Wednesday, January 8, 2014

My Sweet Year-- Apple Raisin Roll





My mind goes back to New Year's Eve a year ago. Some fifteen friends gather to pray the rosary. We pray for our own intentions but my close friends Colleen and Mary Lou say a heartfelt prayer for us. The old changes to new and so does my fortune. I count blessings. An old new house. A new house. Unequivocal and overwhelming support from family and friends. New beginnings for Shauna and Rehan. Family that visits from near and far. Friends who matter, stay and party a while. Travels to widen our horizons and waistlines. Visits to loved ones. And a few lamentations . Mostly, for me this is year I welcome you into my kitchen. You sit at my table. You imitate what I concoct. And so many of you take pride in your experiments! 

This culinary effort has been long in the making. A niggling thought residing in my subconscious for many years. It literally takes a flood to conceive this outpouring. The words take a while to coalesce. My daughter holds my hand through the teething stages. My son manipulates photographs to please my aesthetics. My husband is my grammarian, albeit a little late! The ideas ebb and flow, peak and perish. The omnipresent camera lives by my plate. As I critique art concepts of light and shadow, I apply those concepts to plates of potatoes, pooris, pancakes. The sun doesn't always cooperate, night shadows filter in unbidden and I fight with artistic angularity. But most often it comes together and as I hit the 'publish' button, it's always a sense of relief, of anticipation, of thankfulness.

Here is something sweet to start the year. Pastry and apples live in so many recipes. I make a yogurt pastry from one of my favorite cookbooks Sweet Miniatures by Flo Braker. It is versatile, delicate, flaky, just a sheer delight to handle. Baker beware!..all good things start with butter!!! It's an unchangeable fact of life!!The original recipe calls for sour cream. I don't have any in the fridge so I use yogurt instead as Ms Braker suggests. The result is quite delightful. My go-to apple for pie is Gala. I find small Gala apples at Trader Joes. They are not too tart and hold up wonderfully in a pie. I hope they do the same in this strudel-like confection.Since this is new territory for me, I am tiptoeing! 

Apple Raisin Roll
Serves 4

2 cups unsifted all-purpose Flour
1/4 teaspoon Salt
2 sticks (8 oz) cold Butter
1/2 cup Yogurt
1 tablespoon Butter
1 pound Gala Apples
1/4 cup golden Raisins
1/3 cup Sugar
1/4 teaspoon Lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon Lemon juice
I Egg

Begin with the pastry. Place flour and salt in a food processor bowl. 

Cut cold butter into small 1/2 inch pieces and add to bowl.
 

Pulse flour and butter 5 to 6 times till butter resembles small peas.
 

Whisk yogurt and add to flour. 

Pulse once again 3 to 5 times or till dough starts to come together. 

Empty contents of bowl onto a floured surface and knead gently till dough holds together. You might have to add a few drops of water at this point if the dough doesn't come together.
 

Divide dough in half. Place each half in Saran or a plastic bag, flatten the disc a bit and refridgerate for 2 hours.
 

Prepare the filling by peeling, coring and thinly slicing apples. 

Heat 1 tablespoon of butter in a nonstick pan.

Add apples, raisins, sugar, lemon zest and juice and sauté for 10-15 minutes till apples are golden and lightly caramelized. Keep aside to cool completely.
 




Take the pastry out of the fridge when you are ready to make the roll. 

Heat the oven to 375F.

Lightly flour a surface and roll pastry into a rough oval or rectangle about 10 inches long and 6 inches wide. The pastry shouldn't thaw out too much. If the pastry is hard to roll out, thump it with the rolling pin to help it along! 

Put the cooled filling on the pastry. Fold in the edges in and roll the pastry away from you.
 




Crack egg into a bowl and lightly whisk it. 

Brush on a little egg at the end of the roll and seal the edge.

Place roll carefully on a Silpat- lined or parchment- lined baking sheet.

Brush whisked egg over the top and sides of roll.
 

Bake roll for 20 to 25 minutes. The pastry should be golden brown.

Cool roll for 5 minutes before you cut into it.
 

It tastes best warm.


NOTES

As I said Gala is my favorite apple. I like the way it keeps it's shape and doesn't get all mushy. 

Feel free to use sour cream in place of the yogurt. It makes for a flaky, crumbly, tangy pastry.
 

 
The new year is always about new resolutions, fervent and adamant. We start well-intentioned with salad dreams! At least I do! And it has been done for the first week! A dessert isn't the right way to go but since my year ended on a sweet note, why not begin one in the same fashion!!! There is an auspicious saying in Hindi ' moo mitha karo' or let's sweeten you mouth! It's been over ten thousand views for this site!!!! You are the reason I am inspired to write! Thank you.