I recently had the craving for home-made apple pie, not ignoring the fact I had two massive apples in the fridge waiting to be used. Since it had been quite a while since I last made apple pie I consulted The Big Book of Baking for advice on the pastry before I set out making 4 individual pies that will please 4 people, unless you can manage two (like me!).
for the pastry
- 250g / 9oz plain flour
- pinch of salt
- 65g / 2¼oz butter or margarine, chilled and cubed
- 65g / 2¼oz lard or white vegetable fat, chilled and cubed
- 1-2 tablespoons cold water
for the filling
- 4 normal-sized eating apples (e.g. braeburn, gala), about 500g in total, peeled and cored
- 1 heaped tablespoon light brown soft sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 heaped teaspoon flour
- for the glaze
- beaten egg loosened with a little water
Make the pastry: sift the flour into a large bowl with the salt, add the butter and lard. Rub in the fat using your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in enough water to form a firm dough, knead a couple of times until smooth. Divide the dough into two- and three-fifths, wrapping the smaller amount cling film and placing in the fridge.
Preheat the oven to 200°C (190°C fan)/400°F/gas mark 6 and grease 4, 10cm loose-bottomed tart tins. Roll the remaining dough out between two sheets of non-stick baking paper to 3mm thick then use to carefully line the bottoms of the tins. Transfer to the fridge.
Make the filling: cut the apples into eight pieces and thinly slice. Sprinkle over the sugar, cinnamon and flour and mix to coat evenly. Divide the filling between the chilled pastry cases.
To make the lids roll the chilled dough out to 3mm. Moisten the rims of the pastry cases and cover each with a quarter of the rolled dough. Press the edges together and trim off any excess. Use the trimmings to make leaves for decoration, attaching with water. Brush with glaze then make three small slits in each pie to allow steam to escape.
Transfer to a baking tray and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the pastry is crisp and golden. Allow to cool in the tins for 5 minutes before serving.
My tip: dip the peeled fruit in acidulated water (water mixed with a little lemon juice) to prevent browning