Apple Pie


Apple Pie

As a prelude to our ‘Bridgetown in the Winter’ cooking classes which will feature – tarts, flans and pies, I thought I would share my version of that autumn and winter favourite – the humble but scrumptious apple pie. For many, nothing beats a slice of warm apple pie, especially when it is made with fresh in season apples which are in plentiful supply at present.

I always say, the secret to a memorable apple pie is a combination of both a crumbly pastry shell and an apple filling full of flavour and sightly undercooked apples which retain some of their shape and firmness. I know there are many that disagree and prefer to use puff pastry for the shell and those that insist the filling should be soft and mushy – sorry that’s just not me. If you are wanting either of these results, then my version of an apple pie is unlikely to satisfy your preferences.

Of course you can use the recipe as a guide and make changes to suit your tastes but I suggest, you give my version a go and see if you can be converted … I have never had someone turn it down or say it wasn’t delicious.

A small word of warning – I like to make two types of short crust pastry for my apple pie … a slightly tart pastry for the base and a sweeter, softer pastry for the top. If time is not in your favour, use either pastry component for both the top and the base, just remember to double the quantities.

Please give it a go and let me know your thoughts. I would love to hear from you.

Makes – 8 serves

Ingredients – filling

1½ to 2 kg apples (peeled, cored and chopped) – traditionalists will say ‘granny smiths’ only but I like to use a blend of apples.
¼ cup sugar (I like using brown sugar in this recipe – but white or raw are fine)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
1 orange or lemon (zest and juice)
50 grams butter

Ingredients – pastry base (slightly tart)

1¼ cups plain flour
¼ cup self-raising flour
¼ cup castor sugar
75 grams butter (chilled and cubed)
1 egg
1 lemon (juice and zest)
1 teaspoon vino cotto or vanilla extract
and maybe 1 or 2 tablespoons cold water but only after processing the dough

Ingredients – pastry (sweet)

1½ cups plain flour
85 grams butter (chilled and cubed)
½ cup icing sugar
1 egg
1 orange (zest and juice)
1 teaspoon vino cotto or vanilla extract
and maybe 1 or 2 tablespoons cold water but only after processing the dough

Please Note
Both pastry recipes say 1 egg, please use small size eggs 55g or alternative only use the yolk of a larger egg.

Also, depending on the flour and the weather, you may or may not need the cold water.

Preparation

1. Place all the ingredients for one of the pastry doughs into a food processor (minus water) and blitz them so they all combine. Be careful not to over work the ingredients or over-heat the food processor. Short sharp bursts are best.

2. Once well combined and resembling bread crumbs turn out onto a lightly floured board and knead the dough mass lightly and see if all the ingredients come together. If not – sprinkle with the water and bring all the dough together to form a soft but firm dough. If dough is too soft sprinkle with a little extra plain flour.

3. Wrap in plastic film and place in the refrigerator to chill for 30 to 60 minutes.

4. Repeat steps 1 to 3 for second pastry dough.

5. Next, place all the filling ingredients into a heavy based pan or pot and allow them to cook for approximately 10-15 minutes so the apples soften and the liquid evaporates. Do not stir the pot excessively as this will make the apples fall apart.

Allow the filling to cool before using it to fill the pie case.

Tip
I like to hold back 1 cup of the cut apples from the initial cooking process and stir them into the mixture when the filling is almost done. This means that when the final pie is eaten there will be a combination of soft and firmer apples pieces to enjoy.

6. Take the base pastry out of the refrigerator and flatten it as best you can with your hands, then place it between two pieces of baking paper. Roll the dough out with a rolling pin to create a flat sheet approximately 2 to 3mm thick.

7. Grease your pie dish with some butter and then dust with a little plain flour to prevent the dough sticking to the pie dish during cooking.

8. Gently ease the pastry into the pie dish allowing the pastry to hang over the edges. Once the dish is lined repeat step 6 with the other piece of dough.

9. Fill the base pastry shell with the apple filling and then place the second sheet of pastry over the filled pie dish. Gently push the edges of the two pastry layers together so they stick.

10. Cut off any excess pastry and decorate as you like, fork or crimping the edges, you may like to add extra decoration made from the left over dough. Further, you can wash the pie with a lightly beaten egg and/or sprinkle the surface with raw or demerara sugar, if you like.

11. Finally, cut a slit or cross into the top of the pie so steam can escape during the baking process and bake in a pre-heated oven at 200° C for 40 to 50 minutes until lightly golden brown.

12. When cooked remove from oven and allow to sit for at least 10 minutes. Serve warm rather than piping hot, with custard, cream or ice-cream.