23/01/2017

Hello everyone!

I am officially wishing you happy New Year through my 1st recipe post. Many have started the year with special weight loss programs and detox recipes, so what? I am sure there are people out there that have wisely chosen not to eat too much during the holidays or maybe there are people like me that could use some weight. The first post of the year, my recipe for an Upside Down Apple Pie, is also the first post for the 2016 Food Blog Awards. As you may already know, Sweet Applepie is nominated for the Best Sweet Treats category. You can vote for me by clicking here.

This year’s baking challenges include pie, cake and sweet bread making with Robin Hood all-purpose flour as an ally to all our baking experiments. I decided to start with pies and cakes and dedicate February to sweet bread (tsoureki) baking.

I was really excited to see that Robin Hood flour is the sponsor for the category I am competing this year. I know the product really well as I use it widely in my baking. Robin hood all-purpose flour is made from high quality Canadian wheat and it’s consistent high quality characteristics provide bakers and cooks with the confidence that they will always have the best results.

Some may have noticed that I often talk about gluten and flour’s protein content in my posts. Robin Hood’s all-purpose flour protein content at 13% (13.20% to be precise) makes it a great choice for baking a variety of goods; breads, cakes, cookies, tarts and various pastry doughs. An excellent flour for every baking and cooking requirement. Not to forget to mention that we are using the unbleached all-purpose flour (bleached flours are banned from Europe anyway).

But let me say a few words about my Upside Down Apple Pie. This recipe is inspired by a humble 4-ingredient pie traditionally baked in my mother’s birth place, a village at the southern area of Greece. The pie that inspired me is made from flour, water, raisins and sesame seeds. Flour and water are combined to form a thin batter. A portion of the batter is evenly spread in the pan and baked for 10 minutes. Raisins, sesame seeds and a second layer of batter go on top. The pie hits the oven again. This process is repeated for 4 or more times or until all the batter is used. After baked, multiple batter layers create the illusion of a pie made with thick phyllo pastry.

This technique seemed special, to me at least, so I used the idea to create my very own upside down apple pie. I made a thin aromatic batter using lemon zest, vanilla extract and almond milk instead of water to get a light nutty aftertaste. Apples, sugar and cinnamon on top and also between the layers and just like that I, Sweet Applepie, made my very own Upside Down Apple Pie.

Upside Down Apple Pie
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INGREDIENTS
  1. For a round 22-25cm / 9-10in baking pan or pie dish
For the apples
  1. 5 apples (use your favorite variety)
  2. 120g / 4.20oz brown sugar
  3. 1 tsp. cinnamon
For the batter
  1. 250g / 8.80oz Robin Hood all-purpose flour
  2. 1/2 tsp. salt
  3. 2 tbsp. sugar
  4. The zest of one lemon
  5. 350g / 12.30oz almond milk*
  6. 1 tsp vanilla extract or the seeds of half a vanilla bean
  7. 40g / 1.40oz slivered almonds
Plus
  1. Butter (vegan or classic) for greasing the pan*
  2. Icing sugar for dusting the pie (optional)
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Wash, peel, core and cut apples in thin slices. Set aside for 30 minutes to allow natural softening**.
  2. In a bowl mix sugar with cinnamon. Set aside.
  3. In a larger bowl sift flour. Add salt, sugar, lemon zest, almond milk* and vanilla. Whisk mixture until it becomes a thin, lump free batter. Mix in slivered almonds. Set aside.
  4. Generously grease your baking pan (bottom and sides) and leave a few small bits of butter at the bottom as well***.
  5. Layer half the apple slices in a circular pattern with each one overlapping the other.
  6. Repeat until the entire bottom of the pan is covered. Sprinkle half the brown sugar on top.
  7. Cover with half the batter and bake in a pre-heated convection oven at 180o C / 350o F for 10 minutes, just until the first layer of batter sets.
  8. Remove pan from the oven.
  9. Sprinkle the rest of the brown sugar mixture over the thickened batter layer.
  10. Layer the remaining apple slices on top and cover with the rest of the batter. Place pan back in the oven for another 40-50 minutes, until golden brown****. An inserted skewer should come out clean of batter.
  11. Remove pie from the oven and let it sit in the pan for 10 minutes.
  12. Run a knife around the edges to release pie from the sides. Place a large round plate on top of the pan and flip quickly. Give the cake pan a few pats to make sure the cake is released, then lift off the pan.
  13. Let the pie cool completely before dusting with icing sugar.
BAKER'S NOTES
  1. *Since I developed this recipe while being in a dairy-free diet I had to make a dairy-free version so that I could taste the dessert myself. You can use cow's milk instead of almond milk in the recipe although I'd recommend using the low-fat kind because it's thinner than full fat milk. You can also use real butter to grease the pan, that adds to the flavor and aroma of the pie as well. For an almond milk-free vegan version of the recipe you can use rice milk or even water mixed with apple juice (in this case I'd recommend losing the sugar in the batter).
  2. **Since the apples will be finally baked, natural browning while sitting in the bowl is not a problem. However, if you want to avoid that you can mix apple slices with some lemon juice. From what I've seen setting apples aside for a while to soften naturally helps apple pieces to bake better in pies.
  3. ***Greasing the pan is a must so that the pie won't stick to the sides or the bottom.
  4. ****If the surface of the pie browns too quickly cover it with aluminum foil until the whole pie is properly baked.
  5. I wouldn't recommend using a spring form pan to bake upside down desserts because liquefied sugar can escape the pan and drip to the bottom of the oven.
  6. The batter is quite thin / runny and is just enough to create two thin layers to cover the apple slices. Weigh the batter in advance and make sure you use half the quantity for each layer.
  7. Don't wait too long to transfer the pie onto a plate. Melted sugar could firm causing the top apple layer to stick to the bottom of the baking pan/dish.
Sweet Applepie http://www.sweetapplepie.eu/

Happy baking!

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