September 20, 2010

Sunday Night EPIC Dinner/Dessert Story. Guest Starring Marc!

An epic story, about how one Sunday night dinner turned into both an adventure and a disaster!

A pork roast and apple pie sounds easy doesn't it? WRONG!!! Actually, the "making" part of the roast/pie was quite easy it was the events that followed.

The Week Before
"Hay Pie (affectionate term i have for my partner Marc), lets have a roast this weekend and ill try to give an Apple Pie a crack!". I say with great enthusiasm.
"Yeah, that sounds good" said my wonderful Pie. (Don't ask why i call him that, it's a stupidly long story, like this one!)

So far so good......

Day Of (Sunday)

2pm- "OK Pie, I'm going to make the Apple Pie now!". "OK Pie" he says while pretending to be a outlaw cowboy in the PS3 game Red Dead Redemption.

I'm using a tried and tested shortcrust pastry recipe but i need to make 2 batches, one for the bottom of the pie and one for the lid. Both batches turn out great (thanks to Charlotte the Kitchenaid) and into the fridge they pop.

2:30pm- Dreaded apple chopping time. Recipe calls for 6 large apples - check! Cored - check! Peeled - check! Sliced thinly - arghhhh.....OK. So, I'm slicing away and almost finished when i slice through the top of my very long thumb nail (real i might add). I quickly thank my good genes for long nails, pick the nail out of the apples and then cover the apples in all the sugars and things. Bad luck 1 - Complete.

So at this point I'm thinking "I'm fricken tired!, i need a cup of tea while my pastry cools and apples macerate (whatever that means)". *watches beloved Marc/Pie/Outlaw Cowboy/Hero ride around on a horse*

3:30pm - Pastry rolling time. Not a problem, I've done this before. Besides the edges cracking and constantly trying to make it stop, the base of the pie is ready. "Do you need to blind bake the pastry?" says the once fabulous Chef Marc. "No, the recipe doesn't mention it".

The universe spoke a that moment.

"How long will your Pie take? I need to cook the Pork" says Cowboy Pie. "45-50mins", i say silently shitting myself, because I've just realised that we only have one oven and 2 things that need to be cooked at almost the same time. "Can you get your Pie into the oven by 4pm?" "OK ill try". My Hero Cowboy Pie drains the macerated apples and helps me reduce the liquid and butter in the microwave, bless him. I then roll the top layer of the pie pastry, whack the apples in the pie, put the lid on, decide that the lid should be more of a dome shape but due to lack of apples the lid is a little flat. *quietly curses recipe*. Bad luck 2 - Complete.

Pie in oven - Complete! Its 4:15pm.

Pie out of oven - looks like this.

Mmmmmm Pie - but "hay Pie, i don't think there is enough apples in the pie, it looks flat". "That's OK, it will taste good anyway" says the optimist.

Apple Pie Recipe -

*This is not my shortcrust pastry recipe but i reckon it would do the job anyway.

Pate Brisee (Short Crust Pastry):
2 1/2 cups (350 grams) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoon (30 grams) granulated white sugar
1 cup (226 grams) unsalted butter, chilled, and cut into 1 inch (2.54 cm) pieces
1/4 to 1/2 cup (60 - 120 ml) ice water
Apple Filling:
2 1/2 pounds (1.1 kg) apples (about 6 large), peeled, cored, and sliced 1/4 inch thick (about 8 cups sliced) (about 900 grams sliced)
1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated white sugar
1/4 cup (55 grams) light brown sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons (28 grams) unsalted butter
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon (15 grams) cornstarch (corn flour)

Pate Brisee:  In a food processor, place the flour, salt, and sugar and process until combined. Add the butter and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal (about 15 seconds). Pour 1/4 cup (60 ml) water in a slow, steady stream, through the feed tube until the dough just holds together when pinched. If necessary, add more water.  Do not process more than 30 seconds.
Turn the dough onto your work surface and gather into a ball. Divide the dough in half, flattening each half into a disk, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for about one hour before using. This will chill the butter and relax the gluten in the flour. 
After the dough has chilled sufficiently, remove one portion of the dough from the fridge and place it on a lightly floured surface. Roll the pastry into a 12 inch (30 cm) circle.  (To prevent the pastry from sticking to the counter and to ensure uniform thickness, keep lifting up and turning the pastry a quarter turn as you roll (always roll from the center of the pastry outwards).) Fold the dough in half and gently transfer to a 9 inch (23 cm) pie pan. Brush off any excess flour and trim the edges of the pastry to fit the pie pan. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator. 
Then remove the second round of pastry and roll it into a 12 inch (30 cm) circle. Transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and place in the refrigerator. 
Make the Apple Filling:  In a large bowl combine the sliced apples, sugars, lemon juice, ground cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Let the apples macerate at room temperature for 30 minutes to three hours. Then, place the apples and their juices in a strainer that is placed over a large bowl (to capture the juices). Let the apples drain for about 15-30 minutes or until you have at least 1/2 cup (120 ml) of juice. Spray a 4 cup (960 ml) heatproof measuring cup with a nonstick vegetable spray, and then pour in the collected juices and the 2 tablespoons (28 grams) of unsalted butter. Place in the microwave and boil the liquid, on high, 6 to 7 minutes or until the liquid has reduced to about 1/3 cup and is syrupy and lightly caramelized. (Alternatively, you could place the juices and butter in a small saucepan and boil over medium high heat on the stove.) 
Meanwhile, remove the top pastry crust from the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes so it has time to soften and become pliable. Transfer the drained apples slices to a large bowl and mix them with the cornstarch (corn flour). Then pour the reduced syrup over the apples and toss to combine.  Pour the apples and their syrup into the chilled pie crust. Moisten the edges of the pie shell with a little water and then place the top crust over the apples. Tuck any excess pastry under the bottom crust and then crimp the edges using your fingers or a fork. Using a sharp knife, make five 2-inch (5 cm) slits from the center of the pie out towards the edge of the pie to allow the steam to escape. Cover the pie with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to chill the pastry while you preheat the oven.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Place the oven rack at the lowest level and place a baking stone or baking sheet on the rack before preheating the oven. Place a piece of aluminum foil on the stone (or pan) to catch any apple juices.
Set the pie on the stone or pan and bake for about 45 to 55 minutes or until the juices start to bubble through the slits and the apples feel tender (not mushy) when a toothpick or sharp knife is inserted through one of the slits. Make sure to cover the edges of the pie with a foil ring to prevent over browning after about 30 minutes.
Remove the pie from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool for about 3-4 hours before cutting. Serve warm or at room temperature with vanilla ice cream or softly whipped cream. Store at room temperature for 2 to 3 days.
Makes one 9 inch (23 cm) pie.

Pork Loin Roast - By Marc aka Pie

This is Marc with our Cockatiel "Dennis".


Pork loin roast has been prepared by the butcher, all i have to do now is cook it with minimal fuss. (look for a roast with a good fat layer between the skin and meat). Rub pork with oil, salt and a touch of vinegar (rub in well).

The meat is sealing.

Seal the meat in a hot oven proof pan. Do not seal the skin - the oven will make this crispy.

Once sealed place on a trivet of celery and add half a cup of chicken stock. Cover pork with foil and place in a preheated oven (220 degrees Celsius). After 30mins remove foil form the pork and reduce the temp to 189 for a further 45mins. This depends on the size of the roast.

Par cook all of the vegetables you intend to bake. These will take approx 45mins to be crispy and golden.

Marc - Out!

All was going as good as we could have expected. Pork in the oven, apple pie doing its thang on the bench (which wasn't much), good times, good times.

6:30-7:30pm - "I'm starving!" we both say. Pork check - not quite done, OK lets have showers.

Hop out of the shower, and head down stairs while Marc does his Shaving of the Face ritual. "Oh crap" i hear, "i forgot to ask you to take the foil of the pork!" oh crap indeed i think. "will the crackling be OK?" i ask, thinking OH NO NOT THE CRACKLING! Marc checks the pork, "its gonna be OK it just needs to be under for a bit longer" the clean shaven one says. After a couple more checks the pork is done, out of the oven and the crackling is back in the oven under the grill. Then, the fire alarm goes off, quickly Marc gets a towel and waves the smoke away from the alarm. Alarm stops. 30 secs of silence. Upstairs and downstairs fire alarms go off, piercing noise! We open the doors, windows, smash the alarms in hope of silence. "Oh CRAP, THE CRACKLING!, Lisa get it out of the oven!" I race to get the crackling out of the oven, "its ok its not burnt!" i yell. Alarms stop. Marc now in a panic and both of us starving!!! Its ok, dinner will be ok, lets eat.

We eat and it tastes amazing. Despite the drama and minor heart attacks.

"lets have Apple Pie". I say, now full of gravy and pork crackling (which was amazing by the way).

I turn the oven back on so i can heat the pie, which has now been out of the oven for about 2 hours. I cut the pie, oh no, i pull the piece out of the dish, oh no, the bottom of the pie has turned all mushy and disintegrated. "Pie!, why do we blind bake shortcrust pastry?" i ask, already knowing the answer. "So the pastry doesn't get all mushy" he says. Great, just FRICKEN GREAT! The bloody pie has no bottom and I've now left the pieces of pie in the oven for too long and the plates are boiling hot. I transfer the bottomless pies to bowls that wont scold our hands. It tastes quite good! The top layer of pastry is great but the bottom is almost non existent.

Despite the level of bad luck and random shit that occurred, dinner was actually really yum and dessert was surprisingly ok.

A relationship is tested by these type of events and there wasn't one fight to be had amongst this one.

The arse may have fallen out of my pie and our house could have gone up in flames, but I doubt it will ever happen to us. :)

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