Apple pie has a comforting and homely feel about it. It’s the perfect dish to make on a cold and blustery day for the family, so that they feel warm and cared for. Served with a dollop of cream or a pool of custard, its simple goodness will make you wonder why you bother with cooking fancy exotic ingredients when home-grown ones are so satisfying.
Pastry is often the intimidating factor when it comes to delivering a recipe for apple pie. If you really want to make it easy, you can buy ready-made pastry, but making your own pastry is actually very simple, if you remember the two key elements to it: speed and cold. A processor helps with the first and chilling the ingredients before you work them takes care of the second.
Apple Pie Recipe
240g / 8oz plain flour
125g / 4oz butter
squeeze lemon juice
3-4 medium cooking apples
125g / 4oz white sugar
3 cloves or 1 teaspoon cinnamon according to personal preference
egg white or milk for brushing the top
2 teaspoons caster sugar for sprinkling
To make the pastry: Sift the flour and salt into a small bowl and dice the butter into it. Put it in the freezer for 10 minutes to chill. Then tip it all into the processor and blitz until it looks like fine breadcrumbs. (If you don’t have a processor you can make the pastry by hand: rub the cold butter into the flour as quickly as you can and keep it as cool as possible). Add 3 tablespoons of iced water and the squeeze of lemon juice and process again, adding another tablespoon of water if necessary. When the dough looks like it’s about to come together, but just before it does, switch off and form the pastry into two balls, one slightly bigger than the other. Wrap in clingfilm or freezer bags, then rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Roll out the larger half of the pastry on a floured surface until it just fits the base and sides of a 20-22 cm round pie dish. Lift it on your rolling pin into the dish and trim the edges if necessary, leaving a little overlap. Roll out the last piece of pastry to make the lid.
Prepare the apples: peel core and slice the apples, then toss with the sugar and spice. If you are using eating apples instead of Bramley cookers, reduce the amount of sugar used. Pile the fruit into the pie dish.
Now dampen the edge of the pastry base with a little cold water and lift the pastry lid on top, pressing down with your thumb all the way round to seal and make a fluted edge. You can use any pastry trimmings to make decorations, such as leaves, to go on top. Dampen each piece with water to help it stick. Pierce the pastry lid a few times to make holes for the steam to escape when cooking. Brush the lid with the beaten egg white, or else with a little milk and sprinkle with a little sugar.
Bake on a low shelf of the oven, or with a heated baking sheet under the pie dish (to help crisp the bottom of the apple pie) at 220C / 425F for 10 minutes then reduce the heat to 190C / 375F for 25-30 more minutes until the pastry is golden and crisp.
Hungry for good English food, but not feeling like cooking today? Why not eat out at Creme restaurant in Stapleford, Nottingham.