Wednesday, 12 September 2012

You have to ask the right questions.

Question : Would you like to make pastry Milly? 
Answer : In a minute.

This is basically how the first hour of our morning went.  Honestly it was my fault because at some point in time I asked if she wanted the Disney channel on and Jake and the Neverland Pirates is always going to superior to anything I say. I turn in to an adult from those Charlie Brown and Snoopy cartoons as far as the small one is concerned.   I thought I made perfect sense but her toddler ears were hearing whaaaa whaaa whaaa.  So a change of tact was required and instead it became:

Question :  Would you like to make pastry, then we can put it in the fridge to go cold enough for you to roll out and cut in to shapes?
Milly translation : whaaaawhaaaa whaaaa roll whhaaaawahhhaaaaa cut out  whaa

but I used enough child friendly words in my overly long question to break through the power of the cartoon and away we went.

Whhaaaa whaaaa apple pie

 For the shortcrust pastry

100g plain flour
50g softened butter (it really does need to be butter, so set a reminder to leave it out)
20g icing sugar
1 egg

For the filling

2 - 3 medium eating apples
2 tbsp sugar plus extra for sprinkling over the top
1 tsp vanilla extract
Rind and juice of 1/2 orange

To make the pastry sift the flour and sugar together, add in the butter and get your hands in there!  Rub the butter and flour between your fingers until it looks like squashy sand which smells nice.

Add roughly half the egg and bring the pastry together with your hands.  Wrap in clingfilm and bung in the fridge for half an hour.

Watch an episode of Jake and the Neverland Pirates.  By the end of that it should be time to...

...finely chop the apples and place in a bowl.  We didn't cook these, mainly because I prefer the texture of whole chunks of apple rather than apple puree, so they need to be pretty small.  If you want to cook the apples, then chop whatever size you want and cook with the orange juice and vanilla.

Add the rest of the ingredients, stir well and put to one side.

By this time your pastry should be nicely chilled so remove from the fridge, flour your surface and hand over to your small person to have fun with a rolling pin and assorted cutters.  

Once you've finished the rolling stage give the apples another stir.  There is going to be a lot of liquid at the bottom of the bowl so drain some off if you have a dive in there toddler who doesn't care about soggy bottoms.

We decided we were going to make decorated free form pies simply because they're easy to do.  Whatever you choose, cut your pastry to suit the case and fill with the apple mix.  Top and brush with the remaining egg.  Sprinkle on the sugar (or sugar and a touch of cinnamon) and bake for 20 - 25 minutes at 160 degrees in my oven, or until golden brown.

To make free form pies just cut the pastry to size for your toddler once they've finished rolling and they can do the rest.   Under 2's will need a little more guidance but its still a great one for them to assert a little independence in the kitchen.  Push the pastry in to the case, slightly over fill and then push the pastry back over the filling.  Decorate with pastry shapes.

Free form apple pie

With the remaining pastry Milly made an apple tart for Areal who, being a mermaid princess, prefers them to pies.  She also has a fondness for toffee ice cream.

Apple tarts

I could cook apple pies all day every day.  Its one of the first things that I was taught to cook as a child by my grandmother.  One day I might make a pie that tastes as good as hers.


  1. are you sure you bung in the oven for half an hour, rather than the fridge?). clingfilm + oven = nasty! (feel free to delete this!)

  2. ooops. Proof reading fail :D