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Restaurant Mason’s Essential dish, Granny Smith and Pink Lady Vanilla apple pie, served with chai and brandy ice-cream, is created by Gareth Williams, the restaurant’s head pastry chef. It features Brick pastry from The Essential Ingredient Newcastle.
Williams began his career with an apprenticeship in New Zealand. When he was 20 he went to London to work. He returned to Australia five years ago to work in Newcastle at Baked Uprising and Subo, prior to starting at Restaurant Mason.
The 28-year-old winner of the 2017 Hunter Culinary Association Food Fight is open to cooking inspiration from anywhere and everywhere, and doesn’t let convention hold him back. The origins of this dish come from an unconventional source; television advertising for McDonald’s hot apple pie.
While Williams is quick to clarify that he has never eaten the fast food chain’s dessert, the concept of making a high quality version of the pastry-wrapped, deep fried apple pie proved an irresistible challenge. He’s given the humble dessert an upgrade with top quality ingredients, the addition of a creme patisserie filling to the apple compote, and a mix of textures using two types of dried and cooked apples, and two types of pastry. Served with chai brandy ice-cream, the variation in hot and cold temperatures, along with the crispy outside and soft sweet filling, make this dessert an instant classic.
Brick Pastry is a wafer-thin pastry, originating from the Maghreb region in North Africa. Although not a new product, it has gained popularity in recent years due to its versatility and media exposure. The pastry sheets come individually separated in packs of 10 sheets. The individual sheets are also known as ‘Warka’, and once the pastry is ‘stuffed’ with filling, it is known as brick or bourek.
Brick Pastry is made of wheat flour, oil, salt and water and can be used in the same way as filo pastry. However it does not dry and flake as dramatically as filo. It also has a much lighter, crunchier texture than filo and can be shallow or deep fried without soaking up large amounts of oil. Traditionally it is used to make interesting parcels of differing shapes and sizes, and its neutral flavour lends itself to both sweet and savoury dishes. To keep, reseal and store in an airtight container. If it is drying out it can be rehydrated by brushing lightly with a damp clean cloth. Tunisian Brick Pastry has up to twelve months shelf-life if stored in a cool, dry place.
For the pastry
1 packet of brick pastry
1 packet of kataifi pastry
For the egg wash
4 egg yolk
120 g pure cream
For the Creme Patisserie, makes 600ml
500 g milk
125 g castor sugar
20 g corn flour
20 g plain flour
1 vanilla pod
2 g salt
For the apple compote
2 kg Pink Lady apples
2 kg Granny Smith apples
120 g butter
200 g caster sugar
2 vanilla pods
50 g sugar
20 g pectin
80 g lemon juice
Set a strainer over a bowl and place this near the stove.
Warm the milk. Heat the milk in the medium pot with the vanilla, until you see wisps of steam. It should not actually be boiling.
Make the egg-sugar base: In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar, flours, and salt. Add the egg yolks and whisk them into the dry ingredients. This will form a thick paste.
It’s fine if the paste looks crumbly or smooth; the important thing is that the ingredients are thoroughly combined.
Add the milk to the egg mixture: Pour a little of the hot milk into the eggs and whisk to combine and pour everything back into the pot:
Heat the pastry cream: Set the pan back over medium heat. Whisk constantly. At first, the pastry cream will look very thin and frothy, but it will start to thicken after a few minutes. When it has thickened to a pudding-like consistency, pause whisking every few seconds to see if the cream has come to a boil. If you see large bubbles popping on the surface, whisk for a few more seconds and then remove the pan from heat.
Strain and cool the pastry cream: pour the cream into the strainer set over the bowl. Stir to push it through the strainer. This will catch any bits of cooked egg that may be in your pastry cream and vanilla pod.
Cover and store: Cover the pastry cream with a piece of plastic wrap pressed right up against the surface of the cream and chill completely.
Peel, quarter, and remove core of apples and slice into half a centimetre pieces.
Once all the apple is cut, split half of the apples on to a tray and semi dry in the oven @ 120 degrees for 3-4 hours.
The other half place into a pot with the butter, first amount of caster sugar and vanilla. Cook this down on a medium heat with a lid on for approximately 40 minutes. Then remove lid and cook for a further 20 minutes.
Once apples are cooked, mix together the pectin, seconded weight of sugar and pectin into a paste. Add this to the apple mix and cook out for a further 5 minutes or until thickened slightly.
Poor the cooked apple mix in to a tray to cool and once the semi dried apples are ready add them to the cooked compote and chill in the fridge until needed.
Place one sheet of brick pastry on to your bench and brush with the egg wash, cut this sheet in half.
Place in the centre of each piece of brick pastry, 2 table spoons of the apple compote and 1 table spoon of the pastry cream, fold the first half of the pastry over the mixture the fold in the sides and roll up to form a spring roll.
Lay out your kataifi pastry into half a meter lengths and place the apple spring roll 1/3 up the length of the kataifi. Wrap the kataifi over the spring roll and wrap the kataifi pastry around the spring roll until it is covered all over, brush with a bit of the egg wash to secure it in place and place on to baking paper until ready to fry.
Heat up oil in a fryer or a deep pan to 185 degrees.
Remove baking paper and fry of the apple pie for 4-5 minutes and the drain on paper towel.
Dust with icing sugar and serve with any ice-cream of you choice.
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