Valentine may be over but even a few days later we are still offering little signs of affection at home.
I have promised to bake an Apple cake for my dearest ones. Making the promise was easy, choosing between making an Apple Strudel or an Apple Pie was really, really difficult. For an Apple Strudel I have found an amazing recipe in the latest edition of the Delicious Magazine, but at the end I had to save it for another occasion, as Apple Pie won the day.
As a basis I have used a recipe from Mary Berry, but altering the ingredients to better suit our taste adding cinnamon and almond flakes. The end result was a beautifully firm golden pastry. Not too thin and not too thick. Just right to bake well, yet hold inside all the liquid juices from the softened apples. And the flavour combination between sweet and soft Pink Lady apples, fresh lemon juice, flavoursome cinnamon and crunchy almonds was sublime! So delicious, that no one could resist a second helping. I love to bake for my loved ones! As the pie was so quickly gone I have been asked if I will make one more tomorrow again. Perhaps not tomorrow, but definitely soon.
- 175g hard block butter
- 6 tbsp cold water
- 350g plain flour
- 120g sugar
- 4 Pink Lady apples
- 4 tsp cinnamon
- juice of one small lemon
- 1½ tbsp cornflour
- handful of roasted almond flakes
- 1tbsp milk
1. Place the flour in a large bowl. Cut the butter into cubes and add to the flour. Rub the butter into the flour with your fingertips until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the water and mix with a knife until the mixture just begins to hold together. Using one hand, gather the mixture together into a rough ball against the side of the bowl.
2. Wrap the ball in cling film and place in the refrigerator to chill for 30 minutes.
3. Lightly flour the work surface. Unwrap the pastry and cut it in half. Rewrap one piece to prevent it from drying out. Gently shape the other half into a smooth ball.
4. Flour your rolling pin and flatten the pastry. Working the rolling pin from the centre outwards, roll the pastry out into a circle, about 35cm in diameter.
5. Between each rolling, turn the pastry a quarter turn and dust the rolling pin with more flour if it starts to become sticky. Do not stretch the pastry or turn it over.
6. With floured hands, fold the circle of pastry dough in half, then in half again, to resemble a fan shape. This will make it easier to lift into the tin.
7. Brush the pie tin with melted margarine. Place the pastry fan in the tin with the point in the centre. This ensures the pastry is central and will help minimise stretching.
8. Unfold the pastry and ease it into the tin without stretching or pulling it. Do not worry about the pastry hanging over the edge because this will be trimmed later.
9. Place a baking sheet in the oven and preheat to 220°C. Quarter, core and peel the apples. Slice them, toss in the lemon juice, then in the sugar, cinnamon and cornflour.
10. Turn the apples into the lined tin, then use a fork to distribute the slices, heaping them up towards the centre. Scatter generously the almond flakes on top of the apples. Brush the rim of the pastry with a little milk.
11. Unwrap and roll out the remaining piece of pastry to about the same diameter as the first. Fold into a fan shape as before. Put the point of the fan on the centre of the pie.
12. Unfold the pastry over the filling and gently press the edge with your thumb tips. Hold the tin in one hand and cut off the excess, holding the knife at a slight angle.
13. Edge the pie by making shallow cuts with the back of a knife. Flute the edge with your fingertips, then brush the top with milk. Cut a 1cm steam hole in the centre.
14. Re-roll the trimmings, cut out decorative shapes and arrange on top of the pie, leaving the steam hole clear. Brush the shapes with milk and sift sugar over the pie.
15. Bake for 15 minutes, then turn the oven down to 180°C and bake for 30-35 minutes. The pastry should be golden and the filling soft when pierced.