The iconic apple pie. There are as many recipes as there are apples in the world. This is mine. These ones actually have a bit of a special place in my heart for me as they are made with apples from my own orchard and they have a hint of wildness that I would like to attribute to the wildness of their surroundings. That said I have made these many, many times with shop bought apples and they are just gorgeous as well.
MMMMM! Are those not just the most beautiful things? If I had not broken my crimped ravioli cutter I would have made the strips with wavy edges, but for these I just used my pizza cutter and made rough strips for a rustic finish and I am very happy with the results. Now, on to the good stuff!
This is my go to sweet pastry base, it is not as delicate as a pate sucre, but it is a lot easier to manage and gives a nice workable pastry that is delicious and easy to handle.
This makes enough for four apple pies if you are using a lattice top, if you want to make solid tops you will get enough for three, if you are making crumble tops you will have enough for five family bases. As you can see I used a 22cm alfoil pie plate for these.
670g strong flour
370g diced butter (cold)
200g caster sugar
1/4 cup water
Place the dry ingredients and the diced butter into the bowl of a stand mixer and with the paddle attachment and work until the mixture resembles sand and no obvious butter lumps are left.
Combine the eggs and water in a small bowl, add to the mixer while it is mixing, continue to beat slowly until a firm dough is formed. You can also do all of this by hand using the rub in/knead method.
Turn the pastry onto a floured bench, knead lightly, form into a round, wrap in cling film, pop into the fridge for an hour.
Now, to the apple part.
1800g peeled, cored and quartered and then sliced apples, I used pink ladies and golden delicious this time (please note, this is the finished weight, not the weight of the whole apple).
100ml lemon juice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
I egg extra for brushing.
Place the apples, lemon juice, half the water and cinnamon in a large pot, cook over a low heat until just some of the apples start to collapse and release liquid, with a big batch like this it can take about 20 minutes, stir in the sugar, cook for another minute until you have a bit of syrup at the bottom, combine the cornflour with the remaining water, stir in, bring to the boil, stirring all the while, until the juice at the bottom thickens and becomes quite syrupy.
Set aside to cool (I always do this in my freezer because I am impatient!).
Split your pastry into quarters, shape each quarter into a round, roll out on a floured bench until it is big enough to comfortably fill the base of your pie plate.
Drape it up over your rolling pin and ease it into the pie plate. Gently convince it to settle into the corners and over the sides. Here is a trick for you, never, ever stretch the pastry to make it fit, this is how shrinkage occurs, instead encourage the pastry to sort of squat down into the base, then trim off the excess.
Now crimp the edge in by poking your left finger into the edge of the dough and pinching the dough around it with your other hand.
Gorgeous! Easy peasy. I always think of this as my maker's mark.
Pop these bases into the freezer for a little while to set (really doesn't matter how long they stay there but give them ten minutes at least). Gather up all the offcuts of pastry and knead them into a round, put them into the fridge to firm back up.
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees fan forced or 190 degrees if not fan forced.
Brush the pastry bases with your reserved beaten egg and then divide up the COLD apple mixture between them. Roll out your pastry round, cut into slices, lay over the top of the pies in a grid, you can be fancy and do a woven lattice if you like, or you can simply do a grid like I have done. Each time you pinch a bit off one of the strips, pop it aside, give those strips a knead to combine, roll out to make more strips, when you lay the strips over the base, give a light pinch to each side to join it to the pastry base. You should end up with something like this.
Brush the pastry strips with egg, now into the oven. Bake for around 40 minutes or until golden and bubbling, eat straight away or allow to cool and then wrap in cling wrap and pop into the fridge or freezer. These have been freezer tested for up to nine months and hold up very well.
Serve with cream, ice-cream or custard, sit back, wait for the applause.