This month, the Random Recipe challenge (run by Dom at Belleau Kitchen) has teamed up with Alphabakes (brought to us by Caroline at Caroline Makes and Ros at The More Than Occasional Baker). Having reached the end of the alphabet, Alphabakes is starting again at the letter A.
But for April, there is an extra twist………. the recipe based on ‘A’ must be completely random………. picked by chance from somewhere amongst the recipe books and folders on the shelf, with no cheating, adulterating or switching the recipe (except for reasons of specific dietary requirement, seasonal availability of ingredients, or monetary considerations). What fun!!!
I didn’t tell my husband what I was doing, but merely asked him to pick a random cook book from the shelf. What sort? he asked. cakes, puddings, savoury? What do you want to make? I said nothing about the challenge at all, but told him I didn’t mind what it contained as long as he picked it without too much thought……….
And so appeared on the table in front of me The Hairy Bikers Ride Again (Dave Myers & Si King) (2007). Interesting! Haven’t looked at that one in ages I thought……. My Husband looked at me quizzically, waiting to see what I was going to do next………… Opening the book to the index, I found the section beginning with A and gave my husband a pen with a pointy lid. ‘Now shut your eyes’ I said, giving him the pen, ‘and aim at ‘A”. He did of course get a full explanation at the end of the process………..
And what did he ‘choose’? Alsace Apple Pie! Wow…… that’s a double ‘A’!
Originating in the Alsace Region of France, the Alsace Apple Pie is a delightful sweet tart, crammed with apples and creamy custard on a cinnamon shortcrust pastry base. As the recipe provided by the Hairy Bikers was for a normal, wheat-based pastry case, I substituted with a gluten free sweet cinnamon-spiced almond pastry (my own) which worked beautifully with the rest of the recipe. I confess that I also omitted the cloves as we had none in the house on account of them not being very popular, so figured it would be best to leave it that way.
The Hairy Bikers always strike me as pretty straight forward in their cooking style (if a little bit bonkers otherwise), and this recipe is no exception. It is really simple to make, yet delivers the perfect balance of sweet to tartness, with a good hit of cinnamon spice. I was amazed at just how easy the custard was. Literally mixing the ingredients together and pouring over the apple filling.
My only criticism is that it didn’t come out as pretty as I had hoped. If I make it again, I will increase the quantity of apple used and slice it differently, arrange it more attractively and probably use a deeper tart case to fit more in!
But looks aside, this is a pretty delicious flan…….. Crisp cinnamony pastry, tart toffee-coated apples and creamy vanillary custard. Accompanied by a dash of extra cream, a scoop of ice cream or a spoon of creme fraiche, it is hard to beat.
It also allowed me to use my new, very funky cake slice which I found in a wonderful shop called Pylones! It is full of amazingly colourful little trinkets and gadgets………. I think my little doggy slice so cute………..
Anyway………. thanks to The Hairy Bikers (and of course the random skill of my husband in choosing the recipe), I present to you the gluten free Alsace Apple Pie :
Alsace Apple Pie (filling take from The Hairy Bikers Ride Again – Dave Myers and Si King) – Makes 1x 9½ inch (24 cm) round flan
Sweet Cinnamon Almond Pastry (gluten free)
2 large eggs
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
75g caster sugar
Icing sugar to decorate
- First make the pastry. – Weigh and mix together the flours, almonds, xanthan gum, salt, sugar and cinnamon, making sure any lumps are broken down.
- Rub the butter into the dry ingredients with fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
- Beat the egg with the water in a cup (using a fork) until combined and then add to the dry ingredients.
- Using a flat-bladed knife, gradually stir the wet and dry ingredients together until the mixture comes together as a dough. Use floured hands to knead slightly and complete the mixing process so that the dough is smooth and even. Do not chill at this stage.
- Put the dough onto a well-floured surface (use corn flour, rice flour or a combination to scatter and prevent the dough sticking) and then roll-out with a floured rolling pin until you have a circle which is large enough to line the flan tin.
- Gently lift the dough with the help of the rolling pin and ease into the flan case. Trim the top edges so that the pastry is even with the top of the tin.
- Place in the fridge to chill for an hour or so.
- Pre-heat the oven to 180 C/ 350 F/Gas 4.
- Whilst the oven is heating, make the apple filling. – Put the wine, spices and sugar into a large saucepan and heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved.
- Add the apple slices, stir to coat and then allow to simmer in the liquid for about 10 minutes with the lid on the pan.
- Remove the apples to a large bowl using a straining spoon and set aside.
- Simmer the remaining liquid, stirring frequently in the pan until it reduces to a syrup, then turn off the heat and replace the apples to the pan, gently stirring to coat in the sugar syrup. Leave to cool whilst you bake the pastry.
- Blind-bake the pastry case by lining with baking paper and filling with baking beans. Bake for 15 minutes with beans and then remove the beans and paper and bake for a further 5 minutes.
- Whilst the pastry is baking, whisk together the custard ingredients (starting with the wet ingredients and adding the sugar last) until completely combined.
- When the pastry has finished blind-baking, remove from the oven (leave the oven on at current temperature) and spread the apples evenly in the case.
- Pour or ladle the custard over the apples to fill the case (being careful not to over-flow) and then bake for a further 20 to 30 minutes until the custard has set and no longer wobbles.
- Eat either warm or cold with a sprinkling of icing sugar. Lovely with a drizzle of fresh cream too!