Saturday, April 5, 2014

Berry Apple Crumble Pie

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Pie has always been my first choice when it comes to dessert! There's something about decadent and delicious fillings encased in buttery pastry that appeals to me like nothing else. And when I make pie, I always overeat. Which is why I don't make them often. 
This pie was born of nagging. My four year-old was fixated on making this pie ever since she heard me mention to my husband that 'these blueberries would make an awesome pie'. And since that day, I heard the words 'strawberry blueberry pie' at least 10 times a day. Well, it worked! The pie got made. And it got eaten. The pie lasted only a few hours. That's how much we loved it.

This is kinda a long recipe, but the process isn't long. The crust takes the longest to make, but of course, if you wanted to skip that, you could just use a ready-made pie crust, if available. I prefer to make mine at home because I want it to be all-butter. 
Berry Apple Crumble Pie
Ingredients
Pie Crust 
250g (2 cups) all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp granulated sugar
180g (3/4 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes 
1 Egg yolk (optional)
Iced water, as needed

Pie Filling
5 cups mixed berries (I used 2 cups each of frozen blueberries and fresh strawberries, and 1 cup of frozen raspberries)
1 Granny Smith Apple, peeled, cored and chopped 
Zest of 1 orange 
1 tbsp orange juice
4 tbsp cornstarch 
1/2 - 3/4 cup granulated sugar, depending on how sweet your berries are (I used 3/4 cup)
1 tablespoon cold unsalted butter

Crumble topping
1/4 cup cold unsalted butter
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon

Method
For the pie crust  
1. If making in a food processor, add all the ingredients except the water into the processor and pulse until you achieve breadcrumb-like texture.
2. Transfer to a bowl or your counter and add a couple of tablespoons of ice cold water and form the dough.
3. If making the crust by hand, mix the flour, salt and sugar together in a large bowl.
4. Add the pieces of butter and mix into the flour using only your fingertips, until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs.
5. Add the egg yolk and 2 tablespoon of water and mix lightly until incorporated.

6. Add more water, 1 tablespoon at a time until the dough just starts to come together. (I needed only 3-4 tbsp of water in all.) Do not over-work the dough.
6. Shape into a thick disc and wrap in clingfilm.
7. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before rolling out and lining your pie tin. Once the crust is in the tin, prick all over with a fork.
8. Preheat the oven to 200.
9. Line the pie crust with baking parchment or aluminum foil, fill with baking beans or uncooked rice, and bake for about 10 minutes until set.
10. Take the crust out of the oven, remove the beans and foil, and brush the inside of the crust - bottom and sides - with the egg white.
11. Bake for 2-3 more minutes.


For the pie filling 
1) Combine the berries, chopped apple, orange zest, orange juice, cornstarch and sugar in a large bowl. Mix gently until well combined.  Do this when you're almost ready to bake.

For the crumble topping 
1) Combine all the ingredients and mix using just your finger tips until you have a crumbly mixture. You don't want to knead it. Chill until you're ready to use.

Assembly
1) Roll out the dough for the pie crust on a well floured surface using a floured rolling pin, and line your 9 inch pastry tin. Chill until you're ready to bake. Reserve the remaining dough for decorating the pie.
2) Pour the filling into the prepared pie tin. Spread evenly in the pie tin.  
3) Break up the chilled butter with your fingers and dot around the pie.
4) Sprinkle the crumble mixture evenly over the surface of the pie. 
5) Decorate the surface of the pie with the remaining pie dough.
6) Bake in an oven preheated to 180C/350F until your pastry is golden and your filling is bubbling and thick - almost 'jam-like'. This takes about 45-60 minutes.
7) Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 1-3 hours. This allows the filling to set properly.
8) Serve at room temperature with whipped cream or with your favorite vanilla bean ice cream. I like eating it as is!
I personally like to use the egg yolk in my pie crust. I feel it adds a lovely rich flavor to the crust. But I have made it without the egg yolk and it is still awesome. If you want to save time, the blind baking of the pie crust could be avoided, but this step ensures your crust doesn't get soggy from the filling juices. 

This pie was such a hit! Everyone loved it - even my super fussy one year old. But with such amazing berries and real butter every step of the way, how could it not be absolutely delicious?! :)

Until next time... <3 
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Monday, January 27, 2014

Sugar & Spice Baked Breakfast Doughnuts

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Last week, my little baby girl turned one. Can't believe it! That one year has gone by so quick! I made a few cakes for her, to share with our family, friends and church family. It was a lot of baking - more than 16 kilos of cake baked, frosted and decorated in a span of four days, but I totally enjoyed it! Here's a picture of the cake I made to share with our family. 
The cake was a simple butter cake, filled with buttercream and fresh strawberries and covered in fondant and gumpaste figurines. It was so much fun to make, and the birthday baby loved her cake and clapped her hands in glee when she saw the cake. 

Now, on to the recipe for today. As you can see, I'm thoroughly enjoying playing with my new doughnut pan! This recipe makes a yummy, soft doughnut that's quick to fix, and great for breakfast or as an anytime snack. The combination of a hint of nutmeg and a blast of cinnamon make an amazing combination. 
Sugar & Spice Baked Doughnuts 
Adapted from cooks.com
Ingredients 
5 tbsp butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup milk, at room temperature 
2 tbsp butter, melted
1/2 cup castor sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

Method 
1. Sift the flour, salt, baking powder and nutmeg powder into a bowl and set aside. 
2. In a large bowl, cream together the 5 tbsp of butter, and the 1/2 cup of sugar. Cream till light. 
3. Add the egg and beat in until completely combined. 
4. Add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture in three parts, alternating with the milk. 
5. Fill the doughnut tins half-full and bake in a preheated oven for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the doughnut comes out clean. 
6. In a small bowl, combine the sugar and cinnamon powder and set aside. 
7. Dip the doughnuts tops in the melted butter and then in the cinnamon sugar mixture. Serve warm. 
I've made this recipe as doughnut muffins too, and they work great! Everyone at home enjoys the flavors and texture of these doughnuts. A keeper, no doubt!
Until next time :)
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Thursday, January 2, 2014

Baked Browned Butter Doughnuts

Pin It Happy New Year to all my awesome readers and friends! I hope 2014 rocks your world in the best way possible! God bless y'all!

Here's a post to get things going in 2014. I've been wanting to buy a doughnut pan for the longest time and I finally got one - today, thanks to a sweet friend! I didn't waste any time. I got my hands on this pan 3.5 hours ago, and since then the doughnuts have been made, glazed, photographed and devoured. 

Honestly, I haven't always been the biggest fan of cake doughnuts. Give me the old fashioned deep fried rings of dough anytime! But I've realized that as long as I don't compare them to the real thing, these are awesome! I really, really enjoyed the flavor and texture of these doughnuts!
I followed the recipe given on the back of the cardboard packaging on my Wilton donut pan. I usually don't do recipes found on packaging, but this one sounded good! I halved the recipe and got six donuts. The recipe called for melted butter and I kinda, sorta, maybe forgot the pan on the stove for a couple of minutes, but fortunately caught it before it was completely incarcerated. So we got the accidental browned butter doughnuts!
Baked Browned Butter Cake Doughnuts 
Accidentally adapted from the cardboard box my Wilton doughnut pan came in.
Ingredients
125g (1 cup) all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg 
1/2 tsp salt
65g (about 1/3 cup) sugar 
1 egg
1/3 cup buttermilk
1/2 tsp vanilla 
2 1/2 tbsp browned butter 

Method 
1) Browned Butter: Put the butter into a small cold saucepan. On a stovetop, using the lowest heat setting, melt the butter, swirling or stirring it often. The butter will froth a lot. After a little while, the frothing will stop and the butter will start turning darker with brown bits floating about. Once the butter reaches this point, take it off the heat. It goes from browned to burnt in seconds! So don't take your eyes off the pan. You should be able to smell the nutty aroma of the brown butter but it shouldn't smell burnt. Set aside to cool. 
2) In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg and sugar. Stir well to combine. 
3) In a small bowl, combine the egg, buttermilk, vanilla and browned butter. 
4) Add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until just combined - like you would with a muffin. Don't over-mix. 
5) Spoon or pipe the batter into your doughnut tray and bake in an oven preheated to 180C/350F for 8-10 minutes or until the doughnuts are springy to the touch. 
6) Allow to cool for a few minutes in the pan and then transfer to the cooling rack. Glaze when cooled. 
The glaze we used was a simple cocoa glaze. I used about 1 cup of powdered sugar, 3-4 tbsp of cocoa powder and a few teaspoons of milk until I had a nice, smooth, dippable glaze. Add the milk a wee bit at a time. You don't want it too runny. It should have the consistency of melted chocolate.

To glaze, just dip the presentation side of the doughnuts into the bowl of glaze and place back onto the rack for the excess glaze to drip off, add sprinkles, if you're using them (why wouldn't you?!), and allow the glaze to set. I dipped the bottom side of the doughnuts because they were really even and smooth from the pan. 

Next up, I need to try a baked yeasted recipe! I hope you like this recipe! ;) Until next time...
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