I had to start with a family favourite, my apple pie.
My apple pie evolved after years of baking 'not quite good enough' apple pies. I had tried all combinations, cooking apples, eating apples, half and half of each, shortcrust pastry, sweet shortcrust pastry, crumble topping on a pie base, although all the pies were edible they weren't delicious. Eventually I stumbled across a Jamie Oliver recipe which gave me hope, after a bit of tinkering I made a perfect apple pie.
This pie is, for me, the perfect combination, not too tart, not too sweet due to a mixture of half cooking and half eating apples cooked til just soft in water with cinnamon and brown sugar added, once cooked drained and cooled completely.
The pastry, a rich, crumbly, sweet shortcrust bound with egg yolks rather than water and sweetened with caster sugar is, although a pain to roll out, wonderful against the natural tartness of the apples. The egg yolks add a richness to the pastry which is short but a little cakey too.
Dusted with cinnamon and demerara sugar before a slow bake in the oven, perfection.
Whilst baking it creates the most delicious, homely aromas. I always hope that in years to come the smell of homemade cinnamony apple pie will instantly remind my children of home.
For me apple pie must be eaten with very good quality vanilla ice cream although in desperate times double cream or custard will suffice.
Oh my! Apple pie!
6 Bramley apples
3 eating apples
1 tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
10 oz plain flour
7 1/2 oz butter, diced
4 1/2oz caster sugar
2 egg yolks
2 tbsp demerara sugar
egg / milk glaze
Preheat oven to 150c
Grease a 8 inch spring form cake tin.
In a mixer, combine flour, butter and caster sugar, add egg yolks and a splash of water (if necessary) to bind, leave to rest in refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Peel and quarter apples, put in a pan with brown sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon and a little water. Simmer of 10 Min's or until apples are just tender.
Drain and leave to cool completely.
Divide pastry into two, roll out half and line baking tin, it is very fragile you will need to patch it up.
Fill with apples, sprinkle with remaining cinnamon. Roll out remaining pastry and cover the pie, pinching the edges together to seal.
Glaze the pie with egg/milk wash, pierce top with fork and cover with the demerara sugar.
Bake for 45 - 50 minutes.
Serve hot with creamy vanilla ice cream.