The Bramley apples are slowly ripening and the autumn gusts are presenting me with windfalls to use. So far I have a couple of jars of cinnamon spiced apple jelly in a cupboard and a bottle of spiced apple brandy slowly maturing (which smells like apple strudel and will hopefully nice just as nice).
But what I haven’t made yet is a pie. A big homely pie like my gran used to make. She was a great cook – visits would mean Sunday dinners with peppery Yorkshire Puddings, crispy roast spuds and gravy that had little chunks of meat floating in it. This would often be followed by apple pie with crispy, flakey pastry sparkling with liberal dustings of sugar. I want to make this pie but the recipe died along with my gran and all I have left are memories of its taste. So this is my attempt at replicating this. The amounts below serve 2 very hungry people with enough for breakfast the next day.
First the pastry – I like this to be fairly savoury so it’s a shortcrust made with a mix of butter and lard. To 225g of plain flour add a pinch of salt, 75g of cubed butter and 35g of cubed lard. Pulse in a food processor until breadcrumbs and add 1 tbsp of golden caster sugar. Then add cold water 1 tbsp at time until then pastry starts to come together. Bring it together into a ball using your hands before wrapping in cling film and chilling for at least 30 mins.
I’m pretty sure she didn’t use cinnamon but it’s one of my favourite spices and so redolent of autumn that generous amounts are needed. Peel, core and slice 2 large Bramley apples into thick pieces. Tap dry with kitchen paper.
Preheat the oven to 180C and pop a baking tray in to heat up. 100g of golden caster sugar is mixed with 1/4 tsp of ground cinnamon. Set aside about 2tbsp of the mix for scattering on the pie later. To the rest add 1 heaped tbsp of plain flour and mix together with the apples.
Divide the pastry into 1/3 and 2/3. Roll out the larger piece to line an enamel pie tin (about 20cm long) and fill with the sugar coated apples. Roll out the lid. Wet the rim and cover the filling with the pastry lid, crimping the edge to fix. Cover with an egg wash and scatter with the reserved sugar.
Put the pie onto the preheated baking tray and bake for about 40min until golden and crispy.
Serve with vast quantities of custard for a warming autumn treat. Not quite like Gran used to make but pretty good all the same.