I would like to commence today by addressing an issue that has troubled me for some time now, and that is the subject of Justin Bieber…
No, I am not about to launch into a tirade of Bieber bashing. I have observed that there is far too much of that going on these days, and to be honest I find such attitudes to be both bewildering and tedious in equal measure.
I am old; my years on this Earth number beyond the grasp of mortal reckoning. I can still remember the days when things like recorded music and photography were looked upon as witchcraft. So naturally the music of young Master Bieber does not appeal to me. It is not meant to appeal to me.
I have never met Justin Bieber, I don’t know anything about what kind of person he is, but he gives an impression of being a fairly innocuous young fellow. In fact his worse crimes appear to have been recording a few rather mediocre pop tunes and having a silly haircut, which the last time I checked was not a crime sufficient to condemn him to be burned at the stake. And yet his chosen occupation seems to have been enough to earn him vast and unrelenting tsunamis of daily internet bile and venom from people who purport themselves to be lovers of ‘real music’, whatever that means.
I submit that these people, these ‘Beiber haters’ are not really mad at young Justin. What they are really mad at is the cynical and money grubbing music industry machine that is behind him and his ilk and that their rage is at best misdirected. And it’s nothing new you know – this sort of thing has been going on since the concept of the teenager was first invented. Back in the day, people were pouring similar scorn over artists such as Elvis Presley and Des O’Connor; and now one of those men is regarded as one of the greatest recording artists in music history, and the other one invented the fried peanut butter and banana sandwich.
I don’t mind giving a good kicking on occasion to people who deserve it, but I refuse to jump upon this particular band wagon. I will not pick on Justin Bieber. He’s never done me any harm, and besides he’s an easy target. Only a coward picks on an easy target, and I only pick on people who are bigger than me…. and after eating my cakes, most people do end up being bigger than me.
You may be sitting their feeling quite baffled right now, wondering why I have chosen to leap to the defence of ‘The Biebs’. Am I not the Caloriser, the stone hearted, super villainous destroyer of diets? Why am I choosing to be so charitable all of a sudden? Well, I’m afraid I must hold my hands up and confess that my purpose is not as altruistic as I would have you believe.
The truth is that this is a cynical ploy on my part to piggyback upon the popularity of young Justin and attract more traffic to my baking journal. If I tag this article with the terms ‘Justin Bieber’ and ‘pudding’, I am calculating that I will open up my web site to a whole new and impressionable audience, and thus furnish myself with the potential of ruining millions of diets worldwide.
And now that I have drawn you into my diabolical web, let’s make some pie….
STAGE 1 – THE PASTRY:
WHAT YOU WILL NEED
- A large bowl
- Some smaller bowls
- A clean plastic water bottle
- A fork
- Cling film
- A rolling pin
- A 9 inch, deep pie or flan dish
- Baking beans or rice, for blind baking the crust
- A pastry brush
- A pastry cutter
- A cooling rack
- 500 grams plain flour
- 1 level teaspoon of salt
- 1 level teaspoon of baking powder
- 125 grams of icing sugar
- 2 teaspoons of cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon of nutmeg
- 250 grams of chilled butter, cut into cubes, plus extra for greasing
- 2 eggs yolk
- 5 or 6 tablespoons of chilled milk
- 1 egg, whisked to make an egg wash
This is quite a big pie (obviously – around here it’s go big or go home). So we will be needing quite a lot of pastry. To make it we will start by placing all the dry ingredients into a big bowl; the flour, salt, baking powder, icing sugar and spices:
Add the butter a few cubes at a time and rub them into the flour mix with your fingers until all the butter is incorporated and you end up with a mixture that has the texture of coarse breadcrumbs:
Next separate two egg yolks, using the plastic bottle technique I have outlined in the article, ‘Yolk-ing Apart‘. Add these yolks to the pastry mix and stir them in with a fork:
To bring the mixture together, stir in up to six tablespoons of chilled milk until the dough comes together into a ball cleanly away from the sides of the bowl. Take the dough out of the bowl, press it flat and wrap it in some cling film. Then place the dough in the fridge for about an hour:
Preheat the oven to 180˚C/350˚F/Gas Mark 4.
Grease the pie dish generously with some butter:
Take half the pastry and roll it out between two sheets of cling film. To check that the pastry is the right size, place the pie dish over the rolled pastry. There should be enough to cover the base plus about an inch and half of excess all around to go up and over the sides of the dish:
Remove the top layer of cling film. Slide your hand under the base layer of cling film and carefully lift it off the counter top. Place the rolled pastry into the dish and press it into the corners. Keep the cling film attached to help to smooth the pastry with your hands:
Remove the cling film and trim off the excess from the edges. reinforce the corners with some spare bits of pastry and then pierce the base with a fork. This will aerate the pastry and prevent it puffing up during blind baking:
Line the pastry with some more cling film and fill the cavity with baking beans or rice to weigh the pastry down. Place the dish in the oven to blind bake the crust for 15 minutes:
Take the part baked crust out of the oven, carefully remove the rice by gathering up the edges of cling film, making sure you don’t spill any rice. Brush the pastry with some egg wash. Then place the uncovered crust back in the oven to bake for another 7 minutes until the crust is nice and golden:
STAGE 2 – THE FILLING:
WHAT YOU WILL NEED
- A large bowl
- A small bowl
- A citrus zester
- A mixing spatula
- A rolling pin
- Cling film
- 2 bramley apples
- 4 Goldrush apples
- 300 grams of blackberries
- Zest from 1 lemon
- Juice from 2 lemons
- 8 tablespoons of caster sugar
- 3 teaspoons of cinnamon
- 1 teaspoons of nutmeg
- 4 tablespoons of cornflour
- A few dots of butter
- The remainder of the prepared pastry
Preheat the oven to 190˚C/375˚F/Gas Mark 5.
For this recipe we will not only be using a lot of apples, but also two varieties of apples. Two of the good old bramleys, and four of a variety which is new to me named Goldrush:
Take the zest from one lemon and juice from two:
Peel, core and slice the apples and mix them together in a large bowl with the lemon juice and zest:
Wash and slice the blackberries:
Add the blackberries to the apple. Sprinkle on the sugar and spices and mix thoroughly:
Mix in the corn flour:
Spoon the filling into the prepared crust and dot the top with a few small cubes of butter. Brush the edges of the crust with some egg wash:
Roll out the remaining pastry between two sheets of clingfilm to a size large enough to cover the top of the pie:
Remove the top layer of cling film, slide your hand under the bottom layer and flip it over onto the top of the pie. Smooth the pastry with your hands and press down the edges to seal them:
Remove the cling film. Trim away the excess and create a crimped pattern around the edges of the crust by pressing the pastry with your thumb:
Brush the top of the crust with some egg wash, then cut out some holes in the pastry lid with a cookie cutter to provide an escape route for the steam. Put the pie in the oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes:
And now all we need is some custard – but you’ll have to wait for another time for my recipe for that: