When it all gets too much

5 Jun

I know, I know, I made a promise and I’ve broken it! I actually feel bad – how is that possible when you have a ‘virtual’ audience and you’re not actually sure if your page hits are from genuine readers or from friends and family checking out your blog to make you feel loved?!

Point is, I’ll make it up to you (I promise :))… with a recipe I have been torn over sharing since I started even thinking about blogging, forever ago!

This recipe is so good that everyone I’ve ever cooked it for has proceeded to call me the next day, begging for the recipe! Even my Mum called for the recipe, which was kind of a big deal!

It’s one of those recipes that you want to cook for everyone but keep all to yourself at the same time! It really challenges the ethics of recipe sharing. If it were in a multi-choice question it would read a little like this…

When someone calls the day after a dinner party asking for the recipe, do you

a) Share it with them.

b) Promise you’ll email it then pretend you’ve lost the recipe.

c) Give them the recipe and leave out a crucial element so they can never cook it quite as good as you did.

You’re probably reconsidering reading my blog now, vowing to delete it from your bookmarks & unsubscribe, but hear me out…I’m not a selfish person, I’m all about sharing! It’s just that this recipe is THAT GOOD!

Anyway, believe me or not, it’s coming; I’m just debating over which of the above options I’ll take 😉

When it all gets too much

My standard “Cheers to Friday” drink is wine, but when it all gets too much, my “I need a drink” drink is a good old-fashioned gin and tonic, an oral injection of housewives heroin!

Hail the humble G&T. I know some people think it tastes like metho (how do you know what metho tastes like?) but I love its refreshing, bitter flavour. The reason I’m sharing these intimate details with you is that I have discovered a tantalising twist on my standard gin, tonic & lime combo that I still do love so very much. This may not be a newy for all of you, so please bear with me, but I feel compelled to share it because it is a mix that no fellow gin lover should be missing out on!

So – here it is – are you ready?

Gin, tonic, a slice of cucumber & a splash of elderflower cordial.

Like I said, it’s not rocket science, but the next time it all gets too much, try it and let me know what you think.

Moroccan Apple Pies

What can I say, apple, custard, cinnamon & pastry – it was always going to be a winner!

I think my favourite thing about this dish is that I can still manage to convince myself that it fits very clearly into the healthy desserts category! I may be kidding myself but I just assume filo pasty is ‘healthy’ pastry because it doesn’t taste like butter (until you lather it with it)!

Anyway, this dessert gets a big tick from me, and my table of guinea pigs didn’t seem to mind it either.

So here is the recipe, slightly adapted from ‘delicious. More Please.’ By Valli Little.

It’s very simple and straightforward to whip up, but takes a little while, so maybe leave this one for a weekend dinner party. Alternatively, you can make the custard and apple mixtures in advance and just put it all together on the night.

Moroccan apple pies with rose custard (Makes 6)

  • 4 green apples, peeled, cored & cut into rough bite sized pieces
  • 1tsp lemon zest plus 2tbs juice
  • 1 vanilla bean, split & seeds scraped or 1 tsp of vanilla extract
  • ½ cup caster sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 50g sultanas
  • 1tsp cornflour
  • 4 sheets fresh filo pastry
  • 80g butter melted & cooled
  • Icing sugar

Rose Custard

  • 5 egg yolks
  • 2 cups pure thin cream (can be substituted wholly or partly with milk)
  • ¼ cup caster sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence or 1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped
  • 2tbs rosewater *optional
  • Rose food colouring *optional

Preheat oven to 200 & grease muffin pan.

Put apple, lemon zest & juice, vanilla, sugar, cinnamon, sultanas and 2 tbs of water in a pan over low heat. Cover & cook for 6-8 minutes or until apple is tender. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Mix cornflour with 2 teaspoons hot water, then when apples are cool, stir cornflour into the mixture.

In the meantime, make the rose crème anglaise. Whisk the egg yolks and sugar together in a bowl until thick and pale. Place the cream/milk and vanilla in a pan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until the mixture is just below boiling point.Pour the cream/milk mixture over the egg mixture, whisking gently to combine.

Return the custard mixture to a clean pan and place over very low heat. Stir with a wooden spoon for 5-6 minutes until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a wooden spoon. Watch this step very carefully as you don’t want to scramble the eggs. Use your judgement to determine when the mix is ready – it should taste like beautiful sweet custard, without an eggy flavour.

Strain into a jug and cover surface with baking paper to prevent a skin forming.

Take filo sheets out of fridge and lay out on a board. Slice into 6 squares, approx 15cmx15cm. There should be 24 squares in total. Take 4 squares, covering the rest of the pastry with a damp tea towel. It’s important to work quickly with the pastry otherwise it will dry out and crisp up – get someone to help you with these steps!

Brush each square with melted butter then place in muffin hole, positioning each square at a slightly different angle, leaving the pastry overhanging at the edges. Repeat with remaining pastry, filling 6 muffin holes.

Spoon filling into pie cases then fold in the sides to enclose and cover the top of the pie. Brush tops of pies with the remaining butter then bake for 15-20 mins until the pastry is beautifully crisp and golden. Keep an eye on the pies to make sure they don’t brown on top too much!

Back to the crème anglaise – mix warm crème anglaise with rosewater and 1 drop of rose food colouring. *This step is optional*. I think the rosewater flavour is sensational, but the crème anglaise is just as nice as is. It’s up to you and your taste!

Once cooked, remove from the oven and leave to cool slightly, then transfer to serving plates and dust lightly with icing sugar. Serve with Rose Custard or vanilla bean ice cream.

* If you have any leftover apple mix, put in a container in the fridge and eat with ice cream or yoghurt for a simple weeknight dessert!!

And what about the next challenge?

I’m going round 2 with the duck. Chinese duck with pancakes this time…wish me luck!

Miss Piggie x

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One Response to “When it all gets too much”

  1. Caitie Tomlinson June 6, 2011 at 12:28 pm #

    Dearest Miss Piggie,
    Love this blog! Have been looking at it regularly with great eagerness! This recipe looks absolutely delicious – am going to give it a go this weekend for M & D. I made the lemon butter from the above mentioned cookbook last weekend and it has going down a treat on hot crumpets this week! (Also may have purchased some very, home made, looking tart shells for a girls lunch on Saturday – was doing really well lying about them too, until the complements became all too much!)

    Love the gin idea – will be sure to give a spin!
    Lots of love
    CT X

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