Thursday, February 23, 2017

Cast-Iron Apple Crumble Pie

Every year on Valentine's day, I bake my ex-boyfriend and now husband, a cake. Most of the time, I use  my heart-shape pan to mark the day of love and  decorate it as romantic as humanely possible. You know with hearts, flowers, glitters , ribbons and all. I know he tolerates appreciates my efforts, despite of  my non- existent talent when it comes to cake decorating and baking.

This year, I barely got the time to bake, least decorate a cake for Valentine's day .  My heart- shaped cake pan was left untouched  since I honestly got not clue what cake to bake in it and how to garnish it. But I still want  surprise my better-half with something sweet and sugary. So I though, why not bake his favourite cake instead? 

FF's favourite cake is actually a pie. An apple pie to be exact. With its thin and crispy crust, generous sweet filling and a mountain of crumbly goodness, I understand why.

Sometimes, the simplest of things made us the happiest. This year, FF was extremely happy with the warm apple pie waiting for him this Valentine's cake. Not only did it tasted good, there's no need to decorate it whatsoever since it looked good as it is.

Pie Crust:
1 and 1/4 cup flour
1 tbsp. salt
1/2 cup chilled butter
1 tbsp. sugar
1/3 cup ice water
1 tbsp. cider vinegar

Using a food processor, put all ingredients except for the liquids. With a metal blade attached, pulse for about 10  seconds until mixture will look like course meal.

Mix vinegar and ice water. Pour liquid on the flour and butter mixture, 3-4 tbsp at a time. 

Pulse  until the batter holds together. 

Drop pie dough on a floured working surface and knead for about 1-2 minutes .

Form into a ball and wrap dough in a cling foil. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare crumble and filling.

Crumble :

2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 stick chilled butter
3-5 tbsp.melted butter

Put all crumble ingredients in a food processor and pulse until the mixture resembles wet sand. Refrigerate. Now work on your filling.

Apple Filling:

6-7 apples
5 tbsp white sugar
3 tbsp. brown sugar
1 tbsp. cinnamon powder
2 tbsp. butter
1/2 tsp. salt

Peel the apples. 

Dice or thinly slice your apples. 

Add the rest to the ingredients. Toss everything until each apple piece is coated in cinnamon sugar.

Assemble cake!

 Grease the cast iron pan. You can use a regular pie dish or cake pan, of course. 

 On a floured working surface, roll pie dough into a flat disk which is wide enough to cover the bottom and the sides of your pan .

 Transfer pie dough into your pan .

 Put apple pie filling in it and spread .

Spoon crumble over filling.

Bake at 180°c for about an hour.

The warm apple crumble makes an excellent dessert. Just serve it with your favourite ice cream and some caramel sauce and it will please anyone's palate. 

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Beetroot Carpaccio with Toasted Pine Nuts, Parmesan and crispy Rocket

I finally found a vegetable dish that I could proudly serve to my visitors or bring to a party without feeling inadequate and also hopeful. Will they like? Does it taste at least, okey? I don't do salads, blame that to my humble upbringing where the only vegetables that I know are cooked to death or killed twice. That's carrots and peas, paprika and potatoes drowned in a greasy sauce or at least randomly swimming in a pot full of animal carcasses.

Last month I was watching my favourite cook show on TV when this thinly sliced vegetable carpaccio made a quick appearance. Among the good number of dishes showcased that evening, this beetroot Carpaccio  made a lasting impression.  It looked so appetising so I decided to make it at home. I was feeling all housewife-y and kind of miss the foods we had in Spain so I made few tapas for dinner. This was clearly my and FF's favourite. So I served it again once day ,when the family came over for lunch. Just as expected, it was the first dish to be wiped out. Everyone who tried it,  just loved it! 

I did not measure the ingredients. If decided to give this salad a go, just eyeball everything and it will be just as good, I promise!

 Cook beetroot and peel. You can boil it or wrap in foil and bake until it's cooked. Peeling it was quite messy though, fortunately , there are cooked and vacuumed sealed beetroot sold in our local supermarket . 

Thinly slice beetroot and lay on your serving plater.  Spread shaved parmesan over it. How much? Depends on how much you love cheese, I would day!

Heat a small skillet and toast a handful of pine nuts in it until aromatic. Spread over carpaccio.

Drizzle carpaccio with good quality olive oil. Season with a bit of salt and some freshly ground black pepper.

Up next, balsamic vinegar or acetano balsamico.

Lastly, heat a cup of vegetable oil in a pan/wok. Fry a handful of rocket leaves/arugula for 30-40 seconds or until crispy. Drain on a paper towel and scatter crispy rockets on top of your Carpaccio. Done!

So simple yet so , so goooood. The earthy beetroot, the salty parmesan, the nutty pine nuts, the sweet Balsamic vinegar and the crunchy Arugula played harmoniously in my palate like an orchestra.I know somebody who don't like beetroot who tried it and end up liking it! I got a lot of recipe request for this simple salad, so I'm sharing the love. (^_^)
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