No messing or fussing – an easy recipe for any busy mammy to make
This is my foolproof recipe and really the only secret is that I bypass most of the rules. I don’t have time to be waiting for pastry to rest or fillings to cool so I make it my way and it turns out delicious.
4 large cooking apples
Handful of sugar
Knob of butter
8 oz plain flour
Pinch of salt
5 oz butter from the fridge
1 oz sugar
Now I think that is a simple list of ingredients and most of them you will have in the house anyway.
I start by cooking the apples – yes cooking the apples. This is very unorthodox but I find its the best way to get the sweetness right. Cooking apples vary in flavour so much that it can be hard to determine the amount of sugar you need until they have cooked. Peel and core the apples and chop them up whatever way you like – the larger they are the longer they will take to cook that’s all. I put them in a saucepan with a splash of water, a handful of sugar and a knob of butter, cover them with a lid and cook on a medium heat. Stir them occasionally to encourage them to break down and when they have started to break down well, take off the lid and cook them until most of the water has evaporated and you have a nice thick puree. A few lumps are okay though because you still want a bit of texture. Its best to taste at this stage and decide if you need to add more sugar or not. Turn off the heat and allow to cool a bit while you make the pastry.
Preheat the oven to 170 C.
Place the flour and salt in a bowl and add in the butter. Rub it in with your fingers until it looks like rough breadcrumbs. Add in the sugar and mix it through roughly. Beat the egg and add it in too. Using a normal butter knife cut the egg through the flour mix until it has practically disappeared. The mixture will look quite dry still but don’t worry, its meant to. Get stuck in with your hands and knead the mixture lightly until it starts to come together and form a dough. Don’t knead too much as it will make the pastry tough. Empty the dough out onto a floured surface and cut in two. Roll out the first half until its just big enough to line an 8″ pie tin (I use an enamel tin but you can use an ordinary small dinner plate). Roll out the remaining half for the top. When you have the second half ready place your apple filling on the first piece of dough in the tin. (Because the filling is still warm you don’t want it sitting too long on the pastry before going into the oven so this part has to be done quite quickly.) When you have the filling in, quickly place the top on and seal with a fork or some fancy crimping if it won’t take you too long. Place in the preheated oven and cook for 10 mins and then reduce the temperature to 150 C for a further 25-30 mins. Just keep an eye on the pastry and don’t let it get too dark – its supposed to be a pale sandy colour, a little darker than shortbread.
Remove from the oven and sprinkle with caster sugar or brown sugar with a little cinnamon mixed in. Allow to cool slightly and then serve with freshly whipped cream or custard. I apologise now for not having any photos of the opened pie but it was gone before I realised I hadn’t got the “moneyshot”! 🙂
You can change this recipe around by adding 1 teasp. ground cinnamon or whole cloves to the apples. Or you could add some chopped nuts and serve with caramel sauce if you fancy. Also you can change the fruit fillings – blackberries, blueberries, cherries etc. Most berry fillings will need a little help to thicken – I use a tablespoon of cornflour slaked in 2 tbsp. cold water and add in to the hot filling to thicken it up well. You may need to add more or less. Just judge by eye. You want a thick gloopy mess!!