Apple Crumble Pie

Last week in Nizza Monferrato I was offered a piece of apple crumble tart which was absolutely delicious, I thought I need to try and bake one myself, so here’s my version of it:

Ingredients for a springform pan of 18cm

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Dough:
150 gr all purpose flour (me: farina per tutto, Mulino Marino) http://www.mulinomarino.it/eng/storia.php
70 gr unsalted butter
70 gr caster sugar
1 egg medium size
20 gr vanilla sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 pinch of salt

Apple filling:
6 medium sized sweet apples ( I paid a fortune for Thurgauer Apples)
10 gr butter
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Crumble
150 gr all purpose flour (me: farina per tutto, Mulino Marino)
100 gr caster sugar
100 gr soft unsalted butter

butter for the pan, icing sugar

Preparation:

For the dough, mix the flour and baking powder in a bowl, add all other ingredients and knead until you get a soft dough. Roll 2/3 of the dough on the greased base of the springform pan, prick the dough all over with a fork and bake at 200c in the oven for 15 mins.
The other 1/3 of the dough will be used to form the rim, store it in the fridge in the meantime.

Filling: peel the apples, remove the core and cut the apples in small chunks, heat them in a pan by adding the cinnamon and the butter. Let simmer over medium heat until the apples get very soft but not as long as getting a purée, the chunks should not fall apart yet.
Let cool.

Take the springform pan from the oven and let it cool on a rack. Meanwhile, prepare the crumble by kneading the flour, sugar and butter until you get small crumbles.

When the base has cooled off, roll the remainder of the dough to a “sausage” and place on the rim of the springform pan, getting a rim of approximately 2-3cm.


Add the apple filling and cover it all with the crumble.
Bake for another 40mins at 200c. Let cool it off and cover with icing sugar.

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Spinach Pie..isi-style σπανακόπιτα (spanakopita)

I love the Greek Spinach Pie, however, it is very fat. Okay, it is healthy olive oil, but still, sometimes I prefer a lighter version. So I have hidden in my test kitchen and out came this pie without Feta but instead with Italian Ricotta. And I used less olive oil or butter.

1pack of Phyllio pastry (filo)
500 g fresh spinach, blanched and drained very well, should be dry before using. Yes, you may use frozen one, but treat yourself to fresh one.
250g ricotta
Oregano, thym, nutmeg, aniseed, lemonsalt or regular salt, pepper, dried chili
20 g butter, melted

Preheat oven to 180c.
Chop the spinach and mix it with the ricotta, add all the herbs and spices to your liking. You can use different ones, however use the aniseed, it gives the pie the special flavor.
The filling should be quite dry. You may also add finely chopped and sauteed garlic and onions, I simply forgot to add them:-)

 

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Now comes the tricky part: unfold the phyllio pastry without totally breaking the layers. There is different options, the easiest is to flat the pastry out, evenly spread the filling and roll it like a roulade, butter the top with melted butter. After baking, you can cut it in pieces of 4cm each.
Or you cut the pastry in squares, add the filling, and fold it to a triangle (“glue” it with melted butter), then backe.
Me of course chose the difficult option using a square pan. I used a non-stick pan, so no need to grease it. I put 2 layers into the pan, and buttered them, then spread the spinach-filling onto the pastry, folded in the overlapping pastry and covered the filling with 3 more layers, then buttered just the last layer on the top. Never mind if the layers brake, during baking and then when you cut the pie in pieces it will get messy anyways.

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Baking time is 20mins and I served it warm with a tomatoe-cucumber-rucola salad. Greeks serve it cold, that is also an option, I prefer it warm, probably the Swiss in me:-)

Quick and isi dinner…comfort food!

Arrgghhh! It is snowing outside and ice cold! After two weeks of spring we are back to winter…I need comfort food! Here is my Sunday quick and isi dinner:

1 pack of dough for quiches, round or square
500 g fresh spinach which I had blanched yesterday, drained and kept in the fridge. You can also use frozen one, but defrost it before using it. No Creamy spinach, eh, just normal one!
100 g Gruyères cheese, grated
50 g cooked ham cut in tiny little cubes…ok, I bought them cut like that 😉
1 egg
1 dl milk
2 dl cream
Yes, you can also use just milk or just cream. You remember? I am clearing up my fridge today, so I use what is left.
Salt, pepper, chili powder, aniseed, nutmeg, oregano, thym

Unfold the dough and put it on a baking plate with a high enough rim. I used two plates of the size of my iPad Air. With a fork, make hundreds of little holes in the bottom of the dough..hundreds, if not more!
Preheat the oven to 180c, I know it is boring, always the same temperature!

Chop the spinach and drain the water if any more comes out. Mix the spinach with approx 50 g of the Gruyères and the ham cubes. Add the spices and herbs to your liking. The aniseed however is a must, it gives the pie the special flavour.
Crack the egg into a shaker, ideally without the shell, add the milk, the cream, some more spices. Careful, if the ham is salty, do not use any more salt.
Shake well. Fill the baking plates with spinach-cheese-ham mix and pour the egg-cream/milk mix on it. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on the pies. Bake for about 40mins.
Let it cool a few minutes before you eat it, but it definitely should be enjoyed while it is still hot.
Comfort food helps on a day like this!
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