Wednesday, 11 April 2007

Kitchen Diaries: Bramley Apple Shortcake

My first day of maternity leave and to commemorate my new role as 'housewife' (can it be true?) I mean to make a pie for the man of the house. I also need to try out my new uberblender on some pastry.

The last hand blender went smoking into the afterlife on another Nigel recipe: the lemon demerara cake which couldn't get a fair write-up what with the butter-sugar creaming ending abruptly. I'm not a natural at making pastry by hand, but this monster has an engine the size of a powerboat so I should be able to get it all combined before the butter goes greasy.

This pastry is unusual for it's cakey-style ingredients - heaps of sugar, an egg and baking powder. It doesn't fall into my experience of 'shortcake' which in America consists of a sweetened scone dough, soft inside and crunchy on top, cut in half like a sponge, filled with fresh strawberries and whipped cream. (Oops, drooling...) But the cookie taste and texture with the hot apples is gorgeous.

I don't ordinarily bother pre-cooking apples for a pie with a top crust - normally they steam inside, and the juice bubbles up through pretty slits on the top. But to ensure the crust stays light and crispy, it pays to take the extra time. And the smell of apples cooking in butter may be the smell of heaven.

I wish I'd erred on the side of generosity with the apples to balance it a bit more. Go for five Bramleys, even if it seems a lot for such a little pie tin. I'm surprised Nigel doesn't insist you serve this piping hot with ice cream, but I'll step in and recommend it.

On assembly, Nigel warns of the pastry's delicacy, and he's not wrong - keep your surfaces very well floured and work quickly. Roll it out fairly thickly... I ended up with a massive crust on the outer edge, while I could have had a more substantial middle. And don't roll your eyes when he says to brush the crust 'tenderly' with milk - once you've laid the pastry on the warm apples, it starts to melt!

The end result is lovely, even with its massive biscuit crust. Just don't eat too big a dinner beforehand! You can buy Nigel's Kitchen Diaries cheap through our Amazon store.



LoopZilla said...

Looks very tasty. I have an image of cooling on the kicthen window sill...

emilya said...

Oh, no! Then it would be covered in bees! It was very tasty indeed - even eaten cold over the sink on a Sunday night.

Anonymous said...

Over the sink?? Nice.

I got to this recipe in KDs last night and you version looks identical to Nige's. Consider me MOST impressed.


Anonymous said...

Good post, adding it to my blog now, thanks. :)

Anonymous said...

Good evening

Definitely gonna recommend this post to a few friends