Make some mini apple pies
Emboldened by my success with sweet shortcrust pastry for my little lemon tarts, I decided to try it again, this time making some mini apple pies. The pastry had been fun to make and rather successful apart from being in the oven a smidge too long, so I hoped I could perfect it this time around.
Being essentially lazy at heart, I decided to employ a couple of shortcuts. Firstly I bought a nice big tin of pie apple. Because surely if I’m making my own pastry, I can’t be expected to make my own filling as well. Secondly, I decided to make use of one of the appliances taking up valuable kitchen cupboard space – my pie/muffin maker. As you may recall, my previous attempts at using said pie/muffin maker resulted in this.
It was time to turn the tables.
But back to the pastry. How come nobody ever told me how easy shortcrust pastry is to make? Just bung some flour, chopped butter and a bit of icing sugar in Big Bertha, my gargantuan, archaic food processor.
Blitz for a bit, then add some iced water, until it forms a ball. I realised I still haven’t filled up my ice tray (who needs ice in winter, eh?) so I had to content myself with fridgey-cold water. It still formed a ball, so ner.
Into the fridge to chill for 20 minutes. Which ended up being two hours, because CHILDREN. Meaning once more, a very rock-hard slab of pastry that took a great deal of effort to roll out. Finally it was time to cut out some circles for my pie bases and tops. And then this happened. Continuously.
Why? Was it that damn not-cold-enough water? Had I overworked it too much in the 45 minutes it took to roll the damn stuff out? Buggered if I know. But hey, on all those cooking shows there always seems to be a lot of pastry patchwork going on and they always seem to turn out okay, so I did a lot of squishing together and flattening out until they vaguely looked normal. It was fiddly, it was stressful, it was annoying. How come nobody ever told me how hard shortcrust pastry is to make? Then I slapped in my pie filling, popped my tops on, pressed the edges with a fork, brushed with milk and squeezed my lid together. Seven minutes later… this.
Foiled again by a freaking pie maker. By the time I’d prised them off, they looked like this.
By the time I’d got them to a board, they looked like this.
I have to say, I thought they tasted pretty yummy in the end, though. And the ones that made it onto a plate didn’t look too bad at all, once covered by a large chunk of ice-cream. But you’d think I was offering my children brussels sprouts with a side of raw liver, the amount of coaxing that was required to get them to attempt a mouthful. Jeez, little people, it’s apple pie and ice-cream! Throw me a freakin’ bone! My son only deigned to try a little as long as it was in a separate bowl to his ice-cream, so as not to ‘taint’ the good stuff. He licked a crumb and declared it was ‘a bit yucky’. My daughter only wanted to eat the pastry. Sigh.
Verdict: I think I’m calling failure on this one.
Lessons Learnt: Just because you (almost) successfully made shortcrust pastry once, don’t think you’ll be able to do it every time. The pie maker must die. Children lack gratitude. That is all.