Being a baker is not as tough as it looks. If you get the basic fundamentals right, there is no limit to the quantities you can think of, like indulging in your favourite classic poundcake.
The more imaginative you get, though, the more you realise just how many ingredients you can have, just like a health nut used to buy 5,000 cheeses.
Or, in fact, you can design your own pie.
Mark McEwan is a registered baker (e-catering, to use the technical term) from Wales. He owns a restaurant in Wales, Mack’s, and three restaurants in London.
Getting the proportions right is a special skill, he says, as his customers are used to the varieties you will inevitably have to make for one of his venues in Cardiff or Barry.
For Mack’s London venue, he has done a hoover ball pie with caramel apple and sour cherry sauce, and tarted up some yeast doughnuts to look more like the truffles you find in the deli section of Marks & Spencer.
We are now in the middle of his apple pie with a twist.
And, it’s getting him in trouble with the vegan food police.
When that was mentioned on the studio phone line, it was it to solicit all sorts of insightful comments and hear about customers’ experiences with his treats.
Their tastes tend to be more refined than the vegan punters, so it’s no coincidence that he has a real interest in healthy eating and food and will sometimes buy fresh cuts of lamb, mince and sea food if he thinks they are tastier than sliced.
His menu includes beef ribs wrapped in chicken leaves and beef tenderloin, served with rice, peas and carrots.
We talked about serving desserts which have “a twist” to them, like a chocolate cake with yoghurt sorbet and a mint and almond mousse.
His recipes show that his input is not superfluous to make them. On one of his sets, just a cup and a spoon counts as a serving.
We brought out an apple from our cupboards and, almost forgot, there were already some slices in the mixing bowl.
Undeterred, we popped them in the mixing bowl. It was almost like we were making tarts.
Still one last layer in the bowl was more than enough for a base and we’d already done all the frills on top.
We re-fluffed up the crust with a deft movement, and now we had a truly delicious pie with “a twist” to it.
Apparently, the green tops on the fruit weren’t the green tops. Mark takes it as a compliment and gives every apple with “a twist” his or her due.
If you are looking for a apple crumble, then turn your nose up at the basic apple pie. Go straight for the apple pie with a twist, get involved with the entire decadent pie.
If you are cooking for parties or get togethers, be sure to use apples from your gantry.
Bake an apple pie with a twist to impress and impress again.
• Mark McEwan’s wonderful recipes can be found in his magazine The Beat, or online here.