I mean, come on now, is there really anything much else better in life than a bowl of steaming hot apple pie? Comprising a nice crisp pastry, a centre stacked high with layers of apple that just have a bit of crunch to them and a gentle touch of cinnamon? Completed with a topping smooth soft custard (or vanilla ice-cream if you're that way inclined - as long it's proper vanilla ice-cream though, respect has to be shown to this dish folks)? Surely not.
Good because I have the perfect recipe to deliver apple pie perfection that is delicious hot or cold.
Hmmm yeah but really....?
So, ok, you want want evidence before you commit yourself to taking a leap of faith on this radical recipe and method, then dear reader you shall have it....
A deep cinnamon and apple filling surrounded by a tasty buttery pastry
So here goes...
- The pastry is lovely and buttery and holds its shape, it doesn't shrink or crumble;
- All butter gives the pie crust more flavour;
- Using a food processor ensures that the mixture is light and flaky;
- The apple filling is just the right level of sweetness whilst still retaining it's apple flavour, it doesn't turn into a sweet appley mush;
- Covering the apple in boiling water for ten minutes starts the cooking process, ensures that the apples keep their crunch and means that they take the same amount of time to cook as the pastry;
- Adding cornflour to the apple filling ensures the pie is nice and saucy inside;
- There is just enough cinnamon to just it a subtle cinnamon flavour.
Now, don't worry too much if your apples go a little brown when you are preparing them. It is really hard to avoid this. Apples don't like being exposed to the air and oxidisation takes effect pretty immediately. Adding lemon juice to the water which they sit in once peeled does reduce discolouring. Either way the apples will still taste gorgeous.
So I hope you enjoy this all time classic as much as I do, it also lasts for a good few days and freezes well. As ever, please leave me some comments if you make the pie.
Deep and spicy apple pie
- Food processor
- 20 cm, deep pie dish
- Large heatproof bowl
- 2 clean tea towels
- Large slatted spoon
- Pastry brush
- 350 g plain flour
- 40 g golden caster sugar
- ½ tsp salt
- 280 g unsalted butter softened and cut into 1 inch chunks
- 6 tablespoon very cold water
- 2 kg bramley apples
- juice of 1 lemon added to large bowl of iced water
- 1 litre freshly boiled water
- 170 g granulated white sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 4 tablespoon cornflour
- 1 egg beaten
- 1 tablespoon demerara sugar optional
- Add your flour, sugar and salt to the food processor and give it a quick whizz to combine.
- Place your butter evenly over the flour mixture and pulse until partly combined (about 20-30 pulses).
- Wipe down the sides and base of your bowl with your spatula to ensure fully combined.
- Give it another few pulses into it just begins to form clumps. You want the mixture to be quite lumpy.
- Pour the mixture into a large bowl.
- Give the mixture a mix around and rub any extra large lumps of butter into the flour.
- Sprinkle the water over the mixture and using the spatula mix together, pressing into a dough as you go.
- As the mixture comes together go in with your hands and bring together into a ball, do not knead and do not compress the dough, just bring it all together, then press down to form a spherical flat shape about 2 inches in depth.
- Split the mixture into two halves and wrap both tightly in clingfilm then put in the freezer for 15 minutes and then move to the fridge for a further hour (or put in the fridge for 2 hours).
- Whilst your pastry is relaxing in the fridge you can make your spicy apple pie filling, this will take about 15 minutes to do so start in once the pastry has 15 minutes left in the fridge.
- Preheat your oven to 220°C/200°C fan oven/Gas mark 7 and put in a baking sheet to warm.
- Grease your pie dish with butter.
- Fill a large bowl with iced water, the colder the better, add the juice of your lemon.
- Peel and core your apples one by one. As soon as each one is done pop them into your bowl of iced water.
- When all of the apples are prepared, drain them through a colander, return them to the empty bowl and pour over the freshly boiled water, cover and set aside for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, lightly flour your work surface then take one half of your pastry from the fridge and roll out to about a 12 inch diameter circle.
- Drape the pastry circle over your rolling pin and transfer to the pie dish, gently press down so the pastry covers the full dish and sides, and leaves a slight overhang over the edge.
- Lay your tea towels out one on top of the the other, then drain your apples using the colander again.
- Transfer to apples to the tea towels and pat to dry thoroughly.
- Return the apples to the bowl, and sprinkle over the granulated sugar, cinnamon and cornflour.
- Mix well together to ensure all of the apple slices are coated.
- Lift the apples from the bowl with a slatted spoon to ensure that excess sugar and cinnamon are drained away and transfer to your pastry covered pie dish.
- Add the apple in layers, so that they are evenly spread out.
- Roll out the remaining disc of pastry, again to 12 inches in diameter, and cover the pie, letting the excess hang over the edge equally.
- Trim the pastry around the edge of the pie leaving about an inch around the edge.
- Fold both edges together between and under themselves so that they are double up around the edge of the pie dish, and are tucked in all around the edge.
- Crimp around the edges to seal with your forefinger of your left hand and and thumb and forefinger of your right hand - or use the top of a spoon to press together to seal the crust.
- Make a hole in the centre of the pie and 4 slits in the top so that steam can escape when baking.
- Beat your egg together than brush over the top of the pie with a pastry brush.
- Transfer to the pie to the baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes, then turn the oven down to 190°C/170°C fan/Gas mark 5 for a further 25 minutes.
- Bake until the pie is a deep golden brown colour, to ensure that the base is thoroughly cooked.