Little Fingers, Humble Pie

So learn about life. Cut yourself a big slice with the silver server, a big slice of pie. Open your eyes. Let life happen.

— Sylvia Plath

The lockdowns have been hard on the kids; the seriousness of the pandemic has been dawning on many a household. Our modern technology-laden society has been no match for the virulence of this virus. It’ll be a while before normalcy is restored, if at all. All is not lost, however. Children are learning life skills so essential to their well-being, an education outside the classroom walls.

Spending time in the kitchen is one such valuable skill. Children need to handle food preparation in order to understand the world in which we live. Cooking brings up innate curiosity on how things work and how things put together can become something else entirely. It brings awareness of the mechanics of the natural cycles that form seasons, around which our own bodies function. Had respect for the living essence that is our daily food been paramount, we’d probably not have had to face such a dangerous foe. Had respect for the divine nature of our sustenance been a priority, we’d probably have a strong immune system that could withstand anything thrown our way. Preparing food gives us a larger perspective of life.

And who is to say that we learn only from books and blackboards and brightly lit devices? Baking has hidden lessons too — chemical reactions and measurements and shapes and sizes and tastes and spices and patience and cooperation and creativity all welded into it. There is, of course, the added bonus of eating the baked product eventually.

Apple pie is a great place to start. I’d made pie before, but that was several years ago, a trial and error process that was mostly the latter. The children wanted me to attempt it again with their help, and since we actually for once had all the ingredients at hand, they didn’t have to try too hard to persuade me. And I let them handle most of the preparation.

Here’s how they did it —

Apple stuffing:

  • peel and dice 5 to 6 medium-sized red apples
  • heat 2 tbsp butter in a pan, add the cut apple, 1 stick of cinnamon, 3/4 cup of powdered jaggery and cook for 5 minutes
  • collect excess juice into another small pan and cook down this syrup until thick
  • add this syrup back into the cooked apples, cook till almost dry, and set the stuffing aside

Pie crust:

  • mix 1.5 cups of whole wheat flour with 1.5 tbsp of palm jaggery powder and 1 tsp of salt
  • add 1 cup of chilled butter cubes
  • using both hands rub the butter into the flour until a crumbly texture is obtained
  • add about 2 tbsp of chilled water bit by bit to bring the dough together (just enough to form a ball, not too much)
  • once it all combines together, divide into two balls, wrap each with a plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 30 minutes
  • after 30 minutes, roll one ball into a slightly thick circle and place it in a greased pie dish
  • prick the crust base all over with the fork and place in a preheated oven, bake at 180 degree C for 20 minutes

Baking the pie:

  • remove crust base from oven and pour the stuffing into it
  • roll out the second dough and cut patterns (here they used a cookie cutter)
  • arrange on top of the stuffing
  • bake for 40 minutes at 180 degree C

Whipped cream:

  • whip together Amul whipping cream, 200 ml, icing sugar 2 to 3 tbsp, vanilla essence 4 to 5 drops over an ice bath or ice pack until stiff
  • chill for a few hours; can be had chilled or frozen like ice cream
  • serve on top of a slice of pie

Simply divine. That’s all one can say about it.

4 thoughts on “Little Fingers, Humble Pie

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