I made apple pie yesterday. All right, some of you are going “so?”. But notice, the two readers of this blog who actually know me in person have just fallen off their chairs on hearing this.
I am a little saddened at this reaction, but not really surprised. I was, after all, unanimously voted as “family member most likely to call long – distance for step-by-step instructions for cooking rice”. This, by people who could not turn on a gas stove without breaking a few knobs, but that’s life for you. In my defence, I have never called long-distance to find out how to cook rice. Well, I have called long-distance for step-by-step instructions for making Pongal, but as anyone will tell you, Pongal is completely different from rice. It also has moong dal, for one thing, and black peppers. I forget what else it has, but as you can see, it is just not the same thing.
I am still not too good at most of the complex cooking stuff (like Pongal), but I recently discovered that baking is easy. All you do is mix a few ingredients, stick it in an oven and go off to watch Jay Leno. Of course, that is not saying much these days, you get to watch Leno shows from 1992, when he was slimmer but his chin was even longer. It ended somewhere near his third rib, actually.
But why apple pie, you may ask. If you are one of those two readers who are still struggling to get up, you might even wonder about my sudden liking for apples.
You see, a few weeks ago, they were selling apples in basketfuls. These were locally grown apples, fresh and juicy and all that, and anyway I can never pass up a good deal. So I bought them, hoping that I will eventually get around to eating them. But as usual, I ignored the apples and instead ate pineapples and plums and bananas. The apples lay in their basket on the kitchen countertop and threw reproachful glances at me every time I passed them. I would avoid all eye contact and walk by innocently, except for the occasional furtive, sidelong glance to check that they hadn’t melted or something.
Today, I decided this cat-and-mouse game could not go on any longer. It was time to get rid of them. I examined them closely for any mark or blemish that would give me an excuse to throw them away. Had they gone a little soft? Did they seem any darker?
No, the apples stubbornly stared back at me. The devious guys had somehow managed to remain just as they were when I bought them. I now felt very guilty about not eating the apples. Surely I should satisfy their strong desire to be eaten?
I asked R, “Do you want an apple?”
R said, “No, but speaking of apples, I just remembered a joke. Do you know what is worse than biting into an apple and finding a worm?”
(The answer, in case you are among the lucky few who have never heard this joke, is “Finding half a worm”).
I glared at him and pushed the apples away. Did he have to imprint the image of an apple with a worm in my mind? Where did he get this association of thought from? I have never seen an apple with a worm. Early birds? Worms. But apples? How can R think of worms when I am talking about apples? Now I could never eat these apples. Secretly, I was very relieved.
I had no other options now. These apples were clearly headed for the scorching heat of hell. I dug up the recipe for apple pie. As I said, baking stuff is easy.
I would end this post here but the last time I made samosas, some of you wanted the recipe. I suspect you have now stopped visiting my blog because there were no recipes. Now, I certainly don’t want that to happen, given I only have 5 readers anyway (of which the two people on the floor are going to stop reading after the insinuations-on-gas stove-knobs). So I shall capitulate and publish the recipe.
Apples – 5 or 6
Lime – 1
Powdered sugar – 1 cup
All purpose flour – ¾ cup
Nutmeg powder, cinnamon powder and ground cloves (pinch of each)
Salt ( ½ tsp).
For the pie crust, I used Pillsbury pie crust that you will find in the frozen section of the grocery store. You can, of course, make your own pie crust. This involves making a dough of all purpose flour/maida, adding butter and shortening, refrigerating the dough and then rolling it out into a round of 10 inch diameter (if you are making a 9 inch pie). But I am not going to try all that anytime soon, and I would not want anyone to go through that.
Here was my method :
If you are using pie crusts, taken them out from the freezer and thaw them. They will take 30 to 40 minutes to thaw. Don’t try unrolling them until they thaw.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Peel and core 5 or 6 apples. Cut them into ¼ inch thick slices. Put them in a bowl and squeeze 1 lime over them (or pour an equivalent amount of lime juice).
In a separate bowl, mix the sugar, flour, the spices and the salt. Pour this mixture over the apples. Mix them all together so that every apple slice is coated.
Once the pie crusts have thawed, line a 9” pie pan (or a 9″ cake pan if you don’t have a pie pan) with one of the crusts. Spoon in the apple mixture into the pan so it fills the entire pan.
Now roll out the other pie crust and cover the apples. Wet the edges of the top and bottom crusts and stick them together. Now make slits in the top crust for venting the steam. Finally, you can also brush a little egg yolk or milk on top to give the pie a golden glazing when baked.
This is how the pie will now look:
All done! Now bake this at 425 degrees for 40 minutes. Meanwhile, watch television, read a book, or better still, read my blog and leave comments!