Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Why there is no silkworm in the wild?

Last night,we baked this mulberry and apple crumble pie for our gathering of friends at home.It soon became a conversation piece at the table because most of the young Singaporeans present,not only had they not tasted it before, they had not seen a fresh mulberry fruit. Since we didn't use up all the mulberries collected from this year's bumper crop on the tree, we felt duty-bound to pass a bowl of mulberry fruits around. Of course, we were not surprised by their admittance that they had not seen a fresh mulberry fruit since they grew in a city state most of their lives. Furthermore, mulberries are more homegrown rather than commercial available in the stores or supermarkets as the fruits are very perishable and does not ripen off at the same time. In the course of conversation, it was brought up that the black fruited mulberry (morus nigra) that we eat is a different to the white fruited mulberry ( morus alba) leaves that silkworms eat as their primary food source. Another point of interest in this 'hanashi no tane" (conversation piece) is that the silkworm has been domesticated since sericulture has been practised for at least 5,000 years in China that it is entirely dependent on humans for its reproduction and no longer occurs naturally in the wild. I can't help but to ponder over the piece mulberry pie, is it not correct, due to the domestication process by human having accelerated the pace of evolution in an unnatural way, that I have not find a single silkworm chomping away the leaves of my mulberry tree.

Mulberry and Apple pie Recipe.

2 cups plain flour
1/4 cup of caster sugar
125 g cold butter, cubed
2 tbsp of cold water
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp of orange rind


500 g fresh mulberries
410 g can apples
1/4 cup caster sugar
1 tbsp cornflour

Add sugar, orange rind into the flour. Rub in the cubed butter into flour until the mixture is fine and crumbly and add water until the mixture resembles bread crumbs. Place the apples, sugar and corn flour in a small pan and stir over low heat until the mixture is slightly thickened. Set aside to cool and add mulberries and gently stir through. Spoon into a 23 cm pie dish and smooth the surface and sprinkle the flour mixture on top of the pie.Sprinkle the brown sugar. Bake at 210 C for 10 minutes and reduce oven temperature to 180 C and bake for another 30 minutes or until crumble topping is golden. Serve with cream or ice cream.

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