You know me, I love playing with words, so it wasn’t surprising that I just couldn’t resist this one. On Wednesday night Idgy and I watched Life Of Pi on dvd. I had missed this amazing film when it came out in the cinema here at the beginning of the year. I think my head was in the wrong place to watch it right then and I was all wrapped up in wanting to see Les Mis, this film just sort of floated past me. How I regret that now as I would have loved to see this on the big screen, it must have been totally awesome.
Life Of Pi is a three part story, we see the mature man called Pi (poor soul had been christened Piscene after a swimming pool in France and had shortened it to Pi to avoid constant teasing at school) telling a writer about his life growing up in India where his parents ran a zoo. Then we are taken on the most amazing journey where the teenage Pi finds himself shipwrecked and floating on the Pacific Ocean with a tiger called Richard Parker, a horrible hyena, an orangutan and a very unfortunate zebra. I won’t spoil things by telling you what happens on the boat but I will say that it will make you cry and make you laugh and bring up all sorts of emotions within if you are anything like me.
The story then moves to Pi relating his adventure to the Japanese authorities who are investigating the shipwreck for insurance purposes. He tells them his amazing story and they can’t get their heads around it, so he tells them a different tale, far more barbaric more real. He asks them to choose which they will believe.
This is one of those movies that hits you on all levels. The story is wonderful and in itself will keep you captivated, but the imagery, the colours, the special effects, oh I am lost for words. Beautiful and spectacular do not do them justice. Let me just say you have to see it to believe it.
So we spent a really lovely evening together curled up by the fire all wrapped up in a wild and amazing adventure. Inspired by the movie and wanting to play with the name, Pi, I decided to make a pie next morning. Something with an Indian spicy feel about it but at the same time comforting. It all sort of came together in my head really, the pie being the liferaft, the Indian spices and the comfort of the apple, a taste of home.
Here is my culinary take on Life Of Pie, Indian Spiced Apple Pie.
Life Of Pie (Indian Apple Pies)
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ginger
- 2 tablespoons icing sugar
- 2 tablespoons ground almonds
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1/2 packet puff pastry
- 1 egg beaten
- 1 large red eating apple
- 6 dates stoned
- 12 teaspoons demerara sugar
- Grated zest of an orange
- Icing sugar to dust
- Preheat oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6 and line a baking tray with parchment
- Mix the spices together and set aside half of the mixture
- Mix one half with the butter, almonds and icing sugar to form a paste
- Roll out the pastry very thinly and cut edges to get a rectangle. Cut this into 6 equal squares. Imagine you are cutting out a frame but not quite, you want to cut the pastry about 1cm inside the edge and make a cut from 1cm in from the corner right along in a straight line to the next corner and then up the other side stopping 1cm from that corner. Start again with the knife 1cm past the corner and run along to next corner and go up the other side stopping 1cm from the corner. Now take the outer pastry frame and fold it overso it forms a frame, fold the other side and you get the twiddly bits at the edge. Paint under the edges to 'glue' the pastry in place and then brush the egg over the whole frame to glaze but not in the middle where the filling goes.
- Spread a teaspoon of the paste in the middle of each pie and top with some of the dates chopped into small pieces
- Grate 3/4 of the apple including the skin and spoon this between the pies on top of the paste
- Using a mandolin finely slive the remaining apple and cut out triangles to place on top of the pies.
- Mix the remaining spices with the demerara sugar and scatter over the pies along with the orange zest.
- Bake for 15 minutes until all puffed and golden.
- Cool on a wire rack and dust with icing sugar to serve.
The Indian spices just add a fun and flavoursome addition to these little pastries, they are warming but not over the top, and the zing of the orange zest really enhances the fruit and gives it a really refreshing edge.
Did I mention diet the other day? Well these are all part of the plan. You can eat what you want but do it in moderation. Have the good things but don’t go overboard on them. Taste the treats but don’t buy the whole shop.
Less is more………
On that note I shall love you and leave you for the weekend. I hope you have a lovely holiday weekend and that the weather is good to you wherever you are.
Are you doing anything exciting?