Tag: apple pie

Two years of eat in my kitchen and a fantastic Chestnut and Apple Pie

Chestnut and Apple Pie

Another amazing and crazy year with eat in my kitchen in my life – thank you to all of you who come back to these pages, every day, from all over the world!

I’m a little early this year, the exact anniversary will be tomorrow, on the 23rd November, this is the day I pushed my blog’s publish button for the first time, but the weeks before this fateful moment were just as important. It was then that I decided to start writing about my cooking and baking, to set up a blog called eat in my kitchen and share a recipe each day. The early readers of my blog will remember that I published one of my recipes 7 days a week for one whole year. It was an easy decision to make as I had no idea what it would mean for my life – but that changed after about 3 months. It wasn’t actually the creative work of coming up with new recipes every day that was hard to cope with. This is luckily quite easy for me as they come to me naturally, I feel inspired by almost everything I see, smell and taste. But to cook and bake the dishes, to take the time for the pictures no matter if the light was good or bad, if I felt tired or sick, that was exhausting at times. I’m not a trained photographer, everything I do, I do intuitively. I didn’t learn this skill from someone else or at a school, and I had to learn a lot. Sometimes I just felt like giving up, I sat on the floor of my kitchen, crying my eyes out because I couldn’t capture the deliciousness of a dish in a photo. Thinking back, it sounds ridiculous and I laugh about it, but in those moments it felt serious. As much as I wanted to share my recipes and inspire people to enjoy their kitchen and cooking, I also wanted to learn and grow for myself. And for one year, I wanted to do this every day. That was my mission, it wasn’t forced upon me, I just wanted it. I’m hardheaded and once an idea is stuck in my head, I go for it. Now I’m happy that I hung on to it, my skills improved a lot, be it in the kitchen, behind the camera or at my computer writing a post. But during this journey, I had to face many doubts, insecurities and setbacks – and I still have to go through many of them.

Eat in my kitchen became a platform where thousands of people find inspiration for their kitchen life every day, and this is the greatest gift to me. To see so many of you cook and bake my recipes, sometimes on the same day that I publish them, and to receive all the beautiful emails from happy cooks around the world, often with pictures attached to share their results with me; there are no words to describe what this means to me. And then, on a cold day in March this year, another wonderful incident happened in my life. A woman called Holly La Due, who lives and works in New York for the Prestel publishing house, reached out to me and asked if I would like to write a cookbook. I said yes, of course, and Holly became more than just my editor, she’s my friend.

I’ve shared my progress with you throughout the past 6 months and I’m as thankful as can be that I got chosen to move on from the digital to the analog world by working on a physical book. My recipes will be printed on paper and published next year in September and I must admit that, although I’ve been cooking, shooting and writing for this awesome project for over half a year, it still hasn’t sunk in that I’m writing a book. It feels rather surreal and I think I might have to hold it in my hands at one point – overwhelmed and with happy tears – to understand what eat in my kitchen has done with my life.

I feel thankful.

xx

Chestnut and Apple Pie

The reason I’m sharing all this with you today, is because I’ll be off to London in a couple hours for a few amazing, new features for my meet in your kitchen series and I’m totally excited to share them with you over the next few weeks. So we had a little pre-anniversary party. To follow my ‘apple tradition’ – I made a Tyrolean apple strudel for last year’s blog anniversary – I came up with my new favourite pie. The short crust pastry is buttery but not as fragile and crumbly as in my usual pies. Since I started my blog, I’ve wanted to make a pie with a pretty lattice top and I felt that the time had come. It was much easier than expected but to get there the pastry has to be a little more flexible than my normal dough, therefore I left out the eggs, added a bit more water and a little cider vinegar (it makes a tough crust). A great tutorial giving instructions about how to create the pattern was also quite helpful. The filling in this edible piece of art is more than delicious: Sour apple chunks on top of a creamy chestnut mousse refined with cinnamon, cloves, allspice, nutmeg and orange zest. The flavours of the buttery crust, sour fruit and spiced chestnut mousse merge into the most amazing pie experience – totally anniversary-worthy!

Here’s a link which shows how easy it is to make a lattice top for a pie crust!

Chestnut and Apple Pie

 

Chestnut and Apple Pie

Chestnut and Apple Pie

Serves 6-8

For the pastry

plain flour 350g / 2 2/3 cups
fine sea salt 3/4 teaspoon
butter, cold, 200g / 
3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons
cold water 4 tablespoons
apple cider vinegar 1 teaspoon

For the filling

cloves, ground in a mortar, 1/8 teaspoon
nutmeg, preferably freshly grated, 1/8 teaspoon
ground cinnamon 1 teaspoon
allspice berries, ground in a mortar, 1/8 teaspoon
orange zest, freshly grated, 2 teaspoons
chestnuts, pre-cooked, 200g / 7 ounces
granulated sugar 100g / 1/2 cup
orange juice, freshly pressed, 60ml plus 3 tablespoons / 1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons
organic egg 1
firm, sour apples, cut into 8 pieces each, 850g / 30 ounces (about 5 apples)
plain flour 2 tablespoons
butter, cut into little pieces, 1 tablespoon

For the glaze/ topping

organic egg yolk 1
milk 1 tablespoon
pinch of salt
granulated sugar 1 tablespoon

Use a 23cm / 9″ shallow pie dish for this recipe.

For the pastry, combine the flour and salt in a large bowl. Cut the butter into the flour with a knife until there are just small pieces left. Continue with your fingers and quickly rub the butter into the flour. Add the water and vinegar and continue mixing with the dough hooks of an electric mixer until you have a crumbly mixture. Press the dough together and form a ball, split in half and form 2 discs. Wrap the dough in cling film and freeze for 15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 200°C / 400°F (conventional setting).

For the filling, combine the cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice and orange zest in a bowl. Purée the chestnuts in a blender until smooth and transfer to a large bowl. Whisk in half the spice mixture, half the sugar, 60ml / 1/4 cup of the orange juice and the egg, mix until well combined.

Mix the apples with the remaining sugar and spice mixture, 3 tablespoons of the orange juice and the flour.

Take the dough out of the freezer and, using a rolling pin, roll out 1 of the discs between cling film, big enough to line the bottom and sides of a 23cm / 9″ shallow pie dish, let the dough hang over the rim a little. Roll out the remaining dough between cling film, it should have a rectangular shape, a little wider than the widest part of the pie dish and about 25cm / 10″ long. Cut 8 strips off the long side, each about 3cm / 1 1/4″ wide.

Pour the chestnut purée into the pie dish lined with the pastry, even it out, and lay the apples on top. Sprinkle with the butter and quickly prepare a lattice top with the remaining dough following this linkWhisk the egg yolk, milk and salt for the glaze, brush the lattice top with the mixture and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake the pie for 15 minutes and then turn down the heat to 175°C / 350°F, bake for another 45 minutes or until the pie is golden and the pastry is baked through. Let the pie cool for at least 15 minutes before you cut it into pieces.

Chestnut and Apple Pie

 

Chestnut and Apple Pie

 

Chestnut and Apple Pie

 

Chestnut and Apple Pie

 

Chestnut and Apple Pie

 

applechestnutpie10

meet in your kitchen | Designer Imke Laux bakes her Aunt Herta’s German Apple Pie

Aunt Herta's Apple Pie

When I met Imke in her kitchen on a cold and dark Berlin morning, it started snowing. It was the first snow of the winter (and the last so far) and I couldn’t have found myself at a warmer and more comfortable place than her stunning roof top apartment. The interior designer created a beautiful world for her family of four in shades of white and light grey, with lots of light, cushions, candles and cosy corners. Her open kitchen, living and dining room is the place where you want to sit with a cup of tea and chat for hours. I can imagine that the long table, the centrepiece of the room, has already seen many special nights of feasting. Imke created the perfect place to gather and savor, to feel at home as a guest and enjoy.

My kitchen host is a fascinating woman who I met not too long ago but there was something in her eyes that made me want to find out more about her. Imke is a renowned interior designer, her clients appreciate her sensitivity, confidence and style. She understands and respects their needs and creates spaces that make you feel good. Not a single chair, sofa, table or lamp is pretentious, it all makes sense and is a functioning part of her daily life. But it also pleases the eye, it just seems very effortless.

Aunt Herta's Apple Pie

Imke found her present profession over the past few years. She studied law and worked as a lawyer for a photo agency in Hamburg but then moved to California together with her husband just after their first child was born. In the new country she decided to make another change in her life, she studied design at the New York Institute of Art and Design. She successfully finished her correspondence course and her first projects began. After the family moved back to Berlin a few years later, it wasn’t long before she established herself in a new situation again. From the start, the demand for her stylistic advice, help and guidance was just as high on this side of the world.

This summer the family bought a little weekend house at a river outside Berlin which they are renovating themselves. A new project for Imke, her husband and their two 13 and 7 year old daughters, lots of building and painting but also picnics and looking for mushrooms in the countryside. When the four need a break, they love to travel without planning much to see where life takes them, a 3 week trip to India is next on their list! Imke’s eyes sparkled when we talked about this adventure and when I asked her about the difficulties of traveling with two young girls, she didn’t seem too worried. The effortlessness which fascinated me from the start is built on trust and a positive attitude. That’s also what Imke prooved when we started our kitchen session. She couldn’t find the apples which she hid from her family for the pie she wanted to bake with me. Her aunt Herta’s Apple Pie (gedeckter Apfelkuchen in German) is an old family recipe which needs lots of sour fruits so she bought a big bag full but couldn’t find them. I offered to run to the grocery story but Imke stayed calm and was sure that they must be somewhere. She was right and we could start. As if life wanted to test her patience, a second obstacle came into our way. The oven broke and refused to keep the right temperature. Imke kept her cool, sat right next to the oven, put it on the highest temperature and kept an eye on our pie. It all worked fine in the end, the pie was fantastic, packed with lots of juicy apples and a crisp thin pastry. On my way home I noticed that this lady, her pie and her gorgeous apartment left me with a really good feeling, life is good when you trust!

You can see Imke’s work her on Laux Interiors and follow the progress of her country house on her new blog Laux Haus.

Aunt Herta's Apple Pie

 Aunt Herta’s Apple Pie

For a 26cm /10″ springform pan you need

large sour baking apples, peeled, cored, quartered and sliced, 5
vanilla sugar 1 package (or 1 1/2 teaspoons of sugar mixed with 1/4 vanilla bean, scraped)
plain flour 300g / 10.5 ounces
a pinch of baking powder
sugar 65g / 2.5 ounces plus 1 tablespoon for the topping
a pinch of salt
eggs 2
butter 150g / 5.5 ounces plus 1 tablespoon for the topping

Mix the flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, eggs and butter with an electric mixer until well combined. Form the dough into a ball and keep in the fridge for at least 1 hour.

Set the oven to 210°C / 410°F (fan-assisted oven) or 225°C / 440°F (top / bottom heat).

In a large pan, cook the apples and vanilla sugar for a few minutes until soft and let them cool for a few minutes.

Roll out 1/3 of the dough between cling film until it’s roughly the size of the springform pan. Roll out the remaining dough between cling film and line the bottom and the sides of the springform pan. Fill the apples into the dough-lined springform pan, even them out and put the remaining pastry on top. Close the pie and spread around 1 tablespoon of butter (in small pieces) and 1 tablespoon of sugar over the top. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until golden brown and crisp on top.

Aunt Herta's Apple Pie

You lived in California for seven years with your husband and two daughters before you decided to make Berlin your new home. How did your lifestyle change through this move?

We moved from a big house with a garden in the suburbs in California to an apartment on the 5th floor in downtown Berlin. What changed drastically is the convenience of our daily life. Grocery shopping for example is a whole different story when you don’t have parking on the same level as your kitchen. I go grocery shopping more often now and buy smaller amounts of food because I have to carry it up the stairs to the 5th floor.

We also spent much more time outside in California. We used to go to the beach almost every weekend or went hiking in one of the great State parks. Now in Berlin we are far away from the coast or the mountains but we love to bike around the city or go swimming in a lake in the summer.

How did the new city influence your cooking and eating habits?

In Berlin we have a ton of great restaurants in walking distance. So we definitely go out to eat way more here than in the States. My cooking hasn’t changed much I believe.

What did you miss about German food when you lived in the US? Did you adapt to any American kitchen habits that you miss since you’ve been back in Germany?

I missed the German bread! The American bread is way too soft and sweet. So I baked our own bread in the USA. Here in Germany you find a bakery at every street corner with a big selection of whole grain breads and rolls – so we eat more bread here.

In Germany I miss being able to buy freshly baked cupcakes in the supermarket. That was so convenient. The table ready (pre-washed and pre-cut) vegetable and salad selection in the States is amazing. Also there are some really good ready made organic dressings. I loved grocery shopping at Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s. I really miss that. Everything looked so nice and you could always sample things.

You told me that you enjoy baking more than cooking, who or what sparked your love for sweet creations?

I enjoy baking more but I still cook more than I bake, because I have to cook dinner almost every night. I bake just occasionally. I think baking is more fun for me because I really like to eat cakes, pies and cookies. I am a big fan of sweets. I love the smell of freshly baked goods in the house. My mother and my aunt are to blame. They bake amazing things!

What was the first dish you cooked on your own, what is your first cooking memory?

I baked a pie for my mother as a surprise. I think I was 8 or 9 years old and I forgot to add the butter to the dough. So what came out of the oven was solid as a rock. But we still ate it and my mother pretended that she loved it.

What are your favourite places to buy and enjoy food in Berlin?

I love to go grocery shopping at the farmers markets – the organic food market at Kollwitzplatz on Thursday afternoon and the weekly farmers market on Saturdays. I buy fresh pesto, cold cuts and cheese at the Italian Deli Giannis Pasta-Bar on Schönhauser Allee. I love the bread selection at Zeit für Brot on Alte Schönhauser Strasse. I am a also member of the organic supermarket LPG Biomarkt at Senefelder Platz. My favorite supermarket is Kaiser’s at Winsstrasse. They have everything.

My favorite café is the Meierei on Kollwitzstrasse, they serve great coffee and have a small selection of sweet or savory dishes.

Restaurants that we like to go to are Aromi e Sapori on Straßburger Strasse, Leibhaftig on Metzer Strasse, Due Forni and Fleischerei on Schönhauser Allee, Lemon Grass Scent, Donath and Pappa e Ciccia on Schwedter Strasse.

You worked as a lawyer for a photo agency in Hamburg and couldn’t follow your profession when you moved to California. How did you come up with the idea to start something completely new, your own design company Laux Interiors?

I always had an interest in interior design. I was the one friends would turn to for advice when rearranging their home. I had the constant urge to move furniture around in our home. When we moved to the States I was surprised to learn that interior design was/ is such a big thing over there. There are entire TV channels dedicated to it. So I decided to turn my passion into a profession and went back to school – this time for interior design.

Your father is a goldsmith and your mother was a home economics teacher and is now a full time artist. How did your parents influence your aesthetic perception and your creative work?

My parents always took me to museums, exhibitions and galleries. Growing up my father had his own gallery where he would exhibit his own jewellery along with paintings and sculptures of other artists. His aesthetics in jewellery design are very clean, elegant with flawless craftmanship.

My mother is very expressive, caring and has a big heart. Her art is colourful and earthy. Sometimes I feel that I am torn between these two aesthetics.

This summer you bought a little weekend house built in 1974 at the picturesque Oder-Havel canal and you write about the progress of the renovations on your new blog LauxHaus. What is the biggest challenge and what is the great gift of renovating something old rather than buying new?

The biggest challenge for me is to be patient. I would love to do it all at once. But we are only there on the weekends, so it takes time to finish something. The huge garden also is something that scares me a little. Actually I would have loved to built a brand new house – something energy efficient with green materials and tons of glass – but the house is located in a protected nature reserve so we can only preserve the status quo but not build anything new there. We bought it mainly because we love the location at the riverside so much.

In really old buildings that I often have to renovate here in Berlin for clients I adore the craftmanship that you find in elements like stucco, panelling, doors, windows, floors, glass and hardware. You don’t see this anymore in homes that were built after World War II.

What did you choose to share on eat in my kitchen and why?

I chose to share an old family recipe with you – Apple Pie Aunt Herta. It’s a classic for decades. This pie is a staple at every birthday or special occasion in my family. The recipe was given to us from my great aunt Herta, my grandfather ‘s sister. I thought I’d share it with you because I always get positive feedback for this pie. I love that the crust is so crispy and the apples are so juicy and still a bit sour.

If you could choose one person to cook a meal for you, who and what would it be?

It would be a tie between my grandmothers Wilma and Resi. Wilma would have to show me how to preserve apples and pears from the garden by cooking them in jars with cinnamon sticks. Resi would have to show me how to cook East Frisian Sniertjebraa, a slow cooked pork roast.

You’re going to have ten friends over for a spontaneous dinner, what will be on the table?

Roasted pork loin with oven roasted vegetables and rosemary potatoes. If it’s really short notice – pasta with pesto Genovese and salad.

What was your childhood’s culinary favourite and what is it now?

My favorite as a child was Paprikagemüse – a dish in a pan with ground meat, red and green bell peppers and tomatoes served with rice. Now I could eat tagliatelle with truffles and parmesan cheese every day. Or Sushi.

Do you prefer to cook on your own or together with others?

Together with others. It’s more fun when you can chat and have a glass of wine while cooking. Although I am more focused and quicker when I cook alone.

Which meals do you prefer, improvised or planned?

I mostly improvise a little – probably I would be calmer and less stressed if I planned ahead.

Which meal would you never cook again?

Can’t think of one.

Thank you Imke!

Aunt Herta's Apple Pie

 

Aunt Herta's Apple Pie

 

Aunt Herta's Apple Pie

 

Aunt Herta's Apple Pie

 

Aunt Herta's Apple Pie

 

Aunt Herta's Apple Pie

 

Aunt Herta's Apple Pie

Blackberry and Apple Pie

Apple and Blackberry Pie

Glorious weather, food and friends, it was a perfect weekend! Last week, an old friend of mine from my days at university came to visit us and I was so excited as we hadn’t seen each other in years! She moved to LA a long time ago where I’ve only visited her once but a year ago she decided to head over to Costa Rica together with her family, so we’re even further apart from each other now. When she finally stood at the door with her two children, I couldn’t believe it! It was such a strange feeling to meet the little ones who I only knew from pictures and skype, but they felt so familiar. This is such a weird thing about the internet, you can be so far away and still feel so close!

Before the young family arrived I decided to bake, not only a cake but a pie, the ultimate sweet comfort food. I needed to calm down and nothing beats a pie in a situation like that! The result was a thin layer of buttery short crust wrapped around a juicy filling of apples and blackberries. I’ve made many apple pies in my life but this was the first time that I tried this English classic with the dark berries. They add a sweet juiciness and melt together with the apples to a very unique composition. It reminds me a bit of plums or pears but it’s still different, they create a new taste which is hard to describe.

The fruity filling was so full of red juices that I was a bit worried about the pastry. For no reason, the short crust didn’t soak it all up or get too soggy, it was still crunchy. It was all good, even more so, it was delicious! Just the first piece which I cut off impatiently when the pie was still hot was a bit soft, it’s best to let it sit for a while which is almost impossible as it smells too good!

Apple and Blackberry Pie

 

Apple and Blackberry Pie

Apple and Blackberry Pie

For a 20cm / 8″ springform pan you need

For the filling

sour baking apples (such as Boskoop), peeled, cored, quartered and thinly sliced, 600g / 21 ounces
blackberries, 200g / 7 ounces
sugar 5 tablespoons
ground cinnamon 1 teaspoon
plain flour 2 tablespoons

For the pastry

plain flour 260g / 9 ounces
sugar 1 teaspoon
a pinch of salt
ground cinnamon 1/4 teaspoon
butter, cold, 70g / 2.5 ounces
vegetable shortening, cold,  70g / 2.5 ounces
cold water 1 tablespoon

For the glaze

milk 3 tablespoons
sugar 1 heaped teaspoon

For the pastry, combine the dry ingredients. Cut the butter and vegetable shortening with a knife into the flour until there are just little, crumbly pieces left. Continue with your fingers and quickly work the buttery pieces into the flour until combined. Add the water, continue mixing with the hooks of your mixer until you have a crumbly mixture. Form 2 discs, dividing them roughly 2:1, wrap in cling film and put in the freezer for 10 minutes.

Set the oven to 200°C / 390°F (top / bottom heat).

Take the dough out of the freezer, put the smaller disc in the fridge and roll out the bigger one. Roll out a circle big enough to line the bottom and the sides of the springform pan, overlapping the rim about 1 cm / 1/2 “. Put the pan with the pastry in the fridge.

For the filling, combine the sugar and cinnamon and mix with the apples. Take out the pan with the pastry and fill with 1/3 of the apples, sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of flour and add half of the berries. Add another layer of apples, 1 tablespoon of flour and the remaining berries and apples on top. Roll out the remaining disc, a bit bigger than the springform pan and lay on top of the apples. Gently push the sides onto the bottom layer of pastry, sealing it by rolling it inwards. Brush the top with milk and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake the pie for 15 minutes, turn down the heat to 175°C / 350°F and bake for another 40 minutes or until the pie is golden on top. Take it out and let it sit for 10 minutes.

Apple and Blackberry Pie

 

Apple and Blackberry Pie

 

Apple and Blackberry Pie

 

Apple and Blackberry Pie

 

Apple and Blackberry Pie

 

Apple and Blackberry Pie

 

Apple and Blackberry Pie

My Mother’s delicious Tarte Tatin

Tarte Tatin

Tarte Tatin, I know so many people who call this their favourite dessert! Buttery apples fried with lots of sugar until golden brown and caramelised, topped with a crisp shortcrust baked in the oven. It’s like a traditional pie, just upside down! There is something very French about it and it’s not just the amount of butter and sugar, or its origin. Legend has it that this tarte was first created accidentally by Caroline Tatin. She ran the Hotel Tatin in Lamotte-Beuvron together with her sister Stéphanie. A stressful kitchen moment made her forget about the apples on her cooker, they caramelised and Caroline had an idea. She left them in the pan, put the dough on top and baked the first delicious Tarte Tatin ever. The guests in her hotel were impressed and her signature dish was born!

Now, there are many different ways to bake a Tarte Tatin. I make mine like my mother, with a crisp and buttery shortcrust (it’s the one I also use for my Sandwich Cookies). I cut the apples in eight slices each so that they can caramelise evenly on all sides (I find it easier than quarters). I fry them in plenty of butter and sugar, the apples soak up all the syrup and the base stays crisp.

Tarte Tatin

 Tarte Tatin

For the tarte you need a 21cm / 8″ Tarte Tatin dish or frying pan which is ovenproof.

big sour baking apples, peeled, cored and cut into eight slices each, 4
sugar 90g / 3 ounces
butter 90g / 3 ounces

For the shortcrust

plain flour 130g / 4.5 ounces
butter, cold, 75g / 3 ounces
egg yolk 1
sugar 1 tablespoon
a pinch of salt
cold water 1 1/2 tablespoons

For the shortcrust, combine the flour with the sugar and salt. Cut the butter with a knife into the flour until there are just little pieces of butter left. Continue with your fingers and quickly work the butter into the flour until combined. Add the egg yolk and the water, continue mixing with the hooks of your mixer until you have a crumbly mixture. Form a disc, wrap in cling film and put in the freezer for 10 minutes.

Set the oven to 200°C / 390°F.

In a pan (or Tarte Tatin dish), melt the butter together with the sugar and the apples on high temperature. Let the apples caramelise, watch them and turn gently, mine needed 10 minutes.

Roll out the dough, big enough to cover the pan and lay on top of the apples tucking the edges down the sides. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes or until golden brown. When the tarte is done, place a large heat resistant plate on top and turn the pan carefully upside down, keep in mind that it’s very hot!

You can serve the warm Tarte Tatin with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Tarte Tatin

 

Tarte Tatin

 

Tarte Tatin