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.
Another gardening post (don’t panic – bread will be back soon!). Cecilia at The Kitchen Garden has posted a challenge for people to send in the view from their back door. So this is mine caught on a (fleetingly) sunny moment.
The main photo is of my climbing rose called Gertrude Jeykll. We bought it when we first moved here from Harlow Carr Gardens in Harrogate. It’s covered in tight buds and in a few weeks should be awash with fragrant pink blooms. Please try and ignore the weed infested pots – they will have flowery things in them soon!
This is the Bramley apple again. With a small Acer in a pot in the patio. This used to be at the front door but it was so windy at the front that the poor thing was constantly losing its leaves. So we’ve rescued it and it looks a lot happier back here.
Finally my Victoria plum tree. Alas it’s had no blooms this year at all. Maybe I’ll have a plum glut next year. Here’s hoping…
We seem to be tumbling towards June at a rapid rate of knots yet I’m still putting the heating on and using a brolly remarkably regularly. To make matters worse my plum tree hasn’t blossomed at all this year which means for the first time there’ll be no plum jam, sauce, vodka (insert favourite plum recipe here). But for once we had sun and warm weather this weekend. So there has been less baking and more sowing and weeding. In “celebration” of this fact here is a bit of a gardening special (with a small amount of bread…).
I’ve sowing fennel and salad leaves and I’m waiting for my French beans to germinate. Some plants are already well underway including my courgette plants. All 6 of them have sprouted and are doing well. I’m taking a bit of a risk and have potted 2 of them up and put them outside. The forecast at the moment is for no frost so I have my fingers crossed that it stays that way. If not I have 4 back ups still in the greenhouse.
Whilst my plum tree has been a failure this year, elsewhere I have plenty of signs of a decent fruit crop, including my Bramley apple which has a decent amount of blossom on it.
There are also loads of redcurrants and blackcurrants already starting to form as well as these little beauties – alpine strawberries. I grew these from seed a few years ago and now they have self seeded everywhere in the garden. These are hidden underneath one of my climbing roses.
As part of my general clearing up I’ve been moving a few pots around and this is how I found this little fellow – possibly the smallest toad I’ve ever seen! He soon hopped off into a secluded spot by the side of the greenhouse.
It hasn’t been completely bread free though. I made some naan breads with toasted cumin seeds in to go with our curry and another batch of the semolina buns I made a couple of weeks ago but this time in as burger buns. So here they are along with my new bread basket.