Although I am British and should not technically celebrate the American Day of Independence, I will take any excuse for a party. Furthermore, as a secret would-be freedom fighter, I see a lot to celebrate in any independence day.
Phew, now that I have managed to philosophize my way into celebrating, let the fun begin! There are some wonderfully patriotic dishes from across the food blogging network this weekend so there is plenty of imagination and inspiration to go around and to help you celebrate in style!
Salads and Sides:
My contribution to the 4th July celebrations comes in the form of treat-size plum and apple pies. Fusing American and British flavours that are common to both our heritages, these bite-size pies are perfect for sharing with friends and family.
For the pastry:
For the filling:
Grease a shallow cupcake tin and preheat the oven to 180C.
Put the flour and butter into a large mixing bowl and rub lightly between your fingertips until it is all mixed together and looks like breadcrumbs. Then add a little water, a few drops at a time, and bring the mixture together to make a dough. Handle the dough as little as possible – wrap in clingfilm and put in the fridge to chill for at least half an hour.
In the meantime, put a pan on the stove and fill with water. Peel and chop the apple and put into the pan along with the caster sugar and bring to the boil, stirring well to help the sugar dissolve. Simmer gently until the apple is beginning to soften, then add the plum pieces and cook for 5 more minutes Drain and set to one side.
Flour a work surface and rolling-pin and remove the pastry dough from the fridge. Roll out until it is less than 1cm thick and use a small, round cookie cutter to cut circles of pastry. Keep the remnants of the pastry. Press into the cupcake tin and stab each one with a fork to prevent the base rising. Blind bake for 10 mins.
With the remaining pastry, roll out and cut into thin strips, long enough to stretch over each pie.
Remove the pastry cases from the oven and spoon some of the apple and plum mixture into each case. Twist the strips of pastry and secure to the cases with egg yolk. Glaze the twists with egg yolk then sprinkle with mixed spice. Bake for 15-20 mins.
Serve hot with cream, or take along to a picnic to eat cold. Enjoy!