Well, Autumn seems to have crept up on us recently. The trees are changing colours, there are leaves to crunch through and conkers to hunt for. Here’s a recipe for apple pie which is perfect for this time of the year. It is a double-crust pie so there is pastry on the base and on top of the fruit.
For the pastry:
- 12oz plain flour
- 6oz cold butter (or 3oz butter and 3oz white fat, which will give a lovely ‘short’ pastry)
- A few tablespoons of cold water
For the pie:
- 3lb Bramleys, or other cooking apples
- 3oz granulated sugar + another tablespoon to sprinkle on top of the pie
- 3oz soft brown sugar
- 1.5 tablespoons of plain flour
- 1.5oz butter
- 1 beaten egg
- Juice of half a lemon
- 10 inch / 24 cm deep sided pie dish
- Rolling pin
- Table knife
- A fork
- Pastry brush
- Small cutters
- Chopping board
- Small sharp knife
- Large mixing bowl
- Small mixing bowl
To make the pastry:
You don’t have to make your own pastry if you don’t want to. It is readily available in the refrigerated section of the supermarket, usually somewhere near the butter. You need to look for shortcrust pastry.
Making your own pastry really is very easy though so why not give it a go? I find that children love to make pastry as they really enjoy getting their hands into the mixture. Pastry also freezes really well so you can make a large batch then pop some in the freezer ready for another day. Just defrost it for a few hours at room temperature.
1) Sieve the plain flour into a large bowl. Add in the butter (or butter and white fat), then use the table knife to cut the butter into small cubes in the flour.
2) Using your finger tips, gently rub the butter into the flour. To do this, get some of the mixture in your finger tips, lift your hands above the bowl and let the mix fall through your fingers whilst gently rubbing them together. Continue rubbing in the butter until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs.
3) Make a well in the centre of your mixture. Then pour in a little of the water, just a couple of tablespoons to start with.
4) Using your table knife, start stirring in the centre of the bowl. Gradually bring more of the butter and flour mixture into the water. When the mixture begins to look dry, sprinkle in a little more water. Continue to mix. Towards the end, you will need to use your hands to bring the mixture together into a ball of dough. Do not add to much water!
5) On a work surface dusted with flour, gently knead the dough for a minute until it looks smooth. Don’t overwork it or you will have tough pastry.
6) Cut off a third of the pastry. Wrap this in clingfilm and place in the fridge.
Making the pie:
1) Take the large portion of dough and roll it out on a work surface which has been dusted with plenty of flour. Sprinkle a little flour on top of the dough to stop your rolling pin from sticking to it. Move the pastry regularly so it does not get stuck to your work top.
2) Continue to roll out the dough until it is big enough to fit in your pie dish.
3) Put your rolling pin in the middle of the pastry. Flip one side of the pastry over the rolling pin. This will make it easier for you to lift the pastry into the pie dish.
4) Carefully lift the pastry over the dish and let it drape into the container. Gently ease the pastry into the base and sides of the dish. Ensure that it also fits over the lip of the dish. Trim away any excess pastry with a sharp knife. Place the pie into the fridge to chill.
5) While the pastry is chilling, you can prepare the filling. Half fill a mixing bowl with cold water and add the juice of half a lemon – this will prevent the apple from going brown. Peel, quarter, core and finely slice the apples then place them into the water and lemon juice straight away.
6) In the small mixing bowl, place the granulated sugar, soft brown sugar and flour then stir together.
7) Remove the pie dish from the fridge. Tip the apples into the colander to drain off all the water.
8) Scatter some of the sugar and flour mixture over the base of the pastry. Arrange half of the apples on top of this. Then sprinkle half of the remaining sugar and flour mixture over the apples. Add the rest of the apples and top with the rest of the sugar and flour. Dot the top with the butter.
9) Brush some of the beaten egg around the lip of pastry. This will act as the ‘glue’ to stick the top of the pie on.
10) Dust your work surface with flour and remove the remaining third of the pastry from the fridge. Roll out this pastry until it is large enough to cover the top of your pie. Using your rolling pin to help you, lift the pastry and drape it over the apple filling.
11) Use the fork to press and crimp the edges of the pastry together.
12) Cut three slits in the top of the pie and trim the edges of the pastry to neaten up the pie. Brush some beaten egg all over the top of the pie.
13) Now you can add some decoration to your pie! Squash any pastry trimmings together into a ball then roll out on a flour-dusted work top. Cut out any shapes you like – a bit of child labour is useful here!
14) Place the decorations on top of the pie crust and brush over them with a little more beaten egg. Finally, sprinkle with a tablespoon of granulated sugar. Your pie is now ready for the oven.
15) Cook in an oven which has been pre-heated to 200 degrees centigrade for approximately 45 minutes, or until the pastry is lovely and golden.
16) Allow the pie to cool a bit before serving.
You can serve the pie hot with custard, vanilla ice cream, pouring cream or just by itself but it is just as nice at room temperature. This pie will serve 8-10 people. Any leftovers can be covered with clingfilm and kept in the fridge for several days.
If you like, you can also add other fruits, such as blackberries or raspberries.