Apple & Cinnamon Pie
As the leaves start to turn, apple season is most welcome, bringing with it the inevitable change in colour as the fruit ripens and consequently, the heady scent of apple pie, fresh from the oven.
AUTUMN - VEGETARIAN
Here's how you do it
1. Firstly, your pastry. You will need to leave it for an hour in the fridge, so make sure you leave enough time.
2. Mix your butter, icing sugar, eggs and flour until a dough has formed. Add a little more flour if it is too sticky. Cover it and leave it in the fridge for an hour. If you’re in a hurry, I have been known to leave it for 20 minutes in the freezer. Classy, right? It does the job.
3. Meanwhile, peel, core and chop your apples into small chunks, a dash of lemon juice stops them browning whilst you wait for your pastry dough.
4. Steam the apple for 5-10 minutes, just to soften them a little before you bake them, but be careful, they should still be firm (and not mushy) when you remove them from the heat.
5. Rinse the apples under the cold tap to cool them down and leave them to one side to drain.
6. Now mix your sugar, cinnamon and flour together in a medium sized bowl.
7. When your dough is ready, halve it and roll out one half into a rough circle and place in your greased, oven proof dish, laying it over the edges as you go. Don’t worry about holes or tears, you can patch repair them with any excess dough from around the edge.
8. Lightly press the pastry dough around the edge of the dish.
9. Now, the fun part. Drop small handfuls of the apple into the cinnamon mix and coat each chunk completely. Dust it off between your fingers and start to fill your pie. Continue doing this until all your apples are dusted and the pie is full.
10. Next, roll out the remaining dough into a circle and place on top (you can cut around a plate for a decent circle and then use a pallet knife to ensure it lifts off your surface without breaking).
11. Now, using cookie cutters (what parent or well-respected adult, does not have a star cookie cutter?), decorate your pie with a layer of stars (a maple leaf cutter looks gorgeous, even better if you have the time to carve out the veins on each leaf, anyway, that’s for when you really want to show off).
12. You can freeze the whole thing now if you so wish. Simply defrost completely another day and bake as below.
13. Finally, beat your egg and using a pastry brush (or regular clean paint brush), brush the egg all over the pastry topping and bake in the oven at 180 degrees for 40-50 minutes until golden brown on top.
Enjoy with lashings of cream, warmed custard (make your own vegan version with either almond of oat milk and custard powder) or of course, if you are feeling decadent, the most luxury vanilla ice cream you can afford. You will not be sorry. Saying all that it is delicious hot or cold, on its own, when nobody is looking.
There are a few secrets here that make this a champion of apple pies. Firstly, the cinnamon. Don’t be afraid, a tablespoon may sound a lot, but cinnamon by nature is a sweet spice, so works very well in these quantities. Next up, the self-raising flour replaces plain flour, so often used, to give a much lighter, fluffier pastry. And by using icing sugar in the pastry mix, ensure it is not only light, but smooth too. Such simple swaps for a real game changer of a pie.
If you can’t find Bramley apples, any other apple will do, but maybe use 75g of sugar as eating apples tend to be sweeter. Or go all out and leave the quantity of sugar as it is. No judgement. Bet your dentist loves you.
For the pastry:
- 250g butter, room temperature (or vegan equivalent)
- 100g icing sugar (or 50g granulated or caster sugar)
- 2 free-range eggs
- 400g self-raising flour
For the filling:
- 1kg Bramley apples (approx. 4 large apples)
- 100g sugar
- 1 level tbsp of cinnamon
- 2 tbsp flour
- 1 free-range egg