As someone who loves a good meal, cooking one, came to me as a natural passion. I belong to a family where meal times consisted of not just food, but also noisy conversation centered around the events of the day and discussing the menu for the next. (ah yes, we are a greedy lot! )

For the most part of my life so far, my contribution in the kitchen was assisting mom and my duties were limited, to chopping veggies and laying the table. Then along came the great Indian wedding, and I was suddenly the queen of my very own kingdom. My curiosity about this magical world, coupled with an enthusiastic sous-chef (my husband, Vineet), led me to take on the challenge of preparing meals on a daily basis, and not succumbing to the convenience of hiring a cook.

This blog is a product of my experiments with food (not all are life threatening :D) for my fellow culinary enthusiasts - especially the newly weds and hungry bachelors and is dedicated to the women who've inspired me in the kitchen;
Aji (s),Ma and Nigella Lawson.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Wicked Apple-Cherry-Whiskey Pie with whipped cream & Berries

 While the last year decided to zip by all of us in the blink of an eye, 2012 made a quiet yet fun entry into our lives. Much like last year, I was in the mood to try out some exciting food to treat ourselves to as we celebrated the last evening of 2011 with friends over drinks, great food and all night poker...
For the past few months now, I've been wanting to bake a pie from scratch... crust and filling. So when I came across beautifully crisp Granny Smiths (what green apples call themselves when they want to be fanciful) I knew it had to be an Apple Pie. I used a very simple, very basic pie crust recipe, which came from reading a LOT of pie recipes with a deliciously wicked sweet-sour-cinnamon-y filling with a serious whiskey kick... I cannot insist enough, that you go try this one this coming weekend !

Ingredients: For Crust
- 2 cups All-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup powdered Sugar
- 1-1/2 tsp Baking powder
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 3/4 cup chilled unsalted Butter
- 1/4 cup iced Water + more

Ingredients: For Filling
- 6 medium sized Granny Smith apples
- 1 cup dried Cherries (pitted)
- 1/2 cup Scotch whiskey
- 1/2 cup golden brown sugar
- 2 heaped tsp, ground cinnamon
- 1/2 Lime

Whipped cream & blueberries & raspberries to serve.

Special Equipment:
- Food processor / Mixer
- 1 x 9" Glass / Teflon coated / Aluminum foil Pie dish
- Aluminum foil , to protect edges of the pie while baking
- Plastic wrap

Method: For Crust
1.) Place the first four ingredients in the food processor and pulse 3-4 times till well combined. Add the butter and pulse again till a coarse bread-crumb like texture. Start adding the iced/ chilled water little-by-little till moist clumps are formed. Add a couple of more teaspoons of the water till a dough is formed.
2.) Turn out the slightly sticky dough onto a floured surface. Dust your hands with some plain flour and knead the dough into a smooth ball. Dont over-knead, or the heat from your hands will begin to soften the butter. Divide the dough in half. Wrap in plastic wrap and flatten between your palms into a disk. Chill in the refrigerator for about 40-50 minutes.

Method: For Filling
1.) While the dough chills, marinate the dried cherries in the Scotch. Set aside for about 30 mins.
2.) Peel and core the apples. Cut in half and make thin slices. Squirt some lime juice over them to keep them from oxidizing. Stir in the golden-brown sugar and ground cinnamon.
3.) Stir in the marinated cherries along with the whiskey . Toss the apples and cherries together.

To assemble pie:

1.) Roll out one of the chilled dough disks on a lightly floured surface till its about 13" in diameter.... should be large enough to fill the pie dish base and sides with about 1/2" extra all around to help "crimp" the crust.

2.) Gently lift the rolled out dough and lay into the pie dish. Press down super gently with your fingers to make sure that the crust is even.

At this point, preheat your oven to 190 deg C (375 deg F).

3.) Arrange the sliced apples in a spiral fashion and distribute the cherries evenly through out the filling. Retain the whiskey-cinnamon juice - I used this to make the glaze.

For glaze, heat these remaining juices in a saucepan. Let it bubble away till it begins to get sticky and thicken. Switch off heat and let it cool slightly.

4.) Pull out the second dough disk. Roll out to make the top crust. Dust hands lightly with flour. Pick up the rolled out dough gently and lay it over the filled pie. Using your fingers pinch the edges of the pie to seal in the filling.

Using a sharp knife, make small cuts all over the pie shell. These will help the steam from the fruit escape, and prevent a apple explosion in your kitchen ;) 

5.) Brush the cooled glaze all over the pie - EXCEPT on the crust.

6.) Bake at 190 deg C for about 10 minutes. Remove from oven and cover the edges of the pie with aluminium foil. Pop the pie back in the oven and bake for another 50 minutes, till apples are tender and crust is golden.

7.) Allow the pie to cool till warm / or room temperature - whichever you prefer.

I like it slightly warm because I love the contrast of the warm pie against the cool whipped cream and berries.

Eat up greedily, licking off every crumb off the plate.... (probably don't need to tell you that! )

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