Are you a pizza lover?! Well, why not have a sweet pizza slice then? This apple and walnut combination…. mmmm it’s something that takes me to an all different level.
I do remember my mum making apple strudel all the time and she was always adding walnuts to it.
Toasted walnuts and apple, so delicious and always a favourite combo as opposed to the cheese and raisins version which I was never a fan of, still does not manage to catch me. I do eat it when offered but I do not enjoy the combination.
I have to say my weakness isn’t chocolate, my weakness is pastry, Danish pastry and any home baked pastries whether that’s sweet or savoury. Bring it on and I’ll be a very happy bunny.
I have chosen to post this sweet apple and walnut pizza -a pie in reality- today for a reason.
Why posting a pie today?
Well because I’m not sure you are aware but today is Pi Day. March the 14th, 3.14 in the US. Celebrating Pi Day?! Well, yes, any excuse to make a pie to celebrate Archimedes’ Pi birthday, right?
After all I’m not sure where we would be without this guy’s ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter calculation.
What a really clever Greek guy who was first to calculate such a thing! Now I can calculate exactly the portion of pie I will eat. Precisely! 😉
My pie doesn’t really resemble the Greek letter π but will try that one day. Mine is a circle, like most pies look like but since both pie and π have one common thing (the circle) it’s all good!
A little more about the wonderful walnuts ….
Walnuts are wonderful little things, I always say they are things with little brains.
They make a beautiful snack and are not only delicious, they’re full of super healthy fats (the unsaturated ones = good fats), packed with the best antioxidants, protein, vitamins and minerals.
There are some bad news when it comes to walnuts and nuts in general. These can turn rancid due to the unsaturated oils oxidising fairly quick when exposed to light, to heat and air.
I found a note that I have made years ago (not a clue about the source, sorry) which says “The quickest nuts to turn rancid and taste awful are the walnuts unfortunately followed by pecans then the Brazil nuts, then the peanuts, almonds, pistachios, cashews and hazelnuts. It does make sense to me.
Why I never buy ready shelled walnuts…
Well, because they never taste fresh and most time are in a fairly bad shape. It’s most likely why whenever we buy mixed nuts from the supermarket in a bag, almost 99% of the time the walnuts are impossible to eat and four out of the five will taste unbearably bad. This is my experience anyway, you might have had a different one.
I have to say in all fairness that I did not give this too many chances since I only bought two or three times ready shelled walnuts. They were either just walnuts or mixed with other nuts. Without a fail, each time I had the same bad experience.
So, I stopped buying the kernels, instead I get the whole nut. I have the best walnut source (from my mum’s garden) and I’ve got my best ‘nutbreakers’ here to help. 😉
I woud definitely buy hand-shelled walnuts but they’re not so easy to find, in fact I did not come accross any here in the UK although I am sure I would find if I get looking for those. I’m actually okay as whenever I need walnuts for any recipe I just ask my kids or hubby to break some – all they want to know it’s a number and they get quickly delivered on my table, ready to use.
No mess, no fuss. Lucky me 😉
For now, let’s get this pizza in the oven !
Apple and walnut pizza
- 180 g flour I used ½ white ½ wholemeal
- 100 g cold butter cut into small cubes
- 20 g icing sugar + some more for dusting
- 1 egg yolk I used organic
- 1 kg apples organic
- 1 tbsp cinnamon powder
- 170 g sugar * or more
- 1 tsp rum essence
- 2 tbsp semolina
- 80 g walnuts toasted * plus a few extra to add on top
- Prepare a 20-22cm ovenproof dish. Grease and set aside.
- To make the pastry we need to place all dry ingredients into a food processor and blitz till mixture becomes and looks like bread crumbs.
- Add egg yolk and 1 tbsp water. Carry on mixing, add a tiny little more water if required until the dough comes nicely together.
- Tip it out into a bowl, knead a little more and cover with cling film. Wrap and allow to rest in the fridge for approximately 30 minutes or so.
- While the pastry dough rests, let’s prepare the apples by peeling and coring them. Cut into chunks and place into a food processor. Pulse 3-4 times and add those to a deeper frying pan. Might need to do this in a couple of batches or even more, depending on the size of your food processor.
- Chop the walnuts (leaving some halves aside to use on top at the end). Toast the nuts for literally 1 minute and set aside.
- Preheat the oven at 180C or 375F. Place the minced apples on a medium fire and cook with the sugar for about 5 minutes until nice and soft. Add cinnamon, the chopped and toasted walnuts and the rum essence. Set aside. Allow to cool for a few minutes.
- Take the pasty out of the fridge. Roll on a flour dusted surface creating a 1/2cm thickness pie base. Shape into the shape of your oven dish. Arrange on the bottom of the dish.
- Place some parchment paper over the dough sheet and bake (using some baking beans or another weight) so it does not rise much.
- Bake the pastry base for 8-10 min. Take out when ready, remove the weight or the baking beans as well as the parchment paper. Sprinkle on the bottom of the pie the semolina (evenly) and top it up with the apple mixture. Spread evenly.
- Create some strips (if any dough is left) place on top creating a design of your choice. Mine is a silly one 😉
- Add the half walnuts on top and bake for about 20 min at 180C/375F.
- Serve with a little dusting of icing sugar and enjoy warm or cold with or without a scoop of ice cream.
- I only used 170g sugar because the apples were quite sweet and I dislike the apple filling being too sweet. Add this amount of sugar and taste it. Add more sugar if you feel it isn’t sweet enough for you.
- Walnuts I always buy those in shell as I was saying earlier. Walnuts are super oily and when breaking the shell if it’s not done pretty gently the nuts will get bruised. Due to the high content of oils the kernels will go stale and taste rancid fairly quick. I store them in their own shell and break as much as I need whenever I need them. They are sensitive little things, you know?! I therefore strongly recommend you break them as you need them for best results.