Baking in India is a challenge. It is highly upsetting to walk into the best of markets and not find all the gorgeous bakeware and baking ingredients that the great bakers of the world blog about. Just last week, I went to La Moulde or Arife as it is more popularly known, the only baking supplies store at Crawford Market to find that they do not stock the following:

  • Any manner of chip/button apart from dark chocolate (there ARE other kinds?)
  • Copper cookie cutters/pans (too much to ask for)
  • Fondants (eh?)
  • Ready sugar flowers/decorations (yeah, right)

Let’s not even get started on ready-rolled or frozen pastry. And given the fact that I do not have the time or energy to make pastry dough from scratch given a certain somebody’s growing energy levels and expanding geographies, I usually end up not making pies and suchlike much as I love them.
But what does one do when the craving for apple pie absolutely insists on striking? You dig into your trusty freezer and pull out a pack of samosa pattis (strips). Evil, anti-baking Indian market, I’m going to take you down with these.

I have used samosa strips on a previous occasion to make the dish that the strips were actually manufactured for—samosas. But today, I knew they would transform themselves to what I wanted them to be—an apple pie (apple lasagna, actually)! I was not disappointed at all. The crisp outer layer of my improvised flaky pastry revealed a perfectly soft and flavorsome inside. I was so impressed, I served myself a portion and did not even bother to spoon on some cream. But then, I’ve got the rest of the pan to myself. (Evil laughter)

Ingredients:

  • 6-8 samosa strips (or as required)
  • 3 apples of choice (I only had red delicious), peeled an thinly sliced
  • 4-5 dates, deseeded and chopped
  • A handful of golden raisins
  • A squirt of lemon
  • About 1 tbsp. (or as per taste) sugar
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • A sprinkling of powdered or castor sugar
  • ½ tsp. grated cinnamon

Method:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees centigrade.
  2. Grease a rectangular oven-proof dish. I used a small ceramic dish measuring about 4 inches by 8 inches.
  3. Place the apples with the lemon juice (to keep the apples from oxidizing and to retain color) and sugar in a heavy-bottomed pan and allow to cook down.
  4. Add the dates and golden raisins when just about done.
  5. Turn off the heat and add the cinnamon.
  6. Line the bottom of the dish with a single layer of samosa strips. If a bit of the strips come out of the pan, let them; they can be folded back in for the second layer.
  7. Spoon some of the apple mixture onto the strips and fold the excess strips onto the mixture.
  8. Cover completely with another layer of strips.
  9. Continue process until the mixture is over and you have a layer of samosa strips on the top.
  10. Brush this with the lightly beaten egg and place another couple of strips—this is what will yield the flaky pastry effect.
  11. Finally, brush the top with the egg and sprinkle some powdered/caster sugar—this is what will give you that warm, caramelized effect.
  12. Place in the pre-heated oven for about 20 mins. or until the top is crisp and golden.
  13. Serve warm or cold, with or without cream/vanilla ice-cream.
  14. Pat yourself on the back for having beaten the non-baking Indian market. As if they care.