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.
This is definitely not weather for baking – hot and sticky with little breeze to cool it all down. The cat is flopping around the house trying to get cool – even his usual technique of hiding under the current bushes in the shady fruit cage aren’t working today. Thankfully I baked this last night.
I don’t usually get Olive magazine but a long train journey meant I needed something to read and the sticky BBQ ribs on the cover looked appealing. And inside was their monthly challenge recipe – a picnic pie. Lots of porky goodness squashed round hard boiled eggs and contained in shortcrust pastry. I’d never tried making anything like this so gave it a go.
The meat filling is a mix of pork sausages, pork mince and thick cut back bacon. The recipe suggested herbed sausages but I used just normal good quality ones instead. Given the range of flavoured sausages it might be interesting to use something like pork and apple next time and add a bit of diced apple to the mix.
The worst bit was trying to slice the tops off the eggs to get them to the right length and with plenty of yolk (which to me is the whole point of this pie – just a white centre isn’t anyway near as attractive!)
Once the eggs and pork had been packed into the shortcrust pastry, I then added a puff pastry lid. I carefully scored and crimped the pastries together, finishing with an egg wash. It takes an hour to bake and you have to chill it overnight so it was an ideal Friday evening bake which would then be ready for lunch on Saturday.
I gave it an extra 10 mins on a slightly higher temperature as it looked a lot paler than the photo, but it still came out much more golden than the Olive version. It was left overnight in its tin and then the following morning I removed it – or rather attempted to! Despite having greaseproof paper underneath it, no amount of tugging was going to get this out of the tin.
So I had to use a knife to try and gentry prise it out and this was the result. Clearly you need to line the entire tin with greaseproof and not just the bottom and long sides. It was worth it though. It’s one of those bakes that looks more impressive than the amount of effort needed. It was certainly eaten quickly enough. I’d hoped it would see us through a couple of days of our holiday, it all got gobbled up on the Saturday. I’d definitely make this one again, but with more greaseproof paper!
If you want to try this yourself its in August’s Olive magazine. They tend to put all their recipes on the BBC Good Food site so I suspect that you’ll find it here in a couple of months time.