Friday, 3 April 2009

Cooking for blokes

Tonight, I am making quick apple tart. To make this, you need an oven (pre-heated to 200, or whatever), a sheet of puff pastry, a jar of apricot jam, a tin of cooking apples and some margarine or whatnot. Plus some caster sugar and a can opener that takes the tops of cans faster than Jihadi's can behead juice.

I love this new can opener. It actually open cans, which is a major point of difference between it and the one in the rubbish bin.

Now, start by turning on your oven. If it is a pathetic oven like ours, go do something else for 10-15 minutes, because you need it to be hot when the pastry goes in. This thing is so quick to make, unless you give the oven a good head start, the oven will still be warming up when you're ready to pop it in.

Grease your oven tray with something. Like margarine or butter. Not axle grease or sump oil.

Question - can I use that spray stuff in a can?

Answer - what do I care? Just grease the tray! Use your fingers! Work that stuff all over the tray!

Question - can I use baking paper?

Answer - baking what?

Let the pastry thaw for a few minutes - essentially until you can cut it without it cracking. Slice it into 4 or 6 slices. Even 8 if you like. Depends on how fiddly you want to get. I advise at least 4 slices - otherwise, the middle doesn't cook and you end up with a huge tart that is crispy around the edges and soggy in the middle.

Rip the head off that can, like biting the head off a chicken. Take the apricot jam and smear a bit on each bit of pastry. Not too much - just a bit to provide flavour. I used more than normal here because we were at the bottom of the jar, and I didn't want to put a jar back in the fridge with a teaspoon of jam in it. Make sure you get it right to the edges! Nice and consistent now.

Question - can I use another jam?

Answer - what should I know? If you want to use quince jam, go for it.

Question - can I use vegemite or peanut paste?

Answer - get out of here!

Question - can I use egg wash instead of jam?

Answer - yes, that's what we did until I got sick of tossing out leftover yucky egg wash that had been in the fridge for a week, and found that jam tastes much better.

Take your 375gm tin of beheaded apple (or apricots of peaches or cherries - all work well) and spread them over each slice. Leave a bit of room around the edge so that the pastry has a chance to go crispy in that area. One small tin is just a wee bit too much for this recipe, but who wants to put 1/4 of a tin or apple in the fridge? Not me. Use the whole tin.

Sprinkle some sugar over the top. I use vanilla sugar, from the Essential Ingredient. You only need a small amount. Or you can use plain sugar and sprinkle on some cinnamon or nutmeg.

Question - can I pour vanilla essence over it instead?

Answer - I think that would seriously fuck it up, but I'm not going to stop you.

Question - how much sugar should I use?

Answer - how sweet is your tooth? If you can see sugar piled up on the fruit, book a dental appointment.

Bake for 10 minutes, then rotate each pastry so that the corner in the middle of the tray ends up on the outside. That way, each pastry will cook evenly through. Or, don't bother with that if you have a really good oven and don't have this problem.

I sometimes cook these for up to 20 minutes - it depends on how pathetic and useless our oven is feeling on any given night. Give it 10 minutes in yours then see what they look like underneath. If they are soggy, give them another 5 minutes and then test again. Don't worry if the edges are looking a bit burned - the underside has to be cooked.

Serves two hungry people. Goes well with cream or ice cream.


Margo's Maid said...

Damn, cooking with BOAB.

Maybe some day, we Blairites ought to have some kind of a mass cook-off. (You out there Kae? Paco? Tizonas mob? Blair???).

Minicapt said...

When greasing pie tins, use a dollop of butter and rub it in as if you are greasing a set of roller bearings.