeel the apples or pears and thinly slice. (Use the peel and core to make apple or pear cider vinegar Kitchen Scraps – Apple Peels.)
Mix 1/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 teaspoon vanilla essence, squeeze of lemon juice and a pinch of salt in a large bowl. Toss the apples in this mix.
DirectionsRemove the two discs from the fridge.
Flour your rolling pin and work surface. Roll out the larger of the two discs. (You should still be able to see the butter). Line the pie dish, leaving enough pastry over the sides. Don’t stretch the pastry. Let it fall in the dish comfortably.
Now spread the apple mixture over the crust.
Roll out the smaller disc and cover the pie. Slice some slits to serve as air vents. Seal the edges with your fingers or a fork. If you have pastry crust left over, and are feeling artsy, you can shape it into whatever. Or you could simply freeze it to use another time.
Rest the assembled pie in the freezer for 30 minutes. In the meantime, preheat your oven to 200ºC/400ºF.
Bake for 20 minutes at 200 and then turn the oven down to 180ºC/375ºF for a further 40 minutes. When golden remove and let it cool.