Apple Pie

It’s difficult to not give in to comfort food as the weather turns colder & the nights darker at this time of year & I think autumn provides some of the best. We still have the luxury of fresh fruits & whilst plates start to get a little heavier, we’re a long way off from the stodge of winter. I think most of us immediately think of the classics when it comes to comfort food, usually the sort of stuff from our childhood… Sunday roasts, pies, puddings & crumbles. Seeing as we’re still firmly in crumble & pie territory with apples & pears still at their best, I couldn’t let the opportunity slip by to bring you a slice of my own comforting apple pie.

apple pie

Whether you eat it hot, cold, dribble in cream or doused in custard, who doesn’t like apple pie! We’ve enjoyed the taste of lightly spiced & sweetened apples in pastry for quite a while, with the first recorded recipe for apple pie written back in 1381 in England. The recipe called for figs, raisins, pear, saffron & of course, apples. We’ve come a long way since then, back when pastry was used merely as a storage method for it’s fillings, cheerily referred to as a ‘coffin’ as most pies would contain meat within its hardened, disposable pastry shell. These days we’re far less wasteful & much better at making rich, buttery pastry that one wouldn’t dare dream of wasting. Here in my own apple pie, I’ve used a rich, sweet pastry to case a simple, uncomplicated filling of littly spiced & sweetened apples.

APPLE PIE
(makes one 18cm pie)

Ingredients:

For the shortcrust pastry:

  • 375g plain flour
  • 150g icing sugar
  • 190g butter
  • 3 egg yolks
  • A little water (if needed)
  • 1 egg, beaten (for brushing)

For the filling:

  • 650g apples, cored & chopped
  • 4 tbsp cornflour
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 100g granulated sugar

Method:

To make the pastry:

  • Begin by sifting together the flour, salt & icing sugar into a large bowl
  • Add the cubed butter to the bowl & using your fingertips, rub the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs
  • Add the egg yolks to the bowl & stir through
  • If needed add in 1 tbsp of water & stir through, continue to add water sparingly, only adding 1 tbsp at a time, just enough until the mixture starts to clump together
  • Use your hands to finish bringing the mixture together to form a dough
  • Flatten the dough into a shallow disc shape, cover in a beeswax wrap or some cling film & chill in the fridge for at least an hour (you could even do this the day before)
  • Roll out the pastry into a round, to roughly the thickness of a £1 coin, one large enough to fill the tart tin
  • Line the tart tin & trim away any excess, bring them back together into a ball, re-wrap & place back in the fridge until later

To make the filling:

  • Begin by coring the apples before chopping into smallish chunks (around 1cm)
  • Add the chopped apple, cornflour, spices, lemon juice & sugar to large bowl & stir together until everything is well combined

To assemble & bake the pie:

  • Tip the filling mixture into the pastry case & set aside
  • Remove the remaining pastry from the fridge & use a rolling pin out into a rectangle as long as your pie, roughly to the thickness of a £1 coin
  • Use a pastry cutter of a sharp knife to cut out strips from each of the rectangles
  • Now, carefully use the pastry strips to weave a lattice on top of the pie
  • Use your fingers or a fork to press the edges of the pie together to secure
  • You can use any offcuts & scraps of pastry to make a few decorations & place on top
  • Finally, brush the top of the pie with the beaten egg
  • Bake the pie in the oven at 180C for 30 minutes
  • Once baked, remove the apple pie from the oven & set aside to cool in its tin

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