This is the stuff of dreams. Well, my dreams anyway, when I do dream about pleasant things like food and not running around naked and being unaware of it. The thought of apple pies has been latched onto me ever since my mum and sister brought back more apples than we could consume from the farmers’ market. I began reminiscing about, no, lusting after the best apple pies one could wish for. Not from McD, not even homemade, but the famous pie shop in North Yatala just off the motorway.
It’s become a tradition of ours to stop at the pie shop on every journey home from the Gold Coast. Inside the little and always crowded shop, there’s a picture depicting something like a WW2 soldier thinking about Yatala’s pies. It’s become a household joke that when something tastes so good, not even war could distract you from it.
Unfortunately, I’m still very much neck-deep in SWOTVAC hell where I simply can’t afford to take time out of study to do normal things. To maintain my sanity, I’ve been trying to wrap up the day’s study at about 10:30pm then indulge myself in recreational activities, like baking and
reading crack fanfiction.
Baking in the dead of the night is nothing new for me. It requires the near-ninja skill of keeping noise to an absolute minimum, which means no mixers, no clanging of metal against metal etc. The use of portable LED book lights is also necessary in an otherwise dark kitchen (not recommended as I had to taste jar to jar to find sugar). Naturally that greatly reduces the number of recipes one is able to carry out, but it does have the advantage of coolness in the atmosphere, perfect when one is working with butter.
Yatala’s apple pies have the signature mound of whipped cream with a pastry lid on top. But while I was searching for ways to prevent the excess juices from the apples from seeping into the pastry, I came across jalousies, and my mind was set. The name of the dessert translates to jealousy in French, and while I try to reserve judgement about things I make, I think the result would’ve inspired jealousy in the 7-year-old me who was very much in a relationship with blueberry danishes, and the blueberry version of this is very close to that.
I’ll do a separate post on the pastry, which is a quick rough puff. Despite the name, it’s really quite similar to the straight laminated puff pastry but is much faster and less technique sensitive.
The BA article talks about how poaching the juicier fruits (apples, pears) helps enhance flavour, draw the moisture out and avoid the pastry being done before the fruit is tender. The results were as promised – the bottom pastry was buttery and flaky, untouched by moisture and the poached apples had an intense fruity flavour without being mushy.
I poached the apples in apple juice instead of alcohol to accommodate for the major consumer of my goods, but feel free to use wine or apple cider instead. Experimenting with different fruits, savoury fillings and nuts would be fun as well
Apple & blueberry jalousies (makes 2 10x20cm jalousies)
(inspired by Ba Bar’s Jalousie)
For the puff pastry:
1/2 recipe of rough puff pastry
For the poached apples:
2 medium cooking apples
250g apple juice
20g sugar~10 pieces of citrus peel (optional)
1 cinnamon stick (optional)
1/2 vanilla pod, cut lengthwise (optional)
For the blueberry filling:
zest & juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 tsp vanilla
1tsp icing sugar
100g blueberries (fresh or defrosted)
To poach the apples, peel, core and cut into quarters. Further cut each quarter into thirds so you end up with 24 slices in all. In a pot, put in everything but the apples and heat until the sugar’s dissolved. Add the apples and cook on medium heat until tender but not mushy, about 10-15 minutes. Drain and leave to cool. If you wish, you could reduce the liquid to a syrup and use in other desserts.
For the mascarpone filling, whisk together the mascarpone, lemon zest and juice, vanilla and icing sugar until combined, then mix in the flour.
Preheat the oven to 205C/400F. Roll and cut the (defrosted) puff pastry into 4 equal rectangles approx. 3mm thick, I cut mine 10x20cm. Place two of the rectangles on a lined baking sheet at least 2cm apart.
For the apple jalousie, arrange the poached slices closely and 1cm away from the edges. A sprinkle of chopped walnuts here would be nice. For the blueberry jalousie, spread the mascarpone filling evenly and 1cm away from the edges then place a layer of blueberries on top. Sprinkle blueberries with some demerara sugar if you like.
Egg wash the 1cm margin all around the 2 base rectangles, and gently place the other 2 top pieces on top of the fruit. Press the top and bottom pastry together and make some cuts in the top pastry for aesthetic (I don’t have a lattice roller so fugly slats will have to do) and functional (to let out the steam) reasons. Egg wash the top too, being careful not to let it drip down the sides as it may stick the layers together and hinder maximum puffage.
Bake in 205C/400F hot oven until the pastry has started to rise, about 10 minutes in. Reduce the temperature down to 190C/375F until golden on top, about 20 more minutes. Check that the bottom is crispy, not soggy. If the bottom is still soft, move the tray to the bottom of the oven and let cook in residual heat.
Best served hot with dollop of cream/crème fraîche/ice cream.