Classic Apple Pie
This is one of my favourite desserts. I always decorate my sweet pies with a few pastry leaves, so that they look more inviting.
|675g (1½lb)||cooking apples, peeled, cored and thickly sliced|
|50–75g (2–3oz)||caster sugar, depending on how sweet or tart the apples are|
|For the pastry:|
|175g (6oz)||plain flour|
|50g (2oz)||diced butter|
|50g (2oz)||diced white baking vegetable fat|
|Milk, to glaze|
|Sugar, for sprinkling|
You will need a shallow 900ml (1½ pint) pie dish.
Arrange half the apple slices in the bottom of a shallow 900ml pie dish and sprinkle with the caster sugar. Arrange the cloves evenly among the apples. Cover with the remaining apple slices and add 3 tablespoons cold water.
To make the pastry, measure the flour into a bowl. Add the diced butter and white vegetable fat and rub in with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add about 2 tablespoons cold water and mix to a firm dough.
Roll out the dough on a lightly floured work surface to a size that will cover the top of the pie dish. Lift the dough onto the dish and trim the edges. If you like, cut the trimmings into decorative shapes, such as leaves, and lightly press onto the dough. Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan 180°C/gas 6. Brush the pie with a little milk, then sprinkle the top with sugar. Make a small slit in the centre of the pie for the steam to escape. Bake in the preheated oven for 40–45 minutes or until the apples are tender and the pastry is crisp and pale golden. Cover the pie loosely with foil towards the end of the cooking time, if the pastry starts to brown before the apples are cooked.
You can freeze the pie after cooking and when completely cool. Leave to defrost almost completely before reheating and serving. Uncooked homemade pastry is an excellent standby for the freezer. Pack it in separate quantities of 225g (8oz) and 450g (1lb), labelling it clearly. Defrost in the fridge or kitchen until pliable enough to roll and use.