Baking | Wholewheat Apple Walnut Cheddar Thyme Hand Pies … it’s Pi{e} Day after all #wholegrain #together #healthy #pie

“The people who influence you are the people who believe in you.”
Henry Drummond

Wholewheat Apple Walnut Cheddar Thyme Hand PiesWholewheat Apple Walnut Cheddar Thyme Hand Pies … pies for a day like today that honours the humble pie. Handiwork of a genius foodie  who equated Pi Day to Pie day ….and the rest as they say is history. In taste terms these turned out to be quite delicious. I think they are a fab fit for Pie day which incidentally falls today on the 14th of March. {Read 3.14}

Wholewheat Apple Walnut Cheddar Thyme Hand Pies There was a time a couple of years ago when I never missed doing a pie for Pie Day. The whole concept had me enchanted. With a deep dislike {read  hatred} for math in school, the very concept of 22/7=3.14 being applied to mathematical problems flew over the top of my head. My poor father would break his head trying to drill some math intelligence into me. Never happened.

Wholewheat Apple Walnut Cheddar Thyme Hand Pies Then came food blogging, the Daring Bakers, and a LOT of new foodie friends. We had loads in common. We would wake up and hop into twitter from right across the globe, and break into a twitter chat! It was an obsession, and a load of good was born out of it too. It was in March one year when, much to our amazement, someone started a chain asking to make pies for Pi Day? Most of us crawled out from under the rock … it was a huge YES!

Pi Day is an American annual celebration commemorating the mathematical constant π (pi). Pi Day is observed on March 14 (or 3/14 in the month/day date format), 3, 1, and 4 are the first three significant digits of π in decimal form. In 2009, the United States House of Representatives supported the designation of Pi Day.

I’ve had some great pie baking on my blog. I credit a lot of what I’ve learnt to the Daring Bakers. Without them I wouldn’t have been half the baker I currently am. Some pies were FUN all the way like this Pie Bird & A Strawberry Pie I made after watching the film Life of Pi. I loved it!Strawberry Pie ... & a pie bird Some pie baking memories are poignant like the time there was a call for International Pie Day in honour of Jennifer Perillo. Jenifer’s Mikey loved Peanut Butter Cream Pie and she kept postponing making it for him. Then suddenly one day it was too late. I couldn’t make peanut butter cream pie as I had no peanut butter or cream cheese at home, but I made a no-bake Upside Down Mango Quark Cheesecake Pie. Upside Down Mango Quark Cheese PieSo was talking to the Ruchira yesterday and she said she was making a yummy Cheese & Bacon Pie … and the first thing that came to my mind was Pie Day. She was like huh? There’s something like Pie Day? So the mathematical equation was duly explained. Was she excited or what.  She loved the very idea, and that in turn got me going. I would do pie too, hand pies!

ThymeWhat a memorable day today was. Just the motivation I needed! No time to do grocery so I had to work with what I had on hand. Apples & thyme. Walnuts and cheddar are pantry staples, so I knew just what to make. Not one for an APF pastry, I decided to challenge myself. Would do a wholewheat version … and surprise, surprise, it worked beautifully. Crisp and light. You wouldn’t miss the normal pastry at all!

Wholewheat Apple Walnut Cheddar Thyme Hand Pies Shortcrust pastry needs delicate handling; don’t overwork it. Make sure the cut in butter is pea sized. Add just enough liquid so that it comes together comfortably, little more than just staying together than pinched. Pull it together in a ball, don’t knead the dough. The pastry gets tough. Cling wrap it into a flat disk and chill for a couple of hours. Who doesn’t like a good rest?  The pastry does too. Mine got an overnight rest so I had little work for this morning. I did the filling last night too so basically I was just down to rolling and pinching today!

Eggs & ThymeI got the eggs out for a glaze. Then decided to keep it a 100% vegetarian. Someone on FB posted a honey glaze ages ago. Unfortunately I cant remember her name, but I remember honey! I love the the goldenish brown hue it gave my pastry.  It’s a great choice if you want to keep a bake a 100% egg free. I used to do a single cream wash in the past. Honey is my new wash to go!

Wholewheat Apple Walnut Cheddar Thyme Hand Pies The flavours are beautiful too. Apples and walnuts are good old friends, cinnamon ties them together. Thyme and cheddar stirred in some magic. What a pleasing bite these had. Sweet little hand pies, just perfect for Pie Day. Despite being tired to bits with renovation on at home, a little nudge from a friends is all it took. It’s difficult to be optimistic all day, every day; and sometimes we need a little nudge to get on track! That is the power of being #together!

Wholewheat Apple Walnut Cheddar Thyme Hand Pies So I manged to bake pie to mark the day. Something else good also happened today. I walked 10,000 steps with the GOQii fitness band. What’s that you might ask? More about that on my next post!

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Baking | Apple, Oats and Walnut Skillet Crumble … warm, fun and gluten free comfort food

“It is remarkable how closely the history of the apple tree is connected with that of man.”
Henry David Thoreau

Apple, Oats and Walnut Skillet CrumbleApple, Oats and Walnut Skillet Crumble … true comfort food and ever so simple. It’s one I make often, a crumble I mean. This year began in a special way. I had a surprise visitor and she brought me something I have longed for forever! A cast iron skillet, straight from the kiln, well almost, unseasoned and raw!

Apple, Oats and Walnut Skillet Crumble Thankfully Sangeeta has a world of knowledge about this stuff. This looked raw, rustic and a little scary to tell you the truth. Man Friday was happy as ever to see it and went on to tell me how much cast iron was cooked in when he was young, and that the benefits are tremendous. How times have changed, and healthy practices have been buried under the sands of time!

Apple, Oats and Walnut Skillet Crumble  Well he scrubbed it well with a piece of brick, removed the dusty coating etc. I dried it well, seasoned it with some cold pressed mustard oil. Then baked it in a hot oven for 30 minutes. It came out looking moorish. Can you fall in love with a skillet? I did! The great thing about cast iron utensils are that they can go from the stove top into the oven, and back again! The other huge benefit of course is that they gently seep iron into your food adding additional iron into your diet.

Apple, Oats and Walnut Skillet Crumble I was quite over the moon this morning and since I had just apples on hand, I set out to make an Apple, Oats and Walnut Skillet Crumble. { …for those who noticed, I meant to use thyme, but sans glasses, I think I used oregano from the fridge instead! Oops! }. Simple, basic, easy apple pie, something that comforts and warms, especially in these cold winter days. Baking it in the skillet took this up a few notches for me. I loved using the skillet, built an emotional connect with it, and want to use it all the time. 

Apple, Oats and Walnut Skillet Crumble  Past the crumble, I grilled a cheese and tomato sandwich for the daughter in it . Crisp, beautiful, comforting! Fried eggs and roasted tomatoes too. I can’t get enough of it. You’ll see a lot more of it popping up all over the place. Thank you Sangeeta, and thank you too for the coloured glasses! It’s been an inspiring beginning to the new year!

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Baking | GF Apple Pistachio Craisin Crumble … with oats and finger millet {ragi}

“Autumn seemed to arrive suddenly that year. The morning of the first September was crisp and golden as an apple…”
J.K. Rowling

GF Apple Pistachio Craisin Crumble ... with oats and finger millet {ragi}GF Apple Pistachio Craisin Crumble … you might have noticed a shift towards whole grains here on PAB. We all learn over time, and we all notice health trends. It’s been a while since I’ve used all purpose flour in my food. Savoury Phyllo Pot PiesThat was of course until I succumbed to two things … the Daring Bakers savoury pot pies challenge above {the post yet to see light of day}, followed by baklava {below} since I made double the amount of phyllo pastry! BaklavaWith autumn finally setting in, our days of apple crumbles, pumpkin pies, soups and the like have set in too. There’s a definite nip in the air and the wind is becoming colder by the day! Winter already seems just a heartbeat away!

autumn

GF Apple Pistachio Craisin Crumble ... with oats and finger millet {ragi} 2I gave up wheat almost 7 months ago as I thought I was allergic to it. 6 months later, even though the pounds haven’t fallen off as many peeps claim, I am feeling better. Yet, me giving up wheat was different. You see, I don’t have a sweet tooth, so desserts, or the lack of them, don’t bother me.

GF Apple Pistachio Craisin Crumble ... with oats and finger millet {ragi} Inspired by me and troubled by a few minimal health issues, Mr PAB decided to follow suit. That spelt trouble for me. Me I can take care of. He is another ball game altogether. The mains I can handle. It’s the desserts that bother me at times. This was a crumble I made for him, having scouted the local shops for finger millet flour.

GF Apple Pistachio Craisin Crumble ... with oats and finger millet {ragi} Interestingly it came out quite delicious and went down rather well with the rest of the sweet-toothed bunch too. They love everything apple in dessert, and this got a thumbs up. I did throw in some pistachios and cranberries for colour as otherwise finger millet {ragi} lends a rather dull tone to the crumble.

Dark chocolate Buckwheat roasted almond browniesAmaranth chocolate cakeI did Dark Chocolate Buckwheat Almond Brownies and an Amaranth Chocolate Cake recently, the latter not my own recipe though. Both wonderful. I am clearly enjoying the challenge! Suddenly everything seems gluten free! {You can find more gluten free recipes here}. Any GF dessert {and breakfast of course} suggestions are welcome with open arms. 

Gluten free dessertsNext on my list is was amaranth brownies since I recently bought some amaranth flour. My previous experiment with amaranth brownies with amaranth that I tried to grind at home resulted in a slightly granular texture. This time around they came out great!

Khari Baoli, Old DelhiThis post has been sitting for quite a while in drafts. I made the crumble after a recent trip to Khari Baoli in Old Delhi. Khari Baoli, Asia’s biggest spice market is fascinating, chaotic, colourful, loud, noisy and a shoppers paradise for folk like me. I stocked up on my supply of dry fruits and garam masalas. Khari Baoli, Old Delhi

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