I love autumn – the early half, when the leaves on the trees create a riot of my favourite colours and there is still a good chance of sunny days that are chilly but not freezing cold. And it’s apple season too. As I discovered recently, the apple isn’t a native fruit, but it’s become so much a part of our agricultural and gardening landscape that it’s hard not to think of it as a quintessentially British fruit.
This year’s harvest wasn’t quite as overwhelming but I’ve still been enjoying a little more preserving, not to mention apple (and foraged blackberry) crumbles and more apple pies.
When we’re making a pie fresh, rather than using canned apple pie filling, the recipe we use for the filling is a very simple one taken from Angela Nilsen’s Ultimate Apple Pie. Rather than using her pastry recipe, we usually buy ready-made shortcrust pastry from the supermarket. Pete preps the apples, rolls the pastry and lays the base and lid. I make the filling mix and do the pie decorations. A team effort though I have the easier tasks!
I like to use a mix of cooking and eating apples so that there are differences in the texture and flavour of the fruit, once cooked. This pie was made with four different types of apples; most were from our allotment and garden with an additional one from the shops.
Last 2 images by Jason Ng, thanks Jason!
Classic Apple Pie Recipe
500 grams shortcrust pastry, chilled
1 kg mixed apples, peeled and cored weight
Optional: large bowl of cold water and squirt of lemon juice
150g caster sugar + extra for sprinkling
0.5 to 1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 tablespoons plain flour
1 egg white, very loosely beaten
- Preheat the oven to 170 C (fan).
- Peel, core and slice the apples. You can keep the prepped apples fresh in a bowl of cold water with a squirt of lemon juice added but do drain them well and quickly pat them dry before continuing with recipe.
- Toss the apples in a mixture of sugar, cinnamon and flour. Mix with your hands to make sure the coating is evenly distributed.
- Divide the pastry, setting aside two thirds for the base and one third for the lid. Roll out the base and lay into a reasonably deep pie dish.
- Pile the apples inside, heaping them towards the centre.
- Roll the pastry for the lid, brush a little water over the edges of the base and position the lid on top. Use a sharp knife to trim away excess pastry and then press down with fingers or a fork to ensure a good seal and make a pretty edge.
- Roll out the leftover pastry and use a small round pastry cutter to cut out three circles. Use your finger to make a dent in each one, so they look more apple-like. Use the same pastry cutter to cut three simple leaf shapes. Roll or cut tiny fragments to use as stems. Use water to moisten and stick the pieces onto the pie lid.
- Loosely beat the egg white and brush over the entire pie and then sprinkle with a little caster sugar.
- Cut a few slashes or crosses to allow steam to escape during cooking.
- Bake for 40-45 minutes or until the pastry is beautifully golden.
- Remove from the oven, allow to sit and rest for 5-10 minutes, then sprinkle a little more caster sugar over the top.
- Serve with custard, vanilla ice cream, clotted cream, double cream or a delicious clotted cream ice cream my friend found in Waitrose.
Apple pie is such a classic and yet there are many variations. What recipe or style of apple pie do you prefer and what do you like to serve it with?